Ron Paul: Why I Didn’t Run as an Independent


Interviewer: Ron Paul is packing up his Washington condo this week, preparing to sell it and move back to Texas for good. Paul is retiring from Congress, and last week he gave a farewell address from the House floor, repeating the small-government sermon he first shouted in obscurity, and then injected into the national debate. With his time in Washington DC coming to a close, I sat down with Paul for a kind of ‘exit interview’.

Question: You’ve been here on-and-off since 1976, what would you say the three most damaging special interests are in Washington?

Ron Paul: You know, I see so many, and they’re all the same.

Interviewer: I know, but you much have some that really bother you.

Ron Paul: I think the military-industrial complex is very bad.

Interviewer: That was No.1.

Ron Paul: I don’t know if they should be in order.

Interviewer: Okay, don’t give them in order.

Ron Paul: Another one would be the banking system: how the Federal Reserve works and how it helps big banks. The interest that I would like to see, and that I worked on, was to try to get those people who just want their freedom to take care of themselves, and that’s the one that’s the least influential. Up here, it’s the people who want stuff and who get the benefits by just lobbying for those things that they want.

Interviewer: Another thing you mentioned in your farewell speech is your belief that we need to build coalitions, not necessarily reach compromises. And I wonder if you think your beliefs could be a 51% coalition in your lifetime, or in what timeframe?

Ron Paul: I think if I talk to a crowd of people, no matter which crowd, and say, “Do you believe in the free enterprise system, that people should be able to work and have their earning?” they say, “Yea, I believe that”. And if I asked, “Do you believe that your privacy should be protected, that the government shouldn’t be in your bedroom, that they shouldn’t be spying on you?” people would agree. And, most of the time when I asked, “Do you think we should be the policeman of the world?” they say, “No”. But when it comes to the particulars, they don’t stick with it, and they say, “Yes, but go too far, you want too much freedom”.

Interviewer: Well, this is another thing you touched on in that speech, you said this idea of liberty is popular, has been popular, so why doesn’t it win. It’s kind of a question that you didn’t fully answer in that speech, why do you think it doesn’t win?

Ron Paul: Not a lot of people talk about it, and I did try to explain it in the speech, in that, the concern about freedom was lost because freedom creates so much prosperity, that people get complacent. Then they become materialistic, and all they can deal with is redistribution and they find that with the government, you can make more money by getting a contract from the government than by being a genius and being productive. You know, when I first came here in 1976, I think I was under the impression that if you talk about welfare, you’re talking about those people who won’t work and get food stamps. But I have a very different opinion now. That exists, and it’s not healthy, but that’s minor compared to the food stamps the wealthy get. The wealthy get the contracts and the special deals, and that’s where I think the biggest trouble is.

Interviewer: That’s a way of speaking that most Republicans don’t usually engage in. Your son, the senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, said recently that the Republican Party is in danger of becoming a dinosaur.

Ron Paul: Yea, but I think the whole government and the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are all dinosaurs.

Interviewer: What’s the future of the Republican Party, though?

Ron Paul: Well, the same as the Democratic Party. The principles are dinosaurs. The parties are going to linger because they’re locked in by law. You know, we’re not allowed to compete, the laws are biased against us from competing. And if you go third-party, you can’t get in the debates and you can’t get on ballots.

Interviewer: You talk about the grip of that two-party system, did you seriously consider running as an independent for President in 2012?

Ron Paul: No.

Interviewer: You didn’t consider it because it’s not practical?

Ron Paul: Not practical, absolutely not practical. Because this would have been a good year to have an alternative, and you can’t get much of a showing either on the Libertarian side or the Green side.

Interviewer: So then, how do we get out of this system, what do us see as the answer to this, or do we just keep bumping along with the way things are? You can’t believe that, that would make you too sad.

Ron Paul: No, you go to the campuses, you rally the young people, and you stir up a whole generation of people. Ideas do have consequences, and that’s where the good news is, because the campuses are alive and well with these views and they know the system is bankrupt. And there is this illusion that you can spend endlessly and print endlessly, and there will always be credit out there. And so far so good, but credit can end quickly, the dollar can crash quickly, and a new system will have to be developed.

Interviewer: One last thing, where do you pride yourself?

Ron Paul: Nothing in particular, other than the fact that the people say, “One thing we can say about you is that you are very consistent”, and they say this in a very nice way.

Interviewer: And you’ve changed the discussion in this country, you must be proud of that.

Ron Paul: Yea, that would be nice, time will tell. But what I always get a charge out of is when they’re so nice and they say, “This is good, you’re very consistent”, they must say to themselves, “But I’m always inconsistent”, and that’s wonderful. And they run the show, I never ran anything, I was just bubbling along here when it came to legislation. So the people who, in a way, admit they’re inconsistent, get to run the Legislative System.

Interviewer: Thank you so much for your time, we really appreciate it.

Ron Paul: You’re welcome.


  • the movement goes on…. thank you Dr Ron Paul.. we the people of the world, will take it from here…

  • the movement goes on…. thank you Dr Ron Paul.. we the people of the world, will take it from here…

  • by conservatives do you mean moderates or extremist?

  • James Hines

    I love Congressman Paul and I voted for him in the primaries.
    That said ….this is not a sufficient answer.
    Fine – I understand the problems with ballot access and debates, and if RON PAUL did not want to run for President, that’s fine.
    But I also believe – particularly considering the energy that so many have put behind Ron Paul and the Campaign for Liberty for so long – that Ron Paul should either LEAD or FOLLOW …at this point, merely “getting out of the way” is not an acceptable position for him.
    Gary J0hnson may not have been a perfect candidate, but he DID want to cut spending by 43 cents on every dollar.
    I think Ron Paul would have done all of us a favor by encouraging us to all get behind Gary Johnson. For me, the fact that he did not do so suggests to me that if he could not be the person to lead the rEVOLution, he did not want ANYONE to do so.

    • Carol

      I wrote him in in the elections. When I saw what was being done to him by the GOP I vowed I would….and I did.

  • Ron Paul has lived an honorable life. A honorable Veteran, A doctor that delivered babies and celebrated life, a politician (or statesman) that told the truth and stood up for justice. He loved his country, and showed it. He was the best choice in the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections. It is a shame he was never President; he would have been one of the best ever.

  • He failed to mention AIPAC?

  • if the two party system is broken and you know this, why identify yourself as a liberal? Be an independent!!!!

  • As a liberal I must say, I have an incredible amount of respect for Ron Paul. The corrupt two-party system is completely broken and Paul was one of the few who would not only admit this, but fight against it. A true patriot.

  • Well said, sir! I admire your contrition and candor.

    Let’s work together for an America in liberty and freedom! Chase out the statists!

  • For a living? LOL! It’s all part of a much bigger issue but you have to have some intellect and intuition to understand that. Not something your average sheeple would understand so you have a pass. I tried watching your vids but got bored very quickly. Sorry.

  • Keep hatin’ but look in the mirror and hate yourself

  • Actions speak louder than words…too bad that Congressman Ron Paul didn’t envision the consequences of running as an independent during the last presidential elections…a historical opportunity going down the drain indeed (and the perpetuation of the corrupt and obsolete two-party system)

  • Jenell Redding DCM, P ND

    Dr Ron Paul could lead and save Texas out of the federal government and no not secession. We need to “Secede from the encroachment of the UN/via the power elite.” And for warriors we need to seek out our “William Wallace”.
    Scum floats to the top as does the cream and then cream is simply worthless and that is our congress I am sorry to say. I am 75 years old and lived during the very last part of the great (nothing great) depression and thru WWII and all the other wars. Stop all this nonsense sounds good but you have to realize to the powers that be it isn’t nonsense. We need to stop any and all encroachment of our liberty.
    With Light Liberty and FREEDOM JR

  • Ron Paul is a real man.

  • robin

    OFF TOPIC: As a parent who homeschools, a relative who also homeschools brought this to my attention that this week our representatives will be voting on the UN Americans Disabilities Act once again undermining our sovereignty. Many people are trying to do away with homeschooling or try to control it. We know why. Don’t want people like Ben Swann of Reality check exposing the truth and thinking outside of the group mind. He was homeschooled. Please contact your representatives and say we already have laws in place and do not want to relinquish control to the UN.

    • Shawn

      …and why shouldn’t the UN vote on a UN act? I don’t think you know anything about what they are voting on so that is why you didn’t include any information (prove me wrong please). I think you are likely unhappy with the UN for other reasons, like their attempt to reign in the illegal behavior of Israel? Am I right?

      • robin

        No, you are not correct. What this treaty does is to take away the power of education from parents and put it in the hands of the UN. International law should not supersede our Constitution and our sovereignty. There are laws in place now to protect people with disabilities, so what is the real purpose behind this treaty??? As a former teacher, I believe education is best served at the local/and state level. The federal government has definitely not improved education and you are probably not aware that they would like to do away with homeschooling=kids who actually learn to think for themselves out of the group mind. The purpose of education has been to dummy down the population since the late 70’s when I began teaching. As far as Israel, I’m outspoken about what Israel is doing to Palestinians. I am a former diehard liberal democrat who woke up Shawn after 40 years. I am no longer part of the “group mind” and the liberal/vs. conservative paradigm.

  • I explained previously in explicit terms why the argument you are presenting is absurd. Now is the time for you to remove your thumb from your mouth. Grow up, get a haircut and a bath then find a job. Trolling is well beyond your capacity at present so why don’t you go find a productive avocation?

  • Same thing happened to me, used to be a hardcore neo-conservative, now I’m all Libertarian.
    Your so right, once you can get people to look past that artificial dividing line between “left” and “right”, whether they are hardcore progressives or hardcore neo-conservatives, everyone realizes that they are libertarians.

  • Audio / Visual out of synch.

  • i love you Dr. Paul. it would be a miracle if another politician pops up with half of your honesty and passion.

  • I so do feel for you, man. There are many things I like about Sweden, but those politics are just off the rails. If it weren’t for the politics, I think I’d even consider moving there. Not at all surprising that Ingvar Kamprad headquartered IKEA in the Netherlands and went to reside in Switzerland.