Ron Paul talks about the chances of Tea Party candidates, including Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell.
Anderson Cooper: What do you think of Christine O’Donnell, do you think she can win?
Ron Paul: Oh sure, I think she can win. I think she’s going to have to work very hard. She has the roughest job of all the Tea Party candidates because she’s in a more liberal state; it’s a much more difficult job than my son has in Kentucky, or Angle has in Nevada. So no, but she can win, there’s a lot of unhappiness in this country and for that reason, the numbers are just coming together. Democrats are disillusioned and are not going to show up, the Republicans are. And the Tea Party People are added on to the Republicans because a lot of them haven’t been involved before. They’re independents and it adds to it; it isn’t taking away from the Republicans, if you have a Republican base then the Tea Party People add on to it. That’s why she has a very good chance.
Anderson Cooper: So the Democrats tonight who are saying “Wow, this is great for the Democratic Party”, you think they’re measuring the drapes too early?
Ron Paul: Well, if I talk to Republicans and they sound a little too cocky, that’s what I’d tell them. Because I don’t think anybody should get… they should wait and see. They should always run — I used to run track, and I always assumed somebody was going to step on me if I didn’t keep running. So I think that’s the way it is in politics, you have to keep running and not assume you can glide to victory.
Anderson Cooper: It’s not over until it’s over. A number of Tea Party activists who I’ve talked to in the last couple of days — and before this primary — were saying “Look, even if she can’t win, it’s still important that she won and we don’t really care if she can’t win; it’s important to make a point as one to vote your principles”, do you think that’s true? Or do you think it’s more important to get a safe Republican seat in the Senate?
Ron Paul: Well, I think both are true. I mean, the fact that she won is very important — we should be glad about that — but also she should go for the winning; but I guess you’re suggesting that, “well if you knew she couldn’t win, therefore you should cop about and bend your principles.” Well, I’m not one that would endorse that very easily, because my goal in life has been to nudge people over to a more principled position, where there has to do with foreign policy or civil liberties or economic policy, so that has always been my goal. So I think winning along with those goals and those principles, of course is the ideal situation.
Anderson Cooper: Is there a room in the Republican Party today for a “Mike Castle”, who would someone call a moderate Republican or what does some in the Tea Party would say just a liberal Republican, or a Democrat who just calls himself a Republican… but I mean, is there a room for a Mike Castle in the Republican Party today?
Ron Paul: Sure. Probably it depends on the state; it’s going to be much tougher, because we live in revolutionary times. What we’re witnessing today is change coming from the grassroots. I have noticed over the many years that Presidential candidates always campaign on change and then we never get it. But real change only comes philosophically from the grassroots, when the people endorse certain views or condemn certain views. And that’s what’s happening this time — and this only happens once, maybe in two or three lifetimes, it doesn’t happen often.
Anderson Cooper: And you really believe this is a revolutionary time? That this is…
Ron Paul: Oh yeah, but it’s economic, I see everything in economic policies; and that’s what drives everybody, that makes people so angry and upset. You think if there were no economic problems that this would be going on? But this is the end of Keynesianism. Keynesianism has been with us for 70 years and its failing! And even the liberals know its failing. It’s sort of like a revolutionary end of an age with a downfall of the Soviet System. It finally just didn’t work, you didn’t have to fight there anymore. it didn’t come from the leaders, it came from the grassroots; and that’s what’s happening right now. The grassroots knows that government fails. Even today Statistics says, “Hardly anybody trusts government anymore”. And for a good reason, it doesn’t function; it doesn’t have the right system anymore.
Anderson Cooper: Those who say, “Well look, what about actually getting things done in Washington?”, I mean, that compromise is essential in politics, that no matter what, you need at some point to compromise with someone on the other side of the aisle or someone within your own party to effect change; do you think that’s true? And if so, do you think these new voices, those who have been elected by the Tea Party and their supporters, do you think they’re going to be willing to compromise on things?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t think we have to compromise. I think you build coalitions. I work a lot with the Democrats on foreign policy and civil liberties, so I think coalitions are very good. But compromise, yes: If I want to eliminate the income tax and the other side wants to reduce it 50% — I would say, well, if it’s reduced 50% that’s not bad, that’s a good compromise. But if somebody else wants to double your taxes and somebody says “Let’s not double, let’s just increase it by 25%”; no, I don’t deal with those kind of compromises. Always compromise with people in your goals, which to me, is perfecting liberty. Increasing individual liberty and the free marketplace; when you compromise moving in that direction and working with coalitions, that’s quite a big difference. But if you work coalitions — I’ve worked with various ones like Barney Frank and Dennis Kucinich and others in trying to promote an agenda — and this is seen as compromise, it’s not exactly as compromise, but I think the people in the country see this as good; because you can work together and find out what you agree on. I think the war issue is a great issue, and the Federal Reserve has been something. I had tremendous support from Democrats, I had 320 members of Congress signed on to that bill; so that is what I think is important, but I didn’t have to compromise my principles.
Anderson Cooper: As a single member of Congress though, given the anger that is out there… I mean, obviously you have a lot of support and sort of a lot of credit among Tea Party activists, but do you think some Republican Congresspeople are concerned about being seen as too moderate, as being seen as too willing to compromise?
Ron Paul: By the Tea Party people?
Anderson Cooper: Yeah.
Ron Paul: Yeah, I think that’s it, but I just think that we’re moving in the right direction. I think the most magnificent thing is that this revolution is going on and the people have discovered it; and they’re not blaming the average citizen, they’re blaming Washington. That’s why Republicans and Democrats are losing. But the most important thing for me is having something to say or having some influence on what the message should be. Right now, the message is, “Washington has messed up; and we have to do something. They spend too much money; government is too big, we have to reduce the size and scope of government”, but then on the finer points is where the discussion is going on, and I don’t like the idea of having one kingpin, either — dictating what everybody believes in. I think it should be grassroots, and that is good. But in my modest way, what I’ll try to do is, get the Tea Party People to think about, you can’t cut back spending if you don’t think about foreign policy and bringing troops home and ending endless war. And we should, as conservatives, be concerned about civil liberties. Those are the kind of things that are very important to me; and the grassroots and the Tea Party movements are very open to that — even though I would admit, they don’t all agree with that, because a lot of other Republicans now have gotten involved and they want it to be the old Republican agenda. And the Tea Party people don’t like that and they can see through this. And one thing is, if some of these people get elected and they don’t do as is expected; if they keep going for big government and more taxes, they’re going to be held accountable this go around.