Republicans Embrace Ron Paul on Domestic Policy
by Daniel Libit
Recently by Ron Paul: Fed Independence or Fed Secrecy?
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."
July 20, 2009
Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.
© 2009 Politico