On this Day in 1935…

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Ronald Ernest Paul was born in Greentree, Pennsylvania.

I don't see anything about it on the official Paul campaign site (UPDATE: Nothing on the front page, although there is an e-card), but you could while away many an hour with reason's articles on the congressman and his presidential races.

– On August 13, I reported from the ground as Paul's army crashed the Ames Straw Poll.

– On July 27, Brian Doherty felt the pain of libertarians who worried about Paul making them look bad.

– On July 16, Jesse Walker assessed what the Paul campaign meant for libertarians who were and weren't personally getting involved with it.

– On June 15, Brian Doherty wondered whether Paul could appeal to angry Democrats.

– On May 25, I speculated that Paul's controversial views would come into the foreground if he really started making waves.

– On May 21, Cathy Young asked why Republicans were trying to keep Paul out of those scintillating presidential debates.

– On January 22 Brian Doherty had the first interview with Rep. Paul after word leaked about his possible '08 run.

Dig into the reason archives and you'll find much more about the pre-campaign Paul. It's striking how much his profile has changed since just 2004 or so–the lonesome intellectual congressman who would get a few hat-tips here and on libertarian blogs is now drawing thousands of people to rallies.

NEXT: Let Turkey Into the EU?

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  1. The Paul campaign should adopt the Re-Flex’s “The Politics Of Dancing” as their theme song.

  2. I want to see Reason’s commentary on Paul’s 1988 candidacy!

  3. Happy Birthday Doctor No.

  4. “The lonesome intellectual congressmen”? Really, Paul seems like a generally reasonable guy, but lets not allow the libertarian blinders to make us batshit insane.

  5. The coolest thing about Paul’s campaign is that it gives us a rough metric of how well a libertarian message goes over with the electorate, i.e. how well a semi-non-insane libertarian candidate can do when mentioned by the mass media, something which has never happened to any substantial degree.

    Now, I agree with some that Dr. Paul is not as well-spoken and packaged for mainstream consumption as he could be. Whatever. It just goes to show that if that ideal candidate ever does come along, there is a very strong base waiting for him or her. In other words, the message itself sells. It’s just a matter of getting the public to hear it.

  6. Holy crap, he’s 72!?

    Actually that makes me feel less enthusiastic about him. Not sure why. Maybe its the risk of him dying in office and us being left with some scumbag in power.

    Speaking of which, who would be Ron Paul’s running mate?

  7. In one interview, he mentioned Walter Williams and John Stossel as people he would be interested in as running mates.

  8. brian | August 20, 2007, 3:17pm | #

    Holy crap, he’s 72!?

    Actually that makes me feel less enthusiastic about him. Not sure why. Maybe its the risk of him dying in office and us being left with some scumbag in power.

    Speaking of which, who would be Ron Paul’s running mate?

    As opposed to just having the scumbag in power in the first place? I’ll take that risk.

  9. I love that his middle name is Earnest. Seems kinda apropos.

    I’d use Talking Heads’ Don’t Worry About the Government. Ironically of course.

    God, Stossel is such a disengenous douche. He’s the Michael Moore of libertarianism. Blech!

  10. paul/stossel ’08
    the ‘gimme a (tax) break’ ticket

  11. Also, you can donate to his campaign (as a birthday gift), by clicking here: http://www.ronpaul2008.com/birthday/

  12. if that ideal candidate ever does come along, there is a very strong base waiting for him or her

    All your very strong base are belong to you! Go St. Paul!

  13. I have inside information that both Penn & Teller are being tapped for the vice president slot on the Paul ticket.

  14. I love that his middle name is Earnest. Seems kinda apropos.

    It is important to be Earnest.

    And seconded on the Talking Heads thing.

  15. I have inside information that both Penn & Teller are being tapped for the vice president slot on the Paul ticket.

    I’d vote for them and maybe the Bulls hit would stop!

  16. One of de stijl’s Brush With Greatness moments:

    In downtown Minneapolis circa 1993. I was having a ciggy, minding my own business, when I almost walked into some dude carrying a Dayton’s bag. I just looked up briefly and reflexively said, “Howzit goin?” Guy said something back like “Pretty good.” I realized it was Teller, but I couldn’t remember his name off the top of my head but I knew who he was.

    He was past me walking away and I shouted at him, “Hey! You’re not supposed to talk!” He just did a half-smile and kept walking.

  17. “In one interview, he mentioned Walter Williams and John Stossel as people he would be interested in as running mates.”

    John Stossel? You’re kidding.

    Surely Stossel was consucting the interview where Paul made mention of this. Surely.

  18. It’s a sly trick by Paul to ensure that he gets two tiebreaker votes in the Senate.

    Is this your card? 3?

    de stijl,

    Is everyone close, personal friends with Penn and/or Teller but me? Just about everyone at Urkobold has such a story. Dang it.

  19. For those of you incredulous of my Williams/Stossel comment, here’s the interview (with Mary Ann Akers of the Wash Post): http://blog.washingtonpost.com/sleuth/2007/05/do_tell_ron_paul_on_babies_pro.html

  20. God, Stossel is such a disengenous douche. He’s the Michael Moore of libertarianism. Blech!

    I hear this a lot, and I don’t understand it. Is he distorting his facts or somehow manipulating his data? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’d be a good politician, but I don’t get this hatred for him. Anyone care to explain?

  21. “It just goes to show that if that ideal candidate ever does come along,”

    It’s hard to imagine we’ll ever see another libertarian candidate this acceptable to the electorate. Elected 10 times to congress without compromising a breathtakingly staunch pro-liberty voting record. Rock-solid comprehension of Austrian economics just at the brink of a federal insolvency trainwreck. Courage to stick to the undiluted message in the spotlight over and over and over.

    This is a last-chance opportunity, people. Fight for this.

    Happy birthday Dr. Paul.

  22. “It’s hard to imagine we’ll ever see another libertarian candidate this acceptable to the electorate. ”

    That’s pretty darned tragic, because Ron Paul isn’t a libertarian to begin with! He’s an anti-federalist. He just wants to let state bureaucrats have their way with your life and your body instead of federal bureaucrats.

  23. “Now, I agree with some that Dr. Paul is not as well-spoken and packaged for mainstream consumption as he could be.”

    Yes and no. Part of his appeal is that he is NOT a slick politician a la Mitt Romney and that he says things which are not always polished but discernably genuine.

  24. Ron Paul is actually Kang. Dennis Kucinich is Kodos.

    They really dropped the ball this time, those two.

  25. He just wants to let state bureaucrats have their way with your life and your body instead of federal bureaucrats.

    Perhaps, but it’s much easier to control. If a state is overstepping its bounds, people are free to move away or take their business elsewhere. It forces states to compete with each other.

    I honestly don’t think he would want drugs or anything of the sort banned if her were a governor. I think he says the states should be in charge because it lets him effectively duck the issue and not attract controversy, while still reducing the size of the federal level.

  26. Re: Stossel hate.

    Smug and smarmy. Assertion, anecdote, assertion, anecdote, cherry-picked scare quote from ideological opponent, eye-roll, whacks a straw man or eight, congratulates self smugly, signs off.

  27. One question about Ron Paul – since he’s running for Chief Executive of the Federal Government, what difference does it make what his policy preferences are? It’s the job of Congress to decide policy, and the job of the executive branch to carry it out.

  28. “He just wants to let state bureaucrats have their way with your life and your body”

    You may want to add a [citation needed] there.

    I’m one of those with the perception that decentralization of political power is desirable. Would you agree?

  29. ds. Sounds like he should be on 60 minutes sometimes.

  30. Isn’t anybody else going to comment on Dr. Paul’s appearance yesterday on quiz show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”? He got 2 out of 3 right, I got all 3.

  31. “He just wants to let state bureaucrats have their way with your life and your body instead of federal bureaucrats.”

    I see it very differently. Ron Paul is trying to recreate the rule of law, which means putting the federal government back into its constitutional box. If he tries to impose his views on the states (in areas where the fed govt does not have jurisdiction), then he is failing at his mission. He has talked about things like encouraging homeschooling and private schools, but from a policy standpoint his platform is to shut down the Dept of Ed. Of course his message, if it continues to grow in acceptance, will have effects at all levels of government.

  32. Ron Paul is trying to recreate the rule of law, which means putting the federal government back into its constitutional box.

    Ironically, according to the Constitution it’s not the job of the President to do this.

  33. I think Dr. Paul is a libertarian, or at least a libertarian to an extent that only the churlish would deny him the label. But his goal *right now* isn’t to establish the first united States of Libertaria, but to start moving government back. Just putting the brakes on is a good beginning.

    As to how he can make such changes as Executive, he has the power of veto. He can say, “Congress, I’ll veto every bill that isn’t Constitutional; I’ll veto every bill that covers more than one subject at a time; and I’ll pardon every person who refuses to file an income tax.”

    (Okay, the last is kind of a dream, but what a nice one.)

  34. God, Stossel is such a disengenous douche. He’s the Michael Moore of libertarianism. Blech!

    Nah, he’s more the Geraldo of libertarianism.

  35. I think recreate the rule of law was a poor choice of words but I get D. Saul’s point and agree.

    I think one thing RP is doing wrong is insinuating “he will” do all these things he wants to do if by some strange chance in hell he is elected and the general public is afraid of less government, especially to the extremes RP speaks. It’s too bad he doesn’t get more MSM time to explain the things he would want to try to do.

  36. I lost a lot of my faith in Ron Paul after I read his piece “Christmas in Secular America” at: http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2003/tst122903.htm

  37. rho:
    As to how he can make such changes as Executive, he has the power of veto. He can say, “Congress, I’ll veto every bill that isn’t Constitutional; I’ll veto every bill that covers more than one subject at a time; and I’ll pardon every person who refuses to file an income tax.”

    I agree with this. Frankly, I’d love to see at least one presidential term where NOTHING gets accomplished.

    I almost feel like theres not a good chance things will change, but if we’re able to have Ron Paul veto everything congress tries to do and stands as firm as a rock, we might be able to slow down the growth and in the future be able to bring things back to a manageable level.

    Its like Penn Jillette said: Laws should expire after a few years, this way congress always has their hands full – ‘holy crap guys, murders gonna be legal next week!’.

    In fact, it’s as if having a gridlocked government for four years could be the best thing ever for America.

    Am I the only one who gets nervous no matter what kind of laws are passed?

  38. Is Ron Paul a True? Libertarian?? let’s find out:

    None of the government’s business what two (or more) consenting adults do to each other in the bedroom: Check.

    None of the government’s business what substances you ingest or inject into your body: Check.

    None of the government’s business who you give your money to, and what they trade for it: Check.

    None of the government’s business to tell you how, where or when to conduct your business activities: Check.

    None of the government’s business to engage in preemptive military intervention overseas, that the military should only be used for self defense: Check.

    Seems to me like he’s a libertarian! I do disagree with him on one of the issues, but that’s hardly grounds to burn him as a heretic.

  39. Heh, I was discussing the same thing with a friend of mine. I said that during those 4/8 years, I would relish waking up in the morning, just to see what bills Paul vetoed that day. I know many of his policies won’t be implemented, but I have no doubt he would at least cut spending to something more manageable.

  40. The largest problem with most policies domestic and foreign here is that they have been preframed and predetermined by special interest groups (complexes military-industrial, prison-industrial, pharmaceutical-industrial, etc.) These special interest machines run and feed themselves so it really doesn’t matter who is supposedly at the “wheel”: special interests drive policy makers, not the other way around unfortunately. The only solution I can think of is to bleed them dry (defund), which only a Ron Paul presidency would begin to do.

    Look, this country is much too large to be governed by a centralized federal plutocracy driven to appease its special interest overlords. Why should we be beholden to a minority group of priveledged power brokers who can’t even begin to represent the diversity that exists here?

    The solution is to decentralize through DEVOLUTION (via the UK model: see Scotland ’97 for example).

    So let’s change the slogan: instead of the Ron Paul Revolution let’s have the RON PAUL DEVOLUTION!!!!

  41. “I lost a lot of my faith in Ron Paul”

    Why? I am an evangelical atheist. The way I read it, the effect of Paul’s Christmas argument isn’t to impose religion, but to prevent the suppression of self-expression (religious and otherwise) in public places. Pete Stark isn’t running, and I wouldn’t vote for him if he did.

  42. Huh,….interesting take…..I usual worry about “libertarians” like Brian Doherty making the movement look bad

  43. I was working at a newspaper in Greentree (proper spelling), PA, about two years past.

    When I left, they were just beginning to implement a town-wide camera system based on a wireless network.

    Kinda funny Dr. Paul is from the same place.

    P.S. Greentree in Pittsburgh suburb, for those who don’t know. Go Steelers!

  44. Now, I agree with some that Dr. Paul is not as well-spoken and packaged for mainstream consumption as he could be..

    The earnest country doctor from east Texas bit is a big part of his appeal, and why his campaign still has major upside potential.

    He is not the typical slick politician, and people can easily see that. If they’ve been waiting for an honest man to run for President, he might well get their votes even if they think he’s a little too radical.

    Even his Democratic opponents in Texas had to admit that maybe they underestimated the political appeal of someone who says what he really thinks, and consistently sticks to his principles.

  45. I was working at a newspaper in Greentree (proper spelling), PA, about two years past.

    I don’t know who is the cro-magnon in charge of that wiki, but Greentree is one word.

  46. On this Day in 1935…

    The year before was the hottest year on record within the US.

  47. Aw, he’s cute. He reminds me of my Okie grandfathers.

  48. Thomas Paine’s Goiter,

    I don’t know who is the cro-magnon in charge of that wiki, but Greentree is one word.

    It was actually the cro-magnon in charge of naming the crap-ass city, when it voted for home rule a while back.

    I did a bang-up job on the history of the water tower, if you want to know anything about that. And the council meetings were real barn-burners.

  49. No one needs to make you look bad, you’ve already accomplished that.

    > Au standard | August 20, 2007, 5:40pm | #
    Huh,….interesting take…..I usual worry about “libertarians” like Brian Doherty making the movement look bad

  50. Fuck. Ron. Paul.

    Seriously. Enough. Please. Stop. Can you just set up a different magazine called “Sucking Ron Pauls Dick Daily”, and get on to more important things here at Reason?

  51. “Ironically, according to the Constitution it’s not the job of the President to do this.”

    Yeah, that’s supposed to be OUR job.

  52. Happy Birthday, Dr. Paul. I pray I get the chance to vote for you as president AGAIN!
    That would make it the first time I voted for a major party presidential candidate.

    NoStar: Voting Libertarian since 1972.

  53. Seriously. Enough. Please. Stop. Can you just set up a different magazine called “Sucking Ron Pauls Dick Daily”, and get on to more important things here at Reason?

    Such as what? Sardonic witticisms about how much better libertarianism is while the philosophy is slowly marginalized by party politics? Yeah, good plan there, champ.

  54. GILMORE,

    I counted 50 blog entries on the H&R front page just now, and 2 of them are about Ron Paul.

  55. “I counted 50 blog entries on the H&R front page just now, and 2 of them are about Ron Paul.”

    Proud of that? I’m inclined to think Daily Kos and Fox News are doing more substantial Paul coverage than Reason.

  56. Happy Birthday Dr. Paul, and I donated $20. First time I’ve given to a pol in my life.

  57. It’s Ernest, not Earnest. Though I suppose that was intentional..

  58. “brian | August 20, 2007, 3:17pm | #
    Holy crap, he’s 72!?

    Actually that makes me feel less enthusiastic about him. Not sure why. Maybe its the risk of him dying in office and us being left with some scumbag in power.

    Speaking of which, who would be Ron Paul’s running mate?”

    Steve Forbes, perhaps?

  59. “I lost a lot of my faith in Ron Paul”

    “Why? I am an evangelical atheist. The way I read it, the effect of Paul’s Christmas argument isn’t to impose religion, but to prevent the suppression of self-expression (religious and otherwise) in public places. Pete Stark isn’t running, and I wouldn’t vote for him if he did.”

    It is Ron Paul’s view that “The ultimate goal of the anti-religious elites is to transform America into a completely secular nation, a nation that is legally and culturally biased against Christianity.” This sounds like utter paranoia. As an atheist, I wish someone had clued me in, to who these anti-religious elites are. I’d like to get on their mailing list.

    Ron Paul states: “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers.”

    Not true. Wikipedia states:”The phrase separation of church and state is generally traced to a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, in which he referred to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as creating a “wall of separation” between church and state.”

    Ron Paul goes on to say: “Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion.” Really? How many times does the word “God” show up in the Constitution? I only count the word once in the Declaration of Independence. Our founders were mostly deists.

    How can Ron Paul, who is probably the only Congressman to have read the Constitution, have gotten this so terribly wrong? And as President, what would he do to Christianize our nation?

  60. One question about Ron Paul – since he’s running for Chief Executive of the Federal Government, what difference does it make what his policy preferences are? It’s the job of Congress to decide policy, and the job of the executive branch to carry it out.

    Veto.

  61. Presidents have the power to–

    * Veto legislation
    * Present legislation (not a minor matter–a lot of legislation is initiated by the Executive branch)
    * Prepare and present the budget to Congress for approval (the budget power is also a significant tool in controlling the administrative agencies)
    * Issue pardons
    * Nominate judges and cabinet officials
    * Manage foreign affairs
    * Act as commander-in-chief
    * Speak from the ultimate bully pulpit to the people
    * Etc.

    Not bad, though in the strict sense, the real power lies with Congress. The problem is, Congress rarely exerts its power when faced down by presidents. A President Paul could wreak quite a bit of havoc if he really wanted to press the cause of limited government.

    Justice Janice Rogers Brown would be a nice move, for instance.

  62. Our founders were mostly deists.

    I keep hearing this assertion made, but I don’t see the facts to support it. I know that a few famous founding fathers were deists, such as Jefferson, but a few were also theists, such as Washington. Can anyone show me who was what?

    I’m also confused as to why this is such a huge deal to so many people. Does the Constitution mean something different if it was written by deists instead of theists? Is there some pressing need to erase theists from the history books?

  63. > Steve Forbes, perhaps?

    Although Forbes came to Texas to support Ron in his return-to-Congress bid, he is already in Ghouliani’s camp for the Prez race.

    Rudy Ghoulie showed he had at least some sense by bringing Forbes as well as Bill Simon Jr. on board his team.

    RP needs a dedicated policy team to start writing position papers. I’m thinking Mike Tanner, Mark Thornton…

  64. We had a great party at Martha’s in Nashua… his family needn’t have worried that we would ‘forget’ his birthday…he got a beautiful cake and card and lots of love and adulation and a few new supporters from the street..

    Check the dailypaul.com for details.

  65. Oh here you go again, scare mongering about his making our nation Christian….

    Please, give me a break. Ron won’t even speak inside a church.. Church is for religion. I doubt Ron is going to impose anything on you….so not to worry.

  66. Just got a surprising new political campaign mailing in my mailbox yesterday. From a guy named Andy Mann. He’s running for Congress here in Texas CD 14, as a Republlican. Not a single comment about his opponent Ron Paul in the entire piece. It’s all about Defense issues, and the importance of fighting the War on Terror. He’s an ex-Army Helicopter pilot. Slick piece. Almost like a policy paper.

    Mann joins Friendswood City Councilman/Mayor Pro-Tem Chris Peden in the GOP primary against Paul.

    I’d say at this point Peden, a libertarian conservative anti-Taxer crusader, has more name i.d. and a better shot at beating Paul.

    But this Mann guy is coming out of nowheres. (My understanding is that he lives in Galveston.)

    Will be a very interesting race indeed.

  67. “Oh here you go again, scare mongering about his making our nation Christian….

    Please, give me a break. Ron won’t even speak inside a church.. Church is for religion. I doubt Ron is going to impose anything on you….so not to worry.”

    I’m relieved that I don’t have to worry. But I’d sure feel better if Ron Paul said he wasn’t going to impose anything. I’ll take him at his word.

  68. That’s totally awesome! I share a birthday with Ron Paul!

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