The Chase 2012

Ron Paul and the Rise of the New Tertium Quids

While Republican presidential candidates have shockingly risen and fallen, from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to businessman Herman Cain, none will be more surprising than Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

With less than a month to go before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, there is a real chance that Paul could win the state.  Paul has shown incredible organization and strength in a state that has been remarkably fluid.  A new PPP poll shows Paul with a lead in Iowa, with Gingrich dropping to third place.

Paul’s success or lack of it has drawn scorn, laughs and ambivalence from his detractors on both the Left and the Right.  Liberals like Paul’s foreign policy, conservatives are comfortable with his domestic policy, and his libertarian supporters believe that he is the only candidate that has had a consistent, non-hypocritical and logical set of ideas and principles.

While Paul is mostly viewed as being on the Right side of the American political spectrum, he has clearly not been in line with the mainstream of the Republican Party.  Paul’s role and even many of his views are in line with a splinter faction within America’s first national and functioning party, the Jeffersonian Republicans—which has no affiliation with the modern GOP.

The splinter faction from Thomas Jefferson’s party was called the Tertium Quids, which means “third thing” in Latin, and were led by the brilliant but highly eccentric John Randolph of Roanoke, Va.  Members of this faction often called themselves the “Old Republicans,” to differentiate themselves from the mainstream Republicans, who they believe had abandoned the principles of the founding.

The Tertium Quids even turned on and opposed Thomas Jefferson during the time he was serving as President.  Their opposition came mostly because of the Embargo and Nonintercourse Acts that were intended to harm France and Great Britain, the great warring powers in Europe.  Besides being ineffective at hurting either France or Britain, and crippling the American economy, the measures were some of the worst infringements on American civil liberties in American history.

On top of fighting against the Embargo and Nonintercourse Acts, John Randolph and the Tertium Quids came out against the War of 1812, fearing that American liberties at home would be seriously impinged on by an expensive, fruitless and reckless war against the greatest super power in the world at that time, Great Britain.

On the issue of the War of 1812, the Tertium Quids even sided with the rival Federalist Party that was more upset with the war on the grounds that it was hurting trade in federalist political strongholds, and because they were deep Anglophiles.  Randolph and the Tertium Quids, however, were more afraid of the expansion of executive power through war and in the growing military.  Randolph was not afraid to go after the very popular war from the beginning, and he was in a very tiny minority in doing so.

The final break for Randolph and the Tertuium Quids was made when President James Madison’s administration reinstituted a national bank, called the Second Bank of the United States.  Randolph and his supporters saw this as a deep betrayal of their principles that opposed central banking.  They saw the action as unconstitutional, and believed that it would decimate the power of the states and lead to deep levels of corruption.  On top of that, a large number of Jeffersonian Republicans started to favor federal internal improvements, or what is now called infrastructure, and protectionist tariffs.  Randolph was appalled by this because he thought it would destroy the sovereignty of the states.

“It was his policy, Mr. Randolph said, to stick to the states in contests arising between them and the general government—to the people in all collisions between them in the government, and between them and the popular branches and the unpopular branches of government,” said the famous senator from South Carolina, John C. Calhoun.

Randolph’s main opposition in this fight over the national bank, protective tariffs and internal improvements was a man who was in his own party, Henry Clay of Kentucky, who was often called the Star of the West.  The bitterness between the two men in politics and on policies was so intense that the eccentric Randolph said that he wanted to be buried facing west, so that he could “keep an eye on Henry Clay.”

The hostility between the closest politician to Henry Clay that we have in national politics right now, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, and Paul is deeply bubbling under the surface in this campaign.  Paul’s commercials have been almost entirely negative attacks against Gingrich.

Gingrich is a deeply different type of politician, a man that has changed his perspective over time, has been comfortable with government schemes to accomplish his policy ideas, and has often compromised some principle to get larger policy ideas passed.  Those traits would be totally alien to both Randolph and Paul, but fit comfortably with politicians like Clay and Gingrich.

Through nearly the last three decades, Paul and his followers have gone after every administration, Democrat and Republican.  Paul continually appeals for a deeply limited government, more power to be vested in the states rather than the federal government, decreasing executive power, free trade, noninterventionist foreign policy, and the elimination of the Federal Reserve.

Like Randolph and the Tertium Quids, the modern-day Paul and his libertarian supporters have taken unpopular stands on policies, leading to them being ostracized by members of their own party.  But in the early days of the republic, events changed, and the public became more amenable to Randolph’s views, as they just may now toward Paul.

Randolph rightly saw how destructive and futile it was to wage the War of 1812.  During the war, America became weaker and closer to disintegrating than at any time since the American Revolution.  Likewise, Paul has been consistently against U.S. interventionism abroad, including the invasion of Iraq.  At one time, noninterventionist policy was in the extreme minority in the Republican Party, but clearly the split over aiding Libya, and some skepticism on the Right over the ongoing war in Afghanistan, is bringing the party more in Paul’s direction, even if members don’t entirely agree with the line of reasoning that brought him there.

Paul’s criticism of the out-of-control spending allowed by, and often engaged in, by Republicans during the George W. Bush era was in many ways a precursor to the Tea Party movement, which is in many ways split between Paul supporters and more staunch conservatives.

On central banking too, there has been a turnaround within the modern GOP.  During the Bush era, any mention of going after the Federal Reserve in any capacity was often met with laughter and scorn.  Now Republican presidential candidates routinely say they will either remove Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, or will audit the agency.  There have even been some calls by prominent conservatives to return to a metal-backed currency, eliminating the Federal Reserve entirely.

Witness the big push within the Republican Party recently for going after crony capitalism, a cause that Paul has been leading the charge on for years.  The relationship between Big Business and Big Government now resonates with the average voter in the Republican Party.  Randolph also took up a similar cause by excoriating the corrupt land deals between Georgia state politicians and wealthy land speculators in the Yazoo land controversy.  Jefferson and his supporters wanted to compensate the Yazoo land companies that lost a great deal of money in the process. This proposed compensation of the land companies was essentially a bailout like the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that bailed out America’s large financial institutions in the economic crash of 2008.

While Randolph and his supporters had significant impact on American politics, they never came close to actually ascending to power.  The Second National Bank was brought down, internal improvements were left mostly to the states, and protectionist tariffs were reduced dramatically, so the ideas of Randolph and the Tertium Quids had impact despite the fact that they never got one of their own elected President.

Unfortunately, the same ideas that animated Randolph sent his acolytes down a dangerous path in future generations, championing policies such nullification, and eventually, seccession, which would plunge the country into civil war.

For Paul and his supporters, this might be the perfect time to move the Republican Party more in their direction, for good or for ill.  The struggle in the party to unite behind a single standard-bearer, and grassroots frustration with the Republican “establishment” encompassed in Tea Party, are clear reasons why some Republican voters may turn to Paul.

In the end, it is highly unlikely that Paul will have any real electoral success on the national level.  His views and manner of speaking on foreign policy often sound more left-wing than President Obama, and he’s a magnet for a variety of destructive supporters, such as 9-11 Truthers, anarchists and anti-Semites. These factors will most likely always keep him squarely at the fringe of the Republican Party.  However, the attraction to the purity of Paul’s ideas, and the devotion of his dedicated supporters, are having more impact on this presidential cycle than any other.

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  • josephle2k

    Not to worry…

    The American People are determined and they will prevail…
    Are you an American Dan?

  • josephle2k

    The choice we now face: further steps toward authoritarianism or a renewed effort in promoting the cause of liberty. There is no third option. This course must incorporate a modern and more sophisticated understanding of the magnificence of the market economy, especially the moral and practical urgency of monetary reform. The abysmal shortcomings of a government power that undermines the creative genius of free minds and private property must be fully understood.

    This conflict between government and liberty, brought to a boiling point by the world’s biggest bankruptcy in history, has generated the angry protests that have spontaneously broken out around the country—and the world. The producers are rebelling and the recipients of largess are angry and restless.

    The crisis demands an intellectual revolution. Fortunately, this revolution is under way, and if one earnestly looks for it, it can be found. Participation in it is open to everyone. Not only have our ideas of liberty developed over centuries, they are currently being eagerly debated, and a modern, advanced understanding of the concept is on the horizon. The Revolution is alive and well.

    The idea is not to provide a blueprint for the future or an all-encompassing defense of a libertarian program. What I offer here are thoughts on a series of controversial topics that tend to confuse people, and these are interpreted in light of my own experience and my thinking. I present not final answers but rather guideposts for thinking seriously about these topics. I certainly do not expect every reader to agree with my beliefs, but I do hope that I can inspire serious, fundamental, and independent-minded thinking and debate on them.

    Above all, the theme is liberty. The goal is liberty. The results of liberty are all the things we love, none of which can be finally provided by government. We must have the opportunity to provide them for ourselves, as individuals, as families, as a society, and as a country…

    In Liberty,
    -Ron Paul

  • CaptainAhab

    Yes, that is a scary thought that our government would defend the Constitution and our Bill of Rights.  NOT!

  • awm48

    I’m sorry, I must have missed what those folks living in mud huts in Africa did to insult the mulims who are now systematically exterminating them, oh yeah and the folks in Indonesia, and lets not forget the christians in Egypt, they surely were forcibly occupying a foreign land. You guys naivete is breathtaking! Great quote from a Holocaust survivor “When someone threatens to kill you and your family–believe them.” You are all laboring under the assumption that the mullahs are motivated by the same things you are, and that they would use conventional weapons and tactics. Why spend all kinds of money on a missile system when all you need is a martyr and a fishing boat.

  • 2WarAbnVet

    No true patriot can support Ron Paul. That critical element of the Constitution that he eschews is the government’s responsibility for national defense. He would decimate the military, and make America one of the weakest nations on earth. He would allow our enemies free rein to run roughshod about the world. While Obama seeks to destroy our children’s future through active measures Paul would accomplish the same outcome through inaction. 

  • JCDavis

    On the contrary, William. By not fighting other people’s wars and interfering with half the countries on earth, Paul would make us stronger. What have we achieved by our latest wars, for instance? In Libya and Iraq we have taken secular regimes and turned them into Islamic states, and in Iraq, we have eliminated the balancing power to Iran and left them to fall under Iranian influence. We’ve shot ourselves in both feet, and at at great expense. The troops realize this. They see no advantage to dying in such mad foreign wars, and they support Paul over all the other candidates, including Obama.

  • JCDavis

    Huntsman has turned into a warmonger recently and advocated a ground invasion of Iran, so maybe that’s why Fox likes him. Maybe we’ll actually find those WMDs this time.

  • pandainc

    Well, well.  I had to go down nearly to the bottom to find ‘un-American Dan’.  What he said is:

    “If Ron Paul wins the nomination that would assure Obama a second term. 
    Ron Paul would look like the fringe lunatic his is and once again it
    would allow Obama to look like a moderate he isn’t.”

    To all of you who applaud the fact that Dr. Paul is leading in Iowa, might I suggest that this ‘lead’ represents a sampling of Republican voters.  A large number of those hawking his views are, or share many of the views of the, libertarian wing of the party.

    Take a look at the electorate in general.  Many bozos  who have blissfully been edjikated in, and inculcated by, our liberal-leaning school system (assuming they even finished its indoctrination) and haven’t a clue about the operations of a republic or a capitalist system of economics — and really don’t GIVE A HOOT.  All the current pres needs to do is lay on some of his slick crap, and Dr. Paul, good intentions or no, is toast.

    So, strident adherents, how’s Hope and Change workin’ fer ya?

  • pandainc

    What the heck.  I’ll give it a shot.  As noble as you think Dr. Paul is (and I can agree with some of his stuff, particularly about fighting all these half-baked wars (since Korea, actually)), there are only two small problems:

    1.  There is no way in the world that he’ll get elected, and,
    2.  If a disaster would happen and he DID get elected, he couldn’t govern.

    It has taken the better part of a century for the Progressives to screw things up, and there is no knight in shining armor that’s going to undo it in a short period of time.

    Rant and rave all you want, but if he’s not nominated (he won’t be) and you don’t support the Republican candidate, you’re just helping B. Hussain.

    Yer cherce.

  • Euskaldun


    The “relative peace” you refer to was the “peace of dhimmitude” for the Christians and Jews. They were extremely restricted on their behavior; they had to pay the jizya and had to submit meekly to the rule of their Islamic overlords. They could not build new churches or synagouges or repair existing ones; they could not wear religious symbols in public, they could not bear arms or wear certain clothing, they had to defer to Muslims at all times, and they had to feel themselves subdued and considered inferior beings. Of course, the same holds true today in many Muslim countries (see Saudi Arabia and Iran, and increasingly Egypt, Iraq, and many other Musllim countries).

    The Muslim world is skilled at using the principles of taqiyya and kitman (lying and purposeful omission of the truth) and they are artful about portraying themselves as victims, blaming the Jews and other Infidels for all of their shortcomings. Unless one is familiar with these and the principle of abrogation one will never understand the true nature of the Islamist war against us Infidels…it is for sure our current President and his advisors don’t…

  • Jeff Jensen

    I’m supporting Paul but I think this is one time where the “standard disclaimer” is accurate and appropriate… We need to consider those issues if we want to win.

  • pandainc

    Has it occurred to you that perhaps he’s pragmatic?

  • pandainc

    A voice of reason, thanx!!

  • Constitutional Believers

    Hello Family, Friends, Patriots & Acquaintance’s.
    Now Is the Time for All Good Men and Women to come to the aid of Our Country!
    If Not Now, When?
    All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing!
    If Not You, Who?
    Make the Difference and Take a Stand with other Good Men and Women, Join Us Here!
    Take Care and GOD BLESS The Whole World!
    Mr. Harris
    aka Constitution Believer, Constitutional Believer, Constitutional Believers.
    Happy Birthday Jesus! Merry Christmas to all and have a Happy & Prosperous New Year!

  • James

    Ron Paul stresses the importance of national DEFENSE. He has stated clearly that he supports the federal government’s role in providing a strong military for defense, as is laid out by the Constitution. He is just not for military interventionism when it doesn’t directly involve us. Do more research. 

  • pandainc

    Worse, the Constitution is a dead movement.

  • Daniel Beaulieu

    You can either vote for a genuinely good person with great ideas that
    history has proven works… or you can vote for a lobbyist who will
    change the country based on the highest bidder.

    Understanding Ron Paul

  • sivles

    He sure beats the hell outa tony lee or whomever he might be.  I don’t believe any of them anytime.  Crypto Tertium Quids?  Nahhh!  They wouldn’t have a job if that was the case.He was probably just “detailed” to write anything about Ron Paul as the previous knuckelhead is unable to do that.  Depart from me and write for CNN….

  • Joseph Burke

    Ron Paul 2012! freedom, peace, and prosperity! Restore America now!!!

  • kmindeye

    If the MSM would let Ron Pauls message be heard he would surley be in the lead. The MSM has not only ignored him that have slandered his name and policies by journalist that call him crazy, an isolationist, fringe candidate. Most articles introduce him as the Libritarian candidate rather than a Republican candidate. When did fighting for Liberty become a bad thing? Some journalist say he will never have a chance to win Iowa, or win nationally with statements like this with no backing. If his foreign policy is so bad, what is the alternative? Has what we have been doing working? Once his message is really debated and he gets his message out all Pauls supporters will have to worry about is the republican Party, because he will beat Obama. Romney needs to drop out or he will just guarantee another 4 more years of Obama.

  • Jacob Cartier

    I understand where you’re coming from, but, accepting those statements as being “issues” simply because they are suggested to you as such, is to fall into a trap.  They contain no intellectual merit and only appeal to the emotions.  In other words they contain no “fact” and require you to agree with their premise without offering any evidence because, quite frankly, there is none.  The evidence does show, however, that these kinds of statements, attempting to predict the future of this movement, have been continually debunked as the events unfold.  We the people are calling all the shots on this so don’t expect the media to understand it until after it happens.

  • Z B

    “We need to consider these issues if we want to win.” This kind of reasoning is very ominous. You are torn between supporting a man whose principles you believe in and the possibility of not having your “team” in power. Very sad

  • Mike Toles

    If Iran is truly a threat, the Congress should declare war. Then, Paul says, the President should wage the war quickly and under budget, win the war and bring the troops home with parades. Paul is the only one saying the Federal Government should follow the rule of law.

  • Mike Toles

    Nonsense. Paul’s budget proposes $1T in cuts the first year and his Defense budget is still larger than what GWB spent in 2006. Paul wants a strong national defense, and would wage war if properly declared by Congress.

  • 23tony

    Small quibble: “Succession” != “Secession”. I would expect a PoliSci graduate & writer to know the difference. Accuracy is important in writing.

    I’ve decided that if Ron Paul doesn’t get the GOP nomination, I’m voting for Obama. If we’re going to trash the country, we might as well get it over with quickly.

  • Spencer Amaral

    We need Paul to get elected. Jesus never said “when faced with two evils, accept the lesser of the two.” So if neither the establishment neo-cons or Obama represent us, but rather represent the destruction of the country and its principles, how could we ever dupe ourselves into supporting one of them?  Ron is the only guy talking about LIBERTY and the CONSTITUTION.  He cares about my freedom as well as yours, equally and without exception.  But on the “pragmatic scale,” common sense shows him as standing the best chance against Obama if he’s nominated.  Republican voters, being incapable of voting third party, will vote the ticket.  Paul will pick up a lot of discontented democrats, and even more independents who recognize something new and fresh for once and are thrilled to find something different from the status quo of the last few decades.  

    To those pragmatic republicans out there: You need Ron Paul to win. Because remember what happened after the Bush years? We’d just finished up with 8 years of a republican administration… things should have been great, right? Instead, America saw through the hypocrisy and total lack of principle that the GOP had come to embody, and the GOP crashed and burned immediately thereafter.  

    If we elect another republican who doesn’t actually embody principle, will continue to spend wastefully, trample on civl liberties, expand the role of government, and drag us down this road of debt, bailouts, and corporatism, WE ALL LOSE. That is not a victory! It’s actually a two-fold defeat, because not only does America lose, but those principles which the common man would think the republican party symbolizes ALSO LOSE, and aren’t given a chance in the future, when it’s our core values of liberty and constitutional government that are our only hope of restoring America before we go over the cliff.