Show: Freedom Watch
Host: Judge Andrew Napolitano
Judge Napolitano: Hello and welcome to Freedom Watch, your daily dose of raw liberty streaming online at FoxNews.com/FreedomWatch. I’m Judge Andrew Napolitano here defending freedom, defending your natural rights, and defending your right to have a government that stays within the confines of the Constitution.
Is the Tea Party Movement being taken over by neoconservatives? If you recall, the movement originally began as a grassroots revolution in support of Congressman Ron Paul and his ideas about constitutional government, not too long ago in 2007. Since then, and more recently, the Tea Party Movement has taken on a life of its own. It is still a populous uprising against the establishment. But now certain political parties are attempting to control it, to benefit themselves and their candidates, and to use it as a tool against their opponents.
Congressman Paul is not happy by some in the Tea Party Movement and some Tea Party Republicans he’s facing in his own upcoming election. He’s also unhappy with the latest from the Federal Reserve; who wouldn’t be? You ready for this? Should the central bank be bailing out Greece? Isn’t that a matter for Congress to decide? Doesn’t that affect foreign policy?
Joining me now on the phone is one of the great defenders of freedom and constitutional government in Congress today, Congressman Ron Paul from Texas. Congressman Paul, it’s a pleasure, welcome back to Freedom Watch.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Judge. Good to be with you.
Judge Napolitano: Let’s start with the Tea Party Movement. You and I have spoken to them. I have spoken to them many times in your home state. The feeling and reception that I have gotten is one that is very consistent with what you and I believe the Constitution was intended to mean when written, and still should mean today. Is something going on with these folks that we should know about?
Ron Paul: Well, I think it’s not too strange. It’s a powerful movement, there are a lot of people involved and most of them are really disgusted with Washington. And I think they have a healthy disgust for what’s happening and they basically agree that we need less government and more freedom.
But when a political party senses that there is a movement outside the party, you know, they want to get control of it or in front of it or capture it. And if they would come to the meetings and try to join and accept the complaints that the people that have joined the Tea Party Movement, that is one thing. But if they come with the idea, “Oh well, we want you to bend a little bit and become, say, more Republican. You have to be more conventional; you shouldn’t be so hardcore, you shouldn’t be against these wars and you should be in favor or torture and even assassination in order to be part of it.”
I see that is an infiltration of ideas. But I still think the people involved are basically there for the right reason, and I think they’re sorting out what they believe in, and I hope you and I can continue to help influence them into thinking what is right and just and why freedom works rather than saying that we have to slip back in the old ways and accept the old-fashioned ideas that have been failing this country for so long.
Judge Napolitano: Well, I agree with you. And as you know, you and I have discussed this. I have walked out among the people at these gatherings. The biggest one at which I spoke to was in Forth Worth, Texas, to 25,000 people and they asked profound questions about the Constitution. And when I explained to them things that were done in the Bush Administration, a lot of these people are former Republicans who had no idea about torture, about warrantless wiretapping, about FBI agents writing their own search warrants, about these perversions of the Constitution. What do we need to do to make sure that those who believe in torture and believe in offensive war as a means of foreign policy, and really believe in their version of big government, don’t co-opt this movement?
Ron Paul: Well, I guess one day at a time and one mind at a time and you certainly reach a lot of people with sound thinking on these issues. So I think it’s a battle of ideas, it’s ideological. I don’t think it is a partisan issue at all. But you’re right. A lot of people haven’t thought these things through. But you know what, I have found it a little bit easier, especially because I’m in a conservative district in Texas and a lot of people still have respect for and like George Bush. But right now, if I complain about the foreign policy, they say, “Oh, that’s Obama’s fault”. You know, they are frequently driven by partisan politics. But I think they’re more open for the old right position, you know, the conservative position that there is no reason in the world why conservatives can’t believe in civil liberties. You know, it used to be the Robert Taft people, the Old Right Republicans who were the great opponents to war and now it’s been shifted where Republicans are identified more with war. But it looks both parties are war parties the way I see it.
Judge Napolitano: I would defy anybody to point out to me any significant difference between the Obama foreign policy and the Bush foreign policy. They’re basically doing the same thing; they just have a different tone, use different words, and have different public attitudes about it. 57 drones to assassinate people in Pakistan, a 150,000 troops on the ground in Afghanistan, defending secret trials, defending the state secret doctrine, defending keeping people in jails in Guantanamo Bay and even in the United States without charging them with a crime. I don’t really see any difference at all.
Ron Paul: You know, it’s sort of strange when Republicans get in office, we’re supposed to be the conservatives and cut spending. It seems like our guard is let down and they get away with more spending. But then when the Democrats get in and they claim they’re going to cut back on the war and some of this militarism, they actually do more of it. You know, I don’t think he’s backed off at all. So, this is why more or less I’ve come to the conclusion that at the upper levels there is not a significant difference between the two parties. But I think this is why there is a Tea Party out there. I think they’re recognizing this and they say they’re sick and tired of it. Both are spending too much money and both promote the big government programs.
Judge Napolitano: Right. I agree with you. And the Tea Party Movement is still a wealth of opportunity for people like you and me who believe that the government has to stay within the confines of the constitution.
Switching gears, before I let you go – this is almost farcical. There are 600,000 public employees in Greece that are on strike. It’s no wonder the government doesn’t work. Should we be bailing them out, and even if we should, should that decision be made by the Federal Reserve, or by the Congress?
Ron Paul: No, we shouldn’t. And if the system really worked, it should be the American people that should help make this decision through their members of Congress. But you know, I said something about this the other day. I don’t have proof, you may have some proof of it, but I don’t doubt for one second that our government is involved in these negotiations and they’re international. And I believe this is one reason they don’t want us ever to know what kind of agreements they make internationally. That’s one of the strongest points they’re resisting strenuously, that Congress never knows the agreements with international government, other government, other central banks. They can make loans, they can make guarantees and I think they’re all colluding together. And that’s the last thing the American people want right now, and that’s the last thing that we need. You know, there has been enough bailing out of Wall Street and the big companies and all. So hopefully, hopefully we can wise up to it pretty soon.
Judge Napolitano: I’ll bet you nice lunch in Lake Jackson, Texas, the next time you ask Ben Bernanke, “How much money did you give to the Greek central bank in February 2010?”, he won’t answer.
Ron Paul: Well, if he does answer he’ll flat out say no.
Judge Napolitano: Right. Congressman Paul, it’s a pleasure. Thanks for joining us at Freedom Watch.
Ron Paul: Thank you.