Dr. No som præsident

Et ukendt navn for langt de fleste danskere og amerikanere, men som nok er væsentligt mere kendt blandt en stor del af denne blogs læsere, er det amerikanske Republikanske kongresmedlem Ron Paul.  Paul, der er læge, har on/off siddet i kongressen som valgt i Texas, men er mest kendt for, at han i sin tid forlod Republikanerne og i 1988 stillede op som præsidentkandidat for Libertarian Party.

Præsidentvalgkampagnen blev der ikke meget ud af.  Selv Libertarian Party havde næppe ventet, at han ville blive valgt, eller blot få en to-cifret andel af stemmerne, og han fik da fordoblet stemmeandelen, men han–der givetvis er den mest scenevante og bedst talende kandidat, som det lille parti nogensinde har haft–klarede sig (med blot 0,5 pct. af samtlige stemmer) endda noget dårligere, end man kunne have ventet (hvilket sikkert skyldtes, at forestillingen om at få Michael Dukakis som efterfølger til Reagan var så skrækindjagende, at mange var villige til at holde sig for næsen og stemme på George H.W. Bush).  Siden vendte han tilbage til Republikanerne, blev valgt til kongressen igen, hvor han nu er kendt som “Dr. No”–fordi han stemmer nej til stort set alt.  At han da heller ikke er en holdningsmæssig opportunist blot fordi han er skiftet frem og tilbage mellem det store og det lille parti, fremgår f.eks. af, hvordan han præsenterer sig selv på sin hjemmeside:

“Congressman Ron Paul of Texas enjoys a national reputation as the premier advocate for liberty in politics today. Dr. Paul is the leading spokesman in Washington for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. He is known among both his colleagues in Congress and his constituents for his consistent voting record in the House of Representatives: Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution. In the words of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Dr. Paul is the “one exception to the Gang of 535″ on Capitol Hill.”

Paul er iøvrigt medlem af den libertarianske fraktion indenfor Republikanerne, Republican Liberty Caucus, og han ligger konsekvent blandt top-3 af Rep.Hus.medlemmer i dettes Liberty Index, som rater hvordan kongresmedlemmerne stemmer (med scores på mellem 80 og 100 pct.).

Og nu har Dr. No så meldt sig i feltet af kandidater til nomineringen som Republikanernes præsidentkandidat i 2008.  Det har næppe meget større sandsynlighed for at lykkes end forsøget i 1988, men der vil uden tvivl være flere, som bemærker kandidaturet denne gang–og dermed flere som hører budskaber, der kommer tættere på et klassisk-liberalt budskab end nogen anden præsidentkandidat for et af de to store partier siden … ja, meget, meget længe.  Og det er jo i sig selv ikke så skidt.

Her er uddrag fra en artikel om kandidaturet fra Associated Press:

Texas Congressman Seeks Presidency

By JOE STINEBAKER

The Associated Press
Thursday, January 11, 2007; 6:28 PM

HOUSTON — Rep. Ron Paul, the iconoclastic, nine-term lawmaker from southeast Texas, took the first step Thursday toward a second, quixotic presidential bid _ this time as a Republican.

Paul filed papers in Texas to create a presidential exploratory committee that will allow him to raise money. In 1988, Paul was the Libertarian nominee for president and received more than 400,000 votes.

Kent Snyder, the chairman of Paul’s exploratory committee and a former staffer on Paul’s Libertarian campaign, said the congressman knows he’s a long shot.

“There’s no question that it’s an uphill battle, and that Dr. Paul is an underdog,” Snyder said. “But we think it’s well worth doing and we’ll let the voters decide.”

Paul limits his view of the role of the federal government to those duties laid out in the Constitution. As a result, he sometimes casts votes at odds with his constituents and other Republicans.

He was one of a handful of Republicans to vote in 2002 against giving President Bush the authority to use military force in Iraq, contending that only Congress had the power to declare war. At times, he has voted against funds for the military.

Paul bills himself as “The Taxpayers’ Best Friend,” and is routinely ranked either first or second in the House by the National Taxpayers Union, a national group advocating low taxes and limited government.

Her er et link til teksten fra New York Times om samme emne.

PS. For de indforståede: En mangeårig først medarbejder og siden støtte for Ron Paul er Lew Rockwell, grundlægger og præsident for Ludwig von Mises Institute.  Rockwell og den afdøde “østrigske” økonom, historiker og politiske tænker Murray Rothbard var blandt de kraftigste støtter bag Ron Paul i 1988–og forlod efterfølgende Libertarian Party.  Det mig bekendt første sted, hvor man foreslog Paul som præsidentkandidat, var på Rockwells hjemmeside.  Her er Rockwells korte meddelelse om kandidaturet og et link til Ron Pauls artikler hos Rockwell.  Her er en lidt nyere–og nok noget urealistisk–post om emnet fra Rockwells blog.

7 Comments

  1. PKK, hvad tror du effekten bliver af Paul’s kandidatur? Hvilke debatter vil han sætte sit præg på, hvilke kandidater vil han kunne hive i den ene eller anden retning?Og kan vi få et bud på om han får flere stemmer i GOP primaries end Duncan Hunter?

  2. “PKK, hvad tror du effekten bliver af Paul’s kandidatur? Hvilke debatter vil han sætte sit præg på, hvilke kandidater vil han kunne hive i den ene eller anden retning?”Pyha, det er svært at sige endnu, når man endnu ikke ved, hvad det endelig “line up” bliver. Hvis han får formuleret nogle gode policy “hooks”, som folk kan huske, kan han måske nok sætte sit præg. Da Steve Forbes i sin tid stillede op, var det som en Reagan/Kemp-agtig frimarkedsorienteret, “limited government” konservativ; det gik ham–trods 1-2 mia. kr. i privat kampagnekasse–ikke specielt godt, men ret mange af de temaer, Forbes satte på dagsordenen (en flad skat, “privatisering” af social security-konti; afskaffelse af det føderale undervisningsministerium, o.s.v.) blev et efter et snuppet af de andre–og efterfølgende aldrig gennemført. Hvis Paul får en fornuftig kampagneledelse, tror jeg godt, at han temamæssigt vil kunne stor indflydelse på de andre.Men det kommer meget an på, hvor McCain, Brownback og Romney (og andre?) lægger sig. Der mangler sådan set endnu en rigtig–og god–Reagan-fløjs kandidat. Dukker en sådan op–og jeg ved, man leder–kan Paul vise sig at blive næsten helt ligegyldig. Gør der ikke, så tror jeg faktisk, at han vil kunne sætte sig spor på debatten.”Og kan vi få et bud på om han får flere stemmer i GOP primaries end Duncan Hunter?”Pyha (igen). Indtil videre er der jo ikke rigtigt så mange–relativt set–der kender nogen af dem, så det kan næsten kun gå op. Hunter kan sætte sig på et tema med en del stemmer (anti-indvandring); Paul kan sætte sig på et andet (anti-krig) og måske et mere (et radikalt anti-skat program). Men ingen af disse temaer er flertals-temaer selv blandt Republikanerne.I don’t know …Personligt ønsker jeg Paul alt det bedste; af de forhåndenværende kandidater er han klart den, jeg ønsker det bedste. Men jeg er meget tvivlsom overfor, hvor meget godt der kommer ud af det … Han er simpelthen for ukendt og for idealistisk til at gøre sig i toppen af amerikansk politik–og så er fremtidsudsigterne vist givet …

  3. Jeg deler dine synspunkter mht. Pauls chancer for at udøve indflydelse på valget og de andre kandidater, men jeg tror at han har to potentielle kæmpefordele:1. Libertarianism er (uofficielt) overrepræsenteret blandt de mest populære talking heads/news anchors, fx Lou Dobbs og Tucker Carlson, som begge har programmer i den tidlige ende af prime time.2. Desuden må det vel være en fordel at Paul med sin libertarian position kan hente talking points direkte fra CATO Institutes og andre tænketankes publikationer, selvom ingen af dem (mig bekendt) støtter ham officielt. Han kan derved spare på det hav af rådgivere og eksperter som de andre kandidater er nødsaget til at hyre for at udarbejde populære midterpositioner.

  4. Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard

    18. januar 2007 at 04:59

    Og her er fra RealClearPolitics.com en–som sædvanlig–meget indsigtsfuld og afbalanceret vurdering fra Michael Barone:Open-Field Presidential Politics in 2008By Michael BaroneThe spotlight this past week has been on George W. Bush. Against the tide of public opinion, and to the rage of congressional Democrats, he has ordered an increase of troops in Iraq in order to pacify Baghdad and Anbar province.No one knows for sure whether this will work — and the metric by which it will be judged. Bush was careful in his Wednesday night speech to warn Americans that it may mean more casualties for some considerable period of time. Both houses of Congress seem likely to pass resolutions disapproving of Bush’s decision, with significant numbers of Republicans voting against their party’s leader. It’s going to be a difficult time.For six years now, American politics has revolved around George W. Bush, just as it revolved for eight years before that around Bill Clinton. These two presidents — both born in 1946, the opening year of the baby boom, both graduates of the high school class of 1964, the peak SAT-scoring class of all time — both happen to have personal characteristics that people on the other side of the cultural divide absolutely loathe. We are so used to having these divisive central figures that it’s difficult to imagine what American politics will be like without them. Yet we are coming to that time soon. 2008 will be the first presidential election year since 1928 in which neither the incumbent president or vice president will be a candidate at any point in the process.In 1928, both parties nominated candidates who represented a change in course. Herbert Hoover was far less of a free marketer than Calvin Coolidge (who referred to him privately as “Wonder Boy”). Al Smith, the Catholic governor of New York, was culturally far distant from the Southern and border-state Protestant Democrats who made up most of the party’s officeholders.The general election saw sharp shifts in voting patterns. Hoover ran ahead of Coolidge in the progressive Northwest from the Great Lakes to the Pacific coast. Smith ran ahead of previous Democrats in Catholic and immigrant neighborhoods of the big cities.Thirteen months from now, we are likely to know who will be the nominees of our two major parties. The current leaders in the polls are in opposition to or in tension with their parties’ bases in important respects. Rudolph Giuliani is way out of line with cultural conservatives on issues like abortion, gay rights and gun control. John McCain has been at odds with Republican partisans on issues like campaign reform, detainees’ rights and tax cuts. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been out of line with the antiwar left on Iraq and other national security issues. Barack Obama — if he is to be included on the list — speaks in a tone far less angry and partisan than the enraged Democratic left.There is no guarantee that any of these candidates will be nominated. Many Washington insiders think that Mitt Romney, now mostly unknown, and John Edwards, not yet known in depth, will emerge as strong contenders. Both fit more closely the profile of their parties’ bases — but both have records on issues that are inconveniently out of line with them. And dark horses could turn out to be strong horses. Who was giving serious consideration to Howard Dean at this point in the 2003-04 cycle?Still, the likelihood is that the Republicans will nominate a candidate significantly different from George W. Bush and that the Democrats will nominate a candidate whose stands and style will differ significantly from that of Al Gore and John Kerry.Current polls suggest there will be more moveable voters than in 2000 or 2004. In polls in the 2003-04 cycle, neither Bush nor various Democrats scored so high as to suggest that either party’s candidate would win more than the 51 percent Bush ultimately got. Movement was minimal. But in polls in this cycle we have seen well-known candidates of both parties run far ahead of little-known candidates of other parties — far enough to suggest that they could get over that 51 percent level in general elections. Voters who wouldn’t consider a Republican or Democrat in 2004 seem willing to at least consider one in 2008.The Karl Rove model of turning out your base may prove obsolete. Some analysts assume that Republicans will be weighed down by low Bush job ratings. But that may not be the case. I think we’re entering a period of open-field politics, in which both parties will be defined less by their past leaders than by their new nominees.

  5. Den altid indsigtsfulde Wall Street Journal har iøvrigt dd. en leder, som meget godt opsummerer min egen vurdering (gennem længere tid) af situationen blandt Demokraterne: Det er Hillary mod alle andre–men med Al Gore som en mulig “dark horse”. Den er her:The Democratic Field It’s Hillary versus everybody else. Thursday, January 18, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s announcement this week that he’s likely to enter the Presidential race adds a dash of glamour and excitement to the Democratic field. But all of his media attention doesn’t change the basic truth of the 2008 primary contest: The race is between Hillary Rodham Clinton and everybody else. New York’s junior Senator hasn’t announced yet, but her troops have long been massing, ready to march on her orders. And what a political machine it is, starting with her husband, who has made it clear he is aching for her to run. Psychoanalyzing the Clintons is perilous, but we suspect the former President doesn’t like the way his years in office ended, with impeachment, the Marc Rich pardon and Al Gore’s failure to deliver a third symbolic term. A victory for his wife would be a kind of political redemption for him too.Mrs. Clinton brings her own considerable strengths, not least intelligence and self-discipline. She has performed far more smoothly in the Senate than many observers expected, and she hasn’t been a polarizing figure in New York (winning 67% of the vote in November). Then there are those Clinton legions–of fund-raisers, union chiefs, party bosses, think tank operatives, media consultants. Mrs. Clinton blew through more than $30 million during her all but uncontested Senate re-election campaign, and she will have little trouble raising another $100 million or more. Longtime aide Harold Ickes–famous for his silent depositions in Clinton II–is the seasoned hand on money matters and he’ll also bring on Big Labor. Meanwhile, former White House chief of staff John Podesta has set up the Center for American Progress, from which she can poach left-leaning policy ideas.From her national perch on the Armed Services Committee, Mrs. Clinton has so far also walked a remarkable tightrope on the Iraq war, only recently coming out for some sort of “cap” on the number of troops. A major story over the coming year will be whether she can resist the defeatist tug of her party’s antiwar left as she tries to win the Democratic nomination.Which brings up her biggest liability–the fear in many Democratic hearts that she’s not “electable.” Mrs. Clinton carries much of the scandal baggage of her husband’s tenure without much of his political charisma. If one potential Democratic theme is to run against the “divisive” Bush Republicans, Hillary is not your ideal “uniter.” Perhaps American voters won’t want to hear about Arkansas, et cetera, all over again, but then is that a risk Democrats want to take?This is where Mr. Obama comes in, bidding to be the un-Hillary. At age 45, he’s already managed the remarkable feat of writing his own autobiography, literally and politically. He’s applauded for saying he’s proud that he did inhale, and he has the virtue of being a genuinely fresh face. But campaigns have a way of filling in a candidate’s resumes in ways other than they design, including their positions on actual issues. Mr. Obama is already moving left on national security–which is dangerous ground for a political rookie amid what the Pentagon calls “the long war” on terror.North Carolina’s John Edwards is another vigorous contender, though the erstwhile Vice Presidential candidate failed to deliver his home state to John Kerry last time around. This time he’s raising the decibels on his “two Americas” campaign theme, hoping to catch some of that Hubert Humphrey political magic. If he can sell this message as a millionaire trial lawyer, he’ll have earned the nomination. The rest of the Democratic field includes two governors–Iowa’s Tom Vilsack and New Mexico’s Bill Richardson–who have solid state records, and Mr. Richardson also has foreign-policy credentials. But both will have trouble breaking through the fund-raising barriers erected by the campaign-finance limits they themselves have supported. This is a shame, because both men have something to offer. And then there is the usual gaggle of Senators–Dodd, Biden and even Kerry–who are running because . . . well, because that seems to be what their DNA has programmed them to do. If we were betting on a wild card challenger, we’d look instead to Al Gore. The former Vice President has been coy about his intentions. But he might be getting a ton of free publicity for his global warming “documentary” come Oscar time, and there’s little doubt he could raise money if he got in. Unlike Mrs. Clinton, there are a lot of Democrats who feel passionately about him and his near-win in 2000.There are cycles in politics, and, after eight years of Republicans in the White House, Democrats in 2008 will have the public’s normal desire for change on their side. On the other hand, they will also have to show they can be trusted on national security in a post 9/11 world, especially running against the likes of Republicans John McCain or Rudy Giuliani. Mrs. Clinton’s studied middle-ground on security suggests she understands that. The main Democratic drama of the coming months will be whether her party really trusts that she and her husband have learned enough not to repeat the mistakes of the 1990s.

  6. Reason Magazine har en længere, kritisk artikel/et interview om Pauls kandidatur her:Paul for President?The maverick libertarian Republican talks on war, immigration, and presidential ambition.Brian Doherty | January 22, 2007Excitement spread like wildfire last week across the libertarian web: Ron Paul has entered the presidential race! Even the mainstream press took notice. As we’ll see in the interview with Rep. Paul (R-Texas) below, the excitement may have been premature. The reason for the excitement is understandable: Ron Paul has been the most consistent successful politician advocating the limited-government principles that he sees embedded in the Constitution. Part of his appeal, to a voting base that we can safely presume isn’t as libertarian as Paul is himself, is that of the very rare politician following his own conscience and mind with steadfast integrity. Indeed, Paul is not afraid of aggravating even parts of his libertarian constituency when he thinks it’s the right thing to do, as on immigration (where he’s against amnesty and birthright citizenship, and for increased border control) and his vote this month in favor of prescription drug negotiation. I first wrote at length about Paul in a 1999 American Spectator profile. Its discussion of Paul’s nature and appeal is worth revisiting, even with some old details. Just remember, he’s continued to win his reelection since 1999. In 2004, the Democrats didn’t even bother running anyone against him. And in 2006 he won with 60 percent of the vote.Though his name rarely appears in the national press, his face almost never on Sunday morning news shows, in 1996 he was third only to Gingrich and Bob Dornan in individual contributions to Republican House members. Though he hasn’t managed to get any of his own bills out of committee since re-entering the House in January 1997, he’s considered a vital asset by a large national constituency of libertarians, goldbugs, and constitutionalists. He’s defied one of the holy shibboleths of electoral politics—Thou Must Bring Home the Bacon—by being a consistent opponent of agricultural subsidies in a largely agricultural district…..Ron Paul has been defying standard political rules since he first won an off-term House election in 1976–a post-Watergate year when new Republicans weren’t widely embraced. He lost the regular election in ‘76, but came back to win in ‘78, ‘80, and ‘82, then left the House for an ill-fated go at the Senate seat won by Phil Gramm. ….He ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1988. He was a hero to a national constituency of hard-core skeptics about the State—the one successful politician who was always steadfast even on the less-popular aspects of the live-free-or-die libertarian philosophy. He’d talk about ending the federal drug war when speaking to high school students. In 1985, he spent his own money to fly and testify on behalf of one of the first draft-registration defiers to go to trial, not blanching when confronted with the hot-blooded youngster’s use of the phrase “Smash the State.” He might not use that verb, the sober obstetrician, Air Force veteran, and family man said, but from his first-hand experience with how the U.S. government disrespects its citizens’ natural liberties, he could understand the sentiments.I talked to Paul Thursday afternoon by phone about presidential and congressional politics. Here is an edited transcript of our talk.Reason: Does launching an official exploratory committee necessarily mean you will end up launching an official campaign?Ron Paul: Last week it leaked that we were getting ready to organize an exploratory committee—I haven’t even officially announced that yet. If I find with the exploratory committee that there is some support out there, that we can raise the money you need, then [I’d] declare that [I’m] running.Reason: Now that it has leaked, what have you thought of the response so far?Paul: I think it’s been impressive. I’ve been pleased and surprised.Reason: Who are some of the staff and supporters behind the committee?Paul: I’m not going into any of that now–we haven’t even officially made the announcement! It was leaked info and I’m still in the process of organizing a team. [In an AP story, Kent Snyder is identified as chairman for the exploratory committee.]Reason: What would you anticipate the major issues you’d emphasize in a presidential run, if it comes to that? Paul: Everything I’ve talked about for 20 years! I think the biggest thing for Republican primary voters is that most Republicans are turned off right now. They’ve had a beating and are reassessing their values. They have to decide what they believe in. The Republican Party has become about big government conservatism, and Republicans need to hear the message they used to hear: that conservatives are supposed to be for small government.Reason: You appeared at a bipartisan press conference today on a resolution regarding possible war in Iran….Paul: Walter Jones (D-N.C.) has a resolution he’s introducing, sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans, saying that the president can’t go into Iran and spread this war without permission of Congress. I don’t know the total number of supporters, but we had a real nice bipartisan group, seven or eight members of Congress, split between Republicans and Democrats. I thought it went well. [The resolution has 12 co-sponsors.]I think the feeling [on the Hill] is getting more against the war every day. Republicans have generally benefited from being on the other side of war issues, and lately we’ve been pressured into supporting pre-emptive war, and it has hurt us politically. The Old Right position was [antiwar] and through the 20th century conservatives in the Republican Party have generally been trying to keep us out of war, and we’ve generally benefited by this. Eisenhower was elected to end the Korean War. Nixon was supposed to end the Vietnam War and in 2000 Bush ran on a policy of “no nation building” and not being the policeman of the world. He criticized Clinton on Somalia. It’s a strong tradition for Republicans to be on the side of avoiding military conflicts. Democrats have generally been the international instigators.Reason: One of the Internet rumors is linking you with Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Col.) in a possible joint run…Paul: Tancredo? No. We’ve never talked about anything like that.Reason: And another rumor is that the GOP run could be a lead-in to some sort of third party run…Paul: A third party run? No.Reason: Have you noticed any differences about being in the minority party in Congress again? Will that affect you?Paul: Well, the Republican Party leaders are acting in a very defensive manner–which they’ve earned! It probably doesn’t change what I do very much. I’m just as likely to get Democratic support in things I want to do as from Republicans. Republicans were too determined to support the president rather than thinking things through and standing up to his requests to expand government internationally or to expand entitlement program at home. They’ve just gone along here.Reason: Do you think the losing Congress will liberate more Republicans to revolt against the administration?Paul: That’s the other Republican politicians’ dilemma: They don’t want to annoy some Republican voters, but at the same time realize that it’s not very popular to have to defend the war. When you see someone like Brownback [R-Kan.] scurrying away from the war….there’s a big change in attitude [in the GOP] and Republicans are starting to remember where they came from and that they don’t have to be supporters of war. I think a year from now there will be a lot more Republican antiwar people around.Reason: Do you expect the Democrats to do anything substantive to stop the war?Paul: I think we’ll see more rhetoric than a real desire to do [something specific]. We’ll see hiding behind just saying that “we don’t like this, Bush made a mess, but we can’t cut the money because then we won’t be supporting the troops.” I think that’s a cop out. There’s plenty of
    money to take care of the tro
    ops, billions of dollars in piles. Reason: What did you think of Rep. Joe Biden’s declaration that there’s really nothing Congress can do to stop the war?Paul: I think Biden is absolutely wrong. The Constitution gives more responsibility to Congress in dealing with foreign policy than to the executive. The only thing the president can do is be commander in chief after being given directions to pursue. If we had followed the rules he wouldn’t have been able to do a thing, with no declaration of war. How can the commander in chief fight a war that hasn’t been declared? If Congress had not been so complacent in its responsibilities….The war in Vietnam finally ended by definancing, but tragically after 60,000 Americans died. Congress has lots of responsibility, for defining policy, raising an army, buying equipment, the whole works. For Biden to say that–that’s avoiding the responsibility of doing what we can do.Reason: Have you had much interaction with the larger active antiwar movement from the left?Paul: Not really. I have a lot of people who correspond with me who come from the left, but I don’t go to their events since there’s so often more on their plate than just the war. They have an agenda I don’t endorse. I’m interested in reviving that spirit that says conservatives and limited-government constitutionalists can support the antiwar position, can be comfortable without aggressive foreign policy.Reason: What do you have to say to libertarians who disagree with your immigration position, such as on amnesty, birthright citizenship, and a concentration of federal money on border security?Paul: If they don’t agree, they’d have to be anarchists, and I’m not. I believe in national borders and national security. My position is, take away incentives–why are states compelled to give free education and medical care? I don’t endorse easy automatic citizenship for people who break the law. They shouldn’t be able to come reap the benefits of welfare state. I don’t think libertarians can endorse that. I think removing the incentives is very important, but I don’t think you can solve the immigration problem until you deal with the welfare state and the need for labor created by a government that interferes with the market economy. We’re short of labor at the same time lots of people are paid not to work. Take away [illegal immigrants’] incentives. I do believe in a responsibility to protect our borders, rather than worrying about the border between North and South Korea or Iraq and Syria, and I think that’s a reasonable position.Reason: Some of your libertarian fans were also upset about your vote on government price negotiations for Medicare drugs….Paul: The government is already involved in giving out prescription drugs, in a program that the drug companies love and spend hundreds of millions lobbying for, this interventionist program. The drug corporations love it. Should government say something about controlling prices since it’s a government program? I want to cut down spending, so why not say that government has a responsibility to get a better bargain? Both choices were horrible, but the person who complained on the Internet did not understand the vote. I don’t vote for price controls, obviously, but if government has to buy something—even if they shouldn’t be buying it!–they have a responsibility to get the best price. But most importantly, we shouldn’t be in that business [of buying drugs].Reason: When can we expect an official announcement about your presidential plans?Paul: It’s going to be several weeks. We want to get our ducks lined up, be better prepared to line up committees and all the things we didn’t get together before the information about [the exploratory committee] was leaked. I was impressed with how quick it leaked, and the reaction, O man!Reason: Any reaction from your congressional colleagues or Republican Party types?Paul: Not a whole lot. I didn’t expect them to say too much. I mean, they mention it—it’s not like they refuse to talk about it—but it’s not the hottest subject around. It’s much hotter on the Internet.It will have to be a grassroots campaign and rely on the internet. If we don’t learn how to use that to its maximum benefit, we won’t have a very viable campaign. We’ll be able to raise significant amounts, but obviously we’re not getting money from corporate giants and we’re not apt to raise $100 million. Money is pretty important, but it’s not the final issue. There are other ways of running, more so today than ever before, new ways of reaching people in an economical manner. Obvious you have to get a certain [minimum amount] of money, but right now I have no idea of the number.

  7. Joe Sobrans ugentlige klumme handler i denne uge om Ron Pauls kandidatur:The Reactionary Utopian January 25, 2007PRESIDENT PAUL?by Joe Sobran[THIS COLUMN IS EMBARGOED UNTIL FEBRUARY 8. If you forward it after that time, please use the entire page.] Dozens of people have announced their candidacies for the White House in 2008, and if I had to bet at this point, I would put my money on the old woman. Hillary may be awful, but at least she is predictable. I suppose I can learn to resign myself to her. What difference does it really make? Our next president will have his or her hands full cleaning up after George W. Bush. In a negative sense, he has already set the agenda for his unfortunate successor. Just getting this country back to normal would be a labor of Hercules. And Hercules isn’t in the race. Politics doesn’t often produce good news, but I am slightly heartened to learn that Congressman Ron Paul is contemplating a run for the presidency. The Texas Republican has now taken the standard preliminary step of forming an exploratory committee. Paul, a pro-life medical doctor, is a genuine political maverick. When the House votes for something434 to 1, you can safely bet that Paul is the 1. He really fights for the principles other Republicans only pretend to stand for, and does so with carefully reasoned explanations of his positions. In essence, Paul appeals to that subversive document, the U.S. Constitution, long since abandoned by both major parties, not to mention the U.S. Supreme Court. He tests every proposed law by asking whether it exercises a power authorized by the Constitution. The answer is seldom yes. Many years ago Paul told me, with his affably ironic smile, that he felt more pressure from his fellow Republicans than from Democrats, because the Democrats weren’t embarrassed when a Republican voted like a real conservative, but the Republicans were. Showing up his own party has been the story of Ron Paul’s career. No other Republican has voted against President Bush as consistently as he has. Paul isn’t flamboyant or defiant about it; his style is quiet and reasonable, not combative. Being a maverick isn’t a pose for him. It’s a matter of conscience and logic. As a result, the GOP doesn’t care much for him and, if he runs, will try to stifle him. The allegedly right-wing Newt Gingrich, when he was riding high, once supported Paul’s opponent in the primary race; Gingrich knew what he was doing. A genuine conservative’s worst enemy is a fake one. And vice versa. Paul ran for president once before, in 1988, when he bolted the GOP to run on the Libertarian Party ticket.Much as I admired him, I voted for George H.W. Bush, afraid of “wasting” my vote on Paul, who had no real chance of winning. Silly me. I soon realized I had really wasted my vote on Bush. It made no difference to Bush, after all, since he was going to win no matter what I did; but it made a difference to me. I still regret it.(And to this day, Bush has never thanked me.) Paul has no chance of winning this time either, but he may make a real difference just by being himself. He is what liberals used to call a conscience-raiser. He makes people reflect. After six years of supporting George W. Bush, conservatives should be in a reflective mood. American democracy has come down to an unappetizing choice between the War Party and the Abortion Party. Paul could offer an alternative to this bitter dilemma. The Constitution must never be mistaken for Holy Writ, but at least it is based on the idea that there should be what William F. Buckley has called “rational limits to government.” At this point, even that may well be a utopian hope. But we have subscribed to the principle that the Federal Government must confine itself to powers actually enumerated therein. And after all, our rulers are still sworn to uphold it, just as Bill Clinton is still legally bound by his wedding vows. Taken literally, this would reduce the government to about 5 percent of its current size. That would be a huge improvement. If nothing else, the Constitution stands as a reminder of what normality used to be. Well, I can dream, can’t I? And today I’m dreaming of President Ron Paul, with a Congress he deserves.

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