TAMPA, June 18 2012 – 218 years ago, George Washington signed the Jay Treaty, reestablishing economic relations with the British. Claiming that John Jay and the Federalist Party had sold America out to the British and betrayed France, Jefferson’s Republicans denounced Jay as a monarchist and a traitor.
His effigy was burned and one newspaper went so far as to print, “John Jay, ah! the arch traitor – seize him, drown him, burn him, flay him alive.”
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky might know how Jay felt. Since endorsing Mitt Romney for president on June 7, Paul has endured a barrage of criticism from his father’s supporters and those who consider themselves part of the larger “liberty movement.”
There have even been a few death threats.
I spoke to Senator Paul last Thursday. He was understandably concerned by the more outlandish reactions, but put them in perspective.
“The people that are over the top and even making death threats on the internet, I hope they are not serious, but they are a small number of people making a disproportionate number of the comments. A lot of those people may not even vote or may not have voted for my father. They don’t represent the majority of the people that support what we’re fighting for.”
Overlooked during the controversy is Paul’s promise to his constituents to endorse the Republican nominee. Paul won a decisive victory in Kentucky with far more than Ron Paul supporters behind him. Without promising to endorse the nominee, Paul may have never even won the Republican nomination, much less become a U.S. Senator.
“I’ve said all along that I would endorse the Republican nominee. I made that promise during my own campaign, because it was a concern for many Republicans that my dad hadn’t endorsed the Republican nominee in the past. People should understand that it doesn’t mean that I’ve changed my philosophy or adopted anyone else’s.”