Ronald Ernest “Ron” Paul (born August 20, 1935) is an American medical doctor, author, Republican U.S. Congressman of the House of Representatives and candidate for the 2012 Republican Party Presidential nomination. Paul is currently the U.S. Congressman for the 14th congressional district of Texas, which comprises the area south and southwest of the Greater Houston region, including Galveston.
Paul serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Joint Economic Committee, and the House Committee on Financial Services, and is Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology, where he has been an outspoken critic of current American foreign and monetary policy.
Paul has been termed the “intellectual godfather” of the Tea Party movement, but he prefers his own Republican Liberty Caucus in the House. He has become well-known for his libertarian ideas for many political issues, often differing from both Republican and Democratic Party stances. Paul has campaigned for President of the United States twice before, first during 1988 as the nominee of the Libertarian Party and again during 2008 as a candidate for the Republican nomination. On May 13, 2011, he announced formally that he would campaign again during 2012 for the Republican presidential nomination. On July 12, 2011, Paul announced that he would not seek another term in Congress in order to concentrate on his presidential bid.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Paul is the son of Howard Caspar Paul and Margaret (née Dumont) Paul. As a junior at suburban Dormont High School, he was the 220-yard dash state champion. Paul is a graduate of Gettysburg College and the Duke University School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree.
Paul served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1963 until 1968, during the Vietnam War. He worked as an obstetrician and gynecologist during the 1960s and 1970s, delivering more than 4,000 babies, before entering politics during 1976.
As a medical doctor, Ron Paul routinely lowered fees or worked for free in order to refuse to accept Medicaid or Medicare payments. As a member of Congress, he has refused to sign up for his government pension in order to avoid receiving government money, saying it would be “hypocritical and immoral” given his political positions and voting record.
While still a medical resident during the 1960s, Paul was influenced by Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, which caused him to read many publications by Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand. He met economists Hans Sennholz and Murray Rothbard well, and credits to them his interest in the study of economics. He believed that the predictions made by the Austrian school economists were becoming true on August 15, 1971, when President Richard Nixon “closed the gold window” and removing the U.S. dollar‘s completely from the gold standard. That same day, the young physician decided to enter politics, saying later,”After that day, all money would be political money rather than money of real value. I was astounded.” (Interesting to note that David Nolan was separately founding the Libertarian Party at the same time and for the same reason.)
Inspired by his belief that the monetary crisis of the 1970s was predicted by the Austrian School and caused by excessive government spending on the Vietnam War and welfare, Paul became a delegate to the Texas Republican convention and a Republican candidate for the United States Congress.
During 1974, incumbent Robert R. Casey defeated him for the 22nd district. When President Gerald Ford appointed Casey to direct the Federal Maritime Commission, Paul won an April 1976 special election to the vacant office. Paul lost some months later in the general election, to Democrat Robert Gammage, by fewer than 300 votes (0.2%), but defeated Gammage in a 1978 rematch, and was reelected during 1980 and 1982.
Paul was the first Republican representative from the area; he also headed the Texas Reagan delegation at the national Republican convention. His successful campaign against Gammage surprised local Democrats, who had expected to retain the seat easily due to the Watergate scandal. Gammage underestimated Paul’s popularity among local mothers: “I had real difficulty down in Brazoria County, where he practiced, because he’d delivered half the babies in the county. There were only two obstetricians in the county, and the other one was his partner.”
House of Representatives
Paul proposed term-limit legislation multiple times, at first during the 1970s in the House of Representatives where he also declined to attend junkets or register for a Congressional pension while serving four terms. His chief of staff (1978–1982) was Lew Rockwell. During 1980, when a majority of Republicans favored President Jimmy Carter‘s proposal to reinstate draft registration, Paul argued that their views were inconsistent, stating they were more interested in registering their children than they were their guns. He also proposed legislation to decrease Congressional pay by the rate of inflation; he was a regular participant of the annual Congressional Baseball Game; and he continued to deliver babies on Mondays and Saturdays during his entire 22nd district career.
During his first term, Paul initiated a “think tank“, the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (FREE). Also during 1976, the foundation began publication of the first monthly newsletter associated with Paul, Dr. Ron Paul’s Freedom Report (or Special Report). It also publishes radio advertisements, monographs, books, and (since 1997) a new series of the monthly newsletter, Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, which promote the principles of limited government.
On the House Banking Committee, Paul blamed the Federal Reserve for inflation, and spoke against the banking mismanagement that resulted in the savings and loan crisis. The U.S. Gold Commission created by Congress during 1982 was his and Jesse Helms‘s idea, and Paul’s commission minority report was published by the Cato Institute in The Case for Gold; it is now available from the Ludwig von Mises Institute, to which Paul is a distinguished counselor.
During 1984, Paul chose to campaign for the U.S. Senate instead of re-election to the House, but lost the Republican primary to Phil Gramm. Paul then resumed his full-time medical practice and was succeeded by former State Representative Tom DeLay. In his House farewell address, Paul said, “Special interests have replaced the concern that the Founders had for general welfare. Vote trading is seen as good politics. The errand-boy mentality is ordinary; the defender of liberty is seen as bizarre. It’s difficult for one who loves true liberty and utterly detests the power of the state to come to Washington for a period of time and not leave a true cynic.”
During 2009, Paul was featured by CBS on Up to the Minute as one of two members of the U.S. Congress that have pledged not to receive a pension from the United States government. The other is Howard Coble of North Carolina.
In the 1988 presidential election, Paul defeated Native American activist Russell Means to win the Libertarian Party nomination for president. Paul criticized Ronald Reagan as a failure, citing large budget deficits. On the ballot in 46 states and the District of Columbia, Paul scored third in the popular vote with 432,179 votes (0.5%), behind Republican winner George H. W. Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis.
The “Libertarian standard bearer”, Paul gained endorsers who agreed with his positions on gun rights, fiscal conservatism, homeschooling, and abortion, and won approval from many who thought the federal government was misdirected. This nationwide base encouraged and donated to his later campaigns. Kent Snyder, Paul’s 2008 campaign chair, first worked for Paul on the 1988 campaign.
According to Paul, his presidential campaign was about more than obtaining office; he sought to promote his libertarian ideas, often to school and university groups regardless of vote eligibility. He said, “We’re just as interested in the future generation as this election. These kids will vote eventually, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll go home and talk to their parents.” He traveled the country for a year speaking about issues such as free market economics and the rising government deficits: “That’s why we talk to a lot of young people. They’re the ones who are paying these bills, they’re the ones who are inheriting this debt, so it’s most likely these young people who will move into this next generation in government.”
In 1996, Paul was re-elected to Congress after the most difficult campaign he had experienced since the 1970s. Republicans had gained control of both houses of Congress in the 1994 election, so Paul entered the campaign hopeful that his Constitutionalist policies of tax reductions, terminating federal agencies, and curbing the U.N. would have more support. The Republican National Committee encouraged Democrats to switch parties, as Paul’s primary opponent, incumbent Greg Laughlin, had done during 1995. The party endorsed Laughlin, and included assistance from House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Governor George W. Bush, and the National Rifle Association. Paul responded by running newspaper advertisements quoting Gingrich’s harsh criticisms of Laughlin’s Democratic voting record 14 months earlier. Paul won the primary with assistance from baseball pitcher, constituent, and friend Nolan Ryan (as honorary campaign chair and advertisement spokesman), as well as tax activist Steve Forbes and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan (both of whom had had presidential campaigns that year).
Paul won the election by a close margin. It became the third time Paul had been elected to Congress as a non-incumbent. Upon his returning to Washington, Paul quickly discovered “there was no sincere effort” by Republicans toward their declared goal of small government.
After 2003 Texas redistricting, Paul’s district became larger than the state of Massachusetts (though it has only a tenth of the population), with 675 miles (1,086 km) of Gulf of Mexico coastline between Houston and Rockport, Texas, including some 22 counties
Unlike many political candidates, Paul receives the overwhelming majority of his campaign contributions from individuals (97 percent during the 2006 cycle), and receives much less from political action committees (PAC’s) than others, ranging from two percent (2002) to six percent (1998). The group Clean Up Washington, analyzing from 2000 to mid-2006, listed Paul as seventh-lowest of PAC receipts of all House members; one of the lowest in lobbyist receipts; and fourth-highest in small-donor receipts. He had the lowest PAC receipts percentage of all the 2008 Republican presidential candidates.
Paul also spends extra time in the district to compensate for “violat[ing] almost every rule of political survival you can think of,” traveling more than 300 miles (480 km) daily to attend civic ceremonies for veterans, graduates, and Boy Scouts, often accompanied by his grandchildren. His staff helps senior citizens obtain free or low-cost prescription drugs through a little-known drug company program; procures lost or unreceived medals for war veterans, holding dozens of medal ceremonies annually; is known for its effectiveness in tracing Social Security checks; and sends out birthday and condolence cards.
Paul authors more bills than the average representative, such as those that impose term limits, or abolish the income tax or the Federal Reserve; many do not escape committee review. He has written successful legislation to prevent eminent domain seizure of a church in New York, and a bill transferring ownership of the Lake Texana dam project from the federal government to Texas. By amending other legislation, he has helped prohibit funding for national identification numbers, funding for federal teacher certification, International Criminal Court jurisdiction over the U.S. military, American participation with any U.N. global tax, and surveillance of peaceful First Amendment activities by citizens.
During March 2001, Paul introduced a bill to repeal the 1973 War Powers Resolution (WPR) and reinstate the process of formal declaration of war by Congress. Later during 2001, Paul voted to authorize the president, pursuant to WPR, to respond to those responsible for the September 11, 2001, attacks. He also introduced “Sunlight Rule” legislation, which requires lawmakers to take enough time to read bills before voting on them, after the Patriot Act was passed within 24 hours of its introduction. Paul was one of six Republicans to vote against the Iraq War Resolution, and (with Oregon representative Peter DeFazio) sponsored a resolution to repeal the war authorization during February 2003. Paul’s speech, 35 ”Questions That Won’t Be Asked About Iraq,” was translated and published in German, French, Russian, Italian, and Swiss periodicals before the Iraq War began.
Paul says his fellow members of Congress have increased government spending by 75 percent during the presidency of George W. Bush. After a 2005 bill was touted as “slashing” government waste, Paul wrote that it decreased spending by a fraction of one percent and that “Congress couldn’t slash spending if the members’ lives depended on it.” He said that during three years he had voted against more than 700 bills intended to expand government.
Paul has introduced several bills to apply tax credits to education, including credits for parental spending on public, private, or homeschool students (Family Education Freedom Act); for salaries for all K–12 teachers, librarians, counselors, and other school personnel; and for donations to scholarships or to benefit academics (Education Improvement Tax Cut Act). In accord with his political opinions, he has also introduced the Sanctity of Life Act, the We the People Act, and the American Freedom Agenda Act.
In June 2011, Paul co-sponsored a bill with U.S. Representative Barney Frank that is intended to end the federal prohibition of marijuana.
Paul was honorary chairman of, and is a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a political action committee that describes its goal as electing “liberty-minded, limited-government individuals”. Paul also hosts a luncheon every Thursday as chairman of the Liberty Caucus, composed of 20 members of Congress. Washington DC area radio personality Johnny “Cakes” Auville gave Paul the idea for the Liberty Caucus and is a regular contributing member. He is a founding member of the Congressional Rural Caucus, which deals with agricultural and rural issues, and the 140-member Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus. He remains on good terms with the Libertarian Party and addressed its 2004 convention. He also was endorsed by the Constitution Party’s 2004 presidential candidate, Michael Peroutka.
Paul was a member of a bipartisan coalition of 17 members of Congress that sued President Bill Clinton during 1999 due to his conduct of the Kosovo war. They accused Clinton of failing to inform Congress of the action’s status within 48 hours as required by the War Powers Resolution, and of failing to obtain Congressional declaration of war. Congress had voted 427–2 against a declaration of war with Yugoslavia, and had voted to deny assistance for the air campaign in Kosovo. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that since Congress had voted for funding after Clinton had actively engaged troops in the war with Kosovo, legislators had sent a confusing message about whether they approved of the war. Paul said that the judge’s decision attempted to circumvent the Constitution and to authorize the President to conduct a war without approval from Congress.
2008 Presidential Campaign
Paul formally declared his candidacy for the 2008 Republican nomination on March 12, 2007, on C-SPAN. His campaign had intense grassroots support—his supporters were said to “always show up”—- and he had dozens of wins of GOP “straw polls“. Additionally, Ron Paul garnered much popularity among college students, with about 500 Students for Ron Paul groups formed across the United States.
Paul’s campaign showed “surprisingly strong” fundraising with several record-breaking events. He had the greatest rate of contributions from active military, and donations coming from individuals, aided significantly by an online presence and very active campaigning by endorsers, who organized “moneybomb” fundraisers acquiring millions of dollars during several months. Such fundraising earned Paul the status of having raised more than any other Republican candidate during 2007′s fourth-quarter. Paul’s name was a number-one web search term as ranked by Technorati, beginning around May 2007. He has had more YouTube subscriptions than any other candidate.
Paul was largely ignored by traditional media, including at least one incident of not being invited to a GOP televised debate featuring all other presidential candidates at the time. One exception was Glenn Beck‘s program on Headline News, where Beck interviewed Paul for the full hour of his show.
On June 12, 2008, Paul withdrew his bid for the Republican nomination, citing his resources could be better spent on improving America. Some of the $4 million in remaining campaign contributions was invested into the new political action and advocacy group called Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty. Paul told the newsmagazine NOW on PBS the goal of the Campaign for Liberty is to “spread the message of the Constitution and limited government, while at the same time organizing at the grassroots level and teaching pro-liberty activists how to run effective campaigns and win elections at every level of government.”
Controversial claims made by an unidentified author in Ron Paul’s newsletters, written in the first person narrative, included statements such as “Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.” Along with “even in my little town of Lake Jackson, Texas, I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming.” Two other statements that garnered controversy were “opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions”. In an article titled “The Pink House” the newsletter wrote that “Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”
Paul had given his own account of the newsletters during March 2001, stating the documents were authored by ghostwriters, and that while he did not author the challenged passages, he bore “some moral responsibility” for their publication. Citing his 1999 House speech praising Rosa Parks for her courage; he said the charges simply “rehashed” the decade-old attack. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said that the writing “Didn’t sound like the Ron Paul I’ve come to know.” Later, Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP, also defended Paul.
“Everybody knows in my district that I didn’t write them and I don’t speak like that… and I’ve been reelected time and time again and everyone knows I don’t participate in that kind of language. The point is, when you bring this question up, you’re really saying ‘you’re a racist, or are you a racist?’ The answer is no, I’m not a racist. As a matter of fact, Rosa Parks is one of my heroes, Martin Luther King is a hero, because they practiced the libertarian principle of civil disobedience and nonviolence. Libertarians are incapable of being a racist because racism is a collectivist idea: you see people in groups. A civil libertarian as myself sees everyone as an important individual.” — Ron Paul, CNN, January 10, 2008
Paul rejected a request to endorse John McCain, and instead chose to endorse the remaining minor party Presidential candidates: Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney, and Ralph Nader. In response to a written statement by Bob Barr, Paul abandoned his former neutral stance and announced his endorsement of Chuck Baldwin in the 2008 Presidential election.
In the 2008 general election, Paul still received 41,905 votes despite not actively campaigning.
2012 Presidential Campaign
Paul won several early straw polls and began raising funds for an exploratory committee. In mid-April, 2011, Paul announced the formation of a “testing-the-waters” account, and stated that he would make a decision on whether to enter the campaign officially no later than May. In late April, he formed an official exploratory committee to campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. He participated in the first Republican Presidential debate on May 5, 2011 and another on May 13, 2011. Paul formally announced his candidacy in an interview on ABC‘s Good Morning America. He placed second in the 2011 Ames Straw Poll, missing first place by 0.9%.
In August, Rasmussen Reports reported Paul and Barack Obama, were “almost dead even” in their poll. Paul moved up to 3rd in a late-August poll of likely Republican primary voters, trailing Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.
Publishing andMedia Career
He worked with FREE on such projects as establishing the National Endowment for Liberty, producing the At Issue public policy series that was broadcast on Discovery Channel and CNBC, and continuing publication of Dr. Ron Paul’s Freedom Report. Ron Paul & Associates (RP&A), Inc. was founded in 1984 by Paul and Llewellyn Rockwell. They began publishing The Ron Paul Investment Letter and The Ron Paul Survival Report; it added the more controversial Ron Paul Political Report during 1987.
After his 2008 Presidential campaign, Paul started the advocacy group Campaign for Liberty and his ideas have been expressed in numerous published articles and books, including Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom (2011), End The Fed (2009), The Revolution: A Manifesto (2008), Pillars of Prosperity (2008), A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship (2007), and The Case for Gold (1982). According to University of Georgia political scientist Keith Poole, Paul had the most conservative voting record of any member of Congress since 1937.
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