" After two decades of standing in his own rhetorical realm in Congress, Ron Paul is finally gaining some attention.
|Republican presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, talks to reporters June 5 after the Republican presidential primary debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Paul is in Kansas City this week for the National Right to Life Convention.|
Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, is making an impact in his second bid for the U.S. presidency. The combination of a rabid Internet presence and appearances on nationally televised debates has raised Paul’s profile.
The attention hasn’t translated into traction in polls, though. Paul usually registers in the single digits against other Republican contenders. He’s a long shot to win the nomination.
Paul is among a number of presidential candidates, including Democrat John Edwards and Republican Mitt Romney - who have visited Missouri in recent days. Paul is in Kansas City this week for the National Right to Life Convention.
The Tribune interviewed Paul by phone, asking him about his popularity on the Internet, his stance on foreign policy and his chances for pulling off the upset of a lifetime in the race for the White House.
| Coming Sunday |
Ron Paul’s comments have hit a nerve among opponents but also struck a chord with the public. Read more about the polarizing presidential hopeful
A: I think the ideas of liberty are very young historically. It really had a burst of enthusiasm with our revolution. If you look at all of history, the notion that government should be minimal in size and that individuals should rule their own lives - it’s a real modern idea. And I think young people just naturally go in that direction. What they’re realizing is that they’re being delivered a horrendous deal and a lot of obligations. And all of a sudden, when they hear someone say something what they’ve been thinking about, I think they respond very favorably. I’m really happy about it. So I think the age of the individual delivering the message is irrelevant if the message is young and exciting. In contrast, the ideas of big government and controlling other people’s lives and invading other countries - that’s been around for thousands of years. And it’s old and ancient, and it fails. And young people are more idealistic, and I think that’s one of the reasons they are looking at our campaign really carefully.
A: If you take some sort of entitlement program in this country that’s well entrenched and people are very much adapted to, that would require changes in the law. But if you had a president with a different attitude about foreign intervention, that individual could start backing away. The president is in charge of the Navy - we wouldn’t have to have our Navy in the Persian Gulf and near Iran, threatening Iran to behave the way we want or else. So there’s a lot of things you can do as commander in chief of troops. You could start bringing troops home. How long do we expect our people to pay for protecting the borders between North and South Korea while avoiding the borders between Mexico and the United States?
A: Not exactly. I’m for supporting the Constitution, and the Constitution still says only gold and silver can be legal tender. … The reasons I don’t like to say "go back" is because there were shortcomings in the original gold standard. What I reject, and the founders totally rejected, was a paper standard - creating money out of thin air. Spending money you don’t have. Printing it up. Causing inflation. Causing bubbles. Causing recessions. And wiping out the middle class. The middle class is getting poorer as the wealthy class is getting wealthier.
A: Well, I think we shouldn’t be involved. I don’t think we should tell Israel what to do, and I don’t think we should finance all of Israel’s military activities. We just get blamed for if they get involved and Palestinians get mistreated. It’s our fault because we gave the money? At least all of the Palestinians and the Arabs will blame us. So I would say that the founders were correct. I think Ronald Reagan was absolutely correct when he pulled the troops out of Lebanon. He said he didn’t realize how irrational they were in their politics over there, and he said we had to change our policy. So he intervened, the Marines were killed, he said it was a mistake, and he left. I support his position on that and the founders’ position. And I just think that our interference hurts Israel.
A: I don’t think anybody knows. I don’t know what the future will bring, and neither do they. They don’t know if I will, and I can’t say that I know I will. But, all I can say is so far, so good. I mean, six months ago, if you would have said to me, ‘Well, Ron, if you do this, we’re probably going to have a million people visit Web sites and look into and inquire about your candidacy.’ And if you add up all the hits on all the Web sites, I’m sure it must be that many. Because we see tens of thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of people getting involved. I would have said, ‘No, that doesn’t sound likely.’ But it turned out it is. And every day it’s more. So, I would say that only time will answer that question."
Ron Paul, as usual, gives a good account on these interviews.