Ronald Ernest “Ron” Paul was born on August 20th, 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Howard Caspar Paul and Margaret née Dumont. He is of strong German ancestry from both sides of his family. His paternal grandfather was an immigrant from Germany. His mother had both German and Irish blood.
Paul grew up in Pittsburgh, helping out in his father’s simple dairy business, maintaining a paper route, and serving in the local drug-store. He was encouraged to save his wages to help fund his college education. Paul showed a strong interest and aptitude for athletics, joining the track and wrestling teams of his school. He won the state championship for the220-yard dash in his junior year in high school. He was also active in the student council, showing strong leadership qualities and charisma early on as president of the high school student council.
He is a graduate of Gettysburg College with a B.S. degree in Biology, 1957. He pursued a Doctor of Medicine degree from Duke University’s School of Medicine, graduating in 1961, then went on to complete his medical internship (Henry Ford Hospital Detroit) and residency in obstetrics/gynecology (Magee-Women’s Hospital, Pittsburgh). Demonstrating his strong respect for military service, Paul proudly served his country as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force after which followed his enlistment with the United States Air National Guard, all in the 1960’s. He then established his private practice in Texas. He was known to decrease his professional-fees, and even sometimes to waive them altogether, in order to steer clear of Medicare or Medicaid payments.
Paul joined politics in 1971, becoming a delegate to the Texas Republican Convention. He ran for US Congress as a candidate for the Republican Party in 1974 against Democrat Robert R. Casey but failed in his bid for a seat. A couple of years later, when Representative Robert Casey received his appointment as head of the Federal Maritime Commission from President Gerald Ford, special elections were conducted to fill the post Casey vacated. Paul won the special election to fill that seat but was not able to hang on to his post when he lost the general election afterwards to Democrat Robert A. Gammage.
Paul won the seat again on his subsequent bid in 1978, in a rematch against Gammage. He was just as successful for re-elections in 1980 and 1982. Notching a first, he proposed term limit legislation for the House of Representatives. He cited this proposal when he refused to run for re-election later on. He did run for the US Senate in 1984 against Phil Gramm, was defeated, and went back to his practice as an obstetrician/gynaecologist on a full-time basis.
Running for President
But politics beckoned strongly. In 1988, Paul left the Republican Party and ran as the presidential candidate representing the Libertarian Party. His bids to lower taxes and reduce the size of the federal government ran parallel to the interests of the Libertarians. Differences in beliefs focused on issues of abortion as the party was strongly in favour of personal liberty, opposing restrictive laws on actions/lifestyles of individuals. Despite these differences, though, Paul earned the respect and support of the party.
His candidacy was seen by many to be more of an interest to put forward his libertarian ideas and thoughts than to in fact seriously pursue the presidency. He did not win, running behind George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis in the final results. This prompted him to return to his medical practice and other business enterprises.
In the middle of the ‘90s, Paul reunited with the Republicans. He sought to be nominated by the party for a seat in the House of Representatives. He ran against Greg Laughlin, who had the support of mainstream Republicans. Laughlin parted ways with the Democrats to join the Republicans amidst the Republican takeover of Congress. Laughlin tried to represent Paul’s beliefs as extremist and unconventional. In spite of his slim chances, considering Laughlin’s strong hold over the Republicans, as well as the strong support coming Laughlin’s way from rich and influential groups the likes of the National Rifle Association, Paul defeated Laughlin. He won the primary and proceeded to win the 1996 general election.
People at the forefront of the Texan Republican Party made like efforts to dislodge Paul when he ran for re-elections in 1998. He remained undefeated. He ran for re-elections in 2000 and 2002, winning both bids. Nobody opposed him when he ran in 2004 for his ninth term in the Congress.
In 2006, the Democratic Party fielded Shane Sklar against Paul in his bid for re-election. Paul was able to retain his seat.
Second Attempt at the Presidency
In 2008, Paul decided to run for the presidency again but failed to make it to the finish, ending his run somewhat early in the game. Again, people thought Paul was more interested in using the campaign to endorse the issues close to his heart rather than seeing it as a passionate battle for the top office in the land. John McCain won the Republican nomination soon after. Some of his peers thought that Paul would pursue his bid, running either as an independent candidate or with the Libertarian Party but Paul thought otherwise. His support went to Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party.
Post contributed by Simon Greenwald. Apart from being a political writer, Simon has started and sold his own ticket brokering company, built an iPhone app development company and is an avid surfer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.