In two recent posts I have argued whether political endorsements mean anything at all. Senator Mike Lee and Senator Rand Paul, two newly elected senators who rode the wave of Tea Party discontent all the way to Washington, have recently endorsed former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney, for president.
In a day when many have questioned whether Mitt Romney has killed the Tea Party by “substitut[ing] sincere flattery for insincere imitation,” there are many libertarians and Tea Partiers who are left scratching their heads wondering – What were Senators Lee and Paul thinking?
The facts are that we just don’t know what they were thinking. Both Senator Lee’s and Paul’s justification for their endorsements included outright lies, claiming that Romney supports things central to libertarianism and the Tea Party that he, in fact, does not. The truth of the matter is that the lies purported by Senators Lee and Paul are the truly heinous part of the endorsements, not the endorsements themselves (although, I believe, the endorsements are shameful).
Many have claimed that I have been too cynical in my critique and criticism of these two Senator’s endorsements, as many argue that these two “principled men” are simply playing the political game so that they can “advance the cause of liberty better in the body politic in future elections.” Well, in response, I argue that unless we hold every politician’s feet to the fire — no one is above corruption and conventionalism.
With such social justification and seeming social idolatry of these two men, I am left wondering – is this all that “We The People” have left to preserve liberty? Is the perseverance and preservation of liberty merely a matter of personal, principled, and political compromise? For the life of me, I cannot accept this.
In such a day when men compromise politically (and, by lying, compromise themselves and their principles), where are the statesmen? Where are men of integrity who say what they believe and never sway from it?
Imagine what I felt when I came across this article, “Ron Paul Will Not Endorse Mitt Romney.”
Ron Paul makes his own decisions, but based on past experience, he’s not going to endorse Romney for three reasons: Romney’s not principled, Romney doesn’t share Paul’s views on almost any key issue, and Romney has little chance of winning.
Congressman Paul gives me hope for a better tomorrow. Thank you, Congressman, for a living example of what America can be: consistent to its beliefs, true to its word, and honest to the end.
So, maybe endorsements do mean something – but only to someone of principle (Congressman Paul’s endorsement, after all, is not easy to come by). Once the mindset of conventionality sets in, endorsements don’t mean anything at all – it’s just another method of the political game.
Giving your name to something means something. Whether you give your name because you support one thing over (and in comparison to) another, or whether you give your name honestly because you actually believe what you are supporting is ethically consistent with your worldview – that is up to you. I am grateful to Congressman Paul whose example demonstrates the latter.