Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Campaign 2012: We Review Ron Paul

Today we shall take a peek at presidential candidate Ron Paul
and his candidacy. A U.S. representative from Texas and a pre-
vious candidate for the presidency, as a Republican and as a
Libertarian, Paul is a unique individual who brings a unique per-
spective to the Republican field of White House contenders and
to the presidential race itself.


Ronald Ernest Paul was born on August 20, 1935 in Pittsburg,
Pennsylvania, to parents Howard Caspar Paul and Margaret
(nee' Dumont) Paul. His paternal great-grandparents came to
the United States from Germany, and Ron Paul's mother was
of German and Irish heritage. After graduating from suburban
Dormont High School, Paul received a B.S. degree in biology
from Gettysburg State College in 1957. He next earned a Doctor
of Medicine degree at Duke University in 1961. Having married
his wife, Carolyn, in this period of his life, they relocated to
Michigan where Paul would complete his medical internship at
the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, following that with serving
as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1963
to 1965 and in the United States Air National Guard from 1965
to 1968.

After leaving the military, the Pauls relocated to Texas where Dr.
Paul established his private medical practice, specializing in
obstetrics and gynaecology. In his medical practice, Ron Paul
regularly lowered his fees or provided his services free of
charge, refusing to accept Medicaid or Medicare payments.
Since his election to Congress, Paul has also refused to sign
up for the government pension that members of Congress
receive, saying that it would be "hypocritical and immoral"
to do so.

While a medical resident, Ron Paul read Friedrich Hayek's
The Road to Serfdom, which led him to study the books
of Ludwig Von Mises and Ayn Rand, who like Hayek
had influenced supporters of free economic markets and
small government. When President Richard Nixon imple-
mented the final steps to divorcing the U.S. dollar from the
gold standard, the young physician decided to enter the
realm of politics, saying in subsequent years "After that
day, all money would be political money rather than money
of real value. I was astounded." Paul joined the Republican
Party, becoming a delegate to the Texas Republican
convention and a Republican candidate for the U.S. House
of Representatives. The year Paul first ran for that office he
lost to incumbent Democrat Rep. Robert R. Casey.
However, President Gerald Ford appointed Casey to the
post of Director of the Federal Maritime Commission,
and Paul ran again in a special election to fill the vacant
office in April 1976, this time winning. In his quest to
win a full term Paul lost the seat to Democrat Robert
Gammage in a very tight race, missing out by just under
300 votes (0.2%), but winning back the office in a
rematch with Gammage two years later. His successful
campaign in the rematch with Gammage was due to his
popularity with the district's mothers, Gammage averred:
"I had real difficulty down in Brazoria County, where he
(Paul) practiced, because he delivered half the babies
in the county. There were only two obstetricians in the
county, and the other one was his partner."

Dr. Ron Paul served in Congress in three different periods
comprising 12 two-year terms: from 1976-77, then from
1979-85, and from 1997 to the present. Paul announced
that he would not be seeking another term in the U.S.
House in 2012 in order for him to concentrate his efforts
on his campaign for the presidency. During his years in
Congress, Paul opposed President Jimmy Carter's draft
reinstatement proposal, blasting his fellow Republicans
for favoring it, accusing them of being "more interested
in registering their children than they were their guns."
He also proposed legislation to cut Congressional pay
by the rate of inflation, initiated a "think tank", the
Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (FREE)
which has published books, monographs, and a monthly
newsletter, Ron Paul's Freedom Report, which touts
the principles of limited government. Serving on the
House Banking Committee, Paul has been a constant
critic of the Federal Reserve, in recent years calling
for an audit of the organization and its findings to be
made public. Paul also blasted what he saw as banking
mismanagement, blaming it for the savings and loan crisis
of the 1980s.

In 1984 Ron Paul ran for the United States Senate but lost
his party's primary. Paul gave up his House seat to run for
the Senate. In the 1988 presidential election, he left the
GOP to be the Libertarian Party's candidate for the White
House, getting on the ballot in 46 states and scoring third
in the popular vote with 432,179 votes (0.5%). Paul stated
that his presidential campaign was to promote his libertarian
ideas, speaking often before school and college audiences,
saying "We're just as interested in the future generation as
this election. These kids will vote eventually, and maybe,
just maybe, they'll go home and talk to their parents."
He also said that the youngsters are the ones who would
inherit the nation's debt and pay the bills, so it was vital
that he reach out to them with his message.

Following the 1988 presidential election, Ron Paul returned
to his medical practice in Texas. He also owned a coin
dealership for twelve years, Ron Paul Coins, and spoke
at the American Numismatic Association's 1988 conven-
tion. Paul sought the Republican nomination for the 2008
presidential race, twelve years after regaining his old House
seat, losing to eventual nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain.
He continued to make appearances at conservative events,
such as addressing the 2009 Conservative Political Action
Committee. Again seeking the GOP nod for a White House
run, Ron Paul is showing the country why he is one of the
most principled, consistent, and disciplined public servants
in politics; long ago, Paul proclaimed that he would "never
vote for legislation unless the measure is expressly author-
ized by the Constitution." While in Congress he made good
on his vow, and shows every indication that he would
continue along this path if elected our next president.


Rep. Paul has been described by many as a Constitution-
alist, and is thought of in that term even more readily
than as a conservative or a libertarian. A look at his
voting record over his years in Congress shows that
this is no hype nor hyperbole. Your studious Peasant
is hard-pressed to find a member of either chamber of
Congress, in either political party, who applies the test
of constitutionality more rigorously to legislation than
Ron Paul!

Paul supports free trade, and distinguishes between true
free trade and what he terms the "managed trade" given
us by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The latter have
only sent many of our country's jobs to other countries while
getting nothing in return, except an ever-growing trade
deficit. He supports the U.S. leaving the United Nations
and voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which auth-
orized the construction of a fence along our southern
border where many illegal immigrants had crossed over
to enter our country. As a member of Congress, Paul never
voted to raise taxes or for a budget deficit. Paul also has
opposed the PATRIOT Act, the legislation which was
supposed to provide for better protection against terrorist
threats but has infringed upon some rights of American
citizens, especially when travelling by plane even on
domestic flights. In addition, Paul opposes any national ID
card, the draft, and the War on Drugs, the third item because
of infringements on some rights enjoyed by Americans as
well as the loss of many brave law enforcement people for
nothing, as drugs have reached into every part of our society.
And on the issue of abortion Ron Paul is solidly and unapolo-
getically pro-life. There's a lot to like about Ron Paul for
conservatives, especially those in Tea Party circles.


Although Ron Paul certainly rings conservative chimes with
his stands on fiscal and social matters, his foreign policy
ideas have left many on the right bewildered. Many conser-
vatives find his war alternatives, such as Letters of Marque
and Reprisal against specific terrorist groups to be too small
in scope to be effective as they believe that the governments
of the countries where the terrorists base themselves should
face reprisals as well for harboring them. Paul's opposition
to the War in Iraq also drew criticism from conservative
quarters, as it was widely believed on the right that Saddam
Hussein was connected to some terrorist groups and may have
had weapons of mass destruction on Iraqi soil. While it
may always be a matter for debate as to these two beliefs,
it is certainly clear that Saddam waged chemical war on the
Kurds and some other groups in Iraq who were opposed
to his reign, and may have planned to do the same to foes
outside Iraq's borders. Moreover, either rightly or wrongly,
Ron Paul is perceived to be too dovish on foreign policy
concerning the Middle East and Afghanistan. Paul is thought
of as being a Republican on economic matters and a
Democrat on foreign policy. Your rigorous Peasant also
is perplexed by this dichotomy.


Ron Paul is, in many ways, historically reminiscent of the
founding fathers and their ideas for the conduct of the United
States in fiscal and foreign policy. Although some conserva-
tives find him either naive or weak on the latter, Paul does
make up for this perception with his strong stand on border
security and illegal immigration. Paul is every inch the
champion of limited, constitutionally proscribed government
that would certainly be welcome at this critical juncture in
our country's existence. The concerns that many right-of-
center folks hold regarding his foreign policy ideas will
prove to be a stumbling block to Paul's winning the GOP
presidential nomination, but if Ron Paul were to pull off
the trick (and achieve one of the biggest political upsets
in American history) he would prove very tough to beat
for President Obama.


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