Ron Paul: Mission Accomplished

John Cole wins Headline of the Day honors for his headline/lede couplet,

Maybe Patrick Ruffini is a Libertarian

Because I think he is smoking pot

It’s a pithy summary of Ruffini’s much-discussed blog post over at Hugh Hewitt’s place, “Ron Paul Has Won.”

He won’t win the nomination. He won’t win any primaries. But for Ron Paul’s quixotic bid for the White House, it’s “Mission Accomplished.”


In the past few months, Ron Paul has dramatically raised the profile of libertarianism inside the Republican Party. My small-l libertarian friends seem more comfortable describing themselves as such, even though they’ll go out of their way to disassociate themselves from Ron Paul and the big-L kind.


Some campaigns can win big without ever coming close to winning an actual contest. Pat Robertson’s 1988 campaign signaled that Christian Conservatives had arrived in the GOP. Ron Paul is doing the same for libertarians. This is not a counterweight to the religious right per se, since Paul is identified as pro-life, but it does potentially open up a new army of activists on the right not primarily motivated by social/moral issues.

Cole and Andrew Sullivan offer cogent analyses of the problems with Ruffini’s triumphalism that a largely agree with.

I would only add that there’s no small irony in the use of the phrase “Mission Accomplished” here, which I presume was unintended. If someone wants to PhotoShop an image of Ron Paul in a flight suit for this, I’ll gladly post it.

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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.


  1. G.A.Phillips says:

    If it means looking like tall skinny stupid Ross Perot in the debates and having a giant base of kooks supporting you on the Internet, I guess.

  2. Christopher says:

    The use of the word “quixotic” is correct since Don Quixote, much like Ron Paul, was mentally deranged.

    But what is that comment about “the profile of libertarianism inside the Republican Party”? Republicans are NOT libertarians. A conservative republican, if they wouldn’t worry so much about re-election only, could easily balance the budget and keep this red hot economy going. They just need to stick to their republican values.

    How about running on that, Ron Paul, since you are cowardly enough to call yourself a republican yet run from the party.

  3. John S. says:

    A conservative republican, if they wouldn’t worry so much about re-election only, could easily balance the budget and keep this red hot economy going. They just need to stick to their republican values.

    That’s hysterical.

    Conservative repulicans have shown consistently over the past two decades that all they care about is getting elected.

    And I’m sorry, but the opportunity for republicans to balance the budget sailed seven years ago.

    Red hot economy? You must not be an economist, or a very realistic individual.

    Deficits, fiscal irresponsibility, war and out-of-control spending is what the republicans stand for. That is what Bush made your party, and you all happily went along for the ride.

    It’s nice that you want to distance the republican party from the failed policies of Bush, but unfortunately you own him. At least take pride in what he hath wrought.

  4. Alexander S. says:

    Red hot economy? Here, let me check Bloomberg for this week in November 2008:

    “U.S. Home Prices Fell 4.5% in Third Quarter, Most in at Least Two Decades”
    “Holiday Sales in U.S. Fail to Meet Forecasts as Discounted Items in Demand”
    “U.S. Consumer Confidence Drops More Than Forecast on Housing, Fuel Costs”
    “ECB’s Hurley Says Threat to Economic Growth From Credit Collapse Is Rising”
    “New York Fed Will Arrange $8 Billion of Repos to Hold Down Banks’ Costs”
    “Recession in U.S. Increasingly Likely Next Year, Economists Say in Survey”

    Red hot economy indeed. Looks more like Carter-era stagflation to me. The U.S. economy is fueled by debt and expansion of the fiat money supply, and we can expect an inflationary shock and recession in the coming year. Conversely, the price of gold has risen from $270 in November 2000 to $830 today. Rising gold signals economic decline. Simple as that.

  5. Bob C says:

    The mission will not be accomplished until OUR Constitution is followed. Until lobbyists, empire building, and dishonest bloated government types are deemed the “kooks”. When fiscal sanity, liberty and an honest President occupy the White House then we will say mission accomplished.

    To dismiss Ron Paul is fine, most media seems to do this. To dismiss his message is irresponsible and accepting of the status quo. Do you really think the status quo is acceptable? Check the g-damn polls! There is no faith in Congress and The President. To elect a carbon copy of Bush or a big business backed Democrat does – NOTHING.

    What is the mission? If you think it’s to restore the will of the people then Ron Paul is your man. If you want the same old same old, bow down and kiss the feet that kick you…doesn’t matter if you vote Republican or Democrat, you’ll get the same result… a continuation of the
    concentration of power in the hands of our “rulers”.

    Ron Paul isn’t going away…he’s coming to the White House and that scares the hell out of the
    dishonest majority in Washington D.C. and the people that feed off their corruption.
    Why do you think his support grows the more people hear about him? Give us some credit. most Americans have felt powerless, now we have an honest candidate…we can see it, the corporate owned media doesn’t want us to see it. Sorry too late cat is out of the bag. If you’ve never felt Patriotic I feel for you, you can only ridicule, his supporters, that’s sad. I for one stopped believing what you, the media tell me to believe. We the people will give the media a message on 12/16 and again in the NH primary, maybe it’s time you heard us??
    Ron Pauls’ message is simple – follow the Constitution, fiscal sanity and Liberty for all. What’s so scary about that?

  6. Bill Moore says:

    After reading that article all I could think is that they’re starting to realize that Ron Paul is succeeding. They can no longer ignore it so they’re going to hope he stops getting more support and ends up being content with getting the message of freedom out. Pack up his bags and declare victory on getting out the libertarian message. But please…oh please stop now…because there’s a damned good chance that he’ll actually win the nomination.

  7. Christopher says:

    Ron Paul is a KOOK!

  8. Dan says:

    It’s so funny because the people who attack Ron Paul & his supporters with name calling apparently aren’t intelligent enough to discuss the issues.

    They blindly follow whoever the media elite put in front of them and then call Paul supporters Ronbots or Paulbots.

    They can’t articulate and defend their candidate’s positions because most are too lazy to even find out what the issues are much less find out what a candidate’s position is.

    The best part of all is if they do finally get off their can and take a few minutes to research Ron Paul’s positions on issues they will find themselves supporting Ron Paul.

    Unfortunately most would rather remain ignorant then prove themselves wrong.