He has been a pesky thorn in the side of the Republican Party for years, so it was only right for Rep. Ron Paul of Texas to stand up at an arena in Florida over the weekend and berate his party for not giving him and his supporters more of a prominent role at the Republican National Convention set to begin tomorrow.
Paul got his supporters and delegates all fired up with a fiery speech—making it all that much harder for the GOP to get full cooperation from the Rand folks. According to the Washington Post, Rand used his counter-rally “to lecture a party he thinks is too willing to intervene abroad, too timid when it comes to combating a monetary policy he sees as misguided, and too lax about preserving civil liberties.”
Rand told the New York Times that the GOP denied him a chance to speak at the convention because he refused to give Romney an unconditional endorsement and to let the Romney campaign approve his speech beforehand. This willingness to stand up to powerful political forces is what has endeared the 80-year-old Rand to young people across the country during his presidential runs.
Speaking at the University of South Florida basketball arena, Rand joked that he had been given a speaking slot at the convention—except it was on Monday night, when the convention had been shut down because of Tropical Storm Isaac blowing through town.
“Just kidding,” he said to laughter.
Rand’s 175 convention delegates, amassed during the Republican primaries, were given a standing ovation when they were introduced.
According to a Republican committeewoman from Maine, Ashley Ryan, it would backfire on Republicans if they tried to minimize the role of Ryan supporters this week.
“Our party will go from being a big tent with many ideas to a small group at the mercy of a few insiders,” Ryan said.
Ryan had more to say about the Republican tent.
“Believe me, we will get in the tent because we will become the tent eventually,” he said, adding, “With the energy that we have. It seems to me they would be begging and pleading for us to come into the party.”
The convention goers will see a video tribute to Paul on Wednesday between 7 and 8 p.m., as well as a speech from his son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Tropical Storm Isaac disrupted the GOP schedule, yet planners retained a video tribute to Paul and a speaking role for his son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, moving both to Wednesday night between 7 and 8 p.m.