Event: Southern Republican Leadership Conference
Location: New Orleans
Ron Paul: No questions?
Question: Well, I’ll start. Representative Paul, I’m Ed Morrissey from Hot Air. And you’re here at the SRLC, it’s a leadership conference. Did you feel the need to deliver a message to Republican Party leadership? I heard a little bit of your speech. Are you concerned about the direction that the leadership is going in right now?
Ron Paul: Well, if you ask about delivering a message to the leadership, yes, I delivered the same message to everybody who listens. And I’ve been doing the same message for 35 years. So yes, the point I make was that the Republicans have lost credibility because they speak a good game but they don’t act very well. 1980 occurred, and there wasn’t much change, 1994 happened, nothing changed. Year 2000 happened, nothing really changed. And yet we’re the party of limited government and individual freedom. So I would say that my message was that we should practice what we preach. And right now it’s absolutely necessary, because people are so disgusted they’re leaving both parties. They’re getting out and they’re on their own and they’re upset and the country is bankrupt. So, to me, there is a fertile field out there for a message that I believe is deeply needed.
Question: Dr. Paul, I’m Ed Armstrong at the Austin Capital Times. Let’s get the obvious question out of the way: have you given thought about running for 2012?
Ron Paul: No, I haven’t thought about that. I don’t have any plans to do that. It’s a long way off. I’m wondering if I’m going to have enough energy to go back to DC after these last two weeks that we had on medical care, and we go back on Tuesday. That’s what I’m thinking about. But I was delighted to be here today and participate in this function.
Question: Dr. Paul, this is Michelle with WGSO. I’m wondering about Senate bill 3081 by Lieberman and McCain in which they asked for detention of American citizens classified as belligerents. I don’t know if there is a companion bill introduced in the House, and if so …
Ron Paul: And what would be the consequence of that?
Question: …it’s called the Enemy Belligerent Detention and Prosecution Act.
Ron Paul: For putting people in indefinite detention?
Question: American citizens.
Ron Paul: American citizens, and also, I don’t know if it’s in that bill, but that same idea is to allow our government to assassinate American citizens.
Ron Paul: Totally outrageous, horrible. And yet that is the mood that we’re in. But that’s been going on not for one and a half year, it’s been going on for ten years now in the general direction. So whether it’s indefinite detention, no habeas corpus, whether it has to do with torture, or even targeting American citizens for assassination with no charges made and no due process.
But these are bad guys, they say. And you know what the definition is? One person in the administration can determine that that individual is a threat. If that person is determined as a threat, then they can take him and put him on that list. The understanding I have now is that they have 3 or 4 Americans. They say, “They’re just a few, and we know they’re really bad people”. Well, someday they might make a mistake and put a very good person on that list, like they do on those lists at the airports. Some very good people get listed and then you get thrown in jail forever?It’s a bad trend; that’s the type of big government that not only conservative Republicans, liberal Democrats and all should be very, very upset about, instead of the two coming together.
Question: I’m from Louisiana News. Dr. Paul, you propose ending the Fed. Let’s say we end the Fed, then what? What would happen?
Ron Paul: Depends on how we do it. I mean, if you ended the Fed tomorrow, it would be very chaotic and there would probably be no benefit to it. The Fed, though, might end itself by the destruction of money. We have runaway inflation; the Fed is game over. That’s what happens when Zimbabwe has runaway inflation, Mexico, Central America, Germany. I mean, it’s been known and we’re capable of doing this. And we’re approaching that rapidly because we’re printing so much money.
But my proposal is to legalize competition to the Fed. And that is for you to have the constitutional right to use sound money, gold and silver currency. If you do that today, you’ll be arrested even though you would be correct constitutionally, they will put you in jail for that. So, my idea is to legalize that, get rid of the legal tender laws, and people who like the Fed, like paper money, fine. If others like to deal in silver or foreign currency, or gold currency, they should be allowed to do it.
Question: Daisy Mason, […] of America. At this point who would you put your support behind for 2012?
Ron Paul: 2012? Well, I don’t have a choice. I mean, I picked nobody. I guess I have lot of choices out there. I haven’t given that very much thought. It’s very early. Just like when they ask me who would I appoint on the Supreme Court, I don’t have a choice about that either.
Question: I am James from the Daily […]. There was some heckling during your speech. There were some Huckabee supporters who seemed to boo for almost the entire first half of your speech. Do you have anything additional that you didn’t say in the speech, that you would say to Republicans who just don’t seem to like you or your policies?
Ron Paul: Oh, I guess I’ve had that happen few times. But one thing I notice is I’ve been saying this same thing for 35, 40 years. And really since 1971 when I recognized that we were going to destroy the economic system – and we are, we are in the process of doing it. So nobody listened then. It’s a lot better being noticed, it used to be that they didn’t think I was worth booing. Now that they’re worried that the status quo establishment corporate-military-industrial complex is going to be challenged, a few of them might boo. But I heard more cheers.
You know, politicians tend to not what to hear those, but I heard more cheers when I talked about the freedom philosophy, individual liberty, and personal choices, bringing our troops home, sound money. This is what they really cheer, and this is what the campuses are cheering. So if one or two or three or four boo because they don’t want to disrupt the status quo and they think they can change the world or change our party or change this country, I don’t deal with that too much because I just think they’re mistaken and I try to persuade them differently.
Question: On another topic, do you have any predictions on how far your legislation repealing the insurance mandate will get in the House? You think it would get to the floor?
Ron Paul: Well, I would think I could get as many Republicans on it as I got for Audit the Fed. And I got every Republican on that bill. So I would think I could repeal the mandate if I’m energetic and ask. You know, you just don’t throw it up and everybody comes to signs on it. You got to work and get signatures, and we did that with Audit the Fed. And there’d be a lot of Democrats that might like to sign it. We had lot of Democrats sign the Audit the Fed bill because it was less partisan. This one would be tougher for the Democrats, even the ones that voted against the bill. I don’t know, they might feel like they don’t want to take on their leadership. Sometimes they do things politically in Washington.
Question: Do you think the Republican leadership moved back the bill, or do they have another…?
Ron Paul: Well, they might have a bigger bill, and I was trying to narrow it down and make it very simple. What I want to do is get rid of the mandate and preserve people’s right to get out of the system and not pretend that I can reverse the tide of what’s happening in Washington today. The economics of it all will reverse the tide, because we can’t afford it. Just like I argued that foreign policy won’t be reversed all of a sudden just because they listen to my speeches. It’s going to get reversed because we’re broke. So the medical thing will be reversed because it won’t function. People will have to get their medical care elsewhere. And our system will break down.
Question: Representative Paul, along those same lines, Medicare is an entitlement disaster that’s coming, Social Security to a lesser degree. What should Congress be doing now to either reform or quickly narrow down Medicare or Social Security in order to avoid the entitlement collapse that’s coming?
Ron Paul: You can’t do anything without cutting spending. I have a couple of bills that sort of preserve Social Security. Matter of fact, I take Social Security income and I set it aside and buy some negotiable treasury bills, and you can’t touch it. Nothing could be spent on general revenue; and your account would be assigned to you. They say, “But there’s no money in there,” so it’s a pretty tough job. You’d have to have big, big cuts. And I argue, like I did in my speech, that the only place this country will ever come around to cutting spending is those boondoggles overseas. It’s the earmarks for billion dollar embassies around the world, and troops in Korea. I mean, we could save hundreds of billions of dollars doing this, and I am absolutely convinced that we will not be less safe, we’ll be more safe.
Question: Congressman, some of the younger folks our here didn’t necessarily seem particularly interested in the Republican Party, per se. A lot of them didn’t identify that way. And I’m just curious, what do you tell those folks…?
Ron Paul: The point you make probably has validity to it. But the question you should ask is why is the Republican Party not interested in them. That is what they should be doing, because we can get crowds with this message around the college campuses. 1000, 2000 people will come at a time wanting to listen to this message. And they’re open to it. And a lot of them will join the Republican Party, and they will. But a lot of them have been excluded and they have been uninvited; they don’t want them. But the numbers are out there, and I have to say, I visited with Chairman Steele today, and he indicated that he’s open dialog for this; for me to let him know what we’re doing. Because I think he understands that there’s a large number of people out there.
But when they ask me personally and pin me down, “What should I do?” I tell them, “Do what you want to do, it’s up to you. Stay a Republican, be a Libertarian, be an Independent, be a teacher, even be a journalist”. You know, “Even be a journalist, do something, get on the internet.” But, first off, study hard, understand the issue, know what the freedom philosophy is all about, and why personal liberty is our salvation and not the destruction of mankind. Thank you.