For a 76-year-old Republican obstetrician from Texas, Ron Paul can certainly get his rock star on. Earlier this week, he packed more than 1000 screaming young fans into a hotel ballroom in the Stapleton area.
It turns out his message of eliminating the Federal Reserve, returning to the gold standard, hewing closely to the Constitution, reducing the size of the federal government, reducing American involvement abroad and ending the drug war resonates with a lot of people.
While he may be able to draw a large and enthusiastic crowd in Denver, he appears to have no chance of gaining the Republican nomination for president. While his reportedly racist past may not diminish his ability to draw a crowd, it would likely keep him out of the White House should he miraculously gain the nomination.
“It sounds like the revolution got here before I did,” he said upon being introduced to thunderous applause. “I was hoping to get 30 or 40 people today so I’m glad you showed.”
He noted that the crowd was mostly under the age of 30. “You have to admit freedom is a young idea and that is where the enthusiasm comes from,” he said. “There is a revolution going on in this country and it is a delightful one.”
His message, though, was primarily about reducing the size and role of the federal government. In fact, that was his only theme. In more than 30 minutes on stage, he did not advocate a single new government program, did not speak well of any existing programs and did not promise his fans anything other than to get government off their backs.
Video of entire speech is at the bottom of this article.
“When government grows, liberty is diminished. The role of government should be to defend liberty.
“If we want to cut spending, we should start with the outrageous spending we’re doing overseas. No more wars without a congressional declaration. We need to stay out of the internal affairs of other nations and stop acting like we have the authority to go policing around the world.”
He added his opinion that the U.S. has neither the wisdom nor the money to be involved in other countries’ affairs.
“They would like to paint those of us who don’t believe in fighting all these wars as lacking in patriotism and not supporting the troops, but they fail to remember that our campaign gets more money from active military than all the other Republicans candidates combined.”
Paul said the government needs to do a better job of taking care of returning veterans, calling the suicide rate among veterans tragic and unconscionable.
“Another reason we should be leery of all these wars is that during war time people have traditionally been willing to give up some of their liberties. I’ve come to the conclusion that you never have to give up personal liberties for more security.
“We all understand the trauma of 9-11, but it was no excuse to give up our liberties. There was no excuse to pass the Patriot Act.
“It doesn’t make us any safer, it teaches us to be submissive to the state,” he said about today’s airport security measures.
“You won’t hear Ron Paul change his tune to suit his audience,” one member of the audience told The Colorado Independent. That sentiment explains part of his appeal. Whether speaking to a crowd of fans, speaking at a debate or being interviewed on TV, he stays on point.
He said the Federal Reserve will be eliminated, that it isn’t a question of “if” but only a question of “when.”
“Complete paper money has been around about 40 years and it has done a lot of damage but it is on its last legs, let me tell you. There is no doubt that we do want to end the Fed, but the thing is, we don’t have to worry too much about it. We might have to be concerned about when.
“We are operating on an unconstitutional system of money, and it has brought havoc, it has brought bubbles, it has brought us this recession/depression of the past four years, so we cannot solve our problems and get back on economic growth unless we address the subject of monetary policy and that is one thing the American people are paying a lot more attention to now. It is the first time in the 100 year history of the Federal Reserve that it is a major issue in a presidential campaign,” he said.
“They like to portray those of us who believe in honest money– which has been around about 6000 years– as weird, but maybe just printing money is weird, maybe just printing paper and calling it money is weird,” he said to wild applause.
For a Motley Fool interview with Paul on the subject of the Federal Reserve, click here.
Paul said Americans are somewhat divided on the issue of freedom, with some people pushing for economic freedom and others advocating personal and social freedom, but with the two groups seldom coming together.
“We need to have some fundamental changes in how we understand what it means to be free. We have concentrated more on the material benefits of a free society and forgotten about the fundamentals of a free society.
“Some defend economic liberty, some defend personal liberty, but few defend both. We have to understand they are unified. You have the right to run your life as you choose but you should also have the right to keep the fruits of your labor,” he said.
“The drug war needs to be repealed as well. There was an experiment in the early part of the last century, that was prohibition of alcohol. Back then they thought they had to amend the Constitution to put all these prohibitions on people. Now they just do it.
“That was a bad experiment, but the country woke up and repealed it. We really need to do that again. As a physician, let me tell you… we treat drug addiction differently than we treat alcohol addiction.”
Paul concluded his Denver visit by saying that if he had to choose between freedom and wealth, he would choose freedom.
“But we don’t have to make that choice, the freer the society the more prosperous it is,” he said before leaving the stage. He did not return for an encore.