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Profile: Ron Paul

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Photo by Gage Skidmore.The evergreen and libertarian leaning Ron Paul has officially announced his candidacy to be the Republican nominee for President. The 75 years young Republican Congressman for the 14th congressional district in Texas is making his 3rd run at the Presidency after first running in 1988 as a Libertarian.

He is now somewhat of a cult hero amongst in American politics after running a uniquely swashbuckling campaign in 2008 for the Republican nomination. Clearly he’s looking to build on that success saying in his announcement on Friday: “The time has come around to the point where the people are agreeing with much of what I’ve been saying for 30 years.” Adding: “So I think the time is right.”

Speaking of his aspirations for 2012 he said: “I’d be fine by doing very well. I believe right now, we’re coming in number one and the Republican primary is an absolute possibility.” He went on to say that this time around his prospects were, “many, many times better than it was four years ago. Our troops, our supporters – the grassroots – are enthusiastic, more so than ever.”

Ron Ernest Paul M.D. is also a very experienced obstetrician having delivered over 4000 babies and is naturally opposed to abortion but, in keeping with his libertarian beliefs, he is opposed to the government intervening on the issue. With abortion being one of the third rail issues of American politics such a perspective is going to be unpopular with the socially conservative grassroots of the Republican party which is undoubtedly the faction of the GOP he appeals to least. In the event he does become the nominee his appeal will be strongest amongst the socially moderate in both parties, fiscal conservatives including Blue Dog Democrats, libertarians and independents. Whilst his appeal is certainly broad his biggest struggle will be with the first hurdle.

The nature of the primary process ensures that nominees must first impress the party grassroots before they earn the opportunity to broadcast their message on a national stage. His relatively moderate stance on social issues such as abortion, drugs, faith in schools and other topics falling in the realm of ‘American values.’ In the past we have seen relative GOP moderates, such as John McCain in the 2008 election, move to the right on these issues in order to secure the party nomination.

It would be unlikely for Paul to bend his beliefs and pander to the grassroots of the party so late in his political career. Currently he serves of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Joint Economic Committee and Committee on Financial Services. He is also chair of the near 20 strong congressional Republican Liberty Caucus which seeks to promote the ideals of individual liberty, limited government and free market economics within the GOP. According to the American Journal of Political Science the Pennsylvania-born Congressman possesses the most conservative voting record in Congress since 1937 although undoubtedly this is as a result of his views on fiscal responsibility than his social views.

He also happens to be the father of junior Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and also seen as a founding influence of the now ultra-conservative Tea Party movement. Initially the movement was set up to protest against the first two budgets of the Obama administration consisting of 3 and 3.8 trillion dollars. They preached for fiscal restraint which is something at the core of Paul’s libertarian values however as the movement increasingly became a threat to the mainstream party it became increasingly co-opted. As a result the movement has departed from its unfiltered message of fiscal responsibility and morphed into a group that became the stomping ground for more socially conservative politicians such as Sarah Palin, the infamous Christine O’Donnell and the then unknown Marco Rubio who beat out party big wig Charlie Crist for the Senate.

Based on Paul’s 2008 run we can come to expect a strongly committed grassroots base with even more than the 500 ‘Students for Ron Paul’ groups organised in the last election. With the strong youth vote he draws he is expected to continue his strong online presence which earned him the highest rate of contributions from individuals and military personnel amongst Republicans. Whilst it is fair to say Congress’ ‘Dr. No’ is a long shot to be nominee he will certainly have the national spotlight shone on him given his pedigree and undoubtedly will ruffle a few feathers in the candidate debates like he did with Mitt Romney in 2008.

Photo by Gage Skidmore.

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About George Sandeman

  • Jefferson

    Ron Paul is the Thomas Jefferson of our time! He’s got my vote. No drug war, no middle east war, no income tax = Liberty, Peace, and Prosperity for all.

    Ron Paul 2012!

  • The Borg

    As a consistent libertarian, I occasionally disagree with Ron Paul on an issue or two. But his consistent opposition to American Empire has earned him a spot in the Oval Office. Finally we have a true “peace candidate,” who, when he says “end the wars” really means it.

    This time, there will be no stopping the liberty revolution.

  • Nate

    Go Ron Paul!

  • Cannonshop

    If, by some miracle, Ron Paul (or any OTHER Libertarian) got into the oval office as something other than a guest, tourist, or visitor, you’d rapidly discover how many of your good, liberal/conservative neighbours are really closet fascists (Fascist in the textbook, political-philosophy-wants-a-police-state way).

  • hmnben

    I don’t think Ron Paul will have a problem with the grassroots. No other candidate has the kind of grassroot following or energy behind them that Dr Paul has. The time has come for real change in this country. Liberty. Apply it everywhere and you’ll find the solutions to all our political problems.

  • http://usapresident2012.blogspot.com/ George Sandeman

    @hmnben – You are right in that he has some very strong and committed grassroots support, which i pointed out at the end of the article. However, social conservatives make up the majority of the grassroots and he will, as he always has, struggle mightily winning their votes.

    >> Thanks to everyone that has commented. Really appreciate it.

  • Baronius

    Unless Ron Paul has changed his position on abortion, he’s very much in favor of using the law to overturn Roe v. Wade.

    One thing this article doesn’t mention is the generally unfavorable view of Paul’s supporters. It’s great to start off a campaign with a grassroots organization, but in many cases the members of this organization have shown an unwillingness to work through normal political channels. The primaries are the ultimate insider’s game.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    I have seen (at least) two kinds of disaffected human rights activists coming together here.

    Refugees from the Right: People who have worked to see Roe v. Wade overturned, and then, to their horror, found themselves the political pawns (and in many cases, RELIGIOUS pawns) of those who would promote endless war.

    Refugees from the Left: Were enthusiastic campaigners for Obama because of their opposition to the war, and…yeah. We know how that worked out. Kristol has dubbed Obama a “born-again neocon days after consulting with him about Libya.”

    This rEVOLution has been, for four years, now, been attracting people who put the priority on the human rights “horse” before the political label cart, people who will switch allegiances when they find out they are being used by politicos who are merely paying lip service to those human rights ideals.

    If there is one thing EVERYONE in the grassroots movement has on his lips, it is PEACE. There are two kinds of peace, I suppose. The one comes from exterminating one’s opponent. The other comes from figuring out a way to live in harmony with him.

    I have come to the place where I look at the grassroots movement as a place where Americans may be learning, or relearning, how to do that very thing. Much better use of one’s time, talent and treasures than playing some silly political game :)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    “To the extent that is possible,” Christians are advised by the Apostle Paul, “be at peace with all men.”

    So, that by NO means precludes things like a strong national defense, (and at a micro micro micro level, using sanctified snark to answer an internet bully–am still trying to learn how to navigate this “harmless as doves, shrewd as serpents” way).

    “Conservative” Christians have been realizing for about a decade now that we have by NO means exhausted every means of living at peace with our political enemies, ways of living more justly with the other peoples who share the country—and the planet–with us.

    And people who do not see the Bible as their moral compass ALSO are seeing that pro-lifers who do have that focus of peace–even if they ARE pro-lifers can be valuable allies in helping them to build the kind of world they want to live in.

  • George Washington

    Constitutionally, legislatively, and morally, Ron Paul has no equal. His 22 year voting record speaks for itself. The World is watching. Ron Paul for President in 2012.

    Thank You