Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) waves to the crowd after a campaign stop at Bethel… (Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated…)
Two Republican presidential candidates -- Mitt Romney, the actual nominee, and Ron Paul, the three-time wannabe -- delivered their versions of "the truth" Wednesday.
Both were frank. One was delusional. One was rational. I'll let you decide which was which.
Romney -- speaking like a guy who thought he would win, who knew he should win, and who just blew a large fortune trying to win -- became the poster child for the term "sore loser":
"The Obama campaign was following the old playbook of giving a lot of stuff to groups that they hoped they could get to vote for them and be motivated to go out to the polls, specifically the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people," Romney told hundreds of donors during a telephone town hall Wednesday. "In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups."
And what did Santa Claus, er, President Obama, dole out to win over those voters? Why, such goodies as healthcare reform, including health coverage for students up to age 26 on their parents' insurance plans and free contraception coverage. Oh, and partial forgiveness of college loan interest. And support for the Dream Act, or what Romney called "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants.
In other words, as my colleague James Rainey points out, that apology issued by Romney during the campaign, when he said he had been "just completely wrong" about "the 47%" -- that was Mitt the political animal talking. The real Mitt showed up again Wednesday. The Bain Capital Mitt. The guy who didn't mind firing people.
Get the feeling we dodged a bullet?
Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away, Paul gave his farewell address to the House on Wednesday. And the libertarian firebrand didn't disappoint, summing up his time in office, and the condition of the country, this way:
"No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways -- thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues," Paul said. "Wars are constant and pursued without congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.”
Yep, that pretty much covers it.
Notice, however, that Paul -- unlike Romney -- wasn't pointing fingers at any one group. Nope. In Ron Paul's America, we may be going to hell in a handbasket, but at least we're all circling the drain together.
But Paul being Paul, he's not without answers. That is, if you like your answers Confucius-style:
"Everyone claims support for freedom. But too often it's for one's own freedom and not for others. Too many believe that there must be limits to freedom," Paul said. "They argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality, thus making it acceptable to curtail, through force, certain liberties.
“The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people worldwide, is to pursue the cause of liberty," he concluded.
Got it. Right. Pursue liberty. How hard can that be? Heck, there's probably an app for that. Lemme check the Apple Store and get right back to you.
Anyway, when two such political giants -- is is OK to call them that? -- wrap things up, I think it's only fitting that we send them off with some words of wisdom. Except, right now, after such a long campaign, I’m running out of words, and certainly of wisdom.
Thank God, then, for the Bard, William Shakespeare, who has a quote for everyone.
I think this best fits Paul:
"This above all: to thine own self be true."
And this one's for you, Mitt:
"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts."
Karl Rove can't handle the truth