Show: Alan Colmes Show
Alan Colmes: I’m Alan Colmes, and I want to welcome back to the microphone Ron Paul, the Congressman from Texas who served in Congress on and off for almost 30 years, ran for president in 1988 as a Libertarian Party candidate, sought the Republican nomination this time around. Dr. Paul, thank you so much for coming on once again.
Ron Paul: Good to be with you again.
Alan Colmes: Appreciate it very much. You recently were asked about the statements of Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, about what he said about secession and here is what you said.
Ron Paul: It stirred the media, and believe me, it really stirred some of the liberal media where they started really screaming about what is going on here. “This is un-American”, I heard one individual say, “This is treasonous to even talk about it”. Well, they don’t know their history very well because if they think about, it’s an American tradition, it’s very American to talk about secession. That’s how we came into being. Thirteen colonies seceded from the British and established a new country. So secession is very much of an American principle.
Alan Colmes: Now, people heard you say that, Dr. Paul. Do you prefer to be called Dr. Paul or Congressman Paul?
Ron Paul: Sometimes just Ron is okay too. It doesn’t matter. You know, doctors are still more popular than the politician.
Alan Colmes: Yes, I get you, I’m going with Dr. So a lot of people heard you say that and they felt, “Oh my God, he wants Texas to secede from the union”. That’s not what you were saying exactly, right?
Ron Paul: No. I mean I want the debate to go on. I want the principle to be alive. But, even the governor wasn’t advocating secession, but he was just pandering a bit to, you know, the very conservative element because he’s in a tough race. But, no. I don’t think it should be off the books because I think if you always have that hanging out there that if you abuse the individual states at a federal level they would have another option, I think there would be more cautious. There wouldn’t be overruling some of the state laws like they’re doing in California now with marijuana and the Feds come in and they arrest people like that. So under this threat where if the states get fed up, they could do something about it. So I was just arguing on principle that you should at least hold that as an option because some who say that you talk this way that it’s treasonous and un-American and I think that’s too strong of a criticism for anybody who [...]
Alan Colmes: You don’t think it’s likely, I mean… isn’t it unusual when you have a governor of a state talking about the secession of his state? That’s rather unusual.
Ron Paul: Yes, it is. But, once again I don’t think he was calling for it and it’s not likely. But I do think that something could happen because of the terrible climate that we live in economically where the federal government may lose control. If they lose control of the value of the dollar then all kinds of things could happen. We’ve never quite gone through that except at the time of our revolution when the continental dollar was destroyed.
But, that to me could invite people from just disregarding the federal government because the federal government couldn’t just keep creating money. Our national debt last year went up. The last previous 12 months it went up 2 trillion dollars. So, this is nothing to sneeze at and they can’t do it. Eventually, I have argued the case that the empire will end. I want to bring all the troops home and do it gradually and gracefully. The Soviet Empire ended for economic reasons and ours will end too, for economic reasons.
Alan Colmes: Do you believe we are in the same danger the Soviet Union was in its last days?
Ron Paul: Well, not as much danger because they had a totalitarian system which was much more ruthless than ours. But economically speaking, yes, we could have a calamity. The financial structure collapsed because it was built on debt and speculation and pyramiding of all these instruments. So that has ended and the financial situation is so much worse.
The dollar still exists and people will still buy dollars. I think there is a pretty strong collusion among our central banks to buy dollars and prop this thing up. But you can’t create trillions and trillions of dollars out of thin air and expect the world to keep taking them. We’re getting a free ride and they’re buying, like the Chinese are starting to buy our treasury bills again. They quit for two months, but this last month they started buying them up again because they have over a trillion of them. So they’re [...] as well. But that can’t last, if that were the case we as Americans wouldn’t even have to work. We just print the money and we buy what we need.
Alan Colmes: I want to squeeze a call or two in here for you but before that let’s move on to another topic here. I found your comments on the pirates most fascinating, when you said that the situation in your own… I believe you wrote this piece… that the situation is not unlike the situation with the non-state thugs that perpetrated the attacks on 9/11. That these are non-state thugs, as you put them. They’re not countries, yet we went to war with countries after 9/11 and there are those who are talking about going into Somalia which would a total misdirection of what we need to do.
Ron Paul: And they’re also… this administration already suggested that we put troops in Eritrea which is, you know, supportive of the radicals in Somalia. But in between is Ethiopia, and we more or less have control of Ethiopia and Bush sent the Ethiopian troops in there trying to do what Clinton tried to do with our military and failed. It’s just so messy and I think we should stay out of there and the last thing we need is another war. I mean, this piracy is a serious problem but…
Alan Colmes: You want to arm ships and private shipping companies and owners and operators and make sure they are weaponized?
Ron Paul: Yes. Just so that they are not vigilantes. They are authorized, they are deputized in what they do to defend themselves. They have protection. But these letters of marque and reprisal written in our early history were very precise and told them what they could do and they had to act within the law, within international law. So it wasn’t like we were just turning these people loose and going and shooting up.
It’s a little bit different than just hiring hired guns. It’s allowing these individuals to be armed and I argued the same case with 9/11. Once a state attacks you, you’re allowed to have a government [response]… our government has done it. They just go out and start another war.
Alan Colmes: Well, we have created more terrorism since 9/11.
Ron Paul: I just think that the founders were rather astute in having a provision where you could deal with the violence without going to war, and right now more so than ever. We’re in an age which we call the 4th generation warfare where essentially all the battles now are being performed by non-governments. There are so many of these people that aren’t governments and you just can’t… we can beat anybody, we can destroy every army 10 times over with our weaponry, but you know, we don’t have any automatic victory in Iraq. We’re not going to win that much of a victory in Afghanistan and they bring us to our knees.
Alan Colmes: Let’s go to Ed here in Parker Heights, Texas with Congressman Ron Paul. Ed, go ahead.
Ed: Yes sir, yes. I think that the secession topic is very, very interesting to at least leave on the table, and that it should be debated. I was wondering if you could provide any data to suggest that if the money we pay in as income tax to the federal government, is that more or less than the money that the state of Texas receives from the federal government as far as certain programs being funded.
Ron Paul: Without being absolutely certain I think that we are not the worst off and we’re not the best off but we don’t get every cent back. You know another analogy I think it’s worth thinking about is we belong to the U.N. 25% of the people want us out of the UN. 75% say it’s okay. But right now we pay a larger proportion, more than anybody else, but also we don’t have the votes with us. We boycotted a function this weekend because we didn’t have the votes. They were liable to vote something against Israel. So, would the American people say, “We can never secede from the United Nations”. We should be able to leave the United Nations if it doesn’t serve our purpose.
Alan Colmes: Thank you, Ed, for the call. Would you leave the United Nations, Dr. Paul, if you had your way?
Ron Paul: Oh yes, I think so. I think if there were provisions where people could negotiate and talk and bring about peace, but they have perpetuated war and caused the war conditions. Their first big episode was to authorize the war in Korea and they don’t even have it under their charter.
Alan Colmes: So you would just get out? You would just turn tail and run get the United States out of the U.N.?
Ron Paul: Yes, I would. But that means I would want real diplomacy, and not this pretence of diplomacy where they go and talk and try to pass resolutions.
Alan Colmes: How’s Obama doing in terms of diplomacy? I mean, he is certainly taking a different course than President Bush who was terrible in diplomacy. Isn’t this president at least taking steps in the right direction by extending his hand out to other countries?
Ron Paul: It’s interesting that you ask that because that is exactly what I have been thinking about, because tomorrow Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, will be before our committee and I will be addressing that subject and I am going to complement her. I think the tone has definitely been improved, but I’m going to ask questions about some real changes.
Have we bought a single military officer or a troop home? Have we expanded our troops? Have we expanded the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan? You know, I think their tone is much better and I think our image is improving, but we also overwhelmingly have to change policy. Right now there are a lot of folks both on the left and right that believe that policy really hasn’t changed.
Alan Colmes: I’d like to ask you a few more things. We got to take a break here, but I’d like to ask you about the torture memos if that is something you would like to talk about, because you know the big debate now is do we prosecute or go after these lawyers who wrote the memos? Do we move forward and not look backwards at the Bush administration? You care to hold on for a second?
Ron Paul: Okay, I will. I will do that.
Alan Colmes: Okay we will continue with Ron Paul. We will ask him about that. The big news of the day in terms of the president saying he is not averse to looking at at least the people who wrote those torture memos and perhaps have a commission to investigate it and we will then get to your calls at (877) 4-ALAN, (877) 367-2526. We’re online at www.alan.com. And coming up later how you can be green and doing what God wants at the same time.
I’m Alan Colmes. We’re talking to Dr. Ron Paul. He has many years in Congress, he has served Texas from the 14th district since 1997, was a seeker of the Republican nomination for president this last time around, was the Libertarian Party candidate in 1988 for the President of the United States.
We started to talk about the issue of prosecuting interrogation abuses. Dr. Paul, should that be something that should be pursued?
Ron Paul: Yes, certainly. I mean, not pursuing it means you condone it and when you find out that somebody has been waterboarded 268 times or whatever number it was, sounds to me like real torture and I think somebody should be responsible for that. I think the president has changed his tone on this because several days ago he said he would not pursue it. Today he said he would investigate it, so I think he is hearing from the progressives.
Alan Colmes: He said that he doesn’t favor prosecuting CIA operatives who used those techniques saying they were simply doing what they believed was legal so he’s still saying that. But is that the same thing as saying, “Hey I’m just following orders?”
Ron Paul: I think so. I mean, if you or I were asked to waterboard somebody even once, I hope I would have the brains to stop. But what if you asked to waterboard the same guy hundreds of times. I mean…
Alan Colmes: Would that tell you that waterboarding doesn’t work?
Ron Paul: I think it would, but you know, they haven’t sworn off rendition. I think the tone is changing and that is good but it remains to be seen if our policy will change. Certainly, I don’t expect a whole lot to change with the foreign policy. The very first thing he did in the new budget was raise the DOD budget by 9%.
Alan Colmes: Yes, I know you complained about that, and he cut a 100 billion dollars out of the stimulus bill.
Ron Paul: Yes, that was my whole argument in the campaign. What I advocated that it was easier politically to cut. Conservatives sometimes will, you know, they make fun of Obama cutting 100 billion because it is peanuts compared to the trillions. But every once in a while you get conservatives on the house floor that will want to cut a few million dollars from child healthcare to be fiscally conservative, and never cut a single penny from the military.
So, that’s why I think this is a big problem, it’s strategic, it has to be changed and unfortunately on the big issues the Republicans and Democrats agree. They agree on foreign policy and monetary policy and tax policy and welfare policy. So, that’s why I think we’re in for a long duration of this economic correction.
Alan Colmes: In terms of going after these people, should Cheney and Bush themselves be held accountable and should they be looked at as potential subjects of prosecution?
Ron Paul: I think they should be investigated. Yes, I think if we totally ignored it… But yes, I mean there have been a lot less serious crimes investigated. I think I remember a previous president was investigated for something a lot less serious. So in foreign policy, matter of fact, when the thing with Clinton came up I wanted him prosecuted for the war and bombing Iraq and killing innocent people. But instead they went for other reasons, so I would say it’s justified to find out.
Alan Colmes: You went through the litany of things where Republicans and Democrats agree, which is why your campaign, when you sought the Republican nomination, resonated. Will you then, given the fact that there is so much agreement between the two main political parties, again seek higher office down the road? Are you possibly going to do that?
Ron Paul: That’s not likely. It’s very unlikely to do it outside the two-party system because we spend a lot of money and kill a lot of people on both sides, our side and their side, promoting democracy, making the world understand our goodness. At the same time, if one does come to the conclusion, which many millions do, that no matter what you get Republicans in that act like Democrats. You get the Democrats in that act like Republicans to prove that they are supportive of both sides. So, if that’s the case then we’re not very democratic.
Alan Colmes: Is there a future for the Libertarian Party in this country?
Ron Paul: Well, the future is more philosophical than reality because they are handicapped by these laws. I mean, it’s difficult. When I tried it I spent more than half my money just trying to get on ballots. The media won’t give you credibility. I do believe you first interviewed me probably in 1988.
Alan Colmes: That’s right, I did.
Ron Paul: So, at least you talked to me. But in 1988 you couldn’t get into the debates. Now if you’re a Ross Perot, money is rewarded, but the laws are so biased. I think one way we could edge over into a fair system is to have more states do what they do like in New York where if I were in New York and I ran as a Republican I could also run as a Libertarian. And, I guess that law still exists. You could run as a Democrat and a Liberal. And that gives the third party, the minor party, a little bit more credibility.
Alan Colmes: Right, Rudy Giuliani ran as a Republican and a Liberal for Mayor of New York with Ray Harding, which is more of a fiefdom, I think, than a real political party.
Ron Paul: From my response across the political spectrum, I think in some places I could run as a Republican and a Progressive and a Democrat and a Libertarian and the whole works because the Constitution really protects everybody.
Alan Colmes: How would you really define yourself because lots of labels can apply to you because you’ve run under different headings? But how would you regard yourself if you had a label where you are politically?
Ron Paul: Well, I’m a strict Constitutionalist, but if you wanted a word that is more descriptive than just obeying the Constitution I would say I am a non-interventionist. I don’t want to intervene in your personal life.
Alan Colmes: But Republican does not fit, does it?
Ron Paul: Well, some do and some have in the past. The Republicans have, you know, when I was always accused of not being a Republican… I said, “well, we even had a Robert Taft who said we shouldn’t even belong to NATO”. He didn’t like all this intervention.
Alan Colmes: A lot of people think of you as a Libertarian because I think so much of your philosophy really fits with what they say they believe.
Ron Paul: Yes, but if I’m a strict Constitutionalist and the Constitution is Libertarian then it comes together. But if you say, “Ron Paul, you’re a Libertarian”. I don’t say, “No, I’m not”. I never say that. I say, “Sure, I believe in liberty”. But I think you have Libertarian instincts, you believe in liberty.
Alan Colmes: Absolutely. I’m a Liberaltarian, I think is what I like to call myself.
Ron Paul: I think you have… and in the Libertarian movement we ask questions like, “Where did you come from. Did you come from the Liberal side or did you come from the Conservative side?” But we can bring people together and that’s what delights me. I had some of the biggest rallies on some very liberal campuses. One of the greatest rallies I had was at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Alan Colmes: Because your anti-war stance and the way you addressed 9-11, like what you said here tonight and what you said previously that it wasn’t a nation state that attacked us. When John Kerry at one point said it should be a police action, not a military action, he was raked over the coals for saying that.
Ron Paul: Yes, but maybe we’re making headway and that’s what I am doing. I’m pushing the discussion, whether it has to do I with Marque and Reprisal or any of these issues, secession, this is just trying to push people into staying out of this quagmire of ideas where they don’t even think out of the box at all.
And I just find that our traditions and our history and our Constitution offer a lot of that without me saying, “Well, if we can get rid of three portions the Constitution then we could consider some of my views”, I don’t have to do that because I think traditionally we’ve endorsed some of these things. Some people are saying, “Oh, these things are so old and ancient”. And I say, “Yes, the first amendment is pretty old too, but we like to defend that”.
Alan Colmes: Dr. Paul, I appreciate you coming on the program. Thank you for your time tonight with us, sir.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
Alan Colmes: Dr. Ron Paul, Congressman from Texas. Not likely to run for president again, but you never know. We’ll come right back with you on the phone asking just name and town (877) 367-2526