Republicans Embrace Ron Paul on Domestic Policy

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“He hasn’t
bombed Iran yet,” says Ron Paul, when asked to assess the best
and worst characteristics of President Barack Obama’s six months
in office.

“The worst
thing is he is probably still thinking about it.”

No sooner does
the representative from Texas’ 14th Congressional District,
nicknamed “Dr. No” by his detractors, find himself embraced
by mainstream Republicans (and even some Democrats) on domestic
policy issues, then he pivots his focus to foreign affairs.

Obama, Paul
told POLITICO during a sit-down in his office this week, “has
talked a little better than his action, but he has already expanded
[the number of troops] in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He became the
peace candidate: ‘Yeah, we’re going to end that war in
Iraq.’ But it’s not sincere. I don’t think they had any
intention, never did.”

It’s a
unique time for Paul. With the economy in the tank, the same cable
news shows that spurned him during the election now keep asking
him on to talk monetary policy. Republican House members are finally
voting with him on spending measures.

But
following his exhilarant, if quixotic, quest for the presidency,
Paul finds himself simultaneously gratified and frustrated by his
return to the friendlier-than-before confines of the House of Representatives.
He thinks he’s well situated in Congress to push for his libertarian
causes, but then claims he doesn’t "pay a whole lot of attention"
to the activity on the House floor these days, adding, "I don’t
think it’s relevant to the big picture.”

“A lot
of this is just tinkering, bailing out, more money, more spending,
no shift of direction and it’s a little bit frustrating," he
says.

Asked if he
feels more embraced by the Republican Party establishment, Paul
shrugs and says, "half and half.”

"I think
there’s respect. But they don’t call me in and say, ‘What we
need to find out from you is how you reach the young people.’"

As for another
presidential run in 2012, “I don’t think that’s likely,”
Paul says.

But in the
next breath, he admits that he would have made the same prediction
three years before his last run for the party’s banner. And
he questions whether the names being bandied about as possible Republican
nominees will connect to his supporters.

“The one
thing that is characteristic about anybody who joins us is that
they are energized and everybody recognizes that," Paul says.
"We also know that it is the energy in a small group of people
that really leads nations.”

"Let’s
say I have 15 percent of Republicans and [Mitt] Romney has 30 percent.
If his people aren’t energized, our guys might stand for three of
his."

As for soon-to-be
departing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Paul dismisses her supporters
as "more establishment, conventional Country-Club type of Republicans.”

"I wonder
whether she’s energizing the 15—20 year olds," Paul muses.
"That would be a question I would have. Because she doesn’t
talk about the Federal Reserve and some of these issues. She doesn’t
talk too much about personal liberties, civil liberties, getting
rid of drug laws, attacking the war on drugs, punishing people who
torture."

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July
20, 2009

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

© 2009 Politico

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