Bill Dod: If Obama doesn’t deliver change, the U.S. still has other potential candidates eager to lead the country. And one of them is Republican Ron Paul, who is poised to run for the presidency in 2012. Let’s now cross to Priya Sridhar, she’s in our Washington studio. Interestingly enough, Pria, Ron Paul hasn’t actually yet announced he is running for this, so why have supporters already started his campaign at such an early stage?
Priya Sridhar: That’s right Bill, nothing is official just yet. But if you go to Ron Paul’s website there is a question there that says, “Do you think Ron Paul should run for President in 2012?” and you can even buy “Ron Paul for President” merchandise. So people are getting pretty psyched for the 2012 election, even though it’s kind of far away.
And joining me to help talk about Ron Paul’s popularity is Shelly Roche from the Ladies for Liberty Alliance. Shelly, thanks so much for joining me.
Shelly Roche: Thanks for having me.
Priya Sridhar: So, first of all, why do you think Ron Paul is becoming so popular right now?
Shelly Roche: Well, I think it’s a number of factors. But really when you look at the direction we are going as a country and all of these big frightening things that are happening like the bailouts and the economy and health care, you know, he’s kind of the one voice of reason that’s standing up and saying, “We don’t need all of this. We do have other options”. And he is always making sense, and I think that really resonates with people.
Priya Sridhar: And what do you think? You think he is going to run for office in 2012? I have a feeling you’re hoping he will, but do you think he actually will?
Shelly Roche: I definitely hope he will and I think he recognizes that it would be a smart move to at least position himself to do that, because that’s really what launched him back in 2008 into the media and got him a lot of momentum. And so I think this is another big opportunity for him to kind of capitalize on that and just go for it and set himself up to do it, and we’ll see what happens.
Priya Sridhar: So he is becoming more popular. But realistically do you think he has a chance and what are some of the challenges he might face?
Shelly Roche: Well, I think he has a better chance than he had last year. One of the biggest challenges he is going to face is resistance from within the Republican Party, because he’s kind of at cross purposes with them in some of their platform items. And in trying to reform the Republican Party he’s going to meet with a lot of resistance. So I think his message resonates with Republicans and Democrats and it’s really he’s going to have to overcome that kind of obstacle.
Priya Sridhar: And what idea, specifically, do you think resonates the most with the American people that Ron Paul sort of stands for and advocates?
Shelly Roche: Well, I think it is the economic freedom, the fiscal responsibility and just ending corruption and the entrenched “politics as usual” kind of system. He doesn’t play that game and he kind of brings a new perspective to politics and what it can be. So I think that really gets people excited.
Priya Sridhar: And do you think his popularity right now is a direct correlation of President Obama’s kind of sliding approval ratings, or do you think that people are just looking for something that’s a little different?
Shelly Roche: I think it’s a combination. I think the degree to which we’ve started expanding government and really the debt and the economy has really contributed to people starting to think about that maybe this isn’t the right direction. And so that certainly helps. But also it’s just kind of… he has a totally different perspective, he has a consistent voting record. He’s been in politics forever, so he kind of offers that assurance that he is not going to succumb to special interests and that sort of thing. He’s representing the people and always doing what he thinks is best for the country whether you agree with it all the time or not. At least you have that.
Priya Sridhar: And how do you think the country would be different right now if Ron Paul was President and not Barack Obama?
Shelly Roche: Wow, I think there are so many ways. We wouldn’t be talking about health care the way we are. We’d be talking about different kinds of reforms. So maybe smaller steps that are more practical and limiting the size of government, getting rid of wasteful programs, real reform, not just the kind of reform that expands government and costs trillions of dollars.
Priya Sridhar: And the last think I want to ask you really quickly is, you know, a year ago today Barack Obama found out that he was elected as the President of the United States. How do you think things have changed from a year ago till today?
Shelly Roche: Well, you can look at the approval ratings and that sort of thing, but something I saw online last night and today, they were asking people to submit one word to describe how they felt about the first year of the presidency. And the Republicans, you can guess what they can say: “outraged, betrayed, scared”. But on the Democrats’ side they were saying things like “hopeful” and the things you would expect. But they were also saying “disappointed, anxious” and I think that really is a barometer of the way people are kind of starting to feel a little bit nervous that he has not really delivered on his promises so far and some of that support is waning I think.
Priya Sridhar: Well, I think there are a lot of people out there like Shelly who will anxiously be waiting to see what happens with Ron Paul next. But for now, Bill, it’s back to you.
Bill Dod: Thanks very much indeed. That was our correspondent Prea Shria talking to you with Shelly Rose from the libertarian organization, the Ladies of Liberty Alliance, live in our Washington studio. Thanks very much indeed, Prea.