TAMPA, September 6, 2012 — There was no big announcement during Ron Paul’s appearance on Jay Leno Tuesday night. On the contrary, Paul’s appearance was somewhat anticlimactic given Mitt Romney’s nomination at the Republican National Convention last week. Of course, he still said what he has been saying for over thirty years in public life: America must stop spending money it doesn’t have, must liquidate its debts and rethink the role of government as cradle-to-grave caregiver and policeman of the world.
Ron Paul has said many memorable things during his two most recent campaigns for president. A debate moderator tried to put him on the spot regarding his position on leaving Iraq, asking contemptuously, “What is your plan to get U.S. troops out of Iraq?” Paul replied without hesitation, “We marched right in there without a plan, we can march right out.”
When asked about Newt Gingrich’s suggestion that the U.S. government explore colonizing the moon, Paul replied, “No, I don’t want to go to the moon, although I’d like to send some politicians up there.”
A few days ago, I posed a question at the end of my story on the Maine delegation fiasco. What were they really so afraid of?
It wasn’t what Ron Paul said that had them so scared. It was what he didn’t say.
At the RNC, it was what he wasn’t allowed to say. It is hard not to conclude that the entire war to unseat Paul’s delegates was waged to silence him. There was almost no chance for Paul to win. He came into the convention with eight states. In order to win, he would have had to persuade almost a thousand of Romney’s delegates to change their minds.
But had all of Paul’s delegates been seated, he would have had a chance to try. He would have been entitled to a 15-minute speech for that very purpose. Whether he would have persuaded a single Romney delegate is not important. What is important is that millions of television viewers would have heard that speech, a large percentage of whom have still probably never heard of Ron Paul.
Think for a moment what a problem that would have been for the Romney/RNC cabal. While Romney/Ryan tried to pass themselves off as champions of small government even as they propose to spend more during their first year in office than Obama is spending now, Ron Paul would have talked about his budget that would have cut $1 trillion during his first year in office.
While Paul Ryan was attacking President Obama for cutting Medicare, Ron Paul would present his plan to phase out both Social Security and Medicare while still maintaining benefits for those who paid into the programs.
While Romney beat the war drums against Iran, Ron Paul would talk not only about getting U.S. troops out of the Middle East, but getting out of Germany, Japan, Korea and 100 other countries as well. That may not have played well with the aging neoconservatives, but millions of people watching on television would have heard a completely different Republican platform.
In short, a Ron Paul speech at the RNC would have been about really doing what Republicans claim they stand for but never actually do: reduce the size and influence of the federal government. And it would have appealed not only to Republicans, but Democrats and independents as well, just as Paul’s campaign had during primary season.
This could not be allowed to happen. He could not be allowed to speak.
Instead, Ryan, Romney and others made some exhilarating speeches about free markets, smaller government and restoring America’s founding principles, while every detail of their plans completely contradicts those principles.
A friend texted me during Romney’s speech. “Is it exciting?” she asked?
“As exciting as watching tens of thousands of people who have no grip on reality can be,” I replied.
Now, we head into another general election season with two candidates who really don’t disagree on anything of substance. We’ll hear that Romney didn’t pay enough taxes and that Obama didn’t drop enough bombs.
And whoever wins will propose the first $4 trillion federal budget in U.S. history.
Couldn’t we have at least been allowed to hear something different?
Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.
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