Ron Paul’s Speech at CPAC 2011: The Brushfires of Freedom Are Burning!

Ron Paul fired up the crowd at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with his trademark message of downsizing the federal government, bringing our troops home, balancing the budget and ending the Federal Reserve.

While the congressman did not address rampant speculations about a potential 2012 run for the presidency, he emphatically stated that the liberty movement will not need an electoral majority in order to achieve important changes for the better. The welfare state, the police state and the runaway fiat money system will be defeated if each of us assumes personal responsibility for promoting the ideals of liberty and defending the Constitution.


Ron Paul: Thank you very much, thank you. Great to see you everybody, great to see you, I’m glad to see the revolution is continuing. Well, we have first seen some of the results of the revolution of a few years ago and that was last year’s election, and understand we had a few new members sent to Congress, and we have you to thank you for. But I do want to take a moment to take a little special privilege and say, we also had a new Senator from Kentucky, and we like that too. So there’s a lot of exciting things going on, there is truly a revolution going on in this country, and we’ve been dealing with this and encouraging it, because I do believe that we live in a time where we do need a change in attitude, a change in ideas. We don’t need to just change the political parties, we need to change our philosophy about what this country is all about.

This past week, we had a pretty good victory for the Freedom Movement, we had a vote come up all of a sudden under suspension and it had to do with the PATRIOT Act, and the PATRIOT Act we know has nothing to do with patriotism, they always name it opposite of what it is. The PATRIOT Act is literally the destruction of the 4th Amendment, that’s what it’s all about. Now, the one thing in Washington they haven’t quite understood is what’s happening in grassroots America, because they assume that everybody loves the PATRIOT Act, we’ll bring it up under suspension and pass it automatically. Well, we didn’t get a majority vote but they didn’t pass it automatically with a two thirds vote, sending a message that this country is waking up, and we want to protect our civil liberties as well as our economic liberties.

This week I was scheduled to be on a financial program, I’ve been on a few of those lately, talking about things like the Federal Reserve and a few other things. But I never got around to talking about this program this week about the Federal Reserve, because all of a sudden there was a speech to be given by Mubarak about his potential resignation, of course he resigned today. So that was the subject, but a lot of people now say, “What should our position be? What should our position be about finding the next dictator of Egypt?” And I would say “We need to do a lot less, a lot sooner, not only in Egypt but around the world.”

Some people want to argue about that and say we have a moral responsibility to spread our goodness around the world and it’s our obligation to do this. But let me tell you, fiscal conservatives should look at this carefully, how much did we invest in that dictator over the past 30 years? $70 billion we invested in Egypt. And guess what? The government is crumbling and the people are upset, not only with their government by they’re upset with us for propping up that puppet dictator for all those years. Now to add insult to injury, where do you think the money went? To a Swiss bank account! That family, the Mubarak family had 40, 50, 60 billion dollars – nobody knows – stashed away in other countries, of your money, that is true.

Then you know, it used to be the conservatives were against foreign aid. I’m still against foreign aid – for everybody. Now I was saying that I used to describe foreign aid: “Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country and giving it to the rich people of a poor country.” And there can’t be a better example of that than what we did with Egypt. We took money from you, made people poor, it contributed to our debt, billions and billions of dollars, and all we get is chaos from it and instability. There’s nothing wrong with what the founders talked about. They talked about having friendships and trade and getting along with people and staying out of entangling alliances and the internal affairs of foreign nations when it’s none of our business.

Now we’ve been doing it for a long time and you get periods of relative stability. There was relative stability when we were propping up the Shah, but it ended up with bad results, we ended up with the Ayatollah and now we have a problem on our hands. But all the Middle East is unstable because of this, now it’s Tunisia, next it’s Egypt and it’s going to keep going because all the problems are there because the people don’t like us propping up their dictators no more than we would like it if a foreign country came in here and propped up a dictator in our country. But the real danger is that this will most likely spread and when it gets to Saudi Arabia and there’s disruption there, then you are going to see some real problems and it will be a partial consequence of our flawed foreign policy. Temporary stability does not guarantee stability that we need around the world. And besides, we just flat out don’t have the money, and we shouldn’t be doing it.

Just remember, the Soviet system did not collapse because we had to fight them, they collapsed for economic reasons. Guess where their final plunge was on their empire – Afghanistan. So it makes no sense for us to think that we can keep troops in 135 countries, 900 bases and think we can do it forever. So no matter how badly you want us to do that, it’s time to reassess that foreign policy. It’s time for us to bring troops home. We’ve had troops in Japan since World War 2 and in Germany, why are we paying for their defense?

There’s been a lot of talk about the budget deficit and that’s something that I was concerned about just a few years back, like 1976, and that’s why I haven’t voted for any appropriation bills during that period of time either. But people are starting to recognize it’s bad, we have to do something about it, we have to have a balanced budget amendment and all these things. But, unfortunately even in spite of the improvement in the Congress right now, we don’t have the votes, which is tragic. It’s going to continue, and we’re going to continue to bail out, we’re going to continue to spend the money, nobody wants to cut. I am sure that half the people in this room won’t cut one penny on the military, and the military is not equated to defense. Defense spending is one thing, military spending is what Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex” and we have to go after that.

But let’s say government, as you all, I am sure would agree, is out of control, and it’s very hard for us to get a handle on it. So let’s say we even theoretically, and a miracle happens and we balance the budget where we are today, it would be still a disaster because we’re spending too much money. But it wouldn’t change a whole lot. When a crisis comes, guess what happens? Guess who does the bailing out? The Federal Reserve used $4 trillion to pass out without congressional approval and most people say “Oh, well that’s the Federal Reserve’s job to do that.” No, it is our job to check up and find what the Federal Reserve has done, audit them, and find out who their buddies are that they’re taking care of.

The Federal Reserve creates money out of thin air, they can loan to banks, central banks of the world, to other governments and international financial institutions and we’re not even allowed to know. They resent the fact that when I ask these questions, that they don’t have to give us information. That’s why the bill to audit the Fed is the first step to ending the Federal Reserve. But the Federal Reserve will end itself because they will destroy the dollar. Since the Fed came into existence since 1913, they’ve eliminated 98% of the value of the 1913 dollar, and it’s continuing erosion, they pumped at first when the crisis hit $1.2 trillion and another $600 billion and believe me, there is an economic law that says you just can’t continue to do this. So Congress has responsibility, they should cut back, but Congress has a responsibility to protect the value of the currency and that means that we have the moral and the legal authority to put checks on the Federal Reserve system.

There’s been a lot of talk about bipartisanship after election, we need bipartisanship, and in some ways that might be true, but I’ll tell you what I think about it. I think and I believe that we have had way too much bipartisanship for about 60 years. We have bipartisanship on medical care. You say, “Yeah, the current administration is giving us bad medical care.” But what is done on the other administration? We’ve been involved for a long time. It’s the bipartisanship of the welfare system, the warfare system, the monetary system, the challenge to our civil liberties, it all goes through with support from both parties. So there’s way too much bipartisanship. This should be a challenge of the issue of philosophy – good philosophy versus bad philosophy.

And when you can agree on something you should make coalitions with whomever will agree with you and come together. But I’d like to see some bipartisanship though. What I would like to see is take those big government conservatives who love to spend money and never cut their efforts and their spending and get the big government liberals where they want to spend and never want to cut and let them get together and say “It’s time, this deficit isn’t good, let’s have a little bit of bipartisanship and cut both.”

There’s been talk lately about American exceptionalism. Man we like to talk about that, I think we certainly live in an exceptional country, we have been blessed, it’s been the greatest country, most freedom, most prosperity. My concern is I’m afraid we’re losing it! I’m afraid we’ve given up on our devotion to liberty, that’s where our problem is. But where I think we go astray on this exceptionalism is there are some people and sometimes they’re referred as neoconservatives and they’re sort of neo-Jacobins where they believe that we have this moral responsibility to use force to go around the world and say, “You will do it our way or else.” Well force doesn’t work, it never works.

The best way to get people to act more like us if we’re doing a good job, is for us to have a sound economy, a sound dollar, treat people decently, have a foreign policy that makes common sense, treat people like we want to be treated,
and then maybe they would want to emulate us and say, “Freedom does work and we ought to try it.” But we can’t force it on other people.

There’s one general rule about what we should expect from government. The First Amendment is a great amendment, freedom of expression is protected. The government shall write no laws in reference to our freedom of expression. It doesn’t say that we’re to have an expression of only the noncontroversial ideas – it’s freedom of expression! Now, most people are pretty good on the First Amendment, but where they slip up is; they say “The government should write no laws about the freedom of activity,” so the liberals want to talk about how to regulate your economic activity, how you spend your money, and others want to regulate your personal lifestyle, but government should not be regulating us and we should adapt one other principle for that to work. We should all swear off the use of violence against our neighbors, our friends, against other countries.

The purpose of all political activity from my view point is to promote liberty. Liberty is the most important element, liberty comes from our creator, it doesn’t come from our government. If we have a free society, we can go about our business and do our very best work toward virtuous things and work toward excellence. When government takes over the role of making us virtuous and making us excellent and redistributing the wealth, they only do it at the expense of liberty, and that’s why we’re in such terrible shape today, it’s because we’ve allowed the government to be so much involved.

Government should never be able to do anything you can’t do. If you can’t steal from your neighbor, you can’t send the government to your neighbor to steal for you. There should be no redistribution of wealth. The exciting things that are happening today and gets me energized is coming to events like this and meeting with the young people and going to the campuses and finding out what Young Americans for Liberty have done, and believe, me the ideas and the principles of liberty are alive and well in the next generation and there’s every reason in the world for us to be optimistic about what’s coming.

I would like to make one suggestion before I close; just to think about because it’s not a perfect solution, but especially the young people. What if could, if I had the authority to do, what if I could offer you and say “Look, we’re not doing such a good job in government these days, we make promises and we don’t know about the future. But would you consider opting out of the whole system under one condition, you pay 10% of your income, but you take care of yourself, don’t ask the government for anything.” Tragically you’re probably going to have the opportunity because government is in the process of failing and they can’t deliver on the goods, just as the Soviets couldn’t deliver the goods and maintain their empire, we will have those same problems domestically and we face serious economic problems as this dollar crisis evolves.

But let me close with comments from Sam Adams, he says “Don’t worry about it if we’re not a majority, all we need is a minority keen on spreading the brushfires of liberty in the minds of man.” That is what we need to do and believe me, the brushfires are burning, they will not be able to squelch the brushfires, they’re burning and they’re spreading and people are getting excited, because they’re starting to separate it out, what true liberty is all about, what market liberty, personal liberty is and what it means in foreign policy, what it means in our traditions, the American tradition, what it means because the Constitution confirms and confers with what I’m saying. There is no authority in the constitution to have a Federal Reserve system, no authority for the welfare state and no authority for the police state, it’s not there.

So we should all assume personal responsibility for promoting the ideals of liberty, and one thing that Samuel Adams always advised when they were in the dire consequences of the problems of the revolution, he said “We cannot present long faces to the people ” – at […] at that time – “because it will make them realize how tough things are.” So we should not have long faces, we do not know exactly what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that the effort is worthwhile and I do know that you can have a lot of fun defending liberty, and believe me, if you understand liberty and realize it’s the only humanitarian system that existed ever on mankind, I’ll tell you what, if you learn about it study and know free market economics and fight for this, I can guarantee you, you will sleep better at night, you will enjoy your life and you will feel like you’re doing something worthwhile. Defend liberty!


  • USA Today: Ron Paul: U.S. ‘propped up’ Mubarak in Egypt

    On a day of change in Egypt, Republican congressman Ron Paul urged conservatives today to rethink America’s role as a global leader and repeated his call to save U.S. dollars by ending foreign aid.

    “Foreign aid is taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries,” he told thousands of activists gathered at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

  • Huffington Post: Ron Paul Not Yet Pleased With GOP: ‘Big Government Is Alive And Well’

    Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), perhaps the most “at home” of any elected official at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, told The Huffington Post in a brief interview that he remains fundamentally unsatisfied with his party leadership’s approach to governance.

    Speaking at the entrance of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, where the conference is being held, just before a throng of reporters and supporters descended upon him, Paul said it was “too early to determine how dedicated” Republican leaders are when it comes to spending cuts.

  • The Texas Tribune: Ron Paul at CPAC: “Too Much Bipartisanship”

    U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, gave a rollicking speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington — one peppered with cheers and jeers. His target? The “bipartisanship” that leads to foreign and financial policies he argues curb the country’s liberty.

    “We’ve had way too much bipartisanship for about 60 years. We have bipartisanship on medical care,” Paul said. “It’s the bipartisanship of the welfare system, the warfare system, the monetary system. It all goes through with support from both parties.”

  • RollCall: Ron Paul Stirs CPAC Crowd

    Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) got a hero’s welcome from the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

    Paul — who won last year’s presidential straw poll in a landslide that angered mainstream Republicans — has long been a favorite of the conservative activists that come to CPAC, and on Friday he delivered a crowd-pleasing speech.

    Entering to thundering applause, Paul started his speech with a call not simply to throw Democrats out of office but to “change our philosophy of what this whole country is all about.”

  • CNN Politics: Paul gets CPAC crowd on their feet

    Texas Rep. Ron Paul addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday, repeating the mantra of limited government that has rocketed him to stardom among a certain segment of conservative activists.

    Easily garnering the most enthusiastic applause of the day, Paul advocated for a complete governmental retreat in every realm of society.

    “We’ve had way too much bipartisanship for about 60 years,” said Paul, in comments that drew one of many standing ovations during the 25-munte speech. “It’s the bipartisanship of the welfare system, the warfare system…it all goes through with support from both parties. “

  • CBS News: Ron Paul Blasts U.S. for “Propping Up Puppet Dictator” in Egypt

    The Republican party’s most serious potential presidential contenders at the Conservative Political Action Conference today gave little more than passing reference to the most serious news of the day – the resignation of Egyptian’s authoritarian President Honsi Mubarak.

    Yet Rep. Ron Paul — who’s arguably the most popular politician at the annual conservative conference, but not considered a viable presidential candidate — seized the news to blast American foreign policy and promote his well-known preference for isolationism.

  • Dallas News: Texas Rep. Ron Paul gets cheers at conservative conference, remains mum about Senate, presidential ambitions

    Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who has dropped hints in recent weeks that he is pondering bids next year for either president or the Senate, kept ’em guessing Friday afternoon at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

    He said nothing about his ambitions even as he basked in his role as herald of the 2010 tea party surge, and father of tea party-backed freshman Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

    “I’m glad to see the revolution is continuing!” Paul proclaimed, playing on his slogan from the 2008 presidential campaign.

  • The Hill: Ron Paul slams Patriot Act, backers drown out jeers at conference

    Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) elicited the loudest reaction of any speaker so far at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, with a throng of raucous supporters drowning out audible boos emanating from the CPAC crowd.

    Paul didn’t disappoint, offering a fiery speech that took on the Patriot Act and military spending and lamented bipartisanship in Washington.

  • Washington Examiner: Ron Paul on Egypt: ‘What should our position be on finding the next dictator?’

    Speaking at CPAC today, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., went straight for the issue that has been blowing up all over the wire: Egypt, and America’s role in preserving its thirty-year dictatorship until today.

    The 75 year old delivered an energetic speech to the main room of CPAC today rhetorically asking “What should our position be on finding the next dictator in Egypt?” His solution, of course: “We need to do a lot less, a lot sooner, not only in Egypt but around the world.”

  • NPR: Ron Paul Says U.S. ‘Propped Up’ Mubarak And Wasted Aid to Egypt

    As the rest of the world reacted to the announced departure of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Friday, one would-be Republican presidential candidate after another declined to address it here at the CPAC gathering.

    Then came Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), whose Libertarian positions have made him a favorite at the Conservative Political Action Conference and won him the group’s presidential straw poll last year.

  • Ron Paul Brings Down the House at CPAC

    If anything can be gauged by applause in main ballroom, Ron Paul will once again win the Presidential Straw Poll here at CPAC.

    Paul won the contest last year, much to the chagrin of many of the party faithful who attended.

    This year Paul was the only potential presidential candidate to directly tackle the tricky subject of Egypt.

  • New American: Ron Paul Delivers CPAC Address

    Texas Congressman Ron Paul delivered his impassioned CPAC address today to an energetic crowd of Republicans, Constitutionalists, and Libertarians. Paul’s speech stayed true to his Libertarian, non-interventionist, pro-Constitution beliefs, drawing applause from paleo-conservatives and ire from some neoconservatives.

    Paul’s supporters have made their presence well-known throughout this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, at times chanting his name during other seminars or bombarding CPAC attendees with Paul memorabilia.

    Today’s crowd was full of Paul’s supporters, who gave a total of nine standing ovations throughout Paul’s speech.

  • Raw Story: Ron Paul: ‘Government is in the process of failing’

    Is he running for US Senate? Is he signaling his bid for US president? Or is he hinting at something deeper within the US political climate?

    Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) sounded like he was about to hit the campaign trail again during his speech at a right-wing forum Friday, but before he left the podium, he warned Americans that their federal government was in trouble.

    “Tragically, you’re going to have the opportunity [to not ask the federal government for anything], because government is in the process of failing, and they can’t deliver on the goods, just as the Soviets couldn’t deliver the goods and maintain their own power,” he said during the Conservative Political Action Conference.

  • Daily Caller: Ron Paul calls for end to foreign aid, applauds House for not extending PATRIOT Act

    Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, got the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) crowd’s biggest and most animated reaction of any speaker at the event – and took the stage saying: “I’m glad to see the revolution is continuing.” Paul applauded new House freshmen GOP members for blocking the extension of the PATRIOT Act.

    “The PATRIOT Act is literally destruction of Fourth Amendment,” Paul said. “In Washington, they don’t know what’s going on in grassroots America because they assumed everybody loved the PATRIOT Act.”

  • Wall Street Journal: Ron Paul on Egypt: ‘People Don’t Like Us Propping Up Dictators’

    Rep. Ron Paul roused activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday with a conservative homily that bashed interventionism in Egypt, the Patriot Act and government spending. But the libertarian icon gave no indication that he’ll run again for president.

    The Texas Republican had to push through sustained applause to deliver his broadside against the U.S. government’s decades-long support of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, criticizing the billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Egypt.

  • Paul talks U.S. isolationism at conference

    The United States needs to extricate itself from international affairs, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, told a conservative summit in Washington.

    Speaking Friday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Paul expressed isolationist views that included criticism of the longstanding U.S. support for Egypt, where President Hosni Mubarak gave up power Friday after 18 days of national protests, The Hill reported.





  1. Like a Mad Max style country?
    Great idea ron, keep up the great work you do!!


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  2. ✭✭✭✭✭


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  3. China’s beggar-thy-neighbor strategy is not a competitive devaluation of its currency, which would only cheapen its exports and make exports into China more expensive, but an over-valuation of the currencies of one or more of its trading partners. This negatively affects all the trade of the pegged trading partner(s), not just trade with China. U.S. Dollar over-valuation was 8 times as damaging to the U.S. recovery as what the media refers to as “China keeping it currency undervalued”.


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  4. an interview with eva prior revealed that ayn rand, very woman who sparked libertarianism with her "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." philosophy...received govt assistance after getting lung cancer(medicare and SS) under the name ann o'conner...prior said: doctors cost a lot more money then books earn & she could have been wiped out without these programs.
    opting out would be a disaster for the US!!!!


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  5. Finally, a real human being who talks like a living, breathing man and not a Hollywood actor, just reading his lines, sounding perfect but saying nothing. If Mr Paul does not become the next President, then I fear for you all. THE USA has replaced imperfect authenticity with smooth-talking inanity and your ass will get kicked harder than it already is, if you don't listen to and understand this mans words.


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  6. I can't wait until we elect Ron Paul next year :)


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  7. What he said was taken out of context. While I agree that he should have made it clear, he was referring to the welfare state and the military industrial complex.


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  8. Most of us who argue for social justice NEED NOTHING from anyone. We are NOT JUST CONCERNED ABOUT OURSELVES YOU SELFISH RETARD NON-HUMAN SCUM. If you have not thought of this already, then you deserve to be called that.




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  9. I love when Ron makes reference to us propping up dictators in other countries and we would not like it if it where going on here. The irony is that our puppet leaders are propped up by the same criminal elite network through the FED!


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  10. I'm a Democrat, and I love Ron Paul. I would love to see him win the Republican Primary. He surely deserves it.


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  11. Some of what he says is OK -clearly the military needs to pull out of the ludicrous number of bases it has and these stupid wars to to be ended. But the country needs proper health insurance instead of the racket that's been in place for years and there needs to be a safety net for people who can't manage.

    And stop with the 'creator' bull shit. There's no god or gods.


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  12. Some of what he says is OK -clearly the military needs to pull out of the ludicrous number of bases it has and these stupid wars to to be ended. But the country needs proper health insurance instead of the racket that's been in place for years and there needs to be a safety net for people who can't manage.

    And stop with the 'creator' bull shit. There's no god or gods.


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  13. It is not his place to give you everything, and all you do is roll your fat ass to a voting booth to vote for him. They CAN NOT BE ALLOWED to stop the movement with ONE BULLET! Because they will use that if he wins. WE ALL HAVE TO MAKE OURSELVES THE TARGETS!! GET A MICROPHONE AND MAKE THEM AIM AT YOU LETS ALL DRAW THE HEAT OFF OF PAUL!!!!


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  14. This is so stupid. If you don't need health insurance then your boss will pay you less. If you need to pay for for health insurance, then he or she will pay you more, Either way, you will still come out with the same amount. The economics of society will adjust to ONLY what you need -- a house, a car, a holiday, food, etc. .
    And then, when you get in a car crash, everyone else is supposed to pay for you because you have no money?


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  15. ProgressiveInAmerica

    Ron Paul? More like Ron Butt!!


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  16. The biggest thing to remember is the boogiemen you fear according to Mass Media are FAKE. They simply don't exist. The enemy wears black suits.


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  17. Troops in Japan and Germany are not there for defense. People are very gullible and never look into things in this country, to say it upsets me is an understatement. I recommend everyone read Lords of Finance and educate themselves.


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  18. What I've found odd about Ron Paul is the people who support him aren't all far Conservatives like myself. I know a homosexual who is a Ron Paul fan. I know a moderate (who leans more liberal in my eyes) who likes Ron Paul. Ron Paul is the answer.


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  19. MSM is already starting its smear campaign early this year, even though he wont the straw polls, the shills in big media are still calling him a "loser" literally. They are afraid of this man, very afraid. And sadly joe coach potato listens to what the TeeVee tells him to do


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  20. no schools, no fire department, no police, no hospitals (all hospitals receive government money) no sewers, no electricity, no roads, no grocery stores, no cars, ..all of these things and more receive government funds directly or indirectly either through regulation or subsidy...isn't anarchy beautiful?


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