On Tuesday, Ron Paul and his Campaign for Liberty held the Rally for the Republic at the Target Center in Minneapolis. They might as well have called this a Protest Rally against the RNC, as the message for most of the night was extremely critical of the Republican Party. This isn’t to say that a single kind word was directed at the Democratic Party either. The Rally was filled with people who were tired of the same old politics and government intrusions and who were seeking freedom, liberty and to just be left alone.
Unlike the other conventions, the speakers at the Rally for the Republic were short on political hacks and long on published authors, scholars and economists with CVs miles long. Issues were the key of the rally, from Austrian economic theory, to the morality of preemptive war, to the constitutionality of the Federal Reserve.
While your standard Republican loves to be compared to Ronald Reagan, the Reagan references were few and far in between at the Rally. Only one Reagan anecdote stood out. Instead Ron Paul was compared to Robert Taft by at least three different speakers. George Washington was also a popular reference.
While harsh words were not spared for both the Democrats and Republicans, not to mention John McCain and Barack Obama, the general theme was less about politics for politics sake, and more about spreading freedom and liberty.
Howard Phillips is the Chairman of the Conservative Caucus. The brunt of his message was focused on the numerous bills that Ron Paul had introduced to Congress that defended freedom and liberty. The crowd reacted strongest to pulling the United States out of the United Nations, ending the Federal Reserve and fighting against the formation of the North American Union.
Doug Wead is a historian and author. His speech was the most GOP friendly speech of the night, as he called out, “Republicans across the river, come back, come home.” He started with lively anecdotes and jokes including a recount of the first time he met President, but then Governor, Reagan. A common line throughout his speech was “I’m here to support Ron Paul, because he stood up for me in the national debates when…”
Wead received big applause from the crowd when he mentioned that Ron Paul was against the War in Iraq from the start. The crowd also reacted strongly when he used the the phrase “give me the refuse from foreign shores” from the Statue of Liberty to remind the crowd that America is the land of liberty and hope. He dedicated a large portion of his time to the role of Big Government in supporting Big Business while harming small business and the common American. Government regulations are running small businesses out of business by making it complicated and nearly impossible to comply with all of the laws and regulations.
Tom Woods is a professor, author and senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. His speech was the most energetic and passionate, and he held no punches attacking both John McCain and the Republicans, “You are not a fiscal conservative if it is okay to stay in Iraq for 100 years” and Barak Obama and the Democrats, “Barak Obama’s foreign policy is more of the same.” The crowd reacted particularly strongly when Woods stated that, “Americans are faced with the choice between the stupid party and the evil party, and sometimes they get together and that is bipartisanship.”
When Woods was not attacking the major political parties, or their candidates, he concentrated on attacking the Federal Reserve. He supported the Austrian School of economics, including their theory of the business cycle and added, “And by the way, free markets do not cause housing bubbles and mortgage crises” in reference to the failings of the Fed, and it’s artificial adjustment of interest rates that leads to unsound investments and eventual busts.
The theme of Grover Norquist’s speech was the unity of the Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for liberty in general. A particular salient line from his speech in reference to liberty-loving Americans, “it is not necessary to agree on everything, it is necessary to agree that everyone should be free.” Norquist contrasted that to the Hillary Clinton coalition, temporarily requisitioned by Barack Obama, which could only get along as long as Americans continue to feed their tax addiction. Once America limits the tax money that they can spend, the infighting is sure to occur as each special interest vies for a limited amount of money.
Grover Norquist also cautioned the crowd that limiting taxes is only half of the fight. There have been no new taxes in the past fifteen years since Bill Clinton and the Democratic Congress raised them in 1993, yet government spending has been outrageous, and must be contained as well.
Lew Rockwell is an author, editor and founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. His speech was mater-of-fact and he let his words and ideas convey his message rather than passion and excitement. His message was incredibly anti-Bush, and he also called for the rejection of the Republican Party and even conservatism itself, which has become corrupted.
Bill Kauffman is an author of eight books. His speech was another attack on Democrats and Republicans, including both McCain and Obama. He spoke against “the utter uselessness of political categories.” The strongest reaction he elicited from the crowd was when he stated that “Ron Paul is from 1776, and they [the GOP] are from 1984.”
Bruce Fein is an author, speaker and a regular guest on various news channels and shows. He concentrated on the need for a new foreign policy direction, which he called the American Renaissance. Key features of the Renaissance will include:
- Bringing all military personal home, and stationing the military in America only
- Trying suspected terrorists in civilian courts with full due process and an end to torture and secret prisons
- Understanding that the United States has no moral or legal obligation to other nations or to spread democracy
- The United States Citizen is the highest office in the land, and that sovereignty lies in “We the People” and not at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Governor Jesse Ventura
Governor Jesse Ventura’s speech was easily the most popular and passionate at the Rally, second only to Ron Paul’s itself. Ventura’s main theme was third parties and how the Democrats and Republicans are ruing America. He faulted both parties equally in creating the national debt. Ventura urged the crowd to recognize that voting is not a “horse race,” don’t vote for who you think you will win, but instead “vote your heart and conscience,” otherwise you get what you voted for. Ventura went on to push Rock the Debate, a group whose goal is to open up the presidential debates to third party and independent candidates.
Governor Ventura eventually started talking about individual issues. He was met with a mixed reaction from the crowed when he mentioned immigration, as he favors a more open border policy comparing the border wall to “East Berlin,” while Ron Paul supports a closed border policy. However,Ventura was able to almost immediately recapture the crowd by expressing his support for the Second Amendment, even though he wasn’t a gun guy. The audience reacted especially strong when he stated that the Second Amendment was not meant to protect hunters, but instead was meant to ensure an armed citizenry that would be willing to fight back against a potential tyrannical government.
The Governor posed two questions regarding 9/11, (1) Why has Ossama bin Laden yet to be charged or indicted in regards to 9/11 and (2) On the FBI’s website, when the Top Ten most wanted criminals are listed including Ossama, why is 9/11 not listed amongst his crimes?
Ventura ended his speech by mentioning his recent book, Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me and stated that if the revolution continues, not just in shouts but in actions, he would be there in 2012, perhaps implying a potential bid for the presidency.
John Tate is the executive director for the Campaign for Liberty, and spoke only briefly to introduce the Campaign for Liberty video.
Governor Gary Johnson
Governor Johnson is the former two-term governor of New Mexico. His speech varied greatly from the rest of the rally. Where most of the other speakers concentrated on issues, political philosophy and calls to action, Johnson concentrated on what he already accomplished as governor. This was fine, except it led to a speech lacking in energy and excitement, and was more or less little more than a listing of his accomplishments, which included being a self made man, being very contentious with his state legislature, vetoing a total of 750 bills, more than all the other 49 governors combined and supporting Ron Paul. Johnson’s speech had the least effect on the crowd, though when he commented on his fight against the War on Drugs the audience did react with enthusiastic applause.
Aimee Allen is a musician who entertained at the Rally. She performed a few covers, and a few originals including “The Ron Paul Revolution Theme Song,” not once, but twice. She ended her encore with a Ron Paul request, “Universal Soldier.”
Barry Goldwater Jr.
Barry Goldwater Jr. is a former Congressman and son of Barry Goldwater, often cited as one of the fathers of the modern American conservative movement, and GOP candidate for president from 1964. Barry Goldwater Jr. spoke only briefly as his task was to introduce Ron Paul, but the crowd was excited nonetheless and cheered practically every line of his introduction. A particular notable part, was when he mentioned how Ron Paul had previous supported his father, Barry Goldwater in his Presidential candidacy in 1964, and how he was happy to have returned the favor and supported the Ron Paul candidacy this year.
Ron Paul was obviously the highlight of the night. The crowd erupted in excitement almost too many times to mention. Ron Paul first recognized the crowd noting that freedom brings people together. Ron Paul shared with the crowd the reason for his Presidential aspirations, he wanted to be President not to do things, but to not do things. He next applauded the Rally and noted that not a single tax payer cent went into the Rally unlike the two Party Conventions, which received 16.8 million tax dollars dollars each.
Ron Paul then dug into the issues, starting first with taxes, “Even a 1% income tax is wrong because it sows the seeds of destruction.” He next admonished the public education system, noting that in history classes students are taught that the greatest presidents were the presidents who ran wars, Paul asked why not celebrate the peace presidents?
Ron Paul next moved onto patriotism, noting that patriotism isn’t agreeing with what the government want, but defending liberty and freedom. Speaking to the idea that socialists and welfarist often claim the high ground on humanitarianism, Ron Paul stated that humanitarianism is about liberty, not socialism or welfare or corporatism.
Moving onto foreign policy, Paul shares that he believes the greatest moral crisis of our time is our acceptance of the validity of preemptive war.
During his speech, the crowd prematurely broke out in chants of “end the Fed” not once, but twice before Ron Paul finally appeased the crowd and spoke out against the Federal Reserve. Paul declared that the modern government plunders from the people through taxation and inflation.
The crowd broke out once more in chant, this time “No ID” in reference to the National ID act that Ron Paul opposed.
Interestingly Ron Paul spent a few minutes on the topic of hemp, using it as an example of the government run amok. He noted that the first marijuana laws were enacted as recently as 1937. He also clarified that even though he does not support the war on drugs, as a physician he understood the dangers of drugs, especially prescription drugs. Turning back to the topic of hemp, Ron Paul stated that during World War II, the federal government actually encouraged its production since it was such a useful material, but then made it’s cultivation illegal thanks to the drug war. However, hemp still has its uses today, including as a source far more efficient for ethanol production that corn. However, thanks to the agricultural lobby, government continues irresponsible energy policies to placate big farmers.
After Ron Paul’s speech, platinum country artist Sara Evans performed for the crowd, there much of it dispersed.