New political and journalistic leaders are beginning to emerge that have rallied around Ron Paul's presidential aspirations as a potent symbol of their movement. These leaders are considered to be "anti-establishment" by their followers who believe the mainstream politics of the two-party system is a failure and caters only to the special interests of the "elite," and not to the interests of the middle class. These rising leaders include figures such as Josh Tolley, Adam Kokesh, Randi Shannon, and Representative Justin Amash.
Josh Tolley, an independent who refers to himself as a "preservative" meaning that he wants to preserve affiliation to the people and not parties, is a rising leader in the growing, self-described "Liberty Movement." He discusses topics ranging from religion and politics to business and travel on his talk radio show for the Genesis Communications Network. His show airs 9am to 11am Central from Monday to Friday with over 5 million combined listeners in over 100 countries (Tolley). In the process, Tolley educates his audience on his perspective of limited government and provides his own analytical insight of the Constitution in the process.
He often hosts guests on his show, such as Randi Shannon who is running for Iowa State Senate. Tolley also established a YouTube page where he uploads every audio recording of his weekday radio show. This unique and ingenious method has attracted an audience with a more broad range of "liberal" or "conservative" ideals who all identify with his "freedom message," and has simultaneously shared his supporters with the growing movement at a more local level.
Tolley is the Freedom Festival 2012 spokesperson, a festival scheduled during the GOP Tampa Convention, located in Tampa, that is expected to welcome Americans from across the spectrum of political affiliation. Sources recently revealed to me that the Libertarian candidate for president this year, Gary Johnson, will be a guest speaker along with his VP running mate.
Gary Johnson has released a PDF comparison chart of himself and the other two primary presidential candidates, attempting to appeal to libertarian and independent voters. The chart is supposed to convey each candidates' true personal messages of liberty through their voting record. The Freedom Festival site displays a quote from Tolley on the about page referring to specific beliefs the festival is geared towards:
“We're a growing group of RON PAUL SUPPORTERS, TEA PARTY ACTIVISTS, LIBERTARIANS and other politically affiliated Americans who believe the time has come to form a new CONSTITUTIONAL MOVEMENT where citizens rights and freedom's are put first over politics, capital cronyism and the nanny state."
I was recently able to reach Tolley to ask him a couple questions on future plans:
What do you hope to accomplish with the Freedom Festival 2012? "First, I want to continue fight to advance liberty, defend freedom, and hold government leaders responsible in a manner that Ron Paul has championed for so long. Second, I want the liberty movement to expand as we welcome freedom lovers from all political backgrounds, and third, I want to send a message to the political establishment that the days of parties blindly leading my fellow countrymen off the proverbial cliff are over. The people are becoming educated, motivated, and strategic in their involvement towards their nation. Once again becoming an active citizenry."
"Do you have any more future plans to help orchestrate the "Liberty Movement?" "Yes, I have a number of events booked that carry political weight and look forward to expanding those efforts greatly. In addition I'm working on two major projects outside my show in an effort to advance the liberty movement. One is a documentary film (my first) entitled "Foreign and Domestic: Exposing America's True Enemies" and the other is the formation and launch of a television network; LiberTV, which will finally give the majority of Americans who don't want political divide as a resource for news, info, and entertainment."
It appears that even with the recent message from Ron Paul, informing his mostly libertarian and independent supporters that he is ceasing to campaign, but not dropping out, that the Liberty Movement is just as robust as ever.