Remembering Ron Paul for "Changing the Debate"

In a recent interview, the Congressman discusses his plans once he leaves Congress, the 2016 Presidential race, predictions for the future of the U.S., and his legacy. Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON, DC, November 26, 2012 ― Congressman Ron Paul rose from relative obscurity to become a huge figure on the national stage, attracting a large and enthusiastic following of youthful supporters and affecting the course of the country’s political dialogue. After twelve terms, Paul has decided to retire from the House of Representatives, fueling speculation about what the former Obstetrician will do next.

During our recent conversation, he alluded to some of his future plans and discussed a wide array of other topics. Unlike most Americans when they retire, Congressman Paul won’t be heading home to relax. He explained that he plans to continue traveling across the nation, delivering speeches on college campuses to students eager to hear his philosophy of liberty.

The Congressman also discussed some of the other potential projects that he plans to embark upon in January: “Maximize my understanding and ability to use the Internet to spread the message. I’m interested in promoting homeschooling. That’s very important so people have options.” He continued, “I’m going to continue working with Campaign for Liberty. In my educational foundation, the FREE Foundation, I’m going to concentrate on talking about foreign policy and the foolishness of our overseas interventions.”

With the media and pundits already discussing the potential crop of political candidates unfolding for the 2016 Republican contest, I asked whether Congressman Paul knew of a potential candidate whom he was willing to support. “I think its way too premature. We’re barley getting over this race and the day after they’re talking about who’s going to be running. I think that four years is an eternity because conditions are going to change so differently. It might be so chaotic that maybe nobody will even want to. I haven’t spoken about 2016 and who I would support.”

I jokingly asked the Congressman whether Americans would see him run once more. After a brief laugh, he replied, “I don’t think so. I think I’ve had my chance. Three times was enough.” Who would the Congressman have asked to be his running mate if he had won his Party’s nomination? “I never got that far, and I don’t have one name that I can throw out. People like Judge Napolitano, somebody whom I have worked with very closely. I think that’s sort of presumptuous now, since it didn’t happen. But they would have been likeminded people.”

With a large and energetic base of support to help propel him into the limelight, Congressman Paul was able to capture the attention of Americans after the financial panic of 2008. For years he had been warning of and predicting an impending crisis in the housing market, due to the federal government and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies. They were derided and dismissed by politicians and media analysts, but Paul’s economic forecasts descended on the country exactly as he’d predicted.

Paul’s predictions are not limited to domestic economic policy. Throughout the election, he consistently described America as an overseas empire, and warned that like all empires, the “American Empire” is not immune from a systematic collapse. He explained: “It will come when the Dollar crashes.” He elaborated: “When we have to come home (from overseas) there will be some event that will precipitate a panic, getting out of the dollar, interest rates going up, and we can’t keep borrowing money.”

Paul, a follower of the Austrian school of economics, explained that there is no way to know for certain when we will see the collapse of America’s overseas influence. He believes it possible that we will face another economic panic: “I won’t give you a date, but I think it’s conceivable that during this Administration, these next four years of Obama, he may well have to deal with a much, much bigger crisis than there was in 2008.”

The average political observer, using the common yardstick of “legislation passed” in judging the overall success of Ron Paul’s tenure in Congress, would be selling Paul’s legacy far short. When I asked the Congressman what he would like his legacy to be, he thoughtfully replied: “I think a legacy isn’t for the person to decide, it’ll be somebody else. If I had my druthers, I’d like to think that people became more interested in studying the issues, things I’ve talked about like personal liberty and a different foreign policy, and monetary policy. Changing the debate.”

It is ironic that the 77-year-old Paul has emerged as a powerful voice of America’s youth, entrancing young Americans and drawing them in droves to rallies and college campuses to hear him preach his message of upholding the Constitution, personal responsibility, and fiscal restraint. In light of his popularity with young voters, I asked what advice Paul might have for the youth. “Young people should do what everybody should do; assume responsibility for the role because people in college right now are going to get out, and it won’t take too long for that age group to be assuming a lot of responsibility. To me it’s the intellectual responsibility that counts the most … what we need is people who are serious and like to debate issues and get involved … as long as they are thinking differently than the last 50, 60, 70 years, on economics and foreign policy, the country will come out of this okay.”


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Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly is currently a college student majoring in History and Political Science. His writings have appeared in The Daily Local, Lew Rockwell.com’s blog, The Washington Times, Antiwar.com, and Freedom’s Phoenix Online Digital Magazine. He has been a popular guest political contributor to numerous national radio shows across the country, offering his perspective on a wide array of issues. 

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