Ron Paul and Ralph Nader: A Libertarian-Progressive Alliance?

Ron Paul and Ralph Nader joined Judge Andrew Napolitano on Freedom Watch to discuss the possibility of fighting the establishment through a libertarian-progressive alliance.


Judge Napolitano [host of Fox Business “Freedom Watch”]: Tonight on Freedom Watch, a very special event: Libertarian and Tea Party hero, Ron Paul, and icon of the Left, Ralph Nader. Think they couldn’t disagree? Think again! Congressman Paul, Mr. Nader are with us now in a rare interview. Congressman Paul is the author of End the Fed. Ralph Nader is the author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us. Gentlemen, welcome to Freedom Watch.

Ron Paul: Thank you.

Ralph Nader: Thank you.

Judge Napolitano: Ralph, to you first. You have recently said that Congressman Paul and the Tea Party Republicans are different than the other Republicans in the Congress. What do you mean by that?

Ralph Nader: To the extent that they are genuine libertarian conservatives and not corporatists—corporatists believe in corporate government—they are great allies with many liberals and progressives to challenge the bloated, wasteful military budget, to challenge undeclared wars overseas, to challenge hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate welfare, handouts, giveaways, bailouts, to challenge the invasiveness of our civil liberties and civil rights by the notorious PATRIOT Act, to challenge the sovereignty-shredding, job-destroying NAFTA and World Trade Organization Agreements—and also, too, the first victory will be a powerful whistleblower bill, that libertarian conservatives and liberals and progressives in the Congress almost got through last year, to let government employees ethically blow the whistle on corporate rapaciousness and contracts and government misdeeds. Just think of that agenda for a dynamic political force!

Judge Napolitano: All right, Ralph, you have given enough topics there for us to talk to for two hours. We only have about ten minutes. And you’re both friends of mine, and we both have chatted about these issues. But Congressman Paul, almost everything that Ralph Nader just said, you could have said. And you have said. Is this a coalition of the leading libertarian in the Congress and one of the leading progressives in American culture today?

Ron Paul: Well, I believe in coaltions. You know, they always talk about “We need more bipartisanship.” And I say we have too much bipartisanship, because the bipartisanship here in Washington endorses corporatism, which Ralph and I disapprove of. But, you know, coalitions are different. Ralph and I do have some disagreements. But that list he just made, I agree with him on that. So I think we should come together and work together, and I think we can. Matter of fact, we had a little project during the last campaign where I got progressives and libertarians and conservatives together, and we actually had an agreement that we shouldn’t be having deficit financing. We didn’t agree on where to spend and who to tax and all-not. But we had an agreement that these runaway deficits are horrible for us. And of course, we even mentioned the Fed and we got in agreement. So I think there’s a lot of room for progressives and libertarian conservatives to work together on it.

Judge Napolitano: Ralph, Congressman Paul, of course, has been the leading member of Congress on auditing the Fed and on ending the Fed. You probably support him on both of those, don’t you?

Ralph Nader: Well, the Fed is completely out of control! It’s not under any legal controls that Congress can really enforce. I mean, look at the bailouts over the weekend, last year—a year and a half, little over a year ago—on Citigroup, $350 billion bailout in secret. The banks fund the Fed. It doesn’t go through the congressional appropriations process, as it should under our Constitution. It needs an audit. And I think Congressman Paul is teaming up with hyper-progressive Senator Sanders to bring the Fed into openness and greater accountability. So that’s another political dynamic that can increase in force and power in Congress.

Judge Napolitano: All right, Congressman Paul, the last time we talked about—since the last time we talked about this—there’s been a change. And that is, the new Congress has come in. The Republicans are numerically superior in the House, and as a result of this, you are chair of a subcomittee of the House, one of whose jobs is to monitor the Fed. Question: Will you succeed in serving subpoenas on Ben Bernanke, to show up and have a chat with you, under oath, and to bring his ledger sheets with him? And will comply with those subpoenas? And if he does do that, can Ralph Nader sit in the front row?

Ron Paul: Well I’ll tell you what. I’ve been doing some checking, and I’ve been informed that the Federal Reserve Board Chairman and the Secretary of Treasury and officials in the Cabinet go to the full committee, so I will not have that authority. But I may be able to do somebody that is not the full chairman of the committee, but if he does, it will have to come from the chairman of the committee. But that doesn’t mean that we’ll go lightly on digging up for this information, because Ralph is absolutely right on this thing. Actually, the Federal Reserve can have a bigger budget than the Congress. I mean, they can spend three, four trillion dollars in a year, and then they don’t want to tell us. Now, one thing, I did get a gentleman’s agreement with, on many members on the Banking Committee already, is, I made a suggestion. I said, “Why don’t we ask the Fed what they’re going to do? If they’re going to spend a certain amount of money, get approval from the Congress. If they plan to give $10 billion out, why should they do that without Congressional approval? It’s totally out of control. It was never meant to be. And it was never the Founders’ intention to have the system that we have today.

Judge Napolitano: All right, last question on the Fed, and then I want to change the subject. Ralph, would you support—would progressives support—a repeal of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913? Stated differently: Literally, legally, ending the Fed?

Ralph Nader: Well, I can’t speak for all of them. But clearly, in my judgment, the Fed should be a—whatever it does—should be a Cabinet-level accountable institution. Right now, it’s a private bank government inside the federal government, funded by fees from the banks and thumbing its nose at Congress! But its worst nightmare is Congressman Ron Paul, who now is head of the subcommittee overseeing the Fed. Watch for the fireworks!

Judge Napolitano: All right. Let’s switch gears and talk about fireworks. Congressman Paul, if we ended our military ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan tomorrow, could that not provide us the substantial and deep budget cuts that we need to prevent further borrowing, and perhaps to spend less than we actually take in in tax dollars?

Ron Paul: Absolutely. And I think it’s the easiest place to cut. I mean, we as Libertarians might not approve of some of these medical programs. But is that the place to start? Or should it be overseas spending, and should we have a stronger national defense by bringing our troops home? And I say that is the place to go. We should cut from overseas, and bring the troops home. And I think the world would be more at peace. I was complaining today—they had questions about China. I said, “They’re getting to be good capitalists. They work hard, they save money, and they buy up resources. What do we do? We send our troops out and say, ‘We’re protecting our oil in the Middle East,’ and we’re draining our resources. That does contribute significantly to the bankruptcy. All wars are fought with inflation, destruction of the money, which is the reason we have unemployment today.

Judge Napolitano: Ralph, I know—

Ralph Nader: Just to punctuate—

Judge Napolitano: I know how you feel about the wars, Ralphh. I want to switch gears a little bit—

Ralph Nader: Just to punctuate: $30 million an hour! 24 hours a day, we’re spending on those two wars. $30 million an hour!

Judge Napolitano: Ralph… Wikileaks. Is it a good thing, for mature people, in a mature democracy, to know what their government is up to, let the chips fall where they may?

Ralph Nader: Of course! Information is the currency of democracy. Without information, you don’t what the government is doing, you don’t know how to check it, you don’t know how to improve it. And, as Congressman Ron Paul said memorably a few days ago, the Bush-Cheney administration lied their way to the Iraq War, and lying is covering up the truth, and lying is secrecy. And the same is true for millions of Americans being, been subjected to surveillance, in violation of Federal law, which is a five-year felony. So, you know, here they’re worried about Wikileaks, when we’ve gotten into war because of secrecy and cover-ups, illegal wars, and we are putting Americans under unconstitutional surveillance?

Judge Napolitano: Got it. All right. You two have been agreeing on a lot. Now, the hot topic of the day, on which, I suspect, you disagree—well, maybe I can find some common ground. I think you are both in favor of repealing the Health Care Law: Congressman Paul, because he wants the free market to address healthcare; Mr. Nader, because he wants universal healthcare, paid for by the government, which this legislation doesn’t accomplish. Ralph, to you first: Healthcare. If you were in the Congress today, would you vote to repeal it?

Ralph Nader: Yes. In favor of single-payer. Full Medicare for all, with free choice of doctor and hospital, by everybody—everybody in, nobody out. The insurance companies have defaulted. They’ve demonstrated they cannot be trusted in terms of establishing a “pay-or-die,” or “pay-or-get-sick” system, which is costing 45,000 American lives a year who cannot get insurance to get diagnosed and treated. But there’s a better—

Naplolitano: Okay. Congressman Paul, I suspect you don’t agree with anything Ralph just said. You have the last word.

Ron Paul: Well, we both oppose the corporatism that’s involved in medicine, and that’s one thing we agree on. But no, I disagree with the delivery of healthcare by the government. Any time the government delivers a service, the cost goes up and the quality goes down—and whether it’s education or whether it’s medical care. So I want medical care delivered more like cellphones and TVs and computers. Because there, there’s the least amount of regulation, the prices keep dropping, and poor people end up with TVs and cellphones. That’s what would happen with services, too, and would maintain the services.

Judge Napolitano: Congressman Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, thank you for joining us on Freedom Watch.

Ralph Nader: It’s public funding and private delivery, is what “single-payer” is.

Judge Napolitano: Got it, Ralph. Got it. Coming up, a man who refused to let the President take away his GM car dealship—

  • Yabuturtle

    I wonder what it’d be like if Ralph Nader and Ron Paul ran against each other instead. I find it much more interesting to see 2 intelligent logical people debating on certain issues. It’d be cool if Ron got the Republican nomination and Ralph got a nomination too. That way I can be reassured that no matter who wins, America wins, although to be honest I agree with Ron more than Ralph, but Ralph is pretty smart and not corrupt either.


  • pillotalk

    Holy shit, they couldn’t be farther apart on SO MANY issues. Ron Paul is the most terrifying person because people whom I would otherwise think are liberals are totally enamored with him and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. He’s prolife, anti-immigration, anti-union, pro-corporations, anti-regulation, pro-gun, anti-education, he would allow energy corporations rape the earth and poison the land with only individuals allowed to sue after the damage has been done, one individual vs corp


    Great interview!
    I’m hearing Ron Paul talk more about corporatism.
    And Ron is right, a good coalition that could harness a lot of political populist energy is a conservative-libertarian-progressive coalition.
    I think that Ron Paul could make that happen.
    He’s an outsider in Washington and that strikes a chord with a lot of pissed off voters from both sides that have been kicked to the curb post-election.
    He should take a populist position that he agrees with and pound it every day. People will respond!
    This cat ain’t a typical politician. He thinks for himself and he actually cares!
    In this upcoming election that will endear him to a lot of voters! Go Ron Paul!!!

  • einLesenderArbeiter

    Paul/Nader 2012!

  • thomascapital

    Proof that Ron Paul you nut job libertarians are PROGRESSIVE LIBERALS and the ENEMY of our Founding Principles……………Ron Paul will be elected to POTUS when I become the Pope!

  • thomascapital

    Proof that Ron Paul you nut job libertarians are PROGRESSIVE LIBERALS and the ENEMY of our Founding Principles……………Ron Paul will be elected to POTUS when I become the Pope!

  • Steve

    This video brings out a good point that both ends justify the removal of fascist crony capitalism but the end game is entirely different. Where as Nader wants more of the same by moving the Fed into a full public entity and having a Cuban style single payer nightmare, Libertarians want free enterprise not inhibited by the FDA or big pharma to take care of healthcare and specie based free market banking. These two objectives are 100% diametrically opposed to each other in terms of their end game goals.

    Your enemy’s enemy isn’t always your friend :D.


      I agree with Steve.
      Paul/Nader is not a workable ticket. I subscribe to a lot of Ralph Nader’s ideas.
      These guys want some of the same things but are worlds apart on how to get there. There’s a huge gulf between their ideologies.

      A chance to elect a Ron Paul doesn’t come around often.
      He’s not one of these interchangeable,drone candidates each party packages and shines up every 4 years.

      Sometimes in politics you overlook minor differences of opinion and work together to “slay the dragon”. This is one of those times where voters could rally and shake up the status quo.

  • Ron Paul exposes Michael Moore’s biggest lie; that capitalism is what today’s governments have. It’s corporatism!

  • billingtonmarc25

    Ron Paul exposes Michael Moore’s biggest lie; that capitalism is what today’s governments have. It’s corporatism!

  • SmartGuy4today

    Rather than seeking to understand where each of us is getting our information from and stressing the potential importance we observe and can relate towards, we instead continue to dispute one another and this is why it may be so difficult for you to see or understand any vitality in the Federal Reserve, Social Security, or Medicare. It may also explain why others don’t see where you are coming from and why they disagree with you. The best solution would be to forget who you’re and act as another

  • SmartGuy4today

    You may not see the Federal Reserve as being vital, but we fail always to realize the difference of people as individual and that what one person deems to be vital may not be seen vital to another person such as having Social Security or Medicare. A lot of us think both are very vital, but there are people who not. And this because we disagree on policies due to the differences in our beliefs. Rather than seeking to see eye to eye in understanding each other, we confuse the issues in vitality.

  • SmartGuy4today

    The Federal Reserve that you Libertarians or Ron Paulites dislike so much came out of the same necessity of extraterritorial measures of government as that of the Supreme Court’s ability of Judicial Review, which is not written in the constitution, but nonetheless a vital component which in turn because it is not written in the constitution and still vital enough to keep without being written in the constitution, that it had legitimize other such crap like the Federal Reserve.

  • SmartGuy4today

    What Marbury v. Madison did was that it legitimize the government to behave outside of the defined literature of the constitution as it is not stated in the constitution that the supreme court will have the power to have official, legitimate, and undisputed clarification over the interpretation of the constitution.

    If it was written in there, then this wouldn’t have been so much of a problem. But because it wasn’t written in there and believed to be so vital, it allowed other such crap. Okay?

  • SmartGuy4today

    Well you guys who aren’t affiliated with the mainstream of either political party aren’t going to have an actual voice the decision making of this country without proportional representation. It is what proportional representation is. True it has its faults, but it is not like you guys have an actual voice in current system. LOL!

    Also, the corruption in our government began in 1803 with Marbury v. Madison, although it could be argued before then with John Adam’s scandals.

  • SmartGuy4today

    What is wrong with the United States Government?

    It is not structured to effectively govern, thereby it has to perform unorthodox acts in order to be a government? This allows corruption and overuse of political power, which is what you Libertarians and Anarchists complain so heavily about.

    A quick fix is to change the constitution, create a true nation to encompass this country (which requires our own language), and get some form of proportional representation for the legislature.

  • GreenParty2012

    Hmm, Ive been trying to figure out all the potential runnings. Would Nader and Paul even run together? If Paul were to win, would he appoint Nader to a major position? Would Nader even want to run with him? What if Ventura runs? I hope Paul reciprocates, if he wins, by opening up the electoral system to allow third parties for more victories. Don’t let the American people down, Paul. Remember, Nader has won third place the last three elections.

    • Steve

      I’m sure it is as good as Canada’s, Cuba’s, and England’s so not thanks. The Hippocratic oath takes care of everyone poor and rich without insurance in the US. We have the best system of heatlhcare but it also happens to be the most overly expensive because of trial lawyers and big pharma plus the FDA. Our biggest issue are those three entities I described in my last sentence and the fact natural remedies are ignored in favor of high profit drugs. Stop allowing drug companies to profit off pill patents and find away to make the FDA more independent and accountable. That will take care of that.

  • numbersvsalphabet

    Ron Paul is wrong regarding healthcare. I Denmark we use 9% of GDP on healthcare, and we have the system Ralph Nader is advocating. For years the US has been hovering around 15% of GDP to pay for a private healthcare system. The government can take care of thing without turning them to dust, it just depends on WHO is in the government. Otherwise, I agree with Paul on most issues, and see him as a no-brainer for a presiden who doesnt just want to kill people.

  • wunderbeast

    i’d like to see ron paul and ralph nader debate their disagreements more. i’m more aligned with dr. paul but i’m willing to hear nader out, since he seems honest.

  • TheCIAsucks

    Ron Paul & Ralph Nader 2012

  • Trisha

    Most progressives agree with Ron Paul 80% of the time, but the current health care system dose not work, exceot to make corporations profitable. My grandfather paid all his life for his medical insurance, many many years. Then when he went to use it, they denied him and left him for dead. The VA health care system is about the most cost effective (and best in this country) health insurance around, yes a government program that really works. We should at least give people the option to buy into a program like this, it really works, for people that can get it. Let the privatized system stay in place all they want.

    • Steve

      The VA heatlh care system sucks. I have a friend of mine who’s wife is on it and she couldn’t find a doctor in three hundred miles to take care of her cancer treatments! They had move up half a state to get the treatment she needed!