GOP attempts to hijack a rEVOLution as torch passes from Paul to Johnson
By Adrian Wyllie – 1787 Network
TAMPA – The new logo was everywhere at the Ron Paul Rally at the University of South Florida Sun Dome on Sunday. Gone were the iconic REVOLUTION symbols to which liberty lovers have become accustomed. In its place was a new logo. It was on every T-shirt. It was on every banner. It was on the jumbotron behind the speakers. It was even printed on the media credentials.
The logo hijacking wasn’t the slick work of Madison Avenue subtlety. It was being rubbed in the noses of Ron Paul supporters, who – for the most part – seemed to devour it like sheep at a feed troth. The Ron Paul RepubliCAN shirts, hats and buttons were flying off the rack.
I wondered to myself, are these the Ron Paul supporters that I’ve come to know? How could they possibly buy into this heavy-handed takeover of an organic liberty movement? It seemed impossible. There was little doubt that the GOP establishment was behind it.
As I scanned the VIP seating area, I noticed several faces that were very unlikely supporters. In fact, many were high-ranking party loyalists who have consistently attempted to derail the Ron Paul rEVOLution at every opportunity. These were the same people who have worked to silence and marginalize Dr. Paul. Yet they cheered as if they were hanging banners from overpasses in 2008.
The Grand Old Party was clearly telling Paul supporters, “We’ve tolerated your insolence for long enough. You children have had your fun. Now we order you to fall back in line.”
Gone was the organic, grass-roots message. In its place was the GOP party machine. Either Ron Paul didn’t notice, or he was powerless to prevent it.
There was even a subtle, but noticeable, difference in Dr. Paul’s speech on Sunday. While the message hadn’t changed, it was as if he was holding something back. It seemed that many of the roughly 6,000 Paul supporters also noticed the change in tone. And whatever it was, it contributed to the slightly uneasy vibe of the event, which at times seemed more like a memorial service than a rally.
On the other side of town, there was another Ron Paul event happening. Despite the best efforts of Ron Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton to sabotage it — as confirmed by Peter Schiff and others — the PAUL Festival at the Florida State Fairgrounds went on as scheduled.
Without question, the highlight of the three-day event was Libertarian Presidential candidate Governor Gary Johnson’s speech. The roughly 2,000 Ron Paul supporters and delegates offered moderate applause as Johnson took the stage.
As he talked about his record as New Mexico’s governor, the crowd began to perk up, and the applause and cheers built.
Feeding off the crowd, Johnson built to a crescendo as he passionately promised to end the wars, repeal NDAA and the PATRIOT Act, eliminate the IRS, balance the federal budget, end prohibition, restore sound money, and abolish the Federal Reserve.
The crowd went wild.
The previously cautious Johnson supporters seemed to abandon all skepticism and boisterously voiced their support. By the time he was finished, the applause was deafening as the crowd chanted, “GARY! GARY! GARY!”
After the speech, Johnson spent the next hour surrounded by dozens, at times hundreds, of supporters. Mainstream and independent journalists jockeyed for a chance to interview him as if he were the hottest ticket in town. Johnson seemed unaccustomed to this kind of “rock star” treatment, but he handled it with humility and grace.
Something had changed. Liberty lovers seemed to have a renewed faith that the movement would not end with RNC 2012, despite the GOP’s best efforts.
This wasn’t the birth of a new revolution. It was the evolution of the revolution. It was the realization that the revolution could not be suppressed. The man who has been the torch bearer for liberty has been cast aside by the establishment, but the flame of liberty still burns bright.
As Gov. Johnson said with undeniable sincerity in his speech on Saturday, “I have two words for Dr. Paul: Thank you.” We will forever be in your debt.
But now, the torch has been passed. And it will not be extinguished on Johnson’s watch.