Ron Paul on Obama’s “Elective Dictatorship”

Clarification: Ron Paul did not call Obama an “elected dictator”. That expression was just part of the headline we used to summarize Ron Paul’s latest column. Here’s what Ron Paul actually wrote:

[…] Obama explicitly threatens to bypass Congress, thus aggregating the power to make and enforce laws in the executive. This clearly erodes the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. It brings the modern presidency dangerously close to an elective dictatorship. […]


This is a rush transcript. If you notice any errors please report them using the “Help improve this post” link at the bottom of this post.

David Asman: Ron Paul is watching these results very closely, he’s trying to replace President Obama, and in fact has now said the President’s new spate of executive orders on the economy is effectively making him an elected dictator. He joins us now. I want to get to that comment in a moment, but what do you think of Ohioans rejecting Obama Care, essentially?

Ron Paul: Well, I think that’s good and that’s healthy, it’s just too bad we don’t apply that principle to about everything Washington does. ‘We’d like to opt out’, that’s what they’re saying, they don’t want to be pushed in. But when you think about how many other things that we’re pushed into, this is really minor. And the whole idea, though, is this doesn’t have the effect of law, so we have a long way to go. But I don’t like the use of force, I like volunteerism, that’s what a free society is supposed to be all about.

David Asman: Well, you like volunteerism, but you don’t see much of it coming from the White House. In fact, you called the President, recently, “An elected dictator”, what do you mean by that?

Ron Paul: Well, you know, a couple of weeks ago he announced Congress is too slow, they don’t move fast enough. He was very bold about it, he said, “I’m going to pass my legislation one piece at a time”. And about his stimulus package he said, “I’ll write and executive order every week”, I mean, that is arrogant, it is flaunting the constitution and the whole principles of how we’re supposed to operate. Even though these executive order have been around for a long time, and I’ve complained about them for a long time, but the idea that they can just do this and take away the legislative function and brag about it and Congress does nothing and the courts do nothing, is very, very bad.

David Asman: But the word “dictator”, that’s a pretty strong word.

Ron Paul: Well, if he writes these laws and he doesn’t do it the right way, he’s certainly verging in that direction. And you even qualified that when you read the quote; he’s verging on that, he’s moving in that direction, he’s dictatorial, is what he is. But this is what our government is all about. When Congress does get around to passing laws, they’re dictatorial too, everybody is telling the people what to do. This has been whole process for many, many decades, this is what the whole taxing system is about; dictating and dictatorial and telling people how to live their lives.

David Asman: Well, how would you change things?

Ron Paul: Well, you have to change it by changing people’s minds, but I think that’s what’s happening. I think this is why we have a Tea Party Movement going on and people are demonstrating because they’re sick and tired of what they’re being dictated to, just like the people in Iowa were tired of being dictated to; “You have to buy this insurance”. So the people’s attitudes are changing, the Congress has to change, we have to have a new president that maybe believes in the constitution to quit doing the things that are illegal. But this whole principle that the executive branch as well as the judicial branch can write law, has to be challenged. Because this is how we got into this mess, this is why government is too big and it has to be reversed.

David Asman: there is going to be a vote, apparently, on the Balanced Budget Amendment. I’m looking for ways to handcuff the people elected to office to prevent them from going to excess, is a Balanced Budget Amendment one way to do that?

Ron Paul: Oh, you have to be very, very cautious. I’m not a co-sponsor of any, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t vote for one. But the big thing is, what if they balance the budget by raising taxes. But you know how interested I am in monetary policy, it wouldn’t deal with the Federal Reserve because they’ve created 15 trillion dollars worth of credit, more than the Congress does in many years, and they spend it and they’re off budget. So it’s those kinds of things that you have to deal with, you have to deal with the whole philosophy of government; what’s the role of government? And the people have to decide, do we want a government that is supposed to police the world and run a welfare state, and deficits don’t matter, or are we supposed to live within the constitution? That’s the big question that we have to ask, and then find a good answer to.

David Asman: Congressman, in the course of your campaign, sometimes people in a crowded field, like the Republican field is right now, people on one side of an issue can push the candidates that have a better chance of winning in the other side. You sense any program on the part of somebody like Romney from catching on to some of your ideas?

Ron Paul: At the beginning he made a couple of comments about why we’ve been in Afghanistan for too long, and I thought that was healthy, but he sort of dropped away from that. He himself hasn’t said too much about the Federal Reserve, but other candidates have. They’ve mentioned it and said, “Maybe we should know more of what the Fed is doing”, and I thought that was healthy. So, in some ways, the ideas are getting out there, but I think that might be just sort of pandering a little bit, but I hope I’m giving the true message that the people need to hear.

David Asman: Well, if – and I know this is going against your better instincts – somebody like Romney becomes the nominee and if he actually becomes the President of the United States, you think he’ll just forget about the lip service that he might have been giving to some of your ideas once he’s president?

Ron Paul: Well, that’s the big question, because there are a bunch of politicians running and sometimes you run differently in the primary than you do in the general. So maybe he would say things and the other candidates might say things to appeal to the primary voters, and then what happens later on will be quite different. This is the one advantage people have when they look at what I do, because I say the same thing all the time and I’ve said it for a lot of years, so they wouldn’t have to worry about what I would do in a general election, or as a president.

David Asman: Well, there are these pledges on not raising taxes and such; maybe we should demand more pledges from candidates.

Ron Paul: Yea, one time I wrote an article called, “Legislative malpractice”. If you didn’t live up to your promises or obey the constitution, we ought to have the right to sue the politicians.

David Asman: Oh, I like that.

Ron Paul: That was tongue-in-cheek, because I guess our only alternative is impeaching people or not voting for them in the next go around. But just think if they had to face up to the obligation of following their promises and their pledges and their contract. In the private sector, you can be sued for breaking your promises and your contract, but the politicians get away with it, so maybe I’ll keep thinking about that idea if you liked it.

David Asman: They get away with murder, they always have and they probably always will. By the way, Herman Cain gave a press conference today, I’m sure you saw it or at least heard about it. Part of what he said went beyond the particular accusations made against him, which may or may not be frivolous. Let me just play a part of that and get you to respond.

Herman Cain: The machine to keep a businessman out of the White House is going to be relentless.

David Asman: What about that? Is there a machine, both Republican and Democratic, that is against people outsiders – I know you’ve been in Congress for a while, so you’re kind of an insider, but you have outside ideas. But he’s certainly an outsider. Is there a machine that is actively trying to prevent him from getting into office?

Ron Paul: I’d have to have him identify that and pinpoint it. But there are times I think all politicians tend to be a little bit paranoid about who’s out to get them. And even myself, I have to confess that there are times when I think, you know, why am I excluded here and why is this and why do we have a ton. But I see it more in philosophic terms, because I’m challenging the status quo philosophically: Keynesian economics, the Federal Reserve System, the foreign policy. So, to me, it isn’t strange, I would expect people to be orchestrated to, ‘Try to keep this guy out, because we disagree with him’. And they don’t want people to hear this message because they might like this message. But I see it in philosophical terms, rather than saying, “Oh, I know there are 12 people or 15 people who have gotten together and they’ve conspired to either keep me out or somebody like Cain out of the office”, I don’t think it works that way.

David Asman: No, but I like your point. If you’re getting awards from people inside the bellway, then you’re doing something wrong, right?

Ron Paul: Yea, I would think so.

David Asman: Ron Paul, great to see you, sir, thanks for coming in. Good luck on the campaign trail.

Ron Paul: Thank you.

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