What Should Republicans Think about Ron Paul's 2008 Defection?
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for president in 2008. But after John McCain became the nominee, he held a news conference to endorse
Rev. Chuck Baldwin, the presidential candidate of the theocratic Constitution Party
. (Baldwin is a Pensacola megachurch pastor and the party's 2004 vice presidential candidate.)
While Paul's far right views are well known, his abandonment of the GOP when it mattered, much less so. (And while I may have missed something, Paul's 2008 defection has not come up this election season.) But it does suggest a certain fragility on the right edges of the GOP that might matter this year. Chuck Baldwin is not well known outside of the Religious Right. But the leading candidate for the CP nomination this year is former Democrat, former Republican Rep. Virgil Goode of Virginia. Goode is a member of the CP executive committee and has said he will announce his intentions early in 2012.
The Constitution Party is America's third largest party in terms of membership, and was on the ballot in 37 states last time. And although it may never be a vehicle for Ron Paul, the party has historically been a nationally organized place to go, if and when the moment arrives and the farther right elements of the GOP have had enough. As Chip Berlet, a scholar of the political and religious right explained
, this is no small thing:
Let's be clear, the U.S. Constitution Party would impose a form of theocratic neofascism in the United States. And I am not a person who tosses the term fascism around lightly.
Here is the Constitution Party's press release about the Ron Paul endorsement:
Constitution Party's Chuck Baldwin Set To Dent `Big Box' Candidates
Grand Rapids, MI (September 22, 2008) Former GOP presidential candidate, Texas Congressman Ron Paul announced today he is endorsing Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin. (www.campaignforliberty.com)
In a letter to supporters, Paul wrote, "I'm supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate."
Paul went on to say, "There is no real choice between the two major parties and their nominees, only the rhetoric varies. The amazingly long campaign is designed to make sure the real issues are ignored."
Baldwin, a conservative commentator, columnist and pastor of a church in Pensacola, FL, campaigned for Ron Paul during the congressman's run for president. After receiving Paul's endorsement, Baldwin said, "I am humbled and deeply grateful to Dr. Paul for his support. There could not be higher praise. I am committed to carrying on the Ron Paul Revolution for a return to constitutionally limited government.
The www.constitutionparty.com, is poised to offer voters a viable alternative to the two parties now controlling our government.
Baldwin noted, "Ron Paul's message resonated with people across the political spectrum. Likewise, our campaign embraces Americans of diverse political ideologies, spiritual paths and socio-economic groups - all who recognize the urgency of a return to the Constitution and the principles of personal liberty that document defines."
Baldwin, appearing recently on CNN's Lou Dobb's Tonight program was told by Dobbs: (Baldwin's view on immigration reform issues) was "a good reason to vote for you, I like that reason." (Click here for a transcript, and HERE for a YouTube clip of the show.)
Baldwin appeared at a recent Washington DC press conference with Congressman Ron Paul. Paul spoke about the need to bypass the two major party candidates this November and instead vote for a candidate such as Chuck Baldwin. See YouTube clip HERE.)
Like Paul, Baldwin has taken a stand against unconstitutional foreign intervention, such as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both Baldwin and Paul have called for abolishing the IRS and the Federal Reserve, have spoken out against the recent financial "bailouts" and against unauthorized trade "agreements" such as NAFTA and GATT.
Chuck Baldwin supports Congressman Ron Paul's `Sanctity of Life legislation',(H.R. 2597) opposing abortion, has received an `A' rating from Gun Owners of America and an "excellent" grade from pro-secure borders group Numbers USA.