Like John Galt, the fictional hero of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Republican presidential contender Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has quit the mainstream of American political life--only to plot a return as a revolutionary hero for the cause of liberty. Paul has announced that he is suspending his campaign, but will keep trying to win delegates in state contests that will allow him maximum leverage at this summer’s Republican National Convention.
In an email to supporters, Paul wrote:
This campaign fought hard and won electoral success that the talking heads and pundits never thought possible. But, this campaign is also about more than just the 2012 election. It has been part of a quest I began 40 years ago and that so many have joined. It is about the campaign for Liberty, which has taken a tremendous leap forward in this election and will continue to grow stronger in the future until we finally win.
Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that Liberty is the way of the future.
Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted. Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have. I encourage all supporters of Liberty to make sure you get to the polls and make your voices heard, particularly in the local, state, and Congressional elections, where so many defenders of Freedom are fighting and need your support.
As he had done in 2008, Paul used the Republican nominating process–especially the debates–to advocate for libertarian economic ideals and an isolationist foreign policy. The latter posture endeared him to the mainstream media, who continued to use his positions as a foil against other Republicans.
Paul’s organization has been particularly effective and enthusiastic in state delegate contests, so his influence on the Republican party platform–and the vice-presidential nomination stakes–could be significant. Speculation that he might split from the GOP to mount an independent presidential bid were never borne out, and may have been pre-empted by Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson’s attempt to do the same.