Meeting Ron Paul On The Campaign Trail


While not an ardent Ron Paul supporter, I am a long-time admirer of the only libertarian-leaning member of Congress. This week, he’s been making a swing through the state in a final push to gain the Republican nomination (he’s also participating in a debate tonight in Des Moines). With a Saturday morning unfettered with any obligations, this morning was my chance to see Dr. Paul in Marshalltown and hear the message in person.

Thankfully, I decided to get to the campaign stop about an hour early. I walked into the empty room and picked a prime front-row seat while a staffer was placing campaign materials on the empty seats. The materials included a donation form containing his “Plan to Restore America” and the Paul Family Cookbook, complete with pictures of the family and a note of support from Mrs. Paul. While I’ll take a pass on the artichoke dip, the mashed potato/crab casserole sounds pretty damn good.

I was soon joined by a young college student who had seen Paul’s speech the night before at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. He was disappointed that Dr. Paul did not take questions the night before, and brought his question with a notecard. We discussed conservative politics a bit (the student didn’t understand why Paul was so critical of Newt Gingrich–here’s a start) and whether Dr. Paul’s solutions were reasonable. While I think the Federal Reserve deserves scrutiny, I wonder if Paul and his followers have considered the repercussions “ending the Fed” would have on global markets. The college student had concerns about dismantling government programs such as agriculture price supports (a concern I politely nodded on, but do not share).

I tracked down the staffer that was passing out the campaign material, and asked if Dr. Paul would be willing to sign my copy of his book End The Fed. She said to give it to her, and she’d get it signed, making it clear this would be the only such request that would be fulfilled. About 15 minutes, she returned with my book, signed “Ron Paul.”

Traffic started trickling in the closer it came to 10 am, the scheduled time for Paul to speak (it was estimated 100 people attended). An elderly gentleman sat by me and asked about my support. He’s a full-fledged Paulite, having attened 4 other Paul speeches and having participated in the Iowa Straw Poll. He’s frustrated with the media’s lack of attention, stating when the media does pay attention, they deliberately make him look ragged and tired. I asked about his participation in the Straw Poll (an event I always felt was a joke-you have to PAY to vote??), and he says there were uncounted ballots that were definitely Paul votes (enough to have landed Paul a victory) and the media covered up this alleged conspiracy.

After a quick conversation with another campaign aide (who urged me to get Ron Paul supporters out to the caucuses), it was time for the main event. With apologies to the elderly gentleman sitting beside me, Ron Paul looked ragged and tired (this is not an indictment, just an observation). The highlights I gleamed from his speech:

*We need a government not afraid of whistleblowers that reveal the truth.

*Our government today is more oppressive than the British government the Founding Fathers rebelled against.

*Government is established to protect our right to privacy (which would seem to contradict a previous Paul position).

*The Federal Reserve is responsible for 90% of the business cycle, and we need to audit it (he didn’t use the word “end”) so it’s not “bailing out the world.”

*His budget plan will contain $1 trillion in real budget cuts, and not just cuts in proposed increases.

*We need a foreign policy “based on the Golden Rule.”

After his speech, Paul had time for a few questions. The college kid finally got his chance to ask his well-rehearsed question, comparing the government to a rusty bicycle with some parts worth salvaging and some that needed scrapping. What would Paul salvage? His response: look to the Constitution on what to salvage.

The next question came from your humble blogger, a moment captured by the Associated Press. I asked about his budget, stating that it would be a “remarkable accomplishment” to balance the budget by FY2015 as he proposes, but how does he plan to overcome the guaranteed hostility from Congress and special interests? He gave the question a thoughtful response (looking me in the eye the whole time-kudos to Dr. Paul for that), stating the need to build coalitions of support to fight the special interests (specifically stating “the military-industrial complex”), and convincing people that the major cuts to government will come down on those special interests. According to Paul, the coalitions of supporters can overcome the interests. I hope he’s right. But the bailouts were overwhelmingly opposed, as was Obamacare. Look what happened there.

One more question from someone from the American Cancer Society, and the event wrapped up. People were asked to stick around and find out how they could help with the campaign-few did. After a brief chat with the AP photographer who snapped the photo in the above link, I grabbed a “Ron Paul Revolution” bumper sticker to counter the Obama sticker on my wife’s SUV, and gave a final thanks to the campaign aide for getting me the autograph, who in return complimented my question for Dr. Paul.

Final Thoughts: I liked what I heard. The areas I disagree with Paul on weren’t addressed, largely because those issues aren’t central to his campaign. I still don’t give Paul much of a chance to win the Republican nomination. While I didn’t take the conspiracy-minded voter’s theories serious, there’s no denying that a large segment of the Republican Party would like nothing better for than Paul and his supporters to just go away. But the frontrunner position has been a merry-go-round since the fall. The last frontrunner dropped out under allegations of adultery, and the new frontrunner is a confirmed SERIAL adulterer with a ton of baggage. While improbable, it’s not impossible for Paul to find himself as the frontrunner. Should Paul take the lead, however, he has a skeleton in his closet as well: his inflammatory newsletters. Despite his claims, he has not yet been forthcoming about what he does or doesn’t know about them. He needs to be. It’s long overdue.


Tags: , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “Meeting Ron Paul On The Campaign Trail”

  1. The Ghost of Newsletters Past « The Blog For Truth, Justice, & The Josh Way Says:

    […] In my write-up on Rep. Ron Paul’s townhall meeting a couple weeks ago (where your humble blogger got to ask a question), I mentioned that he will eventually need to deal with the newsletter controversy that has been under the surface this campaign. […]

  2. End The Fed by Ron Paul « The Blog For Truth, Justice, & The Josh Way Says:

    […] political concern, Ron Paul’s book End The Fed (which I managed to get autographed at a campaign rally) is required […]

  3. The Ghost of Newsletters Past | The Blog For Truth, Justice, & The Josh Way Says:

    […] In my write-up on Rep. Ron Paul’s townhall meeting a couple weeks ago (where your humble blogger got to ask a question), I mentioned that he will eventually need to deal with the newsletter controversy that has been under the surface this campaign. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: