John J Duncan, Jr.: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to my friend, Ron Paul. I have now served in Congress for 24 years, the last 16 of which I have served with Congressman Paul. During all of that time, I have never once seen him waver or stray from the commitment to liberty and freedom and his promise to uphold and defend our constitution. I can assure that no one runs for office wanting to make people mad. In fact, many of the other people who run for office have a stronger desire to be liked than most people. Thus, I feel certain that at times it has been hurtful to Congressman Paul to be the only member out of 435 to vote ‘No’ on some popular bill or some seemingly harmless resolution. Yet, on many occasions, he has been the only ‘No’ vote on some issues. Yet, because of his courage and sincerity and steadfast belief in free-enterprise, private property and individual freedom, he has earned the respect and admiration of almost everyone with whom he has served on both sides of the aisle.
When there was tremendous pressure, especially on the Republican side to vote to go to war in Iraq, only 6 Republicans voted ‘No’. Three of those were very liberal Republicans, and 3 were very conservative. The three conservative ‘No’ votes came from John Hostettler of Indiana, Congressman Paul, and myself. It is probably accurate to say that during the 16 years Congressman Paul and I have served together, no two members have voted more alike than we have. Most of that time, we have arrived at our decisions separately and independently, but we also have discussed many votes over the years and I attended most of the meetings of the Liberty Caucus that Congressman Paul has hosted in his office with a wide variety of speakers. One national magazine about 4 years ago gave just 3 members 100% ratings on the freedom-index: Congressman Paul, Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona, and myself. Last year, I was very surprised when the national tax payers union ranked me as the most fiscally conservative member on all 338 spending votes, but the only reason that Congressman Paul was not first was because he missed many votes during his run for the White House.
There have been articles and comments and questions about who would be the next Ron Paul in Congress. But really no one can replace Ron Paul or fill his shoes or be the next Ron Paul. He has achieved a fame and a following and a position of influence that is almost miraculous, considering his unique independence. He is such a kind, humble, almost bashful person, that I know he’s been amazed by the numbers that have turned out to support him, and especially the following he has among young people. After all, there’s nothing cool or hip about him, but several million college students and 20-somethings love the name. I think his appeal lies on his principle stands on the issues, the concern young people have for their future and where this country is headed, and the fact that Congressman Paul is real, there’s nothing fake about him. He believes what he says and says what he believes, and then sticks by it even when it is not ‘politically correct’. Financial columnist, Charles Goyette, probably summed up Congressman Paul’s time in office best in a column a few days ago. He wrote, “Politics has ways of bending lesser men and molding even the well-intentioned to become servants of the state. The tools are many: Congressional leadership bribes and bestows its favors, from plum committee assignments to nicer Capitol offices. The parties reward the lockstep-marchers, too. For those who stay in step, there are endorsements and campaign funds. Meanwhile, for those who march to a different drummer …” well, “… and then there’s the simple social pressure to which men whose eyes are not focused on a polestar of principle soon succumb. The description you’ve heard of Washington, that you have to go along to get along, is all too true.” Mr. Goyette concluded by writing, “Ron Paul never succumbed. He never sold out for a better assignment, a nice office, lobbyist largesse, or shallow conviviality”.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I think words written in the 1930 Novel called ‘The Lion’s Den’ fit Congressman Ron Paul. The words describe a fictional congressman named Zimmer. The author, Janet Fairbank, wrote, “No matter how the espousal of a lost cause might hurt his prestige in the House, Zimmer had never hesitated to identify himself with it if it seemed to him to be right. He knew only two ways, the right one and the wrong. And if he sometimes made a mistake, it was never one of honor. He voted as he believed he should, and although sometimes his voice was raised alone on one side of the question, it was never stilled”.