Ron Paul made his 2012 GOP presidential bid officially officially official today. Some reactions:
But unlike [Paul's] efforts in 1988 or 2008, the explosion of US debt along with the weakening of the US dollar have turned his fringe talking points into mainstream issues. Paul was a one-man tea party before the tea party movement emerged in 2009, and his consistency as a fiscal conservative certainly gives him major street cred.
* Michael Crowley at Time lamely defends leaving Paul out of official GOP oddsmaking, while pointing out that in fact he's got more objective juice behind him than most of the other wanna-bes:
Why, then, would an oddsmaker like [Mark] Halperin ignore Paul? Because for all the money and hype the man generated last time around, he barely made a dent at the ballot box. After peaking with a 10 percent showing in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, he finished in the mid-to-low single digits in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and other key primaries. In all, Paul wound up with 35 delegates at the convention–more than big boys like Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson, to be sure (both wound up with goose eggs), but a negligible fraction of the party's nearly 2400 total delegates.
And how many delegates have most of the other candidates ever won?
* The Republican Jewish Coalition doesn't like his anti-foreign aid stance.
* Huffington Post sums up some of his best aspects:
He is known for holding unconventional views while keeping a smile on his face, espousing a sort of modern Republican populism without the fangs. The obstetrician has delivered more than 4,000 babies and is personally against abortion, but he doesn't think the federal government should regulate it. That's a function of state government, he says.
He has also said he wants to abolish the Internal Revenue Service, favors returning the United States to the gold standard in monetary policy and wants the U.S out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
* The OC Weekly from Southern California lists 10 Reasons to Love Ron Paul:
1) He opposes capital punishment.
2) He supports expanding ballot access to third-party candidates.
3) He opposes the War on Drugs.
4) He opposes "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
5) He opposes the Patriot Act and torture.
6) He opposes government I.D. cards.
7) In 2009, he was one of two Members of Congress who pledged to reject U.S. government pensions.
8) He was one of four Republicans who last month voted against the GOP's so-called "Path to Prosperity" budget proposal.
9) He called Ronald Reagan a failure.
10) Nolan Ryan is a pal.
* CBS News with some good straight reporting on the announcement:
"The revolution is spreading, and the momentum is building," he said. "Our time has come."
Pointing to the role of technology in spreading his beliefs, Paul suggested that an "intellectual revolution" is underway and has helped people understand that "government isn't the solution, government really has created the problem."
Paul said that the federal government should not be an "intervener," either in personal liberty or foreign policy. He said a president should show strength not by policing the world but by "standing up for liberty" and keeping the federal government from unnecessary interference.
"I take a strict constitutional position, that the government has very little authority to get involved in our economic or personal lives," he said.
Paul pointed to the question of drug use to make his point. He said Americans "have a freedom of choice with [their] bodies," calling the idea a "basic principle of liberty." He complained that while Americans take freedom of speech and freedom of religion as a given, they "have conceded way too much to the government to decide what we put into our bodies."
Paul said that pundits "wanted to paint me as this monster" because he has said that he believes heroin should not be illegal on a federal level. Saying that he "happen[s] to have a personal real disgust with the abuse of drugs"—both illegal and prescription—Paul said that didn't mean people shouldn't have the freedom to make their own choices.
"You also have to have responsibility for what you do, and if you do harm to yourself you can't go calling to the government to penalize your neighbor to take care of you," he said.
Watch some video of his announcement, where he sounds very federalist (and makes a nod to the "Codex Alimantarius" crowd by saying the U.N. should have no authority over nutritional supplements) and calls for an end to federal intervention in education, and any foreign intervention or inflation:
UPDATE: Video of the entire announcement speech, nearly 40 minutes: