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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.