I’m sure by now regular readers are well aware that Texas Congressman Ron Paul is serving out his 12th -- and final -- term in the House of Representatives and will soon retire from public life. Somewhat unexpectedly, however, during his humble and moving final speech on the House floor a few days ago, I was surprised to hear him speak, among other things, about his “failure” to rein in the size and scope of government during his long and distinguished political career. To some extent this is undoubtedly true -- after all, the United States is headed straight for a debt crisis that lawmakers in Washington seem utterly incapable of averting, let alone reversing. On the other hand, the Texas Congressman has much to be proud of.
In fact, in a recent op-ed published in the Washington Times, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul vigorously defended his father’s legacy, reminding every American the invaluable and innumerable contributions he has made to the public at large by inspiring young people, uniting disparate groups, and carrying the torch of liberty to every corner of the nation:
Some argue that Ron Paul was never relevant, that he was simply a gadfly who never accomplished anything legislatively. Others, myself included, argue that maybe, just maybe, the Ron Paul Revolution is the last best hope for saving the GOP from oblivion.
As I walk through airports, ride in taxis and meet people in large cities — people of color, working-class people, people with tattoos, people in overalls, people with piercings and even, at times, people in suits — I am amazed at the diversity of folks who come up and say how much they admire Ron Paul
At rallies around the country, from the liberal bastion of Berkeley, Calif., where 8,000 students came to an event, to Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, kids from all over the political spectrum came to listen to Ron Paul.
The naysayers will point out: “He didn’t even win a primary.” This is true, but when polled directly against President Obama, Ron Paul ran neck-and-neck with an interesting demographic. In the heat of the campaign, a Feb. 28 Rasmussen poll showed him leading Mr. Obama, winning the independent vote, taking a significant part of the Democratic vote and losing a significant part of the Republican vote. He truly attracted voters across the political divide from both parties and from independents.
Not only did he attract voters from all stars and stripes, but in many ways he also typified what it meant to be a public servant:
In 1984, my father wrote a farewell address when he left Congress for the first time. He went back to delivering babies for 12 years. He didn’t think he would ever return to government. At that time, he wrote:
“Thousands of men and women have come and gone here in our country’s history, and except for the few, most go unnoticed and remain nameless in the pages of history, as I am sure I will be. The few who are remembered are those who were able to grab the reins of power and, for the most part, use that power to the detriment of the nation. We must remember that achieving power is never the goal sought by a truly free society. Dissipation of power is the objective of those who love liberty.”
For inspiring a new generation to love the ideas of liberty, we all owe a debt of gratitude to my father, the champion of liberty, Ron Paul.
As Senator Paul correctly points out, his father will not soon be forgotten. His strict adherence to the principles enumerated in the Constitution as well as his unwavering belief in the entrepreneurial spirit of individuals -- not government -- will long live on through the men and women he inspired. One can certainly say many things about Representative Ron Paul, of course, but one can never say that he pandered for votes or was guilty of self-aggrandizement. In truth, he was (and still is) a man of deep conviction -- and our democratic republic has benefitted greatly from his insights into the abject failures of statism and the dangers of Keynesian economics. In short, we at Townhall wish Dr. Paul a happy and safe retirement. It is well deserved.