Judge Napolitano: Tonight, on the docket, why the Republican Party will never be the same again. If ever a presidential hopeful embodied the notion of personal freedom and fidelity to the Constitution, it would be Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul.
He’s a genuine fiscal hawk, who refused to vote to raise the debt ceiling because he knows that government borrowing causes inflation. He voted against the Patriot Act because he understands that it is a massive assault on Americans’ freedoms because it lets federal agents write their own search warrants.
And he’s the dark horse who was the runner up in this weekend’s Ames, Iowa, straw poll, leaving winner Congresswoman Michele Bachmann with a mere one-percent margin over him.
So, what does this mean for the Republican Party when an anti-establishment candidate is quickly making his way to the top? It means the Tea Party is well on its way to returning the GOP to its small-government roots. It means the power of the people will be restored to the people because the people have chosen a Ron Paul, the Ron Paul, as the man to take on big-government Republicans who legislate like they’re Democrats. It means the end of the big-government party and the resurrection of a Republican Party that will be faithful to sound money and personal freedom.
Or am I getting carried away with his showing in Iowa? Here to tell us just how far he’s gone from underdog to serious challenger and what this all means while maintaining all of his core beliefs, the man himself, Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul who joins us by phone from his home in Texas. Congressman Paul, first welcome here and, second, congratulations on your phenomenal showing in the straw poll on Saturday.
Ron Paul: Thank you very much, Judge. It was an exciting week and it sure inspired a lot of the supporters there, raving and raring to go. So, it’s given us a real boost. And, like you mention, I think it’s a strong vote for limited government and small government in a special way, in a constitutional way, in an American-tradition way. And it sort of challenges this whole concept of liberty, that liberty comes in pieces. You know, “you can have a little economic liberty here, and you can have a little personal liberty there.” And then you have a flip-flopping type of foreign policy. I always say that freedom comes in a package. I hope that we have packaged this well because, for me, it’s a clear-cut message that we’re delivering.
Judge Napolitano: Congresswoman Bachmann, of course, has enjoyed her victory, slim though it was over you, and will claim that she is the anti-establishment candidate, that she represents the virtues of the Tea Party, that she represents the return to small government. But I think you put your finger on it, Congressman Paul, when you say that she has parceled those areas where she believes in big government, where she believes in strong government. She wants to amend the Constitution to define marriage. She wants to amend the Constitution to allow the government to prosecute pornography. She is in favor of hundreds of billions in foreign aid. You are in favor of personal freedom and small government all across the board with no exceptions. And I suspect that that message is finally resonating.
Ron Paul: Yeah, there’s no doubt about it. Now, I give Michele credit for coming across with an image which is somewhat similar and appealing to Tea Party people because obviously a lot of Tea Party people voted for her. But her message is quite different, obviously. But if you give her the credit for portraying her message similar to ours, isn’t it amazing the number of votes that came in for the first and second place? What does that say about the establishment candidates?
But our job is to distinguish ourselves from the others. And I do put them into one package. I think they all, all the other Republicans, represent the status quo because they do support the foreign policy that both Republicans and Democrats have supported. Monetary policy: the same; personal liberties and the PATRIOT Act, they all fall in the same category.
Judge Napolitano: Right. It is interesting, though, if you do add your votes to Congresswoman Bachmann, it is, if you believe she is anti-establishment as you say in some issues she genuinely is, some other issues it’s debatable. It is the anti-establishment taking on the establishment because more than half the votes went to the two of you.
I do want to ask you about defense. There was an interesting repartee during the debate the other night between the questioner and you and then former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum over whether or not Iran should be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. Basically, as I heard it, Senator Santorum said he’d bomb the bomb, and you said you’d let them build the bomb. Can you explain the difference between the two of you? Or can you explain your view on that, Congressman Paul?
Ron Paul: Yeah. One thing I want to make clear is, when you are a little bit more cautious about bombing foreign countries, it doesn’t mean that you like and enjoy and endorse what they do. It’s sort of like, when you endorse the First Amendment, you don’t endorse what everybody says with the use of the First Amendment.
But this whole idea of another country getting a bomb, we should put it in proper context. And I pointed out that the Soviets probably had thirty thousand of them and we lived through all that. And, here, they don’t even have a bomb. And the Iranians aren’t likely to use a weapon. What if they get one bomb and they bomb Israel? That’s always the same. But they have to depend on imported gasoline. So, they have their problems in Iran but they’re not suicidal. They’re not completely stupid.
This whole thing is fearmongering, it’s warmongering. There’s been a lot of people in Washington who’ve been itching for a fight and a war with Iran. I think it’s so unnecessary. And I think that, if you think of it strategically, is it the worst thing in the world that Pakistanis got a nuclear weapon? And Indians have nuclear weapons. What if only India had nuclear weapons? Wouldn’t they be the powerhouse? It sort of does bring more neutrality. What if only the Soviets had nuclear weapons during the Cold War? So, there is a sort of balance. But this in no way means that I think that’s a good idea to have more nuclear weapons. If I had any opportunity and it was reasonable, I’d reduce the number of these nuclear bombs. We don’t need them all.
Judge Napolitano: Forty years ago today, President Richard Nixon committed one of the greatest assaults on the free market that he ever did when he separated the dollar from gold. Steve Forbes is coming on right after you. And I think he’s going to predict that one day the dollar will be back attached to gold. Do you agree with that?
Ron Paul: Oh, absolutely. If you know monetary history, you know that inflation has been around a long time, the destruction of currencies. And, finally, when it gets out of control, people have to sit down and say: how do we restore the confidence of our currency? And it always has to be something of real value and the people have to believe it.
We did it after the Civil War and it worked. But, you know, it’s ironic. Nixon closed the gold window. He didn’t want our gold going overseas. And just think of where the gold’s gone in the world in the last fourty years. It really virtually has left the West and it’s gone East. The Indians have it, the Japanese have it, the Chinese have it. They’re owning the gold now. So, he never really closed the gold window. He just shifted it. He said he was protecting the dollar by going off the gold standard. And can you look at any statistic to defend that position that he has protected our dollar and jobs? He was doing this to save jobs ironically. And look at the mess we’ve had after forty years.
And it’s coming to an end. That’s what this campaign is all about. And we’re in the midst of this shifting away from the dollar reserve standard which was established in 1971. And it will end. It’s just a matter of time and just how it will come about.
Judge Napolitano: Congressman Paul, it’s always a pleasure. Sorry for the satellite problem. But thanks very much for joining us.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Judge.