Ron Paul Launches ‘Campaign for Liberty’

Ron Paul has officially ended his quest for the Republican nomination, months after John McCain secured enough delegates to win, and is using his war chest to start something called The Campaign for Liberty.

The new entity will be used to push a slate of libertarian-minded Republican candidates for public office in local districts nationwide, according to a description provided to ABC News by the Paul campaign. Paul also recently published a new book on his political philosophy, The Revolution: A Manifesto.

The Texas congressman’s campaign to win the Republican nomination raised about $33 million in nine months, and he and his organizers hope to reignite that grassroots support for the new organization. They’re setting a goal of raising $35 million over the next year.

Despite the dedication and moxie of Paul’s supporters, maintaining that level of interest without the vehicle of Paul’s presidential campaign could be difficult, especially given the frenetic, laissez faire interaction between Paul and his supporters through the presidential campaign. The congressman in many ways served as a figurehead, while independent actors drawn to his message did most of the organizing.

The Liberty Campaign is meant as a means for harnessing some of that energy and maintaining interest on a more micro level, by recruiting like-minded people to seek political office.

While it likely won’t generate the same buzz as his presidential campaign, this strikes me as a much more profitable use of his time and that of his followers. True libertarians are a tiny minority in American politics (indeed, it’s debatable whether Paul himself qualifies) but we have a strong libertarian strand running through our culture. It’s quite feasible that, with proper organization and funding, the Campaign could recruit small government-minded folks to run for Republican seats, especially in the West and Northeast where Evangelical Christians have less sway.

Realistically, this will have to be done mostly at the local level, working to get people elected to school boards, city councils, and state legislatures rather than prestige “national” offices. That, incidentally, is how the religious right built themselves into such a force within the GOP.

It remains to be seen whether Ron Paul, unlike Ross Perot, can build a movement without himself in the center.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    Sounds very similar to what Howard Dean did after his failed Presidential run. So far that’s been working out pretty well for the Democrats.

  2. Bithead says:

    So far that’s been working out pretty well for the Democrats.

    Yeah, well, that ha a lot to do with the kind of people each group embraces. I’m not convinced the Republicans.. even libertarin leaning ones, will embrace any group Paul has much to do with.

  3. Michael says:

    Yeah, well, that ha a lot to do with the kind of people each group embraces. I’m not convinced the Republicans.. even libertarin leaning ones, will embrace any group Paul has much to do with.

    But the people that used Dean’s organization to launch their political careers changed the organization much more than it changed them. DemocracyForAmerica has become much less ideologically driven, and more logistically driven. It’s still got it’s ideology, of course, but it’s the practical logistics that it was forced to adopt that really made it mainstream.

    Ron Paul was a radical, for sure, but he won’t be able to promote radicals (because radicals by nature can’t agree with each other), so he will likely be promoting progressive libertarian conservatives, who will moderate his organization into something that can actually work for them.

    That all depends, really, on whether or not Ron Paul can remove himself from the organization like Howard Dean did, or if he will insist on steering it in directions the people he wants to promote don’t want to go.

  4. AAAAANDRE says:

    I don’t think the Ron Paul supporters will just fade away. We have seen the way things are really being run, and we don’t like it.

  5. Miss Darla says:

    “It remains to be seen whether Ron Paul, unlike Ross Perot, can build a movement without himself in the center.”

    Hm. The Campaign for Liberty just now — within three days of its unofficial launch — reached 50% of its membership goal…a goal set to be reached by September 2, 2008…which is the official scheduled launch date.

    Yeah, I think the movement is more than alive and kicking. Why don’t you come check it out for yourself and see why so many have eagerly jumped on board? CampaignForLiberty.com