Champion of Freedom

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“I’m Ron Paul, I’m a Congressman from Texas serving in my tenth term. I am the champion of the Constitution.”

~ Ron Paul (R-Texas), self introduction in the CNN presidential debate, June 5, 2007

The statement above was not mere braggadocio; Representative Ron Paul has the most consistent record in Washington of defending the constitutional limits of government of any person in Congress. Over nearly three decades, Representative Paul has never voted for a tax increase, an unbalanced budget, a debt limit increase, federal gun restrictions, foreign aid, bailouts of private institutions, or unconstitutional spending of any kind.

He consistently earns a perfect 100-percent rating on The New American’s “Freedom Index,” and has stood alone in defending the U.S. Constitution in so many 434-1 votes in the House of Representatives that he earned the nickname “Dr. No.” He is also a Duke University Medical School graduate and obstetrician who’s delivered 4,000 babies.

He has served 12 terms as a Republican Congressman, but broke briefly with the GOP to run as the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988. He also sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2008. It was Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential run that gave birth to the modern Tea Party, and he has been called the “Godfather” of the Tea Party movement. The election to the Senate of Ron Paul’s son, Rand Paul (also a medical doctor), was the most widely celebrated Tea Party victory of the 2010 election cycle.

Representative Paul voted against the Iraq War (decrying the war’s violation of Christian just-war principles), voted against the Patriot Act (because of its violations of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution), and has championed the idea of auditing and eventually abolishing the Federal Reserve Bank (the nation’s central bank) and replacing it with the gold standard.

It’s on economic issues that Ron Paul shows his greatest strength and foresight.

He first became interested in economics when the post-WWII Bretton Woods agreement over the gold standard broke up in 1971, and began a lifelong study of the Austrian school of economics. Concern for the economic calamities facing the nation today inspired his first run for Congress in 1976, and Paul accurately predicted the 2007-08 housing bubble/bust as early as September 6, 2001, when he said in a speech from the House floor:

The Federal Reserve credit created during the last eight months has not stimulated economic growth in technology or in the industrial sector, but a lot of it ended up in the expanding real estate bubble, churned by the $3.2 trillion of debt maintained by the GSEs, the Government Sponsored Enterprises. The GSEs, made up of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank, have managed to keep the housing market afloat, in contrast to the more logical slowdown in hotel and office construction…. Instead of the newly inflated money being directed toward the stock market, it now finds its way into the rapidly expanding real estate bubble. This too will burst, as all bubbles do. The Fed, the Congress, or even foreign investors can’t prevent the collapse of this bubble.

Rep. Paul’s repeated – and amazingly accurate – predictions of the housing bust were panned by GOP primary voters in 2007 and early 2008, as the enormity of the economic crisis had not yet become apparent. In an October 9, 2007 GOP presidential debate, Ron Paul was the only candidate who believed that the economy was not on a sound footing, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson claimed there was no recession looming. Ron Paul’s warnings were ignored, as was the Austrian school of economics he had come to follow.

But once the recession – and the reasons behind it – became clear, the media and voters took a renewed interest in both Paul and Austrian economics, though too late for the 2008 presidential cycle.

Likewise, Rep. Paul suffered from poor timing in his opposition to the Iraq War during the 2008 GOP primary, when the war was being waged by a fellow Republican President and Osama bin Laden was still at large. At the time, many GOP primary voters wrongly believed there was a connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Rep. Paul’s insistence in 2007 presidential debates that bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan was ignored by his rivals and the voters alike. Since then, however, Osama bin Laden has been found and killed in Pakistan. And the appetite for more wars among both voters and members of the military alike has abated substantially.

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