By Tim Kelly
The 2012 Republican Party platform contains a plank concerning a possible return to the gold or other metallic standard. The US dollar has been a fiat currency since President Richard Nixon suspended its convertibility to gold on August 15, 1971.
The plank reads,
Determined to crush the double-digit inflation that was part of the Carter Administration’s economic legacy, President Reagan, shortly after his inauguration, established a commission to consider the feasibility of a metallic basis for U.S. currency. The commission advised against such a move. Now, three decades later, as we face the task of cleaning up the wreckage of the current Administration’s policies, we propose a similar commission to investigate possible ways to set a fixed value for the dollar.
While it is heartening to see the gold standard becoming a mainstream issue once again, the purpose of the “gold plank” is primarily political — to placate Ron Paul supporters — and it should not be construed as anything more.
Why would the Republican Party leadership worry about placating the supporters of a congressman whose presidential campaign was soundly defeated?
Well, despite being outspent 100 to 1 by Mitt Romney and being opposed by the entire GOP establishment, Ron Paul garnered two million primary votes and collected nearly 200 delegates in the primaries and caucuses. His message of small government, non-interventionism, constitutionalism, and sound money resonated with a significant minority of Republican voters.
The Republican Party leadership fears that many of Paul’s supporters are embittered by the shabby treatment their candidate received at the state and local level and on the convention floor, and thus will not support Romney in November.
While it is highly doubtful that Paul’s supporters would vote for Obama, they could simply sit out the election — or worse, organize a nationwide write-in campaign on behalf of Paul. Given that Paul supporters have proven themselves adept at exploiting the Internet for organization and fundraising, a write-in campaign could have the effect of a third-party run.
The inclusion of the “gold plank” in the GOP platform is an attempt by the party’s leadership to keep the “Paulistas” within the Republican fold. Whether this ploy will work is anyone’s guess.
Looking beyond the upcoming election, we should ask ourselves, what are the chances of the gold standard getting a serious consideration?
I’d say they run anywhere from zero to nil.