Ron Paul - The Libertarian Poster Boy

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

House Subcommittee on Monetary Policy: Ron Paul (R-TX) (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty)

Popular among college boys, Paul has won the straw poll competition at the Conservative Political Action Conference (heavily attended by students) for two years in a row. He's not the most conservative candidate, but he's got an "every man out for himself" attitude that endears him to capitalism purists and has a penchant for independent speeches that's made him an Internet sensation.

Dr. Paul, 74, has been in the presidential game a few times before: he was the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988 and competed (not very well) as a Republican in 2008. A small-town obstetrician and gynecologist, Paul has spent the last 35 years in politics, mostly in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he is affectionately and angrily called "Dr. No." For a long time, he was on the fringe of the Republican establishment and often voted off the party line. But the rise of the Tea Party has resulted in his views--which have been consistent--almost breaking into the Republican mainstream: drastic spending cuts, less international military action, (he opposed the Iraq war and opposes the U.S. involvement in Libya), even closing the IRS and the Federal Reserve System. No NAFTA, no  Patriot Act, no big government. But his chances are slim, largely because some of his views remain hard for many in the Christian right to swallow--an increasingly important bloc of Republican voters. Even though he's an anti-abortion Baptist, Paul believes that states have the right to legalize marijuana (like Gary Johnson) and doesn't agree with the Defense of Marriage Act.

Being a maverick helped Paul win support of the young and Internet savvy in 2008--even if he's not young or Internet savvy himself (that's what staffers are for). When Paul alluded to the 9/11 attacks being connected to the bombing of Iraq for 10 years he was attacked by conservatives, but won accolades among anti-war Republicans.

"I'm for the individual," Paul said. "I'm not for the government."


More in:

Comments [5]

Walt from Seattle

Calling a 74 year old man a poster boy makes you a disrespectful little girl.

Apr. 28 2011 10:57 AM

Candidates have to appeal to both the heart AND the head...Dr. Paul's concepts of libertarianism are practically unworkable and few of them would have popular support regardless of the logical sense many of his proposals would make.

I think he exists to stir the pot but an effective candidacy for anything other then Representative is never going to happen.

Apr. 28 2011 10:18 AM
Mike from 10456

I will vote for Barak Obama unless Ron Paul is the republican candidate.

Apr. 28 2011 01:26 AM
Paul from TX

I believe he speaks common-sense. I've been following him since college. He's my ideal President, but it seems Americans want a suave, sweet-talking (lying) candidate to win. He has the straightest voting record I've ever seen. He's firm in what he believes and I wish he was my congressman and future president.

Apr. 27 2011 01:56 PM
Harrison Bergeron from Fair lawn NJ

I like Ron Paul. But most of us vote from our guts -- not our brains. So we very seldom get leaders who talk common sense. Most often we wind up with leaders with soothing voices but empty words. Reagon and Obama would be two spectacular examples.

Apr. 26 2011 11:21 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About It's A Free Country ®

Archive of It's A Free Country articles and posts. Visit the It's A Free Country Home Page for lots more.

Supported by

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public.  Learn more at


Supported by