What will happen to a post-Ron Paul Republican Party?

After 23 years in Congress, Dr. Ron Paul will retire as a state Representative from Texas, sell his condo in Washington D.C., and return to the Lone Star state to live out his remaining days without the spotlight of the political process.  Unfortunately for the GOP, he might be the Republican’s last remaining voice of true small government and individual liberties.

Ron Paul ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988 as a Libertarian, and again in 2008 and 2012 as a Republican.  Arguably, Paul’s realistic hopes of becoming president as a Republican were overshadowed by the need to get his message across to the American people at the national level with television cameras rolling and radio microphones on.

Indeed, the retired OB/GYN was widely known as one of the last remaining members of the Republican party who believed in consistent small government policy across the board.  Routinely, Paul would fight spending, fight government intrusion into the social lives of the American people and question the United States’ involvement (read: meddling) in matters overseas.  Paul believes that U.S. foreign policy perpetuates aggression towards U.S. interests abroad, and argues that our reliance on the Federal Reserve is destroying the value of the American dollar.

Readers of our nation’s founding fathers will quickly recognize their spirit and dedication in Paul’s voice.  A small federal government that relies on state governments to make decisions that favor local citizens is a concept that enveloped Paul’s ideas, writings and speeches.  Sadly, this spirit is now in the minority as government dependence increases among the American people, and deficits rise, wars continue, and peace dwindles.

The Republicans are left with a stark future.  While it is true that no single man shapes an entire political party, the Republican’s lone voice of a significant downsizing of Washinton D.C. is retiring.  The Republicans are left with the burden of creating an image, or at least an illusion, of a party that remains in support of a smaller government – somehow.  With John “Obamacare is the law of the land” Boehner at the helm in the House, the task is nothing less than daunting.  The only constant within the Republican party is its failure to enact significant reform of any kind.  Wars, wasteful stimulus and deficits litter the political resumes of virtually everyone in Congress.

In truth, the Republican party leadership is probably relieved to have “trouble-maker” Ron Paul out of the spotlight.  After all, who needs a member of their own party calling out party leadership?  Who wants to be exposed for what they truly are?  Hiding behind the cloak of a perceived belief in small government is far more comfortable.  Ignoring a cranky old man who supports the removal of power from Washington bureaucrats gets tiring.

But this relief will soon turn to shock as the defunct party is forced to find its way in the political discourse, furiously searching for ways to separate itself from the Democrats.  When the leader of the Republican party goes limp-wristed on one of the most expensive and manipulative regulations of the American people (Obamacare), it is a tough road to travel – with or without Ron Paul.

Without Paul, it just got tougher.  Without Paul, their voice of small government and freedom is gone.  No other member of the GOP seems willing to pick up where Paul will leave off.  No other member seems willing to question government involvement in unnecessary and endless wars, reckless spending, regulation of marriage and the War on Drugs.  The party’s small government side is barren.  Within the party, Paul was sitting in an auditorium alone.  Now, that same auditorium rests dark and silent.

Will the Republican party find a way to give the American people a legitimate choice in the future, or will they continue to follow in line with Democrats and fall on what’s left of their swords as they maintain their commitment to destroy any semblance of small government in Washington D.C.?