Show: Washington Unplugged
Bob Schieffer: You sound like you don’t think it’s a good idea to send those troops to Afghanistan?
Ron Paul: Not a good idea? I think it’s a disaster.
Bob Schieffer: Really?
Ron Paul: Oh, I think it’s sending the signal to the marketplace. Look at what’s happening to the market. There’s no serious intent to cutting back anywhere. And this is a godsend for us. If we wanted to come back to our senses, we need to cut like 500 billion dollars out of overseas expenditures, put half of that toward the deficit, take the other half and take care of people who are so totally dependent on the government; the sick people, and maybe some infrastructure. You could do that in a transition period to get us back to the basics. Then maybe we could work on the sound monetary system and get respect for the constitution again.
Bob Schieffer: What are you saying? Maybe step one is to draw down and not send those troops to Afghanistan and get the rest of the troops out of Iraq? Can we really do that and not endanger our security?
Ron Paul: With a stroke of the pen. We could. I mean, Obama has the authority.
Bob Schieffer: You don’t see a danger there. Those people over there on the border of Pakistan that they might…
Ron Paul: There’s a danger that they’re gonna kill each other and there’s a danger that we’re gonna be in the middle of this dogfight that’s been going on since Roman times.
There’s two reasons why it’s dangerous for us, or maybe three: financially it is a danger, it’s a danger to us because our military can be killed. They’re getting killed on daily basis. And it increases the chances of the terrorists being motivated to come and get us over here. So it’s a terrible policy.
Bob Schieffer: In a serious way, what do you think has happened and we’re seeing what looks on us almost a financial meltdown?
Ron Paul: It is. It’s a big meltdown and I think we’re barely to the middle of it. Quite frankly, I think we have a long way to go.
Bob Schieffer: How long do you think this is going to last?
Ron Paul: At the rate we’re digging a hole for ourselves, making this hole much bigger, I would say that it could last a decade.
Bob Schieffer: A decade?
Ron Paul: It could last a decade because we’re doing exactly the wrong things, and exactly the things that we did in the 1930s.
Bob Schieffer: What do you think needs to be done now?
Ron Paul: What we need to do is first analyze the monetary system. We got into this mess, like we’ve said, you know, we’ve had these dollars that we were allowed to create out of thin air, encouraged this huge financial debt. We don’t need more debt, we don’t need more spending. We need less spending, less debt, and we need to get out of the way. We need liquidation of debt. Our programs here have been designed to keep the prices high and to not let any bankruptcies occur. But you want the bankruptcies, you want the price of houses to go down so the people who have saved can buy a house. So we want to do exactly opposite of what the politicians feel compelled to do. The politicians, you know, have to do things. But we could do a lot, we could lower taxes, we could cut spending, we could balance the budget, we could pay down our debt, but we really need to get out of the way. But that is a revolutionary idea. That’s almost like accepting the constitution again.
Bob Schieffer: So Congressman, whatever happened to the Republican Party?
Ron Paul: It’s dissipated. There’s a little bit of life left to it. Ever since they’ve lost, they’re born-again conservatives, they get together, they vote down, you know, they don’t go down but they vote against all the big spending bills now. So they’ve been unified and they’ve been reinvigorated. But to me, it’s too little, too late.
Bob Schieffer: You know, what I thought in these recent weeks when I’ve been hearing Republicans talk about the stimulus package, I thought to myself, “Well the rest of the Republicans are starting to sound like Ron Paul”. Do you ever get that feeling?
Ron Paul: Oh, on the floor I kid, a little bit. I’ll be getting to vote; and you know I do have a reputation for voting no now and then, so I’m getting off the card and put it in. I vote no, and another Republican member comes in and he puts his card, and he goes, and I say, “So you’re voting with me and I’m voting with you now?” And they just sort of laugh because they don’t want to talk about the embarrassment.
Bob Schieffer: Let’s talk a little politics. Let’s talk about the Republican Party. I would think the Republican Party right now is about where it was after Lyndon Johnson scored his big landslide over Barry Goldwater. People were saying “it’s all done; there won’t be a Republican Party”. Of course we know what happened four years later, Richard Nixon, a Republican, was elected. Will Republicans find another Richard Nixon? I wouldn’t say Nixon in the sense that this is probably not what you’re looking for, but is there a leader going to emerge here?
Ron Paul: Probably not in the near future do I expect to have a Republican leader that will lead us out of the wilderness as much as, I think the Democrats aren’t doing any better than the Republicans. I mean, they’re spending more, they’re printing more, and they’re doing exactly the wrong thing as well. So eventually they’re going to get blamed. I date it back really to 1974, you know, with the end of Nixon. And I came into the Congress the first time, I was here, it was at the end of that 1974 class. And I think there were about 140 Republicans that was, you know, a real low point, but it did come back. When the Republicans are in the minority, they do speak better. But when they’re in the majority, they act poorly.
Bob Schieffer: You showed people that you know a little something about the Internet and how it works and the power of the Internet. Do you have any advice to politicians in your party about how… do they need to find out more about this Internet and how it’s working because you certainly showed that you, for one thing, have raised a lot of money?
Ron Paul: Yeah, I complain a little bit because the Republican leaders either in the Congress or elsewhere never come to me and ask me for advice about why do young people come to my rallies, and they come in large numbers. And of course, they use the Internet a lot. I do get a lot of questions, practical questions like, “How do you raise money, Ron, on the Internet?” And the answer is that I don’t know how to raise money on the Internet. The question that should be asked is “Why are they motivated, why are they interested?” And the answer is, they like the message. And they know this system isn’t working, they know the Social Security system is broken, they don’t like this foreign policy. It’s the message that draws them to the Internet. And the money sent to me, the big day, I forget, 8 or 10 million dollars, it was all spontaneous. It was not organized by us, it was by people that were highly motivated and said, “it’s time we hear that message”.
Bob Schieffer: Now I have to ask you, were you twittering or emailing during the President’s speech the other night?
Ron Paul: Well I don’t know whether I should confess.
Bob Schieffer: Well a lot of people are apparently were.
Ron Paul: I’m not sure I should confess to what I was doing. I have found in the last 10 years it’s unbearable for me to go to those speeches and I listen to them partially, elsewhere.
Bob Schieffer: So you didn’t go?
Ron Paul: No, I don’t attend because it is truly emotionally unbearing for me, and I couldn’t do it for George Bush because, you know, I couldn’t stand people yelling and cheering about what we were not doing, and I couldn’t stand the foreign policy. And therefore I have to keep up in different ways than participating in an event like that. That event doesn’t do me much good.
Bob Schieffer: So what do you think the future of the Republican Party is?
Ron Paul: I think of it in terms of the country and the future of the Republican and Democratic Party and there’s not much good in either party at the rate we’re going. And right now, I think, in the near future, the Republican Party has a long way to go to build their credibility up again because to be fiscal conservatives all of a sudden, I say, hey look we just had 8 years of it or longer, because since 1994, you know, we’ve really had a lot to say about it. So we’ve lost credibility.
Bob Schieffer: Would you ever run for President again?
Ron Paul: Probably not. It’s not on my agenda.
Bob Schieffer: Okay. It was very nice to talk to you.
Ron Paul: Well, nice to talk to you.