Ron Paul rallied 8,000 or so of his supporters from around the country to Tampa’s Sundome the day before the planned official start of the Republican National Convention. After a week in which the Republican Party seemed less eager to welcome Paul supporters and delegates than Paul supporters were eager to help shape the GOP, the event seemed designed in equal parts to both remind the Paul troops that they have been and are winning important victories within the establishment, and to steel them for a continued fight for respect and influence that was never going to be easy.
Paul advisor Doug Wead kept up a steady stream of references to the Paul delegations’ grievances against the RNC insiders even as the event, whose theme was “We are the Future” debuted a detournement of the grassroots “Ron Paul rEVOLution” stencil logo reading: “Ron Paul RepubliCAN.”
This was the divide the event danced around: Are they a full service independent revolution or a faction of the Republican Party? The only solid answer that arose from the rally was: both.