Ron Paul discusses the hope for a new political realignment around the issues of peace, the Bill of Rights and ending corporate welfare, his support for the “War is Making You Poor” Act, how government insolvency can lessen restrictions on individual liberty and why the US only needs a small defensive military supplemented by volunteer militias.
Show: AntiWar Radio
Host: Scott Horton
Scott Horton: Alright, welcome back to the show. It’s AntiWar Radio on the Liberty Radio Network, streaming at LRN.fm and I’m happy to welcome to the show Dr. Ron Paul, he’s a congressman representing District 14 on the Texas Gulf Coast, and he represents me in the House of Representatives. Welcome to the show, Ron, how are you doing?
Ron Paul: Good, Scott. Good to be with you.
Scott Horton: Well, I’m really happy to have you here. Now, let me tell you real quick here, if I can try to sum it up: I got a dream going on here where there is a real realignment in American political thought. I learned in junior college that in the 1930s Roosevelt realigned everything. He got all the conservatives and almost all the liberals, town and country and black and white and east coast and west coast and everybody together in this giant new New Deal coalition. They kept him in power through four elections, and this was a giant sea change in the way American politics was from then on, as we all know. And this is what we need right now, as it sure seems to me.
And it also seems to me that the three most important issues, as you consistently identify, are the preservation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, an end to corporate welfare and bailouts for the richest and most powerful among us, and peace in our relationship with the rest of the world. These are three issues that ought to, and in many ways, do, completely transcend the left-right spectrum as it exists today.
So my question for you is, what do you see as the future of this realignment? What do you see in terms of the possibility of alliances? Left-right, Tea Party and progressive, libertarian and otherwise, in order to really get these most important problems solved?
Ron Paul: Well, I hope your dream is coming about, because the liberal media has already written off the whole movement, they said, “Oh, it looks like the Tea Party Movement is the disgruntled people of America who’ve been speaking out.” I think they’re claiming they peaked last August and it’s been downhill, “they’ve had a few victories but nobody cares about it anymore and their crowds are smaller.” So they went on and on and they’re trying to bury the whole notion that the American people are upset with the status quo of the Republican and the Democrat leadership.
I can’t make the prediction, but I’m very sympathetic to the idea that something like that is going on, because I do talk to a lot of people, and why I am most enthusiastic is because the young people are thinking this way. The young people who are inheriting this mess know that it’s not a very good deal for them. And they don’t like the war, they believe that we should follow the rules in the Constitution, they’re principled people, and they don’t like special interests. You know, they don’t like corporate interests taking over.
And the overriding issue of all this is that of finding out what the government is doing. I think that was why Audit the Fed became so popular with young people; they’re sick and tired of the government being secretive, and at the same time, the government works very hard to invade our privacy and what we do and how we spend our money.
So, it’s ripe for a change and I think, in many ways, the intellectual revolution is ongoing, it’s probably at its early stages, but let’s just hope we can keep this momentum going.
Scott Horton: Well, now everybody knows about your work with progressive congressman from Florida, Alan Grayson on the Audit the Fed Amendment. But you’re also working with him on the War is Making You Poor Act. I was wondering if you could explain a little bit about what that is.
Ron Paul: Yeah, he sort of grabbed an idea that I’ve been talking about, because he knows I would not support a bill that would expand the welfare state back here at home. And he is a progressive, so he’s for the medical bill and these other things. But he knew how to write a bill that would get me interested. And, of course, it was to save money from overseas and take that money and pay down the deficit. And it’s pretty hard to turn that down because that’s pretty good. You know, this is where I think we should start. I think it’s easier to start cutting the militaristic budget that we have and the idea that we have to police the world. More people are starting to wake up to this. At the same time, offer tax cuts. So that’s pretty good for a liberal Democrat to go along with us on that.
You know, I do get criticized at time; why do I even talk to Barney Frank and why do talk to Grayson, because they’re so bad on economic policies. But on other things, hopefully, the eyes of the progressives will open up and say, “Hey, if they’re right on civil liberties and they’re right on the war, maybe would should pay more attention to the Federal Reserve and the gold standard and limited printing of money and deficits” and I think we’re making some inroads. A lot of people that will support us will say, “You know, I used to be a liberal.” Or they’ll say, “I used to be a supply sider. I used to be a neo-con” And once they see the whole picture, they’ll come and say, “I think you guys have it right”.
Scott Horton: Right. Well, I know I’ve been getting emails lately from one of my most radical listeners who’s a former military recruiter. So you’re listening to AntiWar Radio, including a couple of military officers listen. So you’re right, you never know who you’re going to win over. And it does seem to me like this War Is Making You Poor Act is the perfect left-right issue, really.
Ron Paul: It is also because there is no leadership on the left on this. You know, it used to be that it would all come from progressive Democrats and a few Republican conservatives, but now they’re so much quieter with Obama in. That’s why I think if we can bring them together with a coalition led by libertarian types, I think that we may make some headway, make some progress.
Scott Horton: Well, now what about the Tea Party Right? I mean, these were the people who pretty much supported the worst of the Bush policies that you always opposed. And yet the Right is out of power now, and there’s a lot of talk about the Constitution from the other side of the Tea Party Movement, or whatever. Do you think that you could show them that the Bill of Rights is part of the Constitution, too, maybe? Some hope there?
Ron Paul: Yeah, it would be nice. Sometimes I think that might be every bit as tough, if not tougher, than getting a liberal Democrat to say, “Let’s cut down on the war spending and cut taxes.” That looks like it might be easier than converting some of these people into believing that we’re still patriots if we say we ought to defend this country and not pretend that we can police the world. But that one is tough.
But we do have some coming that way. If you take somebody like Jimmy Duncan, I mean, he is strictly old-right Republican and he’s a fiscal conservative, and he doesn’t believe that we should be involved. And, of course, Walter Jones has come over this way. So there are a few. But really, really hardcore neocons: that’s a real job for us.
Scott Horton: Indeed. Well, you know, you’ve had a lot of great moment, but it seems like one of the very greatest was, I think, in 2007 when you introduced this American Freedom Agenda Act that said, “Everything wrong is hereby repealed. We’re here to start getting it right.” You think you might try that again for 2010?
Ron Paul: Yeah, we might just do that, who knows. 2010. It would be nice if we did this; this amendment that I have introduced in the past, I haven’t done it recently, which was The Liberty Amendment. And that just eliminates everything that’s unconstitutional within 3 years and repeals the 16th amendment; no income tax.
Scott Horton: Wow, and so then that would be the PATRIOT Act and the Military Commission Act of 2009 and all those things.
Ron Paul: Yea, everything that is not explicitly authorized in Article 1, Section 8.
Scott Horton: Oh, so we’re talking about repealing 20th century and 21st too.
Ron Paul: Yeah, at least it’s a great symbolism for us, I guess. But, you know, most of the stuff is going to fail. How do you get rid of Keynesians economic intervention? Well, they take our country into bankruptcy and everybody starts ignoring what the federal government is telling us what to do. And I think it’s already starting. I don’t believe the laws are going to permit nullification, but just the failure of government will permit nullification. The liberals don’t like the Fed telling them about marijuana, and the conservatives don’t like them telling them about some of the conservative issues and school issues and things like this. So, if the government is flat out broke, they might just be unable to stop the states from acting on their own.
Scott Horton: You told the Washington Post back when you were running for president, and I know you were soft of half joking, or maybe you weren’t. You told them how we can protect this country with a couple of good submarines. You really think we need only that small of a military force to keep this country safe?
Ron Paul: Oh, I really do. But I would still allow the militia sentiment to exist. So if anybody ever tried to march on our shores, then everybody would be ready for them. But no, nobody is going to attack us. I mean, why are we building tanks and bomber aircraft? Those are today’s ancient weapons. I think we could do with a very small …
Scott Horton: Already, well thank you very much for your time on the show today, Sir, I sure appreciate it.
Ron Paul: Very good, thank you.