Ron Paul

Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul (born 20 August 1935) is a 10th-term Congressman, obstetrician (M.D.), and a 2008 presidential candidate from the U.S. state of Texas, seeking the nomination of the Republican party.

As a Republican, he has represented Texas's 14th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997, and had previously served as the representative from Texas's 22nd district in 1976 and from 1979 to 1985.

Paul advocates a limited role for the federal government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. He has earned the nickname "Dr. No" because he is a medical doctor who votes against the bills he believes violate the Constitution. In the words of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Paul is the "one exception to the Gang of 535" on Capitol Hill. He has never voted to raise taxes or congressional pay, and refuses to participate in the congressional pension system. He has consistently voted against the USA PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and the Iraq War.

Paul was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Howard Caspar Paul (1904–1997), the son of a German immigrant, and Margaret Paul (1908–2001), who owned a dairy farm outside Pittsburgh. He was the third of five sons born during the Great Depression. In his early years, Paul worked at his parents' dairy, delivered newspapers and worked in a drugstore.

He graduated from Dormont High School in Dormont, Pennsylvania, in 1953. Paul attended Gettysburg College, where he received his bachelor of arts degree in 1957, while delivering mail and laundry on the side.

He was then accepted to Duke University School of Medicine, where he received his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in 1961. He did his internship and residency training at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit from 1961 to 1962 and the University of Pittsburgh from 1965 to 1968.

Paul interrupted his medical training to serve as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio from 1963 to 1965. He served in the Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968 while completing his medical residency in Pittsburgh.

Paul began his medical practice in Lake Jackson, Texas as a specialist in obstetrics/gynecology and has delivered more than 4,000 babies. He took over the practice of a retiring doctor and was busy as the only OB/GYN in Brazoria County. Paul said of his time as a doctor, "I delivered forty to fifty babies a month and did a lot of surgery."

Dr. Paul didn't accept Medicare or Medicaid as a physician; instead, he would do the work for free or work out a lowered payment for needy patients.

Paul and his wife Carol have five children, 17 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. He supported his children, three of whom also became medical doctors, during their undergraduate and medical school years, refusing to allow them to take part in subsidized federal student loan programs. He has not signed up for a congressional pension for the same reason.

When her husband was campaigning in the 14th District, Carol Paul decided to help his campaign by compiling family recipes into a cookbook and sending it to constituents. The cookbook is filled with pictures of the large Paul family, and constituents in the district often recognize Carol from the cookbook pictures; five editions have been published. She and other family members keep a "Recipe of the Week" on her husband's Congressional campaign website.

Paul usually goes home to Lake Jackson on weekends.

Eldest grandson Matt Pyeatt blogs about Paul.

A prominent physician in his district when he went into politics, Paul became a delegate to the Texas state Republican convention in 1974. He had decided to enter politics on August 15, 1971, when President Richard Nixon went off the gold standard completely. He said,"After that day, all money would be political money rather than money of real value. I was astounded."

Paul was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congressman from the 22nd District of Texas in 1974, an election where Democratic candidates won heavily, against the incumbent Democrat Robert R. Casey. When President Gerald R. Ford appointed Casey as head of the Federal Maritime Commission, a special election was held in April 1976 to choose a new congressman. Paul won that election but lost six months later in the general election to Democrat Robert A. Gammage. He then defeated Gammage in a 1978 rematch. Paul won new terms in 1980 and 1982.

Paul delivered babies on Mondays and Saturdays during his entire term as the 22nd District representative.

Paul was the first congressman to propose term limit legislation for the House of Representatives, where he declined to attend junkets or register for a congressional pension while serving four terms. Paul was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate in the 1984 GOP primary against Phil Gramm. In 1985, Paul returned to full-time medical practice and was succeeded in his seat by Tom DeLay, then a member of the Texas House of Representatives.

In the 1988 presidential election, despite no previous affiliation with the Libertarian Party, Paul won the nomination of the United States Libertarian Party for the U.S. Presidency. He placed third in the popular vote (with 431,750 votes - 0.47%), behind George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. Although he had been an early supporter of Ronald Reagan, Paul was critical of the unprecedented deficits incurred by Reagan's administration, for which his opponent George H.W. Bush had been vice-president.

During his time as Libertarian candidate, Paul gained supporters nationwide who agreed with him on many of his positions-- on gun rights, fiscal conservatism, home-schoolers, right-to-lifers, and others who thought the federal government was heading in the wrong direction. These supporters formed a nationwide support base that encouraged him to return to office and supported him financially.

In 1996, with baseball player Nolan Ryan as his honorary campaign chairman, Paul was again elected to the House as a Republican, this time for the coastal 14th District rather than the 22nd District. Paul won the primary and went on to win the general election despite a much tougher battle than he had faced in the 1970s from opponent Greg Laughlin, who had support from leaders within the Republican Party, including House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Governor George W. Bush. Incumbent Laughlin had switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican side the year before, but despite efforts by the national party, Paul won the primary by a large margin. His Democratic opponent in the fall election, lawyer Charles "Lefty" Morris, lost in a close margin despite running numerous attacks on Paul, including his past votes to repeal federal drug laws (he believes that should lie with the states) and portions of old newsletters, during the runup to the election along with the AFL-CIO. Paul countered by attacking Morris as a pawn of trial lawyers and big labor. He raised more money than Morris, with the help of his national network of donors: $1.2 million to Morris' $472,153. Ken Bryan, a Democratic consultant to some of Paul's opponents, has said, "He has one of the largest contributor bases in Congress, outside of the leadership." Most of Paul's contributions are given in small amounts by individuals.

The national Democratic Party and trade unions made similar efforts to defeat Paul in 1998, but he again won the primary and the election and outraised his opponent by a large margin, $2.1 million to $734,000. Opposing a Democratic rice farmer and former Matagorda County judge, Loy Sneary, Paul won by 11 percentage points partly because of ads warning voters to be "leery of Sneary". Paul accused Judge Sneary of voting to raise his pay by 5% and that he increased his judge's travel budget by 400%. Sneary's aides said he had voted to raise all county employees' pay by 5% in a "cost of living" increase. Paul countered that he had never voted to raise congressional pay.

In 2000, Sneary ran against Paul again, with Paul winning 60% to 40%. He raised $2.4 million to Sneary's $1.1 million in that campaign. Sneary lost these campaigns, according to former editor of local newspaper The Victoria Advocate Dan Cobb (whose editorial board supported Sneary over Paul) because he had tried to attack Paul during the campaign. He said, "It should be obvious by now that you can't attack him. All you can do is run a positive campaign. People in the Fourteenth feel they know exactly where Paul stands. He is consistent and adheres to his principles. He has great personal integrity."

Paul was re-elected in 2002. Unopposed in 2004, he was re-elected to his ninth term in the Congress, and he was re-elected again in 2006 for his 10th term by a 20-point margin.

Texas Monthly, calling Paul "both deeply principled and wholly uncompromised", wrote in 2001 that he does not take money from PACs, is not swayed by Congressional lobbyists, only votes on his "deeply held beliefs" and does not cut "backroom deals." They write, "The phrase 'honest politician' is an oxymoron; yet in the sense that Paul never, ever votes against his stated principles... the phrase describes him." Along with not signing up for a Congressional pension, Paul's Congressional office returns money to the government each year; in 2000, the sum returned was $50,000.

"Dr. No" can be "maddeningly uncooperative" to his Republican colleagues because he will not give in to pressure to vote for bills that spend taxpayers' money or that he feels violate the Constitution. Once when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich exhorted every Republican to vote the party line, he said that Paul was exempt. Fellow fiscal conservative Jeff Flake said in 2006, "When I'm the only no vote, I can usually rest assured he's on a plane somewhere."

Paul continued to work as an obstetrician in Brazoria County, Texas even while serving in Congress, delivering many constituents' babies. As of 2001, he was one of few doctors in the House (eight, including dentists) and part of an even smaller group that continued to practice while in office. It is not unusual for him to be in his home district and hear a younger person call out, "You delivered me!"

Paul is against some legislation that coastal or rural congresspersons usually are not. Paul's district in Texas borders the Gulf of Mexico with 675 miles of coastline and also includes suburbs of Houston, and it was redistricted before the 2004 election. Paul is opposed to federally funded flood insurance because it requires those who do not live near flood zones to subsidize those who choose to live in an area that is prone to flooding and does not allow those in flood zones to choose their own insurer. In an "overwhelmingly rural region," Paul opposes farm subsidies because they go to big corporations rather than small farmers. Despite voting against bills with large support in Congress, such as the farm bill, the congressman's "contrarian nature" and devotion to lowering taxes appeals to voters in the 14th District.

While some politicians would find it unthinkable to vote against bringing "pork" to their home district, Paul spends time in the district to compensate for "violating almost every rule of political survival you can think of." He sometimes spends three to four days a week in his district addressing constituents' concerns, often accompanied by one of his 17 grandchildren. He attends graduations, civic ceremonies, and Boy Scout honor ceremonies. In an expansive district, it is not unusual for him to log more than 300 miles per day visiting constituents or handling their concerns. He is particularly effective at reaching 14th District voters on veterans' issues, such as procuring lost medals for war veterans who never received or lost their medals; he holds medal ceremonies for those whose medals are being presented. He has helped senior citizens of the district get free or low-cost prescription drugs through a little-known drug company program. His staff sends out birthday cards to constituents, as well as condolence cards on the deaths of family members.

Paul sponsors many bills in Congress, many of which, such as one he regularly introduces that would abolish the income tax, do not get out of committee. He has sponsored successful legislation to prevent the Department of Housing and Urban Development from seizing a church in New York state through eminent domain and a bill transferring ownership of the Lake Texana dam project from the federal government to Texas.

Paul remains on good terms with the Libertarian Party and addressed its national convention in 2004.

Paul served as honorary chairman and is a current member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a political action organization dedicated to promoting the ideals of individual rights, limited government and free enterprise within the Republican Party.

Unlike many political candidates, Paul receives the overwhelming majority of his campaign contributions (96.8% in 2005-2006) from individuals.

Ron Paul formally declared his candidacy for the 2008 Republican nomination in March 12, 2007 as a guest on Washington Journal on C-SPAN. Political analyst James Kotecki interviewed him regarding his candidacy, foreign policy, Congress and the Constitution, and personal liberties.

On February 20, 2007, prior to Paul formally announcing his candidacy, Radley Balko of wrote an article[24] titled "Ron Paul, the Real Republican?" Balko concludes the piece with these two sentences. "Of all the candidates so far declared, only Paul can credibly lay claim to the legacy of the Reagan-Goldwater revolution. How well he does, how long he lasts, and who ends up defeating him will reveal whether there's any limited government allegiance at all still stirring the Republican Party."

There are many indicators that Paul is widely supported on the Internet. The term "Ron Paul" has been measured as the top Internet search term by[25] since May 9th, which ranks popularity in the blogosphere. The U.S. News & World Report article titled "Ron Paul's Online Rise" states "Technorati spokesman Aaron Krane confirmed that, to the best of the company's knowledge, the online support for Paul is genuine. (Tech-savvy devotees occasionally attempt to enlist programs called "bots" to artificially boost their candidate on search engines, but Krane said Technorati is usually able to detect and delete the cheaters.)"

Paul also ranked 517th on Wikicharts, a measurement of most-viewed Wikipedia pages, above Republican contenders such as Mitt Romney, Rudy Guiliani, and John McCain. Paul's standing in individuals' webpages, such as Joshua Dorkin's and YouTube have surged to place him well ahead of all other Republican candidates. The next closest Republican candidate, Romney, has 1,955 subscriptions. On May 20, 2007 Ron Paul overtook Obama in number of YouTube subscriptions at 5,684 and as of May 21st, Paul's YouTube subscriptions surged further to 8,668.

Historian and political columnist Thomas Woods asserts "the news media is now trying to keep out of the limelight the one presidential contender (Ron Paul) who has actually bucked the establishment and does something other than parrot government/media slogans." The national spokesman for the John Birch Society has published similar assertions. Some opinion-editorials (op-ed) pieces have commented that avoiding the large media organizations and campaigning by Internet may be beneficial.

Ron Paul participated along with nine other Republican presidential candidates in a televised 2008 Republican Presidential Candidates Debate on May 3, 2007. An MSNBC online vote following the debate showed Paul with 40 percent of more than 70,000 votes, higher positive ratings and lower negative numbers than any of the other nine candidates in the debate. An ABC News survey on which candidate came out on top in the debate showed Paul leading with 85 percent. C-SPAN had similar results with over 70 percent favorable for Paul. ABC News attributed Paul's success to viral marketing by his supporters, noting that Paul has a "robust online presence", and noted that online polls are not scientific and they do not indicate that Paul has widespread support among the actual national voting population.

After the debate, Pat Buchanan told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann that Ron Paul came the closest of all the candidates to classic conservatism. Donald Luskin told CNBC that Paul was his "pro-stock market candidate."

In a May 15, 2007, GOP debate in South Carolina, Paul commented that America's history of interventionism in the Middle East has led to an unpopular view of the U.S. in Middle Eastern countries. Agreeing with what has previously been asserted by the 9/11 Commission Report and the Central Intelligence Agency's specialists on al Qaeda, Paul stated that the CIA removal of an elected Iranian leader (the CIA's encouragement of a military coup in 1953 against the democratically elected leader of Iran Mohammed Mosaddeq in Operation Ajax) and the bombing of Iraq in the 1990s, culminating in the ongoing Iraq war, has led to increasing anti-American sentiment in the Middle East. Then he said:

They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East [for years]. I think [Ronald] Reagan was right. We don't understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics. Right now, we're building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We're building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting.

After Paul had completed his answer, Rudy Giuliani interrupted the moderator and interjected that he thought Paul was implying that America had invited the September 11, 2001, attacks; he said:

That's really an extraordinary statement. That's an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of September 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I've heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th.

Paul defended his previous statement, which did not mention 9/11 specifically, but did say "they attack us" and further explained:

I believe the CIA is correct when it warns us about blowback. We overthrew the Iranian government in 1953 and their taking the hostages was the reaction. This dynamic persists and we ignore it at our risk. They’re not attacking us because we’re rich and free, they’re attacking us because we’re over there.

While Paul's assertions have received criticism from some pundits from the political right (particularly FOX news commentator Sean Hannity and GOP spokesman Michael Steele) as well, other reports have found that Ron Paul is factually correct with his assertion. Former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA's team of bin Laden specialists for years, agreed with Paul's statements:

I thought Mr. Paul captured it the other night exactly correctly. This war is dangerous to America because it’s based, not on gender equality, as Mr. Giuliani suggested, or any other kind of freedom, but simply because of what we do in the Islamic World – because 'we’re over there,' basically, as Mr. Paul said in the debate."

Since the debate, Ron Paul and his position have also been defended by Lew Rockwell, Pat Buchanan, Accuracy in Media, and other conservative and libertarian as well as more liberal commentators, including Joy Behar and Rosie O'Donnell on ABC's The View.

In a press release following the debate, Paul's campaign chairman Kent Snyder said in response to Giuliani, "It is clear from his interruption that former Mayor Giuliani has not read the 9/11 Commission Report and has no clue on how to keep America safe" and on May 16, during an appearance on The Situation Room with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Paul asked for an apology from Giuliani and suggested that Giuliani should read the 9/11 Commission's Report.

Andrew Sullivan, an early supporter of the war, responded to Paul's remarks by saying:

The question serious supporters of a real war on terror must now ask is: will continuing the fight in Iraq help reverse this trend or cement it for decades to come? Is the war making us less secure and the world much less safe? Would withdrawal or continued engagement makes things better? At the very least, it seems to me, this question should be on the table in the Iraq debate. And yet the Republicans - with the exception of Ron Paul - don't even want to talk about it. Until they do, they are not a party serious about national security.

In the debate, only Paul and John McCain would not endorse the United States using torture to obtain information from prisoners.

Paul took a close second (25%) to Romney, who received the most votes (29%) in a Fox News-sponsored unscientific poll. On other sites, such as ABC News and MSNBC, Paul was the night's winner, according to respondents in similar polls.

In his 2008 presidential campaign, Paul has stated that he would like to "reinstate the Constitution and restore the Republic." His voting record is consistent in rejection of a welfare state role for the federal government, and advocacy of hard currency and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

Paul is the only 2008 Republican presidential candidate to have voted against the Iraq war in 2002 and has offered alternatives, such as granting the President authority to grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, which would allow war to be carried out against individuals rather than foreign countries and allow local bounty hunters familiar with the Afghanistani terrain to be hired to capture Osama bin Laden and his co-conspirators. Paul released a statement about the bill: "Paul's bill would allow Congress to authorize the President to specifically target Bin Laden and his associates using non-government armed forces. Since it is nearly impossible for U.S. intelligence teams to get close to Bin Laden, the marque and reprisal approach creates an incentive for people in Afghanistan or elsewhere to turn him over to the U.S." Paul would also allow armed commercial airline pilots.

Paul's desire to secure U.S. borders remains a key topic in his 2008 presidential campaign. He opposes the North American Union proposition and its proposed integration of Mexico, the United States of America, and Canada. Paul voted "yes" on the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which authorizes the construction of an additional 700 miles of double-layered fencing between the U.S and Mexico. Paul opposes illegal immigration as well as amnesty for illegal immigrants. He also introduced legislation that would amend the Constitution to stop giving automatic citizenship to babies who are born in the United States to non-citizen parents, which has been in effect since the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868.

In the May 3, 2007, GOP Debate, Paul stated that as President, he would seek the immediate abolition of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the abolition of the income tax. As Congressman, he has long fought for the prohibition of direct taxes by repeal of the 16th Amendment which created the income tax.

Paul is pro-life, and supports allowing individual states to decide on the legality of abortion, which is not an enumerated power of the federal government. Accordingly, he has challenged Roe v. Wade for its unconstitutionality.

Moreover, Ron Paul links his pro-life position closely to his libertarian views.

Paul said, "There is but one special interest that we should be working for, and that would solve just about all of our problems, and that is our Liberty."

During Paul's original Congressional campaign in the 14th District, his opponent Lefty Morris used some of his old newsletters against him. A 1996 article in the Houston Chronicle alleges that Ron Paul made comments in a 1992 edition of his Ron Paul Survival Report (a newsletter that he had published from 1985) which could be construed as racist, including disparaging remarks about fellow congressperson Barbara Jordan, and that this could help his political opponents.

In a 2001 interview with Texas Monthly magazine, Paul acknowledged that the comments were printed in his newsletter under his name, but explained that they did not represent his views and that they were written by a ghostwriter. He further stated that he felt some moral responsibility to stand by the words that had been attributed to him, despite the fact that they did not represent his way of thinking:

"They were never my words, but I had some moral responsibility for them...I actually really wanted to try to explain that it doesn't come from me directly, but they [campaign aides] said that's too confusing. 'It appeared in your letter and your name was on that letter and therefore you have to live with it.'"

He further stated:

"I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren't really written by me. It wasn't my language at all. Other people help me with my newsletter as I travel around. I think the one on Barbara Jordan was the saddest thing, because Barbara and I served together and actually she was a delightful lady... we wanted to do something on affirmative action, and it ended up in the newsletter and became personalized. I never personalize anything."

Texas Monthly wrote at the time they printed the denial, "What made the statements in the publication even more puzzling was that, in four terms as a U. S. congressman and one presidential race, Paul had never uttered anything remotely like this." They state that it would have been easier for him to deny the accusations at the time, because the controversy would have destroyed most politicians.

In an April 2007 column on his official House of Representatives website, Paul criticizes racism, calling it "an ugly form of collectivism" that groups an entire race into one, rather than judging people individually. At the same time, he defends the free-speech rights of people to say what they wish, and criticizes "third parties" "presuming to speak collectively for minority groups."

The Houston Chronicle article quotes the newsletter as stating that government should lower the legal age for prosecuting youths as adults, saying, "We don't think a child of 13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That's true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such."

The Houston Chronicle article also quotes the newsletter as saying, "Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty and the end of welfare and affirmative action." And, "Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the 'criminal justice system', I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal." ... although "we are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers."

Books authored:

* Challenge to Liberty. Lake Jackson, TX: Foundation for Rational Economics and Education
* Gold, Peace, and Prosperity. Lake Jackson, TX: Foundation for Rational Economics and Education
* Ten Myths About Paper Money. Lake Jackson, TX: Foundation for Rational Economics and Education
* The Case for Gold. Reprinted by Cato Institute, 1982; Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007. ISBN 0-932790-31-3.
* A Republic, If You Can Keep It
* Mises and Austrian Economics: A Personal View. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1984.
* Freedom Under Siege: The U.S. Constitution After 200 Years. Lake Jackson, TX: Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, 1987. Book distributed with permission in 7 parts in pdf-format)
* A Foreign Policy of Freedom. Lake Jackson, TX: Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, 2007. ISBN 0-912453-00-1Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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