J. Bradley JansenJ. Bradley Jansen

Director of the Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights

For Liberty Examines the Kingmakers

For Liberty, a documentary of the Ron Paul grassroots movement, deserves attention.  Ron Paul enthusiasts will recognize familiar names and faces and relive unforgettable moments, and students of elections, campaign managers and political activists of all persuasions should see it.  Everyone concerned with the direction of the country and the breakdown of political discourse would find something moving. The seeds of this grassroots movement are still growing.

One Amazon customer review lauds, “this movie simply and eloquently captured the passions of an unlikely coalition of people from all across the political spectrum who quickly came together in response to a uniquely American message, and who unexpectedly, enthusiastically and sometimes haphazardly ended up immersing themselves entirely in a political campaign.”  Why then did the campaign do so poorly?  “The grassroots felt [the official campaign staff] were at best incompetent” protested Adam de Angeli of the Campaign for Liberty, the remnant of the official presidential campaign on which he worked.  He then doth protested too much defending the failures of the official campaign in a documentary about the grassroots.  Incoherently, de Angeli criticizes the documentary for avoiding examining mistakes while still harboring delusions that the official Ron Paul presidential campaign brought “hundreds” of Republican National Convention delegates in its fight for the nomination (Green Papers shows Ron Paul winning only 20 of 2,380 delegates with 15 final votes).

This movie puts faces on the people demanding a radical change towards a more moderate government.  Ross Perot mined this good government vein in his two presidential bids with a call to put our own house in order before promising new grandiosities and foreign interventionism.  About two-thirds of Americans are angry at government solutions and do not think either party has the answers according to a recent Rasmussen poll.  Recently Joe Scarborough revisited a 2003 economic prediction from his guest Ron Paul that warned that if we were to continue to inflate this bubble we would have our housing crisis with damage world-wide; Arianna Huffington went out of her way to agree with Dr. Paul.

People now protesting against the bailouts, out of control government spending and out of touch politicians in both parties show the movement has grown beyond the Ron Paul “r3volution.”  A few hundred thousand people, by my best estimates, recently converged on the Capitol for the Tea Party protests.  David Brooks explains these Jeffersonian roots.  In my unscientific poll of the 9/12 Tea Party protesters, few recognized Ron Paul’s name and nearly all of those who did were dismissive or expressed a highly negative reaction.

Two years ago, my friend Nicholas Sanchez prophetically remarked, “This political train-wreck Republicans face can largely be traced to Bush’s philosophical metamorphosis from a traditional, non-interventionist conservative to the neoconservatives’ exemplar of a ‘War President’, and his positioning of the Republicans as the ‘War Party’.”  In fact, polls and other indicators increasingly show both a resurgence of conservatism as well as disillusionment with the Republican Party.  After Dr. Paul warned the party has lost its way, the Republicans suffered a crushing defeat.  Support for foreign wars has since plummeted to an all-time low says CNN.

For Liberty: How the Ron Paul Revolution Watered the Withered Tree of Liberty introduces us to the people who decide elections and the future of the country–not just the activists but the swing voters.  A 2006 study by David Boaz and David Kirby found that about a fifth of voters hold generally libertarian views.  Grover Norquist labels it the “leave us alone” coalition.  The pieces of a political realignment waiting to happen are wonderfully edited on screen.  As Ron Paul demurred, “it was the message not the man”: liberty is popular and the constitution brings us together.

With a third of the country behind one of the two major parties, For Liberty examines the people standing in the middle who decide elections.  Those who want to win over increasingly discriminating voters in 2010 and 2012 should study this movie.  As one woman in the film explains, the more they talk with their neighbors the more they find they agree.  The Rovian approach of divide and conquer loses in the endFor Liberty beautifully shows us what Markos Mousitlas called the only true people-powered campaign in 2008.


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[Editor’s note:  This review was also carried in the Huffington Post and was reprinted here in its entirety with the author’s permission.  J. Bradley has been a friend of mine via the forums for several years and is very expertised in financial and privacy issues as well as parliamentary procedure and capitol hill rules and operational methods.  Special thanks for the insight and the review!/sc]