Host: Jack Hunter
Station: 1250 AM WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina
Jack Hunter: Texas congressman and 2008 Republican presidential candidate, Ron Paul. How you doing this morning, Ron?
Ron Paul: I’m doing fine. Nice to be on your show.
Jack Hunter: I appreciate you joining us. We’ve been talking a little bit about everything this morning. I think we should start with the big story that happened last week; of course the healthcare bill that passed the U.S. Senate. I know you were opposed to it. Explain to us, to the listeners, why this is just such a bad, raw deal for the American people?
Ron Paul: Well, it’s doing the wrong thing and it’s going to do a lot of harm. They think it’s going to get free medical care to a lot more people, but that’s absurd. The people don’t believe that. They tell you they’re going to add 30 million people on to healthcare paid for by the government, and they’re going to cut out enough waste and fraud out of Medicare, and all of a sudden they’re going to save enough money to pay the bills and lower the deficit.
Well, fortunately the people in the country aren’t quite that naive and they’re saying this is a total hoax. But the government has been involved in delivering medical care for a long time. When I started medical training in my early practice, government wasn’t involved in the 1960s. It just started and Medicaid came in in the middle 1960s. For quite a few years we were still doing it the old fashioned way and it wasn’t anything like they described; like everybody was out on the streets had no medical care. We systematically have increased the role of government in medical care since 1965. It doesn’t work. We probably are involved in 65% of the care already, and now they’re going to boost it up to about 85% or 90% and they’re going to make it more difficult for you to buy your own insurance. They’re going to make it more difficult for you to do your medical savings account. If you’re a young person and you think you just need major medical; those kinds of rules are all going to be changed. So it’s a real tragedy, it’s going to upset the doctors and the hospitals and it’s not going to solve our problems.
Jack Hunter: And it’s all related to the economy. We don’t have the money for these big programs any longer. That was the big story of last week. And, of course, we’re hearing much less about this particular issue this week. We’re hearing all about the Christmas bomber; the foiled attempt in Detroit, the gentleman tried to blow up the plane en route to Detroit from Nigeria. We’re hearing people like Joe Lieberman say maybe we need a preventive war in Yemen, of all things. I’ve been making the case all week that when you hear these discussions on television, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and even the local affiliates, people are saying, do we need to bomb Yemen? Do we need to do in Yemen what we’ve been doing in Afghanistan? Do we need to do in these places what we’ve been doing in Iraq? And I’ve made the point time and again that it is our involvement, our interventionism, that motivates the terrorists. But that’s a conversation you never year. We can’t even begin to solve the terrorism problem until we address that.
Ron Paul: You know, we’ve been hearing a little bit about Yemen even before this guy attempted to ignite this bomb. He is connected to Yemen; there is no doubt about it. He was concerned about it. But we’ve been involved there. We’ve been involved with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has been interfering [in Yemen] and anything Saudi Arabia does is us. Just like if Israel does something to the Palestinians, we have a moral responsibility because it’s our money and our weapons and we conceded. But when it comes to Saudi Arabia doing something in Yemen it’s the same thing. So this upsets people. This doesn’t mean that Saudi Arabia is wrong on her policies, but it means you ought to understand why the people of Yemen might be upset. They might not like somebody 7,000 miles away interfering in their tribal living. They might like what they have and they might not want any outsiders. This could be said to be true in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. And yet we continue to pursue it and there is a lot of resentment. The more we pursue it, the more the numbers grow of those people who would like to do us harm.
Jack Hunter: It seems that what we call the war on terror is often a war for terror. The chicken and the egg argument. Do they attack us because we’re over there? Or do we need to go over there because they attack us? Regardless, the fact that we’re over there is what recruits Al-Qaida, it increases the terrorist numbers, and on and on and on. And I’ve argued and you’ve argued that we need to look at the United States national interest. Our constitutional duty, you as a congressman, is to look after the U.S. national interest. And people bring out, “What about our alley, Israel?” Well, of course, they are an ally of ours, we need to maintain that. But they should be able to fight their own wars, look out for their own interest. When people bring up your view or my view on interventionist foreign policy, they always throughout that cuss word “anti-Semitic”. It’s like conservatives who criticize Barack Obama, saying, “Well, you must just have a problem with a black president.” No, I actually disagree with his policies. On Larry King Monday night, I played the clip in the last break, you and former Nixon staffer, economist, MTV celebrity, Ben Stein got into it on Larry King where you basically laid out your idea of what our foreign policy should be in relation to terrorism. And he pulled out that cuss word, “anti-semitic”. Would you like to comment on that?
Ron Paul: His basic argument was that if I didn’t agree with our policies of bombing and interfering in Yemen; therefore, I’m anti-semitic. Which means what he’s saying is that if somebody is over there doing that and he said it was for our national defense, which I’ve argued, how’s it going to be helpful to our national defense? So what he’s saying is if you don’t support that, you hate Jews. And I don’t know where he gets that.
Jack Hunter: It’s absurd.
Ron Paul: You’re anti-semitic, he throws that word out. But what he’s inferring is even more sinister because he confirms what some people suspect. That Israel has a lot of influence on our foreign policy. So if we object, if you and I say, “Well, we don’t think this is a good idea. We don’t have the troops and the money and it’s probably not going to help things and it’s not going to be productive”, then you hate Israel. But hopefully some day that will change and people will finally wake up. I think it is. You know, I’ve had this position for 35 years and they do throw the term at me on occasion. But for the most part there is no serious belief that I’m anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. Because even in the debates you may remember that this came up and I said, my position is to stop all foreign aid. And if we stop all foreign aid, actually we take more aid away from the Arabs. They get more aid than Israel. So Israel is a net gainer and the fact that we give so much to Israel teaches them to be dependent on us. If they have problems with their borders they shouldn’t depend on us. There’s a lot to be argued that they need self-reliance, and they need national sovereignty and they shouldn’t have to ask us permission to do what they do. But once they get our money, it’s a different story. I actually think their security would be better if we weren’t involved there, because just think of what’s happened here in the last few years. Whether it’s Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Yemen. This is provoking a lot of people which I think is not healthy for either us or Israel.
Jack Hunter: And if we did withdraw, our security would be better. One last question before we go. You said that you feel like things are getting better. In a recent survey 49% of the American people said we should start minding our own business. When asked about Barack Obama and his agenda, both domestic and foreign, 56% disapproval rating. People are not comfortable with the money we’re spending. A majority of the American people are against this healthcare bill. Do you see things whether as somebody who’s traditionally been within the conservative movement on the right, or the Republican party, do you see things getting better? Because let’s face it, a year ago or two years ago you were sort of the outcast of the Republican Party. You couldn’t even be at the convention. Now more Americans agree with Ron Paul than ever on both domestic policy and foreign policy. Stop spending money, let’s start minding our own business. Do you see any hope for 2010 and beyond?
Ron Paul: Well, I think things are getting better but it’s probably only half of the fact, and that is that we’re getting better because more people are realizing that this system isn’t viable, that it’s costing too much and we’re bankrupt. Even those who want more stuff from the government know that this can’t continue. So the numbers are growing, like you pointed out more than half the people right now are very upset with the government. The Republicans are benefiting to some degree with this. But they shouldn’t be overly complacent because I think people realize that the Republicans had their chance and they’ve messed up. So the good part is the people are upset, they’re looking at the government, they’re complaining and that’s good. The challenge is, if this system isn’t working, what are we going to replace it with. And that’s what I talk about when I go around the count: on what the role of government ought to be. It should be minimal, it should be the Constitution, it should be sound money, it should be markets, we should change the foreign policy. And there is no agreement on that yet. Even at the tea parties we have a mixed group of people, too, because they might just be people who are angry at Obama. And I want it to be a lot more than that.
Jack Hunter: Well, things are certainly moving in your direction. Unfortunately things are going to get worse, something you’ve predicted. You didn’t hope for, none of us hope for. But you called them like you see them, and they’re heading in the direction. The American people are moving in the Ron Paul direction. I appreciate you being with us today, sir.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Jack.
Jack Hunter: Take care. Texas congressman Ron Paul, 2008 presidential candidate, in my opinion the man who should have been president.