Constitutional Candidates: The Ron Paul Presidential Campaign Last Year Has Inspired Dozens of New Congressional Candidates, Some of Whom Are Well Funded and Are Being Taken Seriously by Political Analysts
Eddlem, Thomas R., The New American
As recently as two years ago, Congressman Ron Paul introduced a bill to audit the Federal Reserve Bank that headed to oblivion. Year after year--beginning in 1983--the bill never even won a committee hearing. Dr. Paul was ignored in Washington, and was a lonely voice for freedom back in his Texas congressional district.
Times have changed. Ron Paul is on a political roll. The bill Dr. Paul introduced in the current Congress to audit the Federal Reserve Bank (H.R. 1207) has more than 300 cosponsors--including every House Republican and more than 100 Democrats--and the backing of House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank. Frank has promised a committee vote, and it has a better-than-average chance of House passage this year. Dr. Paul's new book End the Fed sailed into the top twenty of Amazon.com's sales figures more than a month before it was available. It debuted on both Amazon.com and New York Times bestseller lists, and sales remain strong even today. His old presidential campaign has rolled over into a "Campaign for Liberty" that has raised more than $4 million since its founding in February of this year.
More importantly, his presidential campaign evidently inspired dozens of candidates for congressional office across the nation who seek to reform Congress from a constitutionalist perspective. And several of them are both well funded and being taken seriously by the political establishment.
Prime among these constitutionalist "Ron Paul" candidates is the Congressman's third child, Dr. Rand Paul. While the elder Dr. Paul was an obstetrician by trade before being elected to Congress, Dr. Rand Paul is an eye surgeon (ophthalmologist). The 46-year-old Dr. Rand Paul announced his candidacy for the open U.S. Senate seat in Kentucky in August. Days before Dr. Paul's announcement, incumbent Republican Jim Bunning had bowed out of a reelection contest after Kentucky's establishment Republican Senator Mitch McConnell (who is also the Senate Minority Leader) had made fundraising in Washington difficult for Bunning. "Over the past year," Bunning said, "some of the leaders of the Republican Party in the Senate have done everything in their power to dry up my fundraising. The simple fact is that I have not raised the funds necessary to run an effective campaign for the U.S. Senate." Time magazine on July 29 explained that the "some leaders" Bunning was talking about was his fellow Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell: "He quietly signaled to Republican moneymen that they ought to wait Bunning out. Party leaders in Washington met with a potential primary opponent.... McConnell's strategy ultimately worked."
Dr. Rand Paul is the founder of the conservative Kentucky Taxpayers United and has also campaigned for his father, so he isn't a stranger to politics. But he hasn't seen McConnell open the monetary floodgates from Washington on his behalf either. Politico.com has noted that "the GOP establishment has lined up behind Secretary of State Trey Grayson." Perhaps Grayson is favored by the Washington Republican establishment because Grayson's campaign website is bereft of mention of bringing the federal government back within the bounds of the U.S. Constitution. By way of contrast, Rand Paul has made the Constitution a centerpiece of his campaign. "The Federal Government must return to its constitutionally enumerated powers and restore our inalienable rights," the younger Dr. Paul says on his campaign website, in an echo of his father's principles. "America can prosper, preserve personal liberty, and repel national security threats without intruding into the personal lives of its citizens."
The fact that the establishment isn't behind him hasn't hurt Rand Paul in the crucial fundraising part of the race; he raised more than $1.1 million by the end of the third quarter of this year. Grayson's Washington fundraising, which included a $500 per plate fundraiser hosted by McConnell on September 23, has been matched by Dr. …