Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ron Paul the 'Fashionable' Candidate for 2012

By Jayden Grupe
April 27th 2011

COMMENTARY | Congressman Ron Paul, a long-time favorite of the Tea Party movement, announced Tuesday from Des Moines that he is forming an exploratory committee for the 2012 presidential election. He throws his hat into the ring with several other Republicans, including Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Donald Trump (who keeps making big news).

While Paul is likely to get support from the insurgent Tea Party members, much of the rest of the public remains skeptical of his brand of politics. Even though there are skeptics, pundits are saying that this year may be the right one for Dr. Paul. Below are just a few reasons why Paul may wake up as "Mr. President" in 2013.

1) Paul was against the Iraq war before it even started, and has remained opposed throughout.

While many may not believe this to be critical in 2012, the rage over the Iraq war was one of the main factors in toppling the Republicans in 2008. Sure, the economy was poor and Republicans didn't have a necessarily strong candidate, but the Iraq war set the stage for "change" in Washington.

Paul was an avid opponent of the war from the beginning. While other Republican candidates can claim to have opposed the war, Paul is on the record.

2) Ron Paul made the Tea Party cool before the Tea Party was actually "cool."

In the early 1970s, a young congressman from Texas railed against the Federal Reserve Bank and federal spending in general. Today, that message hasn't changed, but Paul has more followers than ever before. The Tea Party's influence cannot be underrated, especially with the recent victories of Marco Rubio in Florida and many others throughout the United States in 2010. The Tea Party will be back in 2012 with a vengeance, and it is likely that they will throw their weight behind Paul in the Republican primaries and the general elections.

3) The timing couldn't be much better.

Americans are generally tired of federal spending, and Paul is the only current candidate on record to have argued against federal spending since the early 1970s. The federal government has failed miserably to reduce record budget deficits, and Paul's solution to shrinking the government's liabilities may finally be coming into the mainstream. Americans are feeling pain in their own pocketbooks, and they want to see Uncle Sam cut back a little too.

While Paul may be in a good spot to run for the presidency in 2012, there are still many obstacles to come, including a relatively interesting primary season which is likely to pit Trump, Pawlenty, and Paul against one another. Paul has shown he isn't scared of anything or anybody in his previous elections; will this year be his?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ron Paul Launches Exploratory Committee, Names Iowa Leadership Team

Ron Paul 2012
April 26th 2011

Des Moines, Iowa – Congressman Paul today announced that he is forming an official Exploratory Committee to assess his options for the 2012 Presidential campaign.

Standing in Des Moines, Dr. Paul also introduced his Iowa leadership team. All three of Dr. Paul’s Chairmen are elected members of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee, the 17-member Board of Directors of the Iowa GOP, and have served as leaders of Campaign for Liberty in Iowa.

The leadership team consists of:

Dr. Drew Ivers, Chairman – Drew Ivers, PhD, of Webster City has been an Iowa Republican activist for 35 years and was the Iowa Campaign Chairman for Congressman Paul in 2008.  He was a District Chairman for Ronald Reagan’s campaign and was the Iowa Chairman for the presidential campaigns of Pat Robertson in 1988 and Pat Buchanan in 1996 and 2000.  Dr. Ivers has chaired his county party and is a five-time delegate to the Republican National Convention.  He is a United States Army combat-wounded purple heart-awarded Vietnam veteran.  Dr. Ivers earned his Master’s and Ph. D from Iowa State University and is the holder of 7 patents as a plant geneticist.  He also has a Master’s in Theological Studies and is an Elder in the Evangelical Free Church.  Dr. Ivers was instrumental in the forming of the initial Christian Coalition in Iowa, which is known today as the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition.

David Fischer, Vice-Chairman – David Fischer of rural Polk County is the founder and President of Precision Research, Inc. He has served on his district Executive and Rules Committees, and is the longest-serving member of the Executive Committee for the Polk County GOP.  Mr. Fischer has been a delegate to numerous Republican conventions – County, District, State, and National.  He is a homeschool leader and has been an elected member of his Township Board since 2002.  Mr. Fischer was a top graduate from Iowa State University’s College of Engineering, and is an experienced expert witness in the energy industry.

A. J. Spiker, Vice-Chairman – A. J. Spiker of Ames is a former Chairman, Co-Chairman, and Treasurer of the Story County Republican party.  He has been a delegate to several county, district, and state GOP conventions and served on his district Executive, Rules, and Organization committees.  Mr. Spiker is a Realtor and is a past President of the Ames Multiple Listing Service, Inc.  He serves on the Ames Economic Development Commission Board of Directors and is an active member of St. Cecilia Catholic church and the Knights of Columbus.

“Iowa has a special place in American politics, and Dr. Paul is very pleased to announce the launch of his Exploratory Committee in the capitol of the Hawkeye State,” said Dr. Paul’s political director Jesse Benton. “We are also extremely proud to enjoy the support and leadership of Drew Ivers, David Fischer and A.J. Spiker. All three men are pillars of their communities and leaders of the Republican Party and will be tremendous assets as Dr. Paul makes his final decision about the 2012 Presidential campaign.”

Waking Up to Economic Realities
By Ron Paul
April 26th 2011

Last week the financial markets were roiled by Standard & Poor’s announcement that they will change their outlook on the fiscal health of the United States over the next two years from “stable” to “negative”. The administration decried this decision as political. However, it seems the only political thing about this decision is the fact that it took so long. The Washington Post recently reported that the White House and the Treasury Department put tremendous pressure on S&P not to do this. However, if S&P made its ratings based on political pressures rather than economic reality, it would cease to have any relevance to the business community. Even if S&P delayed its announcement that U.S. government bond market would be downgraded, at some point it would become obvious that the finances of this country are out of control and our leadership is out of touch. All credibility would be lost if S&P simply continued to assign U.S. debt a AAA rating.

S&P noted in its announcement that negotiations among leaders in Washington to address deficit concerns did not sound promising, and expressed skepticism that politicians could agree to any viable budget compromise. Of course this has been obvious for years but in the midst of the current debate over raising the debt limit it is perhaps the wake-up call that Washington needs. For decades politicians and government officials have been able to maintain their denial about our real financial situation, patching the system together by passing emergency and supplemental funding bills, issuing more debt, and allowing the Federal Reserve and foreign creditors to paper over deficits with more monetary expansion. I’ve said many times the real day of reckoning comes when fiscal and monetary tricks no longer work and there are no buyers for our debt.

Even the most conservative budget that has been proposed by Republican leadership requires raising the debt ceiling by an additional $9 trillion by 2021. This demonstrates absolutely that no one in power right now has any real intention of addressing our spending problems or paying down the debt. They simply expect to continue to borrow and run up more debt forever, without limit. Yet they always imagine our dollar will have value no matter how many we print. This expectation is foolish and naïve. I guarantee that those buying our debt are not foolish and naïve enough to go along with this charade forever.

The S&P announcement may just be the harbinger of economic realities acting as a restraint on government expansion. Government is not anxious to cap its own growth, in spite of misnomers like “debt limit” or “deficit reduction”. Government will continue to grow like a cancer, sapping our country of its wealth and freedom until the laws of economics no longer can be ignored.

Dr. Paul’s article first appeared on his House website.

A Review of Ron Paul’s Liberty Defined

Whiskey & Gunpowder
By Gary Gibson
April 25th 2011

Sometimes Ron Paul seems too good to be true. For decades he has championed the cause of liberty and sound monetary and geopolitical policy. He has done this in the very heart of the Leviathan state even as the federal government has accelerated its expansion in the postwar years. Further Dr. Paul has repeatedly presented his case in print in clear language. Liberty Defined is the latest timely addition to those efforts.

The format is one we’ve seen before in books like Libertarianism A to Z. In Liberty Defined, the introduction lays out the overarching principles of liberty and anti-authoritarianism. The book itself then devotes each chapter to an individual issue, starting with abortion, then moving through things like Austrian economics, capital punishment, evolution and creation, global warming, hate crimes, Keynesianism, taxes, unions and much more. The chapters are fairly short at just a few pages each, written in clear language that seeks to discuss and educate. Each chapter is a delight to read, particularly for lovers of liberty, but even when you don’t fully agree with Dr. Paul, you’ll find his position compelling and his honesty and consistency incredibly refreshing.

“The phrase ‘Austrian School’ or ‘Austrian economics’” Dr. Paul writes, “is not something I ever expected would enter into the vocabulary of politics or media in culture. But since 2008, it has. Reporters use it with some degree of understanding, and with an expectation that readers and viewers will understand it too. This just thrilling to me, for I am a long-time student of the Austrian tradition of thought.”

And no doubt many readers will share Dr. Paul’s joy. They will also note that it is Dr. Paul himself who has been tirelessly campaigning for the free market principles of the Austrian School for the past several years. He tells about the founder of the Austrian School, Carl Menger (1840-1921) “who wrote that economic value extends from the human mind alone and is not something that exists as an inherent part of goods and services; valuation changes according to social needs and circumstances. We need markets to reveal to us the valuations of consumers and producers in the form of the price system that works within a market setting.”

Dr. Paul notes that Keynes’ “entire agenda presumes the existence of a wise activist state that is involved in every level of economic life. Liberty was not an issue that concerned him.”
The Austrian School, however, believes, “We are not cogs in a macroeconomic machine; people will always resist being treated as such.”
Liberty Defined is certain to make people on both sides of the left-right political debate uncomfortable. Dr. Paul decries the welfare state beloved by those on the left, but repeatedly shows that such a state is just the other side of the coin of the interventionist foreign policies of those on the right. Dr. Paul himself is a man of religious and spiritual conviction, but he also doesn’t shy away from analyzing how the neoconservatives of the modern right use adulterate religion and patriotism to garner support for their imperialist adventures.

“Instead of religious beliefs being the cause of war, it is more likely that those who want war co-opt religion and falsely claim the enemy is attacking their religious values. How many times have we heard neoconservatives repeat the mantra that religious fanatics attack us for our freedoms and prosperity? Neoconservatives use religion to stir up hatred toward the enemy.”

Dr. Paul also isn’t given to idealism. He admits, for example, that a truly libertarian position would have porous borders, but he points out that that just isn’t possible right now. He notes that even in a stateless society, all property would be privately owned and those property-owners at the borders would have the right to decide who cross their land. Dr. Paul handles the issue deftly and his proposals of work permits and conditional green cards as opposed to deportation, among other things, struck even this anarcho-capitalist leaning reader as reasonable.

And Dr. Paul is certainly no anarchist, but he is close enough for government work. He is the kind of politician even an anarcho-capitalist could love. Dr. Paul is well versed in the dangers of governments and their tendencies to grow; yet he thinks there is room in the world for a minimal amount of government. It’s a delicate balance. He pulls it off with aplomb. In the chapter on prohibition he says:

“Government should not compel or prohibit any personal activity when that activity poses danger to that individual alone. Drinking and smoking marijuana is one thing, but driving recklessly under the influence is quite another. When an individual threatens the lives of others, there is a role for government to restrain that violence.

“The government today is involved in compulsion or prohibition of just about everything in our daily activities. Many times these efforts are well intentioned. Other times they result from a philosophic belief that average people need smart humanitarian politicians and bureaucrats to take care of them. The people, they claim, are not smart enough to make their own decisions. And unfortunately, many citizens go along, believing the government will provide perfect safety for them in everything they do. Since governments can’t deliver, this assumption provides a grand moral hazard of complacency and will only be reversed with either a dictatorship or a national bankruptcy that awakens people and forces positive change.”

Liberty Defined is layered with a practical view of the political realities, but it never fails to stay true to its moral core. Dr. Paul repeatedly points out that many of his solutions — which ultimately come down to the federal government getting out of the way — simply won’t be applied because the federal government is just too intertwined with the problem.

But Dr. Paul never wavers. With the fearlessness for which he has become famous, Dr. Paul continues to assault all the bad central planning policies and popular misconceptions that allow them to continue even in the face of failure.

On Keynesianism:
“…Something did change with the publication of The General Theory. Keynes gave the governments of the world a seemingly scientific rationale for doing what governments wanted to do anyway.”

On unions and government labor laws:
“Union power, gained by legislation, even without physical violence, is still violence. The laborer gains legal force over the employer. Economically, in the long run, labor loses.
“…If only it were so easy to help the working class. Just dictate wages and everyone will be financially better off. Unfortunately, this leads to disastrous results, whether it’s the prolonging of the economic mess as it did in the 1930s or the tragic results in American industry that we’re witnessing today.
“What good is it to mandate a $75 per hour wage if there are no jobs available at that price? What good is a minimum wage of $7.50 if it significantly contributes to overall unemployment?

“The reaction to the economic argument explaining the shortcoming of labor unions and minimum wage laws is that it’s heartless and unfair not to force ‘fairness’ on the ruthless capitalists. But true compassion should be directed toward the defense of a free market that has provided the greatest abundance and the best distribution of wealth of any economic system known throughout history.”

The chapter on taxes, however, is probably the best (and certainly this reviewer’s favorite). It sums up so many of the important themes: private property, liberty versus coercion, public education, economic misallocation, and the voracious appetite of the state.

“‘Taxes are the price we pay for civilization,’ according to Oliver Wendell Holmes. This claim has cost us dearly…If we as a nation continue to believe that paying for civilization through taxation is a wise purchase and the only way to achieve civilization, we are doomed.”

I am tempted to quote the chapter in its entirety, but at this point I would simply urge you to buy the book so you can read it there, along with the rest of this wonderful work.

Gary Gibson
Managing Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder

Why The Ron Paul Presidential Run Will Be A MUCH Bigger Deal This Time Around

Business Insider
By Joe Weisenthal
April 25th 2011

It's just obvious that in the last four years, since the last time Ron Paul ran for President, the ideological center of gravity in the GOP -- and the whole country for that matter -- has shifted a lot closer to Ron Paul's position.

In 2008, Paul ran a cult campaign as a libertarian, anti-Fed, anti-war Republican.

At the time, nobody in the GOP really cared about the Fed, and for the most part, Bush's wars enjoyed broad support.

Today they're Obama's wars, and the Fed is one of the most disliked institutions around, taking daily abuse even from mainstream outlets like CNBC.

It's inconceivable to think that in the GOP primary, candidates won't be asked for their position on Bernanke, quantitative easing, the role of the dollar, and of all the candidates, only Ron Paul has made a career on all these issues. In fact, after decades fighting his fight, he must be somewhat shocked that in just the last few years, his ideology has become so popular (or maybe he's shocked that it took so long).

In 2008, the GOP primary was dominated by Serious candidates like Mitt Romney and John McCain and Fred Thompson and even Rudy Giuliani. They were content to basically ignore what Ron Paul had to say. This time, they'll be fighting on his turf.

I have just returned home from the Ron Paul Peter Schiff Mixer at Webster Hall in NYC.

Reddit Libertarian
By FloorPlan
April 26th 2011

It was a wonderful, mid sized gathering, maybe 250 people, of all races and ages. We had old ass men with mustaches accompanying their daughters. Baseball capped youths wearing Rloveution t-shirts. Short young ladies wearing power-suits. Khaki & plaid frat boys. Tattooed and pierced bikers. And even some Free Staters and Mises Institute scholars. My girlfriend and I swear we caught a whiff of marijauna too, and our suspicions were all but confirmed when we then noticed much of the audience putting their noses to the air as well.

The following is a brief summary of the events and speakers of the night; in reverse order starting with the headliner. The whole event was recorded so I'm sure many of you will watch it.

Ron Paul gave a fantastic 30 minute speech. He opened with "Who knew New York was such a wonderful place?" Or there abouts. He touched on all the right notes and had the crowd continually shouting Ron Paul in between his major points. He spoke about the drug war, aggressive wars, sound money, the works. The greatest response was reserved for his jabs at the Federal Reserve and counterfeiter at large The Bernanke. In fact, deafening End The Fed chants punctuated the entire evening. To me his best comments were the ones where he referred to a "voluntary" society, and the freedom to succeed and fail and the responsibility of bearing the consequences. Ron Paul rightfully finished with a major point about the fact that some of us are labeled as insensitive, but that that we must be patient with these statists for many of them simply don't understand that a byproduct of freedom is prosperity.

Peter Schiff was brilliant as usual. Vodka drink in hand, Schiff explains to the audience he had no remarks prepared. He lauds Ron Paul for his tremendous work. He briefly mentions his dad Irwin, who is rotting in federal prison right now at the young age of 83. Schiff pontificated the idea of a Ron Paul presidential pardon. Peter also brought up the very pertinent fact that gas prices are actually at an all time low right now... in terms of silver. He also fielded a few questions, one of which was by a pretty though hapless librarian (yes librarian, not libertarian) who asked "what can the average person do to fight against the Fed?" By gold and silver sweetheart, where in the world have you been?

The whole event was MC's by and Chris Farley-esque politician who holds the honor of being the only libertarian leaning member of the New York City Council. He was funny (the first few times) and liked to say the f-word a lot.

To me the best part of the whole mixer was the first speaker. I'm not even going to look up his name, we'll call him Talking-Points McDouchenozzle. Mr. Douche is the current chairmen of the Republican Party of New York County. His remarks start off innocently enough. He says we need lower taxes, more liberty, and free markets, etc.... But immediately one can see he is a lifeless establishment drone. He flips the script and asks us to resist "European Socialism" and teh unions, by remembering to support your local Republican Party. Its shit we've all heard millions of time before from every single neocon pretending to be one of us. Not five minutes into his remarks the crowd starts squirming, then whispering, then we hear a few shouts.... Neocon!.... what about the wars?..... and then the angry Goateed Viking behind us blares "We're Libertarians!" above the rustle. Everybody starts cheering at that. Doucheburgler then regains his composure and tries to say something I don't even care to recall, but by now the entire crowd is booing and shouting at him. Mind you this is the first speaker of the night, at an event that is ostensibly "related" to the Republican Party. After a few more uncomfortable moments, Chris Farley escorts Nozzle off the stage from whence he came to the joyous sounds of Ron Paul.... Ron Paul... Ron Paul.... Ron Paul.... Ron Paul... Ron Paul.... Ron Paul... Ron Paul....

Monday, April 25, 2011

Important Announcement Tomorrow from Ron Paul April 26th

Monday April 25th 2011

BREAKING - LAKE JACKSON, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Congressman Ron Paul will be in Des Moines, Iowa tomorrow, April 26th, to make an important announcement about his political organization.

Dr. Paul will hold a press conference at 3:45 pm CT in the Library Room at the north end of the Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport, located at 6111 Fleur Drive in Des Moines. Members of the Media are most welcome to attend.

Liberty PAC
Jesse Benton

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ron Paul: The Founding Father

By John H. Richareson
April 21st 2011

He is a constant in a changing world, an emissary from an older America. A self-styled constitutional purist, he has for forty years been a voice in the wilderness. But now he has sparked a movement that has put him at the center of the struggle over what kind of country we want to be. But is America ready for his radical vision?

ron paul
Brent Humphreys/Redux
Now it's time to go backstage. Down the narrow space between the back wall and the high blue curtain, washed by the white noise of eleven thousand overcaffeinated believers waiting in a huge ballroom filled to standing room, plus two overflow ballrooms where the man's message will be received on giant screens. Here's the door to the small drab room where assorted politicians wait to audition to be the future of America. And here's Ron Paul, smiling and holding out his hand. "Nice to see ya," he says.

"You seem a little busy."

"Yeah, we're just about to get ready here."

On the other side of the cinder-block wall and high blue curtain, voices cry out one and two and then a sudden chorus, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, End the Fed, Ron Paul! Ron Paul! End the Fed! RON PAUL! RON PAUL! In another twenty minutes, he'll walk out into the wall of lights and the crowd at this Woodstock for conservatives will explode in cheers and applause and shouts of Ron Paul! and End the Fed!, another step in his amazing journey from eccentric regional oddball to the red-hot center of the American debate — after a lifetime of ridicule and obscurity, sweet vindication indeed.

Now he sits back down, pulling a padded office chair up to a round linoleum table. He's small and trim as a ten-year-old, with an unshakable air of small-town decency, and his expression seems to have just two settings: In repose, at seventy-five years old, with white hair and dark emphatic eyebrows and those deep bags slashed across his cheekbones, he's every inch the stern patriarch. But when he smiles, his features soften and suddenly he's Tom Sawyer cruising the neighborhood on his beloved Schwinn.

He smiles like that when he explains why he's never found it hard to be on the short end of a 1-to-434 vote. "Sometimes a bill will be maybe 51 percent good and 49 percent bad, and you just have to have your own rules about that. Generally speaking, if a bill has bad stuff in it, even though there's a lot of good stuff, I still think that's incrementalism."

See, it's not about him. Ron Paul doesn't think that way. It's about this neat idea, principles versus incrementalism. That's why he's taken more lonely stands than any other politician in American history: against the Iraq war even though he's a Republican, against the Defense of Marriage Act even though he's a conservative Christian, against farm subsidies even though he represents a rural district, against the Texas Medical Center even though he's from Texas — the list goes on and on. He refused to award congressional medals to Rosa Parks, Ronald Reagan, the Pope, and Mother Teresa. After Hurricane Katrina, he voted against sending federal help to Louisiana.

"Once you say, 'Well, you know, we live in the real world and sometimes you have to give in a little bit,' then you're never yourself, you're never your own person, and they'll badger you to death. So it's much easier for me to follow a set of principles than fussin' and fumin' on knowing exactly when you're supposed to throw in the towel."

The hands crossed in his lap are the oldest things about him, parchment between knuckles knobby with age, an echo of his almost priestly mixture of kindness and abstraction. He's still the man who treated poor patients for free and flew home from Washington to deliver babies. But now his patient is a rather audacious idea.

"The police are supposed to be local people, and your own community should decide how many policemen you want. And at the national level, we have nearly a hundred thousand federal agents now who carry guns — OSHA and EPA and the IRS. They carry guns, and they shouldn't."

And the income tax should be cut to zero. "The income tax is based on the principle that the government owns everything, and they allow you to keep a certain percent. So people on the Hill, even Republicans, say, 'Well, we can't cut taxes 'cause that'll cost the government money.' Well, it's your money! How can I say that it's costing government if I give you more of your money back?"

Other Republicans have demonstrated an astonishing talent for revirginization — yes, they voted for destructive and unnecessary foreign entanglements, heedless expansion of the federal budget deficit, and vastly increased federal powers, but once Obama became president the hymen of their small-government ideals spontaneously regenerated. Paul chose to use the new Congress's ceremonial reading of the Constitution — a tribute to him — to chastise his colleagues for the hollowness of the stunt. "Will there be no more wars without an actual congressional declaration?" he asked. "Will the Federal Reserve Act be repealed? Will only gold and silver be called legal tender? Will we end all the unconstitutional federal departments, including the Departments of Energy, Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Labor? Will the Patriot Act be repealed and all the warrantless searches stopped? Will the TSA be restrained or abolished? Will the IRS's unconstitutional collection powers end? Will executive and judicial quasilegislative powers be ended? Will we end the federal war on drugs? Would we end the federal government's involvement in medical care? Will we end all the federal government's illusionary insurance programs? Will we ban secret prisons, trials without due process, and assassinations? Will we end our foreign policy of invasion and occupations?"

To the people who say this is wildly impractical, that the whole point of democracy is to make compromises, that you can measure his irrelevance in his long record of lonely votes, the congressman has an irrefutable answer. "It depends on how you measure effectiveness. If you want to pass a law just to say you can pass a law and say, 'I passed ten bills last year,' that's one way to measure effectiveness. The other way is to establish a record and send the message and get people to join you and maybe change people's thinking in the long term. I would say I'm more long term. The next election has never been of much interest to me — it was the next generation that I cared about."

The next generation is on the other side of the blue curtain. RON PAUL! RON PAUL! RON PAUL!

Something strange is happening. It's February in Washington, and for days, these ardent young Ron Paul fans have been zooming around town in packs, skinny boys in dark suits, like church groups or squads of young Scientologists, full of purpose and excitement, all very amiable but also laser-focused and given to chanting Ron Paul! or End the Fed! at any given moment. Most of them paid their own way to come here, couch-surfing and doubling up in cheap motels. They did this because the whole point of this event — the annual gathering of hardcore conservative activists known as the Conservative Political Action Conference — is to gauge the enthusiasm of the base. But the Republican leaders who run the event are doing everything they can to ignore the enthusiasm of the base.

The clash started right at the beginning. The Paul kids spent much of their time attending a completely separate convention across the hall, where the speakers — people like Tom Woods, author of Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse — tell them that elites are looting the national Treasury, that the Patriot Act treats every American as a suspect, that Abraham Lincoln was a dictator who used the Civil War to close newspapers and put editors in jail. At around three on the first day, they began streaming into the territory their advance troops had established on the left side of the main ballroom. Scattered through their ranks were a handful of modern primitives with big hoops in their ears, a girl with a Korn logo tattooed on her shoulder, a Muslim woman in hijab.

Up onstage, Donald Trump was shuffling through his notes and saying that what we need is a competent leader. On cue, one of the kids shouted: RON PAUL!

Trump ignored this. "$4.54 for gas because we have nobody that calls OPEC and says, That price better get lower."


Trump ignored that, too.


At last, Trump turned to the left side of the room. "Ron Paul cannot get elected, I'm sorry."

The room erupted. Boo! Boo! Boo! Trump smiled at such foolishness. "I like Ron Paul, but honestly he has zero chance of getting elected."

More boos. And when Trump tried to change the subject, another cry broke out. END THE FED! END THE FED!

The Republican leaders who are putting on this show have been as startled as the rest of the country at the sudden potency of once marginal ideas. But to the kids, it's obvious. This is Ron Paul's moment. He's been warning for forty years that easy money would lead to economic collapse, then easy money led to economic collapse. He warned that the Iraq war would be an expensive and bloody mistake, and the Iraq war was an expensive and bloody mistake. He spent forty years asking Congress to follow a strict interpretation of the Constitution and investigate the Federal Reserve, and now there's a powerful freshman class of Republicans pushing a strict interpretation of the Constitution and an investigation of the Federal Reserve. In 2009, he slipped an amendment into the Wall Street — reform legislation that forced the Federal Reserve to release the details of thousands of secret loans it made during the 2008 financial crisis — the Korea Development Bank? Caterpillar? — and suddenly polls started showing that Americans disliked the Fed even more than the IRS. Every Republican in the House signed on to his bill to audit the Fed. In Virginia, Republicans have introduced a bill to study the possibilities of a state currency "in the event of a major breakdown of the Federal Reserve System." He's been called the "Tea Party's brain," and his son Rand is called the "senator from the Tea Party," and all day long the speakers seemed to have been participating in a Ron Paul soundalike competition. Senator Pat Toomey told a story about a little red hen who went on strike when a government agent told her that productive workers had to divide their profit with everyone else. Congressman Raul Labrador said that the best thing the government can do for a poor man is get the hell out of the way. Senator Ron Johnson ridiculed Democrats for passing regulations on fugitive dust and spilled milk, and Grover Norquist said that Obama takes money from people who have earned it and gives it to his friends. To a movement that fetishizes the Founders' act of rebellion over a tea tax, Ron Paul is the founding father.

When Trump finished, the moderator came out, joking. "Now there's a guy who doesn't suck up to an audience — I'm guessing there are a lot of Rand Paul fans out there!"

The left side of the room exploded in cheers. Then Rand Paul came on with curly hair and a confident rock-star energy that seemed to crackle in the dry air. In a speech that could have been written by his father, the most striking moment is a gauntlet in the face of mainstream Republicans: "If you refuse to acknowledge that there's any waste that can be culled from the military budget, you are a big-government conservative."

You could measure the shifting consensus in the size of the cheer, which built to a standing ovation. Then things really started to get uncomfortable. As Senator Paul waved goodbye, the Paul kids got up and began to walk out in an orderly file, hundreds of them crossing to the doors like a line of ants. Then, suddenly, boos and chants of RON PAUL! started breaking out along the line, as up onstage, a skinny old man in a dark suit began moving gingerly toward the podium.

The skinny old man was Donald Rumsfeld. From the center of the room, a commanding voice broke through the din: "QUIETTTTTT!"

A startled hush followed, and then Dick Cheney walked out from behind the curtain. He was the surprise guest, there to give his old friend CPAC'S "Defender of the Constitution" award. The authoritarian wing of the room exploded with glee as the Paul cadre continued to file out, an act of rebellion that threw everything slightly off. As the former vice-president told his old story about meeting Rumsfeld more than forty years ago during the Nixon administration, someone yelled, "Draft dodger!"

After a stunned hush, a single voice rang out across the room:

"Where's bin Laden?"

Necks craned as people looked for the source. There, over by the exit doors! That white kid with dreadlocks. In seconds, men in suits descended upon him and led him away.

Rumsfeld smiled, but he looked shaken. Not only should you buy a dog if you need a friend in Washington, he said, you should buy a small one, "because he might turn on you."

In the hall, one of the Paul kids muttered in disgust, "I was hoping someone would get up and throw the Constitution at him."

A CONSERVATIVE COSMOLOGY We measure the schism between Ron Paul's libertarianism and everybody else. Click here to enlarge the full map.

All this started because Ron Paul said something he wasn't supposed to say. During the second Republican presidential debate in 2007, when they had him shunted off to the far side and gave him as little airtime as possible, the subject of Al Qaeda came up. "They attack us because we've been over there," he said. "We've been bombing Iraq for ten years."

The idea that terrorists attack the U. S. because "they hate freedom" was always more of a slogan than a serious position, but it had frozen into Republican orthodoxy. "That's really an extraordinary statement," said an outraged Rudy Giuliani. "I don't think I've ever heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11." Even the moderator got huffy. "Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attack, sir?" But Paul just continued in the same placid and rational way, oblivious to ordinary political calculations. "I believe very sincerely that the CIA is correct when they teach and talk about blowback. They don't come here to attack us because we're rich and free. They come and they attack us because we're over there. I mean, what would we think if other foreign countries were doing that to us?"

Outraged, some GOP officials mounted a campaign to have him barred from the next debate. The American Conservative dismissed his answer as a "technical response" that "didn't connect with the audience." Michelle Malkin said that "Ron Paul really has no business being onstage as a legitimate representative of Republicans." But the Internet exploded. Tens of thousands of young people joined his Facebook and Meetup groups. On hip news sites like Digg, stories about him consistently topped reader-interest statistics. The million-eyed hydra that is YouTube began spewing out Ron Paul raps and ballads and homages and even a rockumentary. He held an online fundraiser and raised more than $6 million in small contributions in a single day. And young people started showing up to his speeches by the thousands. At the University of Michigan, they broke into their first chant. END THE FED! END THE FED! END THE FED! They lit dollar bills and held them up like lighters at a Rush concert.

It wasn't just the war that moved them, the kids at CPAC explained. Ron Paul put a deeper meaning beneath everything. Words that other politicians used like screeches of chimpanzee code, Paul actually meant and could explain so that everything from the economic collapse to marijuana legalization to terrorism actually connected and made sense. Like the words on everyone's lips these days, small government. The way Ron Paul explains it, the U. S. Constitution was all about setting up a balance of powers in order to prevent a recurrence of government tyranny, a purpose emphasized by the Bill of Rights. The underlying principle was freedom. But there was a birth defect, in Paul's view, and that was Alexander Hamilton's success at pushing the other Founders down the path of centralized federal control. He doesn't care that it was a powerful American government, based in Washington and willing to invest in its people, that ultimately made the United States into the world-historic power that it is today, with a huge economy and a vast middle class. Nor does he care that it was that strong central government that ensured the survival of the young country, which was on the brink of failure without it. Nor does he care that the U. S. Constitution actually came into existence to take power away from the states, leaving them but the scraps in the vestigial Tenth Amendment. And he doesn't care that it was actually the sainted Jefferson who executed the Louisiana Purchase (unconstitutional in Paul's view), which doubled the size of the country. If we had stuck to what Congressman Paul views as our founding principles, we would have undoubtedly been a smaller and poorer and less consequential country, but also purer and freer and more peaceful. It's a trade he is willing to make.

From here, Paul's analysis leaps to the work of three refugees from totalitarian countries — Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Ayn Rand. All three saw pretty much any central government planning as a step on the "road to serfdom," as Hayek put it in the title of his most famous book. Planning was rooted in the idea of compassion, in the idea that a government had the right and even the obligation to take from the "producers" and give to people in need. Hayek and Mises showed how this led to a central bank that inflated the money supply to build grand projects or finance wars, slowly smothering freedom with the infinite ravenous blob of government. Rand popularized the movement with a novel called Atlas Shrugged, in which unions and regulation so ravage the American economy that the last producers withdraw to a hidden valley called "Galt's Gulch" while violent starving hordes wander the countryside like escapees from a Cormac McCarthy novel.

The last piece of the puzzle is the Federal Reserve, the demon child of Alexander Hamilton's central bank. Hamilton said a central bank could regulate and issue dollars, which would help the young nation trade with other nations, build an infrastructure and a Navy, react to crises, and pay off the Revolutionary War debt. But Thomas Jefferson warned against it in almost apocalyptic terms as a system "contrived for deluging the states with paper money instead of gold and silver, for withdrawing our citizens from the pursuits of commerce, manufactures, buildings, and other branches of useful industry, to occupy themselves and their capitals in a species of gambling, destructive of morality, and which had introduced its poison into the government itself."

Hamilton won, but his victory was only temporary. As every Ron Paul follower knows, the nation got rid of the central bank twice and brought it back each time. The last time was in 1913, when a cabal of private bankers led by J. P. Morgan created the Fed at a secret meeting on Jekyll Island. That set the stage for disaster, in Paul's view. He argues that the Fed caused the Depression by inflating the money supply to cause the boom of the Roaring Twenties, financed the welfare state and thousands of coercive attempts at social engineering, and made it way too easy to pay for a long series of unnecessary and wasteful wars.

This is why we can't trust a "fiat currency" like dollars, Paul says. In a world that seems to be out of control, where experts tell us what we're supposed to think, we need to place our trust in something real. That was Ayn Rand's message, linking liberal relativism to tyranny to paper currency. "Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced," Rand said. "Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it."

To Paul's followers, this story has become as familiar as the gospels. At CPAC, they even told it through a startling animated movie that portrayed bankers as monsters with octopus arms and bloodsucking ticks for heads. A cartoon Thomas Jefferson said the tree of liberty regularly needed to be watered with the blood of patriots, and the room broke into wild cheers when Aaron Burr shot Hamilton dead — and cheered again for the death of Hank Paulson, the former treasury secretary.

Any observer of the news can see how many of Paul's preoccupations have become central themes
to the public debate — the Jeffersonian view of the Constitution, the revisionist claim that liberals made the Depression worse, the hostility toward bankers awkwardly stitched to a celebration of capitalism, the idea that there is something both impractical and immoral about taxing the "producers" — impractical because it only stifles them, and immoral because it is theft. The government has no legitimate claim on any citizen's money.

Common as these tropes have become, these are truly revolutionary ideas, which have taken root so firmly that it has become essential conservative thought that any taxation is theft, and that any spending of the public coin is socialism.

The difference is that a lot of conservatives just say this stuff without meaning it. It was conservatives, after all, who said that you can have small government along with two wars and seven hundred overseas military bases. But Ron Paul goes the other way. Philosophical and systematic and pure in a way that young people may be best qualified to understand, he lays bare the contradictions. That is the reason his ideas have spread like hidden veins throughout our culture, the reason he has become such a stunning challenge to the existing order. He means the words that everyone else just uses. He's flinty as a Founder and solid as the gold standard — not just the messenger but also the message.

This is how one of his CPAC fans puts it: "He makes you study economics, history, philosophy — when that light goes off, it lights up everything."

Backstage, Paul sits quietly in his chair, his hands folded in his lap. Trump's dismissive words didn't bother him, he says. "I don't take it personally. I mean, I'm always amazed at how much support we get. I always assumed that there would only be a small number of people who cared."

He really seems to mean this. Last night, during an appearance with his son Rand in front of a thousand young fans, he said he had always worked on low expectations. "I thought I'd come and go, and nobody would notice I'd ever been to Congress."

Spontaneously and in unison, the audience reacted: "Awwwwwwww."

"For years and years, I'd go to a campus and get fifteen or twenty people."

A boy stood up and shouted: "I love you, man!"

Sweet moments of male tenderness are the last thing you'd expect at the most conservative political gathering of the year, but Paul regularly inspires this kind of response. He tries not to let it affect him. "I'm always guarded," he explains backstage. "If I prepared for grand victories and said, 'I'm going to Washington, I'm going to balance the budget and restore liberty' — I mean, you could become neurotic. 'Cause you'd walk away and you wouldn't do anything."

On the other side of the curtain, prompted by some remark from the moderator, a thousand voices call his name. RON PAUL! RON PAUL! RON PAUL!

Paul usually stays away from personal topics — and he wouldn't think of framing a political attack in personal terms — preferring to focus instead on ideas. But the intensity of the moment leads to a rare glimpse of his earliest memories and deepest motivations. "We were five boys and we were all born in the Depression, so there wasn't really a lot of stuff around," he begins. "You didn't get allowances — you wanted money, you had to go work."

He was five when he got his first job, checking the bottles on the conveyor belt at his father's small dairy and earning a penny for each dirty one he caught. For the rest of his life, he remembered taking four or five of those pennies to the local store and getting a small bag of candy. He also remembered his grandmother saying they should hold on to the family land "in case the money goes bad."

After that, Paul worked all the time. He was a star on the high school track team, president of the student council, a wrestler, a swimmer, and an honor student, but he also managed to mow lawns, deliver newspapers, clerk in a drugstore, paint his high school, and work for his father's small dairy business. "I remember when I was sixteen, I thought I was pretty grown up because my dad allowed me to drive a truck," he says with a smile. "The milk truck was a very important thing to me."

Pick up Esquire's May issue for the full story, and click here for exclusive interview outtakes and more on Paul's economic solution on The Politics Blog.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

21 Reasons that Ron Paul should run Independent (if he might actually want to be President)

I've been compiling this list over the course of the last two months. Some of the items are admittedly controversial, especially those at the beginning. But I think it's important to put it out there. If you agree, keep it going and pass it on as appropriate. If you disagree, then please disagree with all your heart and mind in the best interest of Liberty! Thanks for reading and considering.

1. He will not get the Republican nomination in the usual way -- that is, by receiving large number of votes from Republican voters. Simply, not enough traditional Republican voters will be swayed by his message, and there are not enough new Republican voters coming in the door.

2. If Dr. Paul were to win the Republican nomination through some other means -- for example, commandeering the delegate process -- the victory would appear hollow and illegitimate. This would have devastating consequences for his prospects in the general election. The Republican Party might even fracture into two parties, temporarily, and Dr. Paul would not receive support from his own party.

3. If Dr. Paul were to lose the Republican nomination, he would not be able to switch to independent later, both because of sore-loser laws and also a sore-loser perception. Neither would there be any other liberty-oriented third party candidate available with any chance of winning. We would be irreversibly stuck with two statists.

4. By running independent, on the other hand, Dr. Paul would keep options open: He could abandon the independent campaign in favor of a liberty-friendly GOP nominee if one arose. Or he could choose to pursue his own campaign all the way.

5. Funding required for ballot access as an independent would be provided quickly from one or two money bombs. An army of eager supporters will take care of petitions and other paperwork.

6. Any attempt to keep him out of the debates would backfire. His following and his media presence are too big now.

7. He would not squander financial and personal resources on a bruising primary battle.

8. He could remain on TV interviews during much of the primary season, commenting on politics and the presidential race as it occurs, elevating his own stature above the petty arguments likely to surface among the GOP candidates.

9. He would be free to select a VP running mate from outside of the establishment GOP, or outside of the GOP altogether.

10. He could announce his candidacy during a crisis, if one were to occur. (He has stated previously that he would run if the country particularly needs him.)

11. He could time his announcement precisely at the peak of public frustration over the choice between the likely Republican and Democratic nominees.

12. The political parties are part of the problem. Dr. Paul has mentioned this many times, including the chapter in The Revolution entitled "The False Choices of American Politics", his endorsement of third-party candidates in 2008, and frequent interviews alongside non-GOP allies. Dr. Paul has already placed himself outside of the boundaries of the GOP.

13. Political parties are collectivist institutions by their very nature. A stand against political parties is, in itself, an inspiring statement of libertarian ideals.

14. If successful, an independent campaign would not only elect Ron Paul but also bust up the major-party duopoly.

15. Many of his issues appeal to independents more than Republicans. Just for example, witness the speech at 2011 CPAC, with the concentration on the Patriot Act, foreign aid, and interventionism.

16. There are a lot of silent Paul supporters outside of the GOP, who have largely been sidelined by the Tea Party movement. They will come roaring back to life.

17. The "spoiler" label would not matter as much to Dr. Paul, who believes that a Democrat president is only marginally worse (if at all) than a Republican president anyway.

18. He might pick up endorsements from other independents such as Jesse Ventura or Ralph Nader.

19. He would have more time to evaluate whether he really wants to run.

20. It's not 1988 anymore.

21. It is rare for a game-changer to win by playing the game.
(Please consider this last point from the perspective of your own lives and your own experiences outside of politics. How do these things usually work?)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Take a sneak peek at Paul’s new book

The Iowa Independent
By Patrick Brendel
April 18th 2011

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, one of several Republicans considering a 2012 run for the White House, is releasing his latest book, Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom, on Tuesday. A sneak preview of the introduction to the book is available on the website of Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, the 501(c)4 group he formed after his 2008 presidential bid.

At the close of his 2008 campaign, Paul released his book Revolution: A Manifesto, which topped bestseller lists from the New York Times and

Paul gave out advance copies of the book to people who attended his speech Friday in New Hampshire. For those who weren’t able to make it, the introduction is the next best thing. Paul begins:
America’s history and political ethos are all about liberty. The Declaration of Independence declares that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable rights, but notice how both life and the pursuit of happiness also depend on liberty as a fundamental bedrock of our country. We use the word almost as a cliche. But do we know what it means? Can we recognize it when we see it? More importantly, can we recognize the opposite of liberty when it is sold to us as a form of freedom?
Paul writes that he embraces the “liberal” agenda — with one caveat, that by “liberal” he means classically liberal, or “the liberal tradition in the true sense, dating from the late Middle Ages until the early part of the twentieth century” — not that of the modern Democratic Party.
However, Paul’s introduction is not filled with partisan attacks; in fact, it doesn’t contain the words “Democrat” or “Republican” at all. Rather, he blasts the federal government as a single entity, writing:
Do our leaders in Washington believe in liberty? They sometimes say they do. I don’t think they are telling the truth. The existence of the wealth- extracting leviathan state in Washington, DC, a cartoonishly massive machinery that no one can control and yet few ever seriously challenge, a monster that is a constant presence in every aspect of our lives, is proof enough that our leaders do not believe. Neither party is truly dedicated to the classical, fundamental ideals that gave rise to the American Revolution.
In the introduction, Paul warns against government intrusion in everyday life, loss of privacy and “dollar hegemony.”
Sometimes it seems like we are living in a dystopian novel like 1984 or Brave New World, complete with ever less economic freedom. Some will say that this is hyperbole; others will understand exactly what I’m talking about,” he writes. “What is at stake is the American dream itself, which in turn is wrapped up with our standard of living.
He writes, “The choice we now face: further steps toward authoritarianism or a renewed effort in promoting the cause of liberty. There is no third option.”
Paul concludes the introduction:
The idea of this book is not to provide a blueprint for the future or an all-encompassing defense of a libertarian program. What I offer here are thoughts on a series of controversial topics that tend to confuse people, and these are interpreted in light of my own experience and my thinking. I present not final answers but rather guideposts for thinking seriously about these topics. I certainly do not expect every reader to agree with my beliefs, but I do hope that I can inspire serious, fundamental, and independent-minded thinking and debate on them.

Above all, the theme is liberty. The goal is liberty. The results of liberty are all the things we love, none of which can be finally provided by government. We must have the opportunity to provide them for ourselves, as individuals, as families, as a society, and as a country. Off we go: A to Z.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ron Paul: The Other Politician Who Can Draw Crowds on Campus

Fox News
By Maggie Kerkman
April 18th 2011

Their policy stances couldn't be any more different but there's something Ron Paul shares in common with President Obama-- at least in terms of campaigning-- and that's enthusiastic support from young people.

In the past month, Paul has crisscrossed the country, hopping from Iowa to New Hampshire and back again, speaking to hundreds of young people at each stop. This week should be no different. Paul, with his new book, Liberty Redefined, coming out tomorrow, will be headed to Mississippi State and Florida State. Organizers from both campuses expect more than a thousand students to attend each event. In Florida, Young Americans for Liberty chapter organizer Patrick O'Sullivan says there are "Facebook groups from Gainesville, Orlando and Sarasota (that I know of) that are set up for people who plan to caravan up to Tallahassee." FSU students collected 1000 signatures in two days to convince Paul to speak on campus. For their part, Mississippi State student collected about 2300 signatures to secure Paul's appearance this week.Paul's gain could be Obama's loss, as Paul supporters may be adding to their numbers by recruiting disaffected young Obama supporters. Young American's for Liberty's national website is calling for Chapters to make a play for disgruntled Obama supporters, saying, "In 2008, voters asked for ‘hope' and ‘change.' Three years later, and it's clear the only change we got was the new face pushing the same basic policies." That message is striking a chord with some. Mississippi State Organizer Benjamin Weinberg says his group has "received some enthusiastic interest from individuals who felt betrayed by President Obama's continuation and expansion of the Bush-presidency's foreign policy."

New and old support alike will be out in force May 5th, the day of the first Republican presidential candidate debate. That's also when Paul supporters will flock to the internet to take part in a "money bomb." For those not familiar with the concept, supporters donate money online within a confined amount of time- in this case, 24 hours. The last Paul money bomb raised $700,000... on President's Day. Paul already has about 1.6 million in his Congressional re-election coffers, according to the latest FEC quarterly report.

Paul may not ever supplant Barack Obama as the darling of the young, but you'd be hard pressed to find another Republican candidate who has such ardent young support so early on in the game.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rep. Ron Paul, G.O.P. Loner, Comes In From Cold

New York Times
By Kate Zernike
December 12th 2010
WASHINGTON — As virtually all of Washington was declaring WikiLeaks’s disclosures of secret diplomatic cables an act of treason, Representative Ron Paul was applauding the organization for exposing the United States’ “delusional foreign policy.”

For this, the conservative blog RedState dubbed him “Al Qaeda’s favorite member of Congress.”

It was hardly the first time that Mr. Paul had marched to his own beat. During his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, he was best remembered for declaring in a debate that the 9/11 attacks were the Muslim world’s response to American military intervention around the globe. A fellow candidate, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, interrupted and demanded that he take back the words — a request that Mr. Paul refused.       
During his 20 years in Congress, Mr. Paul has staked out the lonely end of 434-to-1 votes against legislation that he considers unconstitutional, even on issues as ceremonial as granting Mother Teresa a Congressional Gold Medal. His colleagues have dubbed him “Dr. No,” but his wife will insist that they have the spelling wrong: he is really Dr. Know.       
Now it appears others are beginning to credit him with some wisdom — or at least acknowledging his passionate following.

After years of blocking him from a leadership position, Mr. Paul’s fellow Republicans have named him chairman of the House subcommittee on domestic monetary policy, which oversees the Federal Reserve as well as the currency and the valuation of the dollar.

Mr. Paul has strong views on those issues. He has written a book called “End the Fed”; he embraces Austrian economic thought, which holds that the government has no role in regulating the economy; and he advocates a return to the gold standard.       
Many of the new Republicans in the next Congress campaigned on precisely the issues that Mr. Paul has been talking about for 40 years: forbidding Congress from any action not explicitly authorized in the Constitution, eliminating entire federal departments as unconstitutional and checking the power of the Fed.

He has been called the “intellectual godfather of the Tea Party,” but he also is the real father of the Tea Party movement’s most high-profile winner, Senator-elect Rand Paul of Kentucky. (The two will be roommates in Ron Paul’s Virginia condominium. “I told him as long as he didn’t expect me to cook,” the elder Mr. Paul said. “I’m not going to take care of him the way his mother did.”)

Republicans had blocked Mr. Paul from leading the monetary policy panel once before, and banking executives reportedly urged them to do so again. But Republicans on Capitol Hill increasingly recognize that Mr. Paul has a following — among his supporters from 2008 and within the Tea Party, which helped the Republicans recapture the House majority by picking up Mr. Paul’s longstanding and highly vocal opposition to the federal debt.       
Aides, supporters and television interviewers now use words like “vindicated” to describe him — a term Mr. Paul, a 75-year-old obstetrician with the manner of a country doctor, brushes off.       
“I don’t think it’s very personal,” he said in an interview in his office on the Hill, where he has represented the 14th District of Texas on and off since 1976. “People are really worried about what’s happening, so they’re searching, and I think they see that we’ve been offering answers.”       
If there is vindication here, Mr. Paul says, it is for Austrian economic theory — an anti-Keynesian model that many mainstream economists consider radical and dismiss as magical thinking.       
The theory argues that markets operate properly only when they are unfettered by government regulation and intervention. It holds that the government should not have a central bank or dictate economic or monetary policy. Once the government begins any economic planning, such thinking goes, it ends up making all the economic decisions for its citizens, essentially enslaving them.

The walls of Mr. Paul’s Congressional office are devoid of the usual pictures with presidents and other dignitaries. Instead, there are portraits of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, titans of the Austrian school. For years, Mr. Paul would talk about their ideas and eyes would glaze over. But during his presidential campaign, he said he began to notice a glimmer of recognition among those who attended his events, particularly on college campuses.

Mr. Paul now views his exchange with Mr. Giuliani in 2008 as a crucial moment in his drive for more supporters. “A lot of them said, ‘I’d never heard of you, and I liked what you said and I went and checked your voting record and you’d actually voted that way,’ ” he said. “They’d see that the thing that everybody on the House floor considered a liability for 20 years, my single ‘no’ votes, they’d say, ‘He did that himself; he really must believe this.’ ”       
His campaign that year attracted a coalition that even he recognizes does not always stand together: young people who liked his advocacy of greater civil liberties and the decriminalization of marijuana; conservatives who nodded at his antidebt message; and others who agreed with his opposition to the Iraq war.       
During George W. Bush’s presidency, he was out of favor with the reigning neoconservatives who were alarmed at his anti-interventionism. He still gives many conservatives fits with comments like his praise for WikiLeaks.       

And many of those who follow the Fed closely say his ideas are “very strange indeed,” in the words of Lyle E. Gramley, a former governor of the Fed who is now a senior economic adviser at the Potomac Research Group. “I don’t think he understands what central banking is all about,” Mr. Gramley said.

Putting such a critic of the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, in such a prominent role, he added, could damage economic confidence.

“The public doesn’t understand how serious the problem was and why the Fed had to take the action it did,” Mr. Gramley said. "Having someone in Congress taking shots at the Fed makes the situation uneasy.”       
Still, Mr. Paul says, his colleagues respect his following outside Washington. “I was on the House floor today,” he said, “and somebody I don’t know real well, another Republican, he was talking to two other members, and he knew I was listening. He pointed at me and said, ‘That guy has more bumper stickers in my district than I do!’ ”
Interview requests are so common that Mr. Paul has set up a camera and studio backdrop in his district office to save him the hour’s drive to television stations in Houston.
His bill demanding a full audit of the Fed, which he had unsuccessfully pushed for years, attracted 320 co-sponsors in the House this year.        
And the lunches that he has held in his office every Thursday, where lawmakers can meet intellectuals and policymakers who embrace Austrian economics, have become more crowded, drawing Tea Party celebrities like Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.       
“For a long time, a lot of people in Congress on both sides of the aisle agreed with Ron a lot of the time but felt it wasn’t safe to go there,” said Jesse Benton, a longtime Ron Paul aide who ran Rand Paul’s Senate campaign.

The father is about to gain even greater visibility. He says he will use his new chairmanship to renew his push for a full audit of the Fed and to hold a series of hearings on monetary policy.       
On Web sites for Ron Paul fans, there are urgent pleas for a father-son (or son-father) “Paul/Paul 2012” ticket. But in an interview, the senior Mr. Paul seemed taken by surprise by the suggestion of teaming up. While he is bursting-proud of his son, he is not necessarily ready to yield the spotlight: He is pondering another presidential run on his own.       
“I’d say it’s at least 50-50 that I’ll run again,” he said, adding that he would look at where the economy is. (Aides add that it would depend a lot on what his wife, Carol, says.)       
But for all the ways the Tea Party echoes Mr. Paul on fiscal issues, it is not clear such support would carry over into a presidential campaign. The last time he ran, he won less than 2 percent of the vote, though that was before the Tea Party became a force in politics.

Even many Tea Party conservatives are not on board with Mr. Paul’s beliefs about scaling back the United States military worldwide. And Paul supporters look on the Tea Party with some disdain.

Mr. Paul acknowledged the sometimes competing interests among Tea Party supporters and his fans. “What brings them together is this acceptance that there’s something really wrong, that we’ve spent too much money and government’s too big,” he said.       
That, he added, was why he had to work at keeping up his influence, particularly in spreading the word about the cost of foreign interventions.       
Still, he noted: “We’re further along than I would have expected in getting our message out in front. I thought I’d be long gone from Congress before anybody would pay much attention.”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Latest S.C. straw poll win goes to Ron Paul

By Peter Hamby
April 16th 2011

Bluffton, South Carolina (CNN) - Texas Rep. Ron Paul won the latest in a string of presidential straw polls being conducted in key South Carolina counties this month ahead of the state Republican Party convention in May.

Paul won the vote at the Lexington County Republican Party convention on Saturday, taking 16 percent of the 139 ballots cast. Lexington is considered a bellwether county in Republican primaries and is home to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, but the party organization there has seen an uptick in libertarian-leaning Paul supporters in recent years.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has done almost no presidential spadework in the crucial early primary state, had another respectable straw poll showing and finished in a tie for second place with business mogul Donald Trump, taking 12 percent of the vote.

Romney finished fourth in a Greenville County straw poll last weekend and second in a Friday night vote at the Charleston County convention.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who won the Charleston straw poll and attended Saturday's Lexington event in person, finished with 10 percent and tied for fifth with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Lexington GOP Chairman Rich Bolen also asked party members to pick their second choice for the Republican nomination. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won that poll with 18 percent of the vote.

In the grand scheme of presidential campaigns, of course, straw polls are only informal surveys conducted by a relative handful of party activists. But they can be helpful in providing an early read on how the GOP's most dedicated voters in key primary and caucus states view the 2012 field.

Some straw polls are more informative than others, however.

Heavily Democratic Orangeburg County hosted its GOP convention on Saturday and ran a straw poll with 30 names on the ballot, including several noncandidates such as former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter and House Speaker John Boehner.

But only 25 Republicans attended the convention.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ron Paul touts budget ‘no’ vote in N.H.

By Juana Summers
April 15th 2011

MANCHESTER, N.H. — While many of his House colleagues headed back to their districts Friday for a two-week recess, Ron Paul flew north to New Hampshire, where he received a warm embrace for his “no” vote on Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget plan.

“We had two big bills, the CR and the budget,” Paul told a packed house at St. Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics Friday evening. “As a bit of information, I did not vote for the CR, and I did not vote for the budget. I did not vote for the budget because I don’t think it will do anything.”

The audience cheered for Paul, one of only four Republicans to vote against the fiscal 2012 budget, who gave a wide-ranging speech that called for a return to liberty and slammed Obama’s lack of foreign policy leadership.

The Texas congressman, who recently created a “testing the waters” account that allows him to start raising money toward a White House bid, slammed Obama’s foreign policy positions, saying presidents are becoming more and more arrogant.

“We’ve already spent a billion dollars in the last couple weeks just in Libya and we don’t have any money,” Paul said. Hearkening back to Obama’s Libya speech, where he said U.S. military action in Libya has been “in our national interest,” Paul suggested a different approach, saying if Obama has interests in Libya, he should go there and protect them himself.

Paul also assailed his fellow members of Congress, saying some of them had lost sight of what the Constitution means.

“Everybody goes to Congress, everybody takes the same oath,” Paul said. “It seems like nobody knows what they’re doing.”

Paul has been to three of the four early primary and caucus states in recent months. While his presidential flirtations have garnered less media attention than many of his likely rivals, his fundraising operation has chugged along. Paul raised roughly $3 million last quarter through his myriad political groups, well ahead of many other GOP presidential hopefuls.

Despite recently edging toward a White House run, Paul made no mention of the 2012 election in his speech Friday evening and sidestepped a questioner who outright asked if he planned to run for the Republican nomination.

Speaking with reporters immediately following his speech, Paul said he plans to announce a decision soon.

“I know I can’t forever be undecided,” he said. “I think within a month. The reception has been good and maybe in a month I can make a decision.”

Employing a familiar adage in his speech, Paul compared American spending to a drug addiction, saying the U.S. has been “addicted” to too much spending and too much borrowing.

“We’ve been addicted to living beyond our means. Eventually, we’re called to task and we have to live within our means and that’s what we’re witnessing today,” Paul said.