Ron Paul: A Brief History of a Shining Political Career

October 15th, 2013

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.

Early Years

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.

Ron-Paul-Libertarian-1988His 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 is a part time ticket broker, built an iPhone app development company and is an avid surfer. He can be reached at simon.greenwald@venturemedia.com.

Ron Paul’s Latter Years

October 12th, 2013

Paul ran for Congress again in 2010, winning his 12th term by a strong 80% of the vote.

Paul is considered by many of his colleagues as a genuine statesman, close to the mould of the ultimate citizen-statesman that the Founding Fathers had in mind. He has strong convictions.  Having served as a congressman for a full 12 terms, he has worked for various committees, supporting policies he strongly believed in.  He was an active member of the House Banking Committee, where he pushed for sound monetary policy, openly speaking out against the inflationary measures of the Federal Reserve. He also worked with the House Committee on Financial Services, as well as with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

He was often misunderstood.  He was a staunch, assertive, and outspoken supporter of the issues he believed in, often passionate in the philosophies he espoused. These ranged from conservative to liberal, depending on the issue. He has been portrayed as conservative and libertarian.

Of all the congressmen serving between 1937 and 2002, Paul is said to have the most conservative voting record. He held very traditional views particularly on the role of government vis-a-vis the management of economy.  On social issues and foreign policy concerns, however, he is said to have a more moderate stand.

Paul was against budget deficits. Repeatedly voting against schemes for fresh government spending/initiatives/taxes, he earned the nickname Dr. No. Between 1995 and 1997, he holds the record for having cast two-thirds of the lone negative votes in Congress.

He did not vote to increase congressional pay; neither did he want the expansion of the power of the executive branch of government. He was consistent in his fight to bring down, regulate, or eliminate federal taxes. He utilized his position to aggressively   push government to the constitutional levels he thought appropriate – to limit the powers of government. He has been known to endorse plans to get rid of the majority of federal agencies, calling them pointless bureaucracies.

Paul opined that we could eliminate the individual income-tax if the government were to curtail federal-spending to the levels it maintained during the fiscal year 2000; he said that the government can function principally on excise revenues and non-protectionist tariffs.

His records demonstrate that he has not joined any government-sponsored junket.  He refused participation in the profitable pension-program for congressmen. He is said to have returned part of his yearly congressional office-budget to the U.S. Treasury.

He did not support farm-subsidies, in line with his belief that the government should cut back in its spending. He was opposed to the government’s battle against drugs.  His contentious attitudes on these matters often caused conflicts with the other members of the Republican Party.

Paul’s Core Beliefs

October 10th, 2013

During his political career, Paul believed in free markets and economic freedom. He was a strong advocate for low taxes, ardent in his advocacy for sound monetary policies. He was conservative in that he believed that you should only vote for measures which were specifically sanctioned by the Constitution. He believed that there should be free enterprise; that it was only ethical and honourable to have such; thus, the Constitution mandates it.

Paul remained a firm believer in human rights. He was against federal measures to restrict gun-ownership.  He was not for the regulation of the Internet.  He was steadfast in his stand against abortion, espousing clear pro-life and pro-family ideals.  He believed that the government should not meddle in the private affairs of its constituents.

Paul demonstrated constancy on the positions he took on issues.  In spite of the opposing views of most of his party-mates, he was against the Patriot Act. He also did not favour launching war against Iraq. He believed that the government should pay attention to the country’s own problems, rather than on other nations’ troubles. He rooted for a strong national defense and was against an interventionist foreign policy.

Paul showed strong interest in philosophy and economics.  He was well-read. It is said that his interest in politics was sparked by Friedrich Hayek’s “The Road to Serdom”  He was a supporter of the Austrian School economics, holding economists Friedrich Hayek, Hans Sennholz, and Murray Rothbard in high esteem. He considered the works of Ludwig Von Mises and Ayn Rand to be of great significance and import. He wrote several books, all espousing principles upheld by the said economists.

He was critical of most of the country’s banking/financial systems. Putting his political thoughts and theories on economics down on paper, he produced several books. The year 1981 saw the publication of his book Gold, Peace and Prosperity: The Birth of a New Currency.  The next year, 1982, he put out The Case for Gold: A Minority Report of the U.S. Gold Commission (1982). In 1983, his Abortion and Liberty articulated his pro-life opinions, as well as his anti-federal government sentiments.

Many other books were published in between 2007 and 2011 — A Foreign Policy of Freedom (2007), Pillars of Prosperity (2008), The Revolution: A Manifesto (2008), End the Fed (2009) and Liberty Defined (2011), among them. The American Ludwig von Mises Institute was usually Paul’s publisher.

Fighting for Popularity

October 6th, 2013

Some of Paul’s ideals made him somewhat unpopular in political circles. It is said, though, that although some of his colleagues may have disagreed with the stances he took, they could not help but respect him for his convictions and courage. Colleagues spoke of his integrity with admiration. He is said to stand by and fight for his principles, not one to easily compromise.

Paul’s unique blend of traditionalist conservatism and libertarianism painted him out to be a very interesting and passionate politician.

Many people saw Paul as a highly idealistic individual, inspired more by his strong political beliefs and ideals rather than by a taste for power. He used his campaigns as venues to ventilate his views; many say that this explains why he ran for office in spite of the odds being against his winning.  This has also won for him the interest and admiration of many supporters.

During the 2012 election campaign, many people who listened to his speeches and examined his positions on critical issues were won over to his side.  To these people, he showed integrity and reliable, steadfast American values. He revealed his superior understanding of economic principles and why the country was in the situation it was. He was able to demonstrate unquestionable and unwavering support of the Constitution. His sincerity and consistency rang loud and clear in the same things he stood for in the past 3 or 4 decades.

Paul retired from the House of Representatives during the beginning of 2013.  His son, Rep. Rand Paul, seems to have inherited the support of the people who admired the elder Mr. Paul while he was in office.  Although the son is clearly out to establish his own political identity, to set up his own political niche, he remains a feasible standard-bearer for most of his father’s convictions.

At present, the elder Paul –Ron, still energetically advocates reducing the size of federal government, as well as returning to constitutional principles. He and his wife Carol carry on with their lives, still espousing their causes but with more time on their hands now to enjoy their five children and seventeen grandchildren.

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