Ron Paul gets a rare chance to spotlight his views
Wed Sep 12, 2007 13:39

The Dallas Morning News

Ron Paul gets a rare chance to spotlight his views
GOP maverick: yes on gold standard, no on empire-building 

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


WASHINGTON – For a candidate struggling for attention, Ron Paul's forum Tuesday
at The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies was a welcome
change of pace – a prestigious venue at which to contrast isolationism and
disentanglement, to pine for the Bretton Woods monetary system and to rail
against mercantilism.

"Intellectually it was very important to me," Dr. Paul said on his way out.
"Politically – I have no idea."

The 10-term congressman from Lake Jackson, Texas, is an oddity in the
presidential field: The only anti-war Republican. The only former Libertarian
nominee for the White House. The only obstetrician. The only one wistful for
Letters of Marque and Reprisal and the gold standard.

About 130 students, professors and others turned out for the hourlong forum. It
was open to the public, and Hopkins officials figured Paul supporters from
outside the university made up at least a third of the crowd – an unusually high
proportion for forums at the urban campus tucked along Washington's Embassy Row.

"He certainly has a hard-core group of supporters," said moderator Robert
Guttman, director of the Center on Politics and Foreign Relations, noting that
many of the RSVPs arrived with lengthy pro-Paul explanations, rather than a
simple "thanks."

Pro-Paul bloggers argued that the invitation alone showed he's being taken
seriously. They noted that his topic – "A Traditional Non-Intervention Foreign
Policy" – gets short shrift at SAIS and other "establishment" graduate schools
and think tanks, where big-name candidates get lots of invitations as the
lesser-knowns scrounge for exposure.

Mr. Guttman said SAIS is inviting all major-party candidates.

The fact that Dr. Paul's slot fell on Sept. 11 underscored his argument that
U.S. intervention in the Middle East has provoked terrorism – the stance that's
drawn disdain from former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and other GOP rivals.

Dr. Paul remained unrepentant as he denounced neoconservatives, neocolonialism
and the obsession with protecting oil supplies by force.

"My contention is that empire-building is not American, it's not constitutional,
it's not moral, it costs us too much money, it costs us lives, it hurts our
national defense, it ruins our national security, and ultimately it undermines
our personal liberties at home because of the atmosphere that we create," he
said, hardly taking a breath. "We pass all these laws where we have military
dictatorship declared here to get rid of habeas corpus, have warrantless
searches, have national ID cards and everybody's there begging for more safety
from the government because they might attack again."

While President Bush invaded Afghanistan in the hunt for terrorist mastermind
Osama bin Laden, Dr. Paul would have done the job by dusting off a tool used
against pirates in the 1800s – Letters of Marque and Reprisal, which authorize
international bounty-hunting.

Dr. Paul likened them to the response from Dallas billionaire Ross Perot when
some EDS employees were kidnapped – he hired former special forces soldiers and
rescued them privately.

A $1 billion prize would have reeled in bin Laden, Dr. Paul said, and "we'd have
saved $499 billion by now" compared with the tab for the wars in Iraq and

He dismissed the idea that he's an isolationist, saying he's all for trading
with any willing country. Free trade makes for good relations, he said.

One master's student in American government, 23-year-old Kristina Knight of
Endicott, N.Y., said she was amazed to find that he made sense on some points,
particularly on Iraq.

"I'm from New York," she said. "I never thought that I'd agree with anything a
Republican Texas congressman would say, but I did."

He gave an impassioned discourse on the benefits of the gold standard and the
need to dismantle the Federal Reserve, the central bank that sets key interest
rates and controls the U.S. money supply. "We literally can finance a war
through inflation," he said.

Another graduate student, David Beffert, a 28-year-old from South Dakota,
challenged his views on monetary policy during the Q&A, and afterward called
them "retro" and "a bit loony."

"In the Republican debates, you never see anyone call him on that," Mr. Beffert
said. But on the other hand, "I agree with some of what he says about Iraq."

Also see:

Dr. Ron Paul on U.S Health & Wealth


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