Ron Paul

Two Cheers for Ron Paul


This Sunday's Washington Post has a glowing profile of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the 1988 Libertarian Party presidential candidate and one of Reason's 35 Heroes of Freedom. As the Post points out, Paul–an ob-gyn by trade–has been nicknamed "Dr. No"

for his habit of voting against just about anything that he sees as government overreach or that interferes with the free market. No to the Iraq war. No to a federal ban on same-sex marriage. No to a congressional gold medal for Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan and Rosa Parks. He says the medals are an unconstitutional use of taxpayer money and once suggested each House member instead contribute 100 bucks from his or her own pocket.

Whole thing here.

A few years back, Reason interviewed Paul and summarized his voting philosophy thus:

What makes Paul especially unusual is this: He takes the Constitution's limits on federal power seriously. Before voting on a piece of legislation, he submits it to a two-part test. First, he asks if the program is actually authorized by the Constitution. If it is, he then consults his campaign promises, which include pledges to never raise taxes or increase spending. Suffice it to say that Paul votes nay on a regular basis.

Whole bit here.

No politician is perfect, of course; I don't share the congressman's restrictionist views on immigration, even as I agree with him that the welfare state exacerbates issues with illegals. But Congress–and America–would be a far, far better place if Ron Paul was the rule and not the exception.


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  1. If there were only more like him…

  2. A republican voted against the war in Iraq. And they didn’t lynch him?

    Huzzah for Ron!

  3. Alas, he is an artifact. Everything is authorized by the constitution. We haven’t lived on Big Rock Candy Mountain with enumerated powers in a long time, if we ever did.

    His view of his job simply isn’t in line with now very well established precedents, and there is no going back. Sigh.

  4. I love how the reporter can’t resist quoting the “historian of poverty” to contradict Paul’s point about poverty.

  5. I can’t believe Hasselhoff didn’t make it into the 35 Heroes of Freedom.

    Excuse me people? He wrote a goddammed song with title FREEDOM!!!

    Bbbuuuuttt nnooooooo, Hasselhoff isn’t Reason material….he didn’t go to Harvard…he hasn’t got a PHD…..

  6. While I respect him, let’s not kid ourselves about his role: He is allowed to be who he is and do what he does because it is convenient for them to have a guy like him. As long as the margin is more than 1 vote, a guy like him is not a threat, and he actually serves a useful niche, in appealing to certain people. And if the margin is 1 vote on a particular bill, the odds are that there’s at least one “maverick” Dem who will (on that issue) favor the GOP’s brand of statism. So he’s canceled out, and no harm is done.

    Ron Paul, like the handful of other elected representatives who frequently vote against their parties, is useful. That’s why he’s there.

  7. Sorry for trying to hijack the thread, but today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required) has a strong pro-immigration editorial. Among the money quotes:

    Our own view is that a philosophy of “free markets and free people” includes flexible labor markets. At a fundamental level, this is a matter of freedom and human dignity. These migrants are freely contracting for their labor, which is a basic human right. Far from selling their labor “cheap,” they are traveling to the U.S. to sell it more dearly and improve their lives. Like millions of Americans before them, they and certainly their children climb the economic ladder as their skills and education increase.

  8. He is a great man. Good job Ron.

  9. While Paul’s imigration views may not be the best from a policy standpoing, at least they are constitutionally valid exercises of Congressional authority “To establish a uniform rule of naturalization” as Article I, Section 8 puts it.

    So I’d make it 2.5 cheers.

  10. That immigration piece is a heartbreaker, but Ron Paul remains the greatest statesman of the 20th and 21st centuries. I was re-watching Serenity last night, and it now occurs to me that Ron Paul has a lot in common with Malcolm Reynolds. Tragically impotent as he may be, as least he exists. If nothing else, he is a bastion for the principals of liberty, breathing precious life into them even as they suffocate under the weight of the world. When will we ever see the likes of him again?

  11. Do we know what is special about his district that allows him to get away with his views with the voters? There seem to be more rock-ribbed GOP districts around where the incumbent congressman is afraid to even tippy-toe in Ron Paul’s direction lest he lose financing and piss off the voters.

  12. Jason Ligon on Ron Paul: “His view of his job simply isn’t in line with now very well established precedents, and there is no going back. Sigh.”

    Yet, as was observed above, the voters in his district keep sending him back to Washington, while no other GOP district has produced his peer, and certainly do House district has yet elected a Libertarian running under the LP banner (but we cross our fingers in hope for Michael Badnarik in TX’s 10th). What is it about the people in Paul’s district? Is there something in the water? Can we make more of it?

  13. I wanted to add that Paul’s “view of his job” apparently is in synch with his constituents’ view. So perhaps it isn’t the job that has changed, so much, but the expectation of constituents. It’s unrealistic to think that constituent attitudes will change overnight, en masse, but perhaps we can work on each district individually, one district at a time. THIS would be a proper application of “gradualism,” in my opinion.

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