Ron Paul on The Colbert Report

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Say what you will about Colbert's political acumen: he asks probably the best "Yes or no? Raise your hand" question of the entire campaign. Watch and learn, Wolf Blitzer.

Here's video of the crowd outside the studio when Paul arrived. 

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  1. “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.”

    Classic!

  2. I was surprised at the cheers he got from the generally liberal crowd. I notice they got quieter when it got to abolishing the department of education and all that, but for the most part, they were pretty receptive.

  3. .. I thought that he held up very well .. didn’t think that UNICEF was a US-run organization, tho!!

    .. go Ron Paul!!

    .. Hobbit

  4. What, there aren’t just two political philosophies in this country? I’m so confused. Help me, please!

    I might just have to send Paul more money. Even if he doesn’t do well in the primaries, it would be lovely if he could maintain a presence all the way through. And I think he just might surprise some people.

  5. I thought Ron did great dealing with Colbert–he got into playing the crowd, and understands Colbert’s shtick. It was actually fun to watch, and I was worried it would be embarrassing. Good for him. Doubt he’ll get anywhere in the long run, but it was good to have him out there on mainstream TV.

  6. Not quite as good as his “Daily Show” performance (he was unstoppable there) but still pretty good. He did manage to meet the holy trinity requirements:
    a) not creepy
    b) not kooky
    c) on message

  7. Geoff –
    I totally agree. He seemed to “get it,” unlike many of Colbert’s other guests. Paul didn’t even take a tone with him like “I wish you’d let me be serious, and I’m going to try my darnedest to make this sound like a CNN interview because this is my only TV interview ever.”

  8. “a) not creepy
    b) not kooky”

    Nor was he mysterious and spooky, nor altogether ooky.

  9. Now wait a minute, I’d totally vote for Gomez Addams.

  10. The most Gomez-Adamsish candidate is clearly Giuliani, so I suspect that Pro Libertate has drunk the Dondero Kool Aid.

    Actually, there’s a great Youtube video waiting to be made using the theme music from the Adams Family and clips of Giuliani’s debate appearances.

  11. Wait, why was Ron Paul on “The Colbert Report”? I thought Edvard had already deemed him unacceptable as candidate?!

  12. I was surprised at the cheers he got from the generally liberal crowd.

    You shouldn’t be. The Comedy Central crowd will applaud any anti-bush thing anybody says. Being well received by the loopy-left actually hurts him amongst GOP primary voters.

  13. You shouldn’t be. The Comedy Central crowd will applaud any anti-bush thing anybody says. Being well received by the loopy-left actually hurts him amongst GOP primary voters.

    Although I feel like a good amount of youthful “conservatives” watch the Colbert Report as well, as its comic appeal is very similar to that of Family Guy in that it’s constantly making fun of crazy conservatives. Those young conservatives are also the ones that are more likely to put signs in their windows and on their cars, use the internet, and pay attention to this process in the early stages. They are, unfortunately, less likely than their older counterparts to donate money.

  14. I think some of you confuse a young crowd with a liberal crowd. They tend to be anti-war, anti-WoD, and anti-oppression, but apart from that are open to ideas. They haven’t all settled into political ideologies yet.
    It’s great that Ron Paul is courting the youngsters. Smart move. He can build some support from them, some from libertarians, and now he needs to get the folks who are jaded about the parties interested in his campaign. Somebody email him a strategy for that.

  15. At this stage for Paul, still any publicity is better than no publicity.

    Hey maybe he will convert some of the loopy left to libertarian thought. It makes me feel better for the future of this country if some of those loopy left youngin’s are becoming libertarian because of Paul.

  16. I was pleasantly surprised that Paul was *awesom* in that segment. Just the right level of good-natured self-irony that America in its wisdom requires. He’s really gotten better at presenting himself.

  17. So does Paul think UNICEF is a government agency that he can abolish or does he just mean he wants the government to stop giving money to it?

  18. It’s funny to still see people who equate dislike of Bush with mental illness.

    That guy’s looney!

    How looney is he?

    He’s so looney that he doesn’t like George Bush!

  19. He seems to answer questions directly and not give the closest answer he has in his stock.

    It’s kind of refreshing.

  20. I enjoy watching the colbert report and jon stewart, and I’m pretty libertarian. Wouldn’t be surprised if there were more out there like me.

  21. I forgot to add that I thought Ron Paul was fantastic. The hand-raising bit was great, even the part at the end about UNICEF. He seemed much more comfortable than he had with Stewart.

  22. I’m with pdog on this one. I just enjoy any program that skewers the pretense and somber tone of CNN/Fox as well as the hardcore liberals/conservatives. Extremists can switch over to Real Time with Bill Maher or Red Eye if they feel their worldview isn’t properly represented in a humorous context.

  23. The other thing to remember is that this horse race is a marathon (or whatever distance is longest for thoroughbreds). We are still what, half a year away from the first primary vote?

    Ron Paul is right where he needs to be at this stage. Just getting name recognition.

  24. Paul’s public appearances get better every time I see him.

  25. JasonC-

    RP didn’t include UNICEF on a list of US Federal gov’t agencies to be abolished, Colbert did (along with the rest of the UN, NATO, NAFTA and the WTO).

    Do you think RP was right to play along and imply that he would work to end US Federal Gov’t involvement in those organizations, or should he have pedantically explained that those aren’t “agencies” of the federal gov’t and can’t be abolished at the whim of the president (and NAFTA isn’t even an organization to be abolished and/ or abandoned- it’s a trade treaty)?

  26. They are, unfortunately, less likely than their older counterparts to donate money.

    Or vote.

  27. whomever is coaching paul is doing a hell of a fucking job because he seems real comfortable even with colbert’s spastic schitck.

    also, as an orthodox situationist discordian from new jersey, the only show that accurately reflects the humor of my value system is the state of the union address. imagine how i feel, conservatarians!

  28. the only show that accurately reflects the humor of my value system is the state of the union address

    I look forward to that every year. It’s always one of my top 10 drunkest moments of the year 🙂

  29. It does seem like he improves with every one of these appearances, and it’s good to see that looks itthere’s actually a politician who’s capable of learning something from past experience. Yeah, he’s getting a bit more cooperation from the hosts of these shows than he was in the beginning, but he’s also learning how to deal with being asked these questions, from both sides, that are basically ‘why do you want to get rid of this program / department that we like?”

    He’s also doing a very good job, much better than when the campaigning started, of not being the ‘stodgy old guy’, even though he tends to look the part. But when he starts talking, and he’s really animated himself with this, you get a much better vibe of vitality.

    It will be interesting to see how this race continues to develop.

  30. Ron’s strategy appears to be to downplay attacking social welfare programs in order to better court the left. He seems to be saying that although he disagrees with Medicare and other entitlements, if elected he would not spend political capital seriously going after it. He has nice words for Dennis Kucinich.
    He would concentrate on smashing the military industrial complex and ending our policy of foreign interventions as well as the burgeoning police state.

    There is only so much a President can do. This strategy may work if he is to broaden his base with independents and liberals.

  31. If my experience with linking Comedy Central videos hosted on YouTube is any kind of evidence, be prepared for fricking short-sighted Viacom to pull the video.
    Maybe they treat the candidates appearances differently.

  32. highnumber,

    Oh, that’s why you cursed Viacom. Yeah, that sucks. Now people will read the comments and think that we’re batshit insane.

    At least we still have our secret hoard of tequila.

  33. ?Viva tequila! (firing pistols overhead)

  34. Ron’s strategy appears to be to downplay attacking social welfare programs in order to better court the left. He seems to be saying that although he disagrees with Medicare and other entitlements, if elected he would not spend political capital seriously going after it.

    I see him as saying that he would attack social spending in tandem with attacking defense spending, which is a strategy I have advocated here at HnR for a long time. That is what makes him so shocking (or, to some, crazee) is that he can be against the Dep’t of Education and the military contractors at the same time. Traditionally, for most people you can be against one or the other, but not both. he is breaking that rule, and it is quite liberating.

    It was nice that he threw in the jab at the WTO, too. That is a whole ‘nother set of vested interests that needs to be taken down in tandem with social spending and defense.

    Minarchists will have a tough decision to make on this guy. Pro-Israel libertarians, too.

  35. Secret hoard of tequila?!
    I was not told about this. Where is the secret hoard of tequila? I need to…check on it…make sure that it is…secure.

    SPD, I ? U!

  36. WRT to the UNICEF stuff.

    Hey people, the question wasn’t “if elected president, which of the following will you try to abolish?” It was “raise your hand if you’d like to abolish….”

    As somebody with an opinion, even I can like to abolish an agency, it doesn’t matter if I have any power to do it.

  37. Also, I thought it would have been funny if he had thrown in the Ayn Rand Institute in that list.

  38. highnumber,

    In the Trollcave, natch. But don’t drink it. Once we have enough tequila, we will use it to make the earth into a paradise. Tequila from the skies. . . .

  39. Yay! I’m on an internet video! sadly, now my 15 minutes are up.

    I went to the taping to try to get standby tickets, and there were tons of people there with banners and signs – it was a lot of different little interest groups, but they were all there to support Ron Paul! also, one of the women there was Judah Bauer’s girlfriend, and there may be a Ron Paul Blues Explosion benefit concert in the works.

  40. Good performance by Paul, and covered a lot of bases (including a good, quick swipe at the War on Drugs).

    BTW, am I the only one who thinks Paul looks a lot like Martin Crane (from the Frasier sitcom)?

  41. DA,

    You’re probably the only person who refers to John Mahoney as “Martin Crane.”

  42. “You shouldn’t be. The Comedy Central crowd will applaud any anti-bush thing anybody says. Being well received by the loopy-left actually hurts him amongst GOP primary voters.”

    What about some liberals who get stoked on Paul and switch over to the Republican primaries to vote for him.

  43. Highnumber is right.

    The proper designation is “Frasier’s Dad”.

  44. Never underestimate the juggernaut that is the Colbert Nation!

    Speaking truthiness to power since 2005!

  45. If anyone had the power to warp the results of an online poll, it would be Colbert.

  46. “It’s funny to still see people who equate dislike of Bush with mental illness. That guy’s looney! How looney is he? He’s so looney that he doesn’t like George Bush!” – joe

    I think it’s funny to see joe try to equate visceral, rabid, purely subjective emotional dislike of a politician based on purely partisan motives with cerebral, calm, rational, purely objective concern for their politics and political decisions. I’m reminded of the Bush v. Gore debates and the “is there anything you two disagree on?” vibe it had. I’m also reminded of how unfairly Clinton was (and is) treated by joe’s right-wing opposite numbers. I guess it’s a reap what you sow effect – the Dem President got hit by blind hate that had very little (almost nothing) to do with reasonable criticism of decisions and policies, so now it’s the Rep President’s turn.

    I think it’s all just one big tu quoque fallacy conspiracy designed to keep the animosity up and keep people at each other’s throats.

    Momement of clarity: joe is really good at being one of the people who keep that animosity up, and he’s really good at being one of the people who thoroughly enjoys going at other people’s throats.

  47. I am definitely a libertarian Daily Show/Colbert fan, simply because I am riddled with delight when I see people tear apart politicians and the media for their blatant stupidity.

    Example: Monday’s Daily Show had a segment showing CNN cut away from coverage of Peter Pace’s ousting to cover Paris Hilton going to jail!

  48. Fluffy,

    I almost wrote “You’re probably the only person who refers to Frasier’s dad as “Martin Crane,” but the guy lives in my town, so I’d feel like a bad neighbor if I don’t use his real name.

    He’s taller than you’d think. Not that he’s tall, but just like you’d think Teller is only 5’4″ by the perspective you get, it’s surprising to see that these guys are actually average height.

  49. The best way to get Ron Paul elected is to educate people about the other candidates. Most of the other candidates are backed by the money of David Rockefeller in one way or another, and that money is being spent for the purpose of pushing forward the agenda for One World Government, which will greatly benefit international corporations.

    Let the people know which candidates belong to the Council on Foreign Relations, which advocates One World Government —

    Fred Thompson (member of the pro-war American Enterprise Institute)
    Rudy Giuliani
    John McCain
    Mitt Romney
    Jim Gilmore
    Newt Gingrich
    Hillary Clinton
    Barack Obama
    John Edwards
    Joe Biden
    Chris Dodd
    Bill Richardson

  50. He’s so looney that he doesn’t like George Bush!

    joe, I think the people who think RP is looney do so because of his positions on things like the Fed, the UN etc. You know, just another rightwing whackaloon. Like the way Maher ambushed him with the Civil War thing.

    Somehow though he’s now sending a message that resonates with a lot of people. Now he seems a lot more sensible to a lot more people.

  51. Christ, YouTube videos are annoying. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I almost never get a full video to load. I usually get about 90 seconds and nothing more. If I delete the browser cache and reload the video I get about the same amount of video on the next try. Worthless.

    At least what little I saw of Ron Paul looked good.

  52. Arrgggh… it’s the truthers and “the joos and the Fed want to enslave us” and Anti-CFR/Bilderburg/NWO guys that give plenty of “Paul is a nutter” ammo to the guys on that list.

    Can’t you guys go campaign for LaRouche or some blue-skinned LP candidate, like you used to?

  53. So which poster on Hit-n-Run is really Ron Paul?

  54. “So which poster on Hit-n-Run is really Ron Paul?”

    (raises hand, keeps it raised)

  55. I’m Spartacus!

  56. I’m ProGLib.

    d’oh!

  57. Does anyone else think that Ron Paul is freaked out by all his support? He looked a little overwhelmed in that other video.

  58. I am already proudly sporting a “Ron Paul for President’08” bumper sticker on my car.

  59. “I am already proudly sporting a “Ron Paul for President’08” bumper sticker on my car.”

    So am I.

  60. Dave W-

    see him as saying that he would attack social spending in tandem with attacking defense spending, which is a strategy I have advocated here at HnR for a long time.

    Ron lowered his hand when talking about the liberal departments like education and I think H&HS. He raised it high for the pro war departments, the IRS, and UN, NATO, etc.

    He said specifically that ” I think we can do better, but It is not high on my list to go after” when discussing social welfare programs, and has conceded in other interviews that “we have made many Americans dependent on the government, and I won’t go after them while they are.”

    Of course, as this campaign goes on, he will have to clarify these statements.

  61. Jake;

    Awesome!

  62. I’m Batman!

  63. I’m Batman!

  64. No, you are not.

  65. OK, that was an excellent bit. To my very pleasant surprise, the man seems to be thriving and improving under national media attention.

  66. You’ll rue the day you crossed me, Trebek!

  67. I’ll take Swords for $500, please.

  68. “I was surprised at the cheers he got from the generally liberal crowd. I notice they got quieter when it got to abolishing the department of education and all that, but for the most part, they were pretty receptive.”

    Not at all surprising to me. The diehard liberals that mostly compose Colbert’s audience BEHAVE like libertarians on some non-economic points — the war in Iraq, defense of civil freedoms — though often for very unlibertarian reasons. Many would, for example, like to get us out of Iraq, so we could send the troops to Darfur instead. And many they say they’re against our country’s imperialism, but support reinstating the draft because it’s “fairer” to force the kids of wealthy individuals to fight. And of course, that audience despises Bush.

    Very good showing by Ron Paul, I thought.

  69. I’d like to solve the puzzle

  70. FJR says: “Hey people, the question wasn’t “if elected president, which of the following will you try to abolish?” It was “raise your hand if you’d like to abolish….”

    As somebody with an opinion, even I can like to abolish an agency, it doesn’t matter if I have any power to do it.”

    A presidential veto of spending (and you can bet Ron Paul would run dry the ink in his stock of veto pens) means the money can’t be spent unless 2/3 of both houses of Congress override the veto. It’s hard to get 2/3 of Congress to agree to anything, so those vetoes would kill a lot of spending. And, Congress can’t force the President to appoint someone to head an agency. It doesn’t matter if you still have the agency existing on paper if it has zero funding and no one in charge of running it.

    Not that I think Ron Paul has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected president. A tiny outside chance of becoming VP …

  71. “And many they say they’re against our country’s imperialism, but support reinstating the draft because it’s ‘fairer’ to force the kids of wealthy individuals to fight.”

    Right, because if there’s one thing 18-24 year-olds really get passionate about, it’s joining some of their peers in a war they don’t believe in.

  72. A great interview by Paul. This is my favorite review: http://thecrossedpond.com/?p=785

  73. Ashish George — You’re right. My bad. I confused the older liberals who wouldn’t be subject to the draft (or at least the older liberal politicians who get the few votes cast by younger liberals) with the actual younger liberals who mostly compose Colbert’s studio audience. I suspect, though, that the folks in Colbert’s audience would overwhelmingly support an ultraliberal politician who advocated reinstating the draft over a Bush-supporting conservative Republican — they’d overlook the draft thing because it seems so unlikely to get enacted.

    I think the Iraq war is driving a lot of conservative-leaning folks out of the Republican party and into a more libertarian mode, while in the 60s and 70s the Vietnam War drove a lot of liberals out of the Democratic party and into a more libertarian mode.

  74. “””If my experience with linking Comedy Central videos hosted on YouTube is any kind of evidence, be prepared for fricking short-sighted Viacom to pull the video.
    Maybe they treat the candidates appearances differently.””””

    The video should be available at the Corbert Report website if that happens.

  75. “A tiny outside chance of becoming VP …”

    Which of the warmonger Republican candidates would pick him as their running mate?

  76. Apparently on Tucker a few minutes ago Paul said that the problem with Giuliani is that he’s such an “authoritarian”.

    I wonder what Dondero thought of that.

  77. “He said specifically that ” I think we can do better, but It is not high on my list to go after” when discussing social welfare programs, and has conceded in other interviews that “we have made many Americans dependent on the government, and I won’t go after them while they are.”

    Ed Clark told me if he were President, he wouldn’t end welfare all at once. It would hurt too many people who depend on it. He would gradually phase it out. I’m sure that’s Ron Paul’s position also.

  78. Everyone go vote for your favorite candidate at http://www.pajamasmedia.com

  79. Dmitri,

    WHERE’S ZOD? WHAT?

  80. Here’s a little ditty I wrote… it’s constantly changing. Remember, it’s all in fun – and partially builds on stereotypes people have of libertarians.

    Ron Paul for President
    What he says is what he means
    Ron Paul for President
    He’ll sweep this country clean

    He’ll kick out the old UN
    And keep us out of wars
    The income tax will see an end
    And we’ll legalize drugs and whores

    With Walter Williams as his running mate
    We’ll get back our fair share
    And with old Rockwell at Department of State
    We can thumb our nose at world affairs

    No more bailouts of the banks
    He’ll give your tax money back to you
    So you can buy a Sherman tank
    Or build a castle too

    Ron Paul for President
    He’s real nice, not mean
    Ron Paul for President
    He’ll swee-eep this count-ry clean!

  81. I thought it was Ron Paul’s best TV appearance yet. I hope he wins the primary and then loses by a hair to NateIn’08.

  82. “I think it’s funny to see joe try to equate visceral, rabid, purely subjective emotional dislike of a politician based on purely partisan motives with cerebral, calm, rational, purely objective concern for their politics and political decisions.”

    I think it’s funny to see rob still dismissing dislike of George Bush as “visceral, rabid,” and “purely subjective.”

  83. I donated fifty dollars to Ron Paul’s campaign this week. My goal is to donate $50 a month while he’s in the race.

    I figure that even if only 100,000 libertarians do the same, that’s $5,000,000 a month. Which is like Godzilla in campaign spending.

    Come on people, this may be our only chance! Can’t you afford the cost of half a latte a day for life, the universe, and — ahem! — your freedom?

  84. TrickyVic,

    But I just want to see the 0:49 clip with Samantha Bee telling some lady what a taint is!

  85. Rattlesnake says: “‘A tiny outside chance of becoming VP …’

    Which of the warmonger Republican candidates would pick him as their running mate?”

    If Ron Paul gets to 10% or so, ALL the frontrunners would start doing the political calculus, knowing full well that many of Ron Paul’s supporters won’t vote for them unless Ron Paul is on the ticket as VP, whereas the Fred McRomliani Republican base is unlikely to defect to a Democrat. The frontrunners are bastards, but they’re bastards who understand political reality. Right now they feel they can give libertarian ideas short shrift because there just aren’t enough libertarians to hold the balance of power.

  86. Just watch, Ron Paul’s campaign will be anouncing pretty soon that his donations have increased significantly which will put him in the same league with the other front runners.

    Don’t count him out this is just starting!

  87. If YOU were a Republican front-runner pondering Ron Paul as a running mate, you might worry rather seriously about his base of passionate 2nd Amendment supporters.

    Which is all as it should be.

  88. And, again, whatever happened to the story about Ron Paul’s fundraising…?

  89. Funny Ron Paul views Giuliani as an “Authoritarian,” yet it is Giuliani that wishes to allow women to decide for themselves whether or not to have an abortion, yet Ron Paul wishes to have government make that decision for them.

  90. The venom joe can generate on the subject of Bush is often clearly visceral, rabid, and purely subjective. Granted, he also complains about actual policies and decisions, though, so that’s a step up from many of the “Chimpy McBusHitler” types.

    It’s not that intelligent people can’t have issues with the decisions of the Bush administration. I like to think I’m a fairly smart guy, and there’s plenty of bad decisions I don’t like from the current administration.

    It’s just funny to watch people claim that their comments are based on objective, rational objections to those decisions while they’re spouting insults that would be at home on an elementary school playground. (The same thing for people who make Monica Lewinsky jokes about Clinton and pretending they’re making political arguments.)

  91. Both Ron Paul and Stephen Colbert were at their best! I have watched Stephen Colbert make minced meat out of some of his guests and I noticed he treated Ron with plenty of respect and at the same time he kept the humor up. The raised hand question segment was very funny. It was good to see Ron Paul in the mainstream media because it is so obvious that there’s a plan to keep him out. I’m sure that he won’t win because the people of the U.S. no longer have a say in the matter. Electrical voting machines mean fraud and Rupert Murdoch is backing Hillary Clinton via media support. The Republican opponents will turn out to be easy targets against Hillary: Giuliani, because he will be stirring the crowds yelling “Nine-Eleven” a-la-Lois-Griffin; McCain is the most insane of the candidates as I will never forget his tantrums after losing the South Carolina primary to Bush; Romney – super weak against Hillary. But it was good to watch Ron Paul speak out. Down with the illegal IRS! Alex Jones is the one that should run for preZ

  92. The Ron Paul Blues Explosion. Now I’ve heard it all.

    I’m comin’ to join ya, honey.

  93. “So does Paul think UNICEF is a government agency that he can abolish or does he just mean he wants the government to stop giving money to it?”

    Jason, he wants the U.S. to get out of it. Reagan got us out; Bush got us back IN. That’s where “No Child Left Behind” comes from. Research it; it’s not good.

  94. “Funny Ron Paul views Giuliani as an “Authoritarian,” yet it is Giuliani that wishes to allow women to decide for themselves whether or not to have an abortion, yet Ron Paul wishes to have government make that decision for them.”

    Actually Eric, that’s not true. He believes that it is none of the federal government’s business to dictate whether abortion is, or isn’t legal. His stance is a Constitutional one; in that Constitutionally, this decision is to be left up to the states.

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