At a day long celebration of out going Rep. Ron Paul libertarian economists, activists and musicians came together to pay tribute to the revolutionary leader and discuss the future of the libertarian movement and the role they foresee it playing in the Republican Party.
"We live in the age of Ron Paul," economist Lew Rockwell told the audience of approximately 8,000 people
The tribute to the Congressman known as 'Dr. No' for his refusal to cave into peer pressure and vote against his conscious was held in conjunction with the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa, Fla. Official delegates for Ron Paul and Paul supporters came from across the country to rally in support of the two-time presidential candidate at the Sun Dome on the campus of the University of South Florida in a six-hour assembly that culminated in an hour and and 15 minute long swan song from the libertarian leader himself, in which he aired his grievances with the Republican Party and went on one of his epic rants about the rise and fall of the United States and issues he sees as the biggest threats facing this generation of Americans.
Paul attacked the Republican establishment for trying to stop Paul supporters from being elected as delegates to the national convention, even though Paul supporters had abided by the rules.
"But that didn't stop them. They've learned how to bend rules, break rules and NOW THEY WANT TO REWRITE THE RULES," he said, getting angrier and louder as he spoke.
"What they found out is they overstepped the bound. And there's a big fight going on, and we're involved in it, and [sic] everybody is joining us and saying you've gone too far, and the RON PAUL PEOPLE WERE RIGHT about overstepping the bounds!"
Iowa GOP Chair and Paul supporter AJ Spiker said at the rally that the Iowa delegation had offered guest passes to the convention to all the Ron Paul delegates from Maine who the RNC refused to seat at the convention during the kick-off of the rules portion of the convention the week prior to national convention.
Paul joked during his speech that the RNC changed it's mind and gave him an hour to speak at the convention - on Monday night, which had already been canceled in the hype surrounding Hurricane Issac's affect on Tampa (a storm that turned out to be nothing more than a light drizzle off and on throughout the day Sunday and Monday.)
The comment was a joke, but it revealed a bitterness Paul still clearly holds toward the Republican Party establishment. His anger toward the national party cropped up repeatedly thoughout his speech, with remarks directly and indirectly aimed at the RNC and its allies.
At one point Paul said he has often said that it's not the size of the liberty movement that matters, but how vocal and passionate its supporters are. But after this election year he has come to recognize that "ultimately numbers do count, and even numbers do count WHEN THEY DON'T COUNT ALL OF THE VOTES AS WELL! BECAUSE WE DO HAVE THE NUMBERS" he shouted, referencing disputes over the number of votes he actually received in various state caucuses, including Iowa, during the 2012 Republican Primary.
"The support out there is much, much greater, and they don't feel comfortable coming to a Republican primary, so the support there, I would say, is two or three times greater than the number of votes we got in the Republican primary," he said, assuring his following that this was just the beginning of the Revolution, not the end.
"It takes you, it takes a lot of other people, there'e been a lot other things going on for decades, and it's coming about," he said. "What is coming out right now is proof positive that their philosophy of government, whether it's foreign policy, monetary policy or economic policy has failed, and they need something different!" he said, declining to say who the 'they' was, as the crowd roared in approval and began chanting, "PRESIDENT PAUL!"
Paul reminisced about the time he had spent campaigning for liberty over the last five years, noting that he visited 33 college campuses throughout that time and spoke to more than 150,000 young people of all political ideologies.
"Don't you think they would be begging and pleading that we come into the 'Big Tent?' he asked. "Well, we'll get into the tent, believe, me, because we will become the tent!" he said yelled.
"Once they know we are the future, they will know about this," he added.
Paul said he has "always maintained there will not be a true revolution unless the college campuses are alive and well with those ideas." Young people don't just energize their college campuses and other young people, they energize entire campaigns, he said.