One on one with Ron Paul
Political celebrities are an interesting lot. Just like their rock star counterparts, they have groupies, a cult-like following, and their fans hang on every word. Without a doubt, this explains why at 7 o’clock on a Friday morning I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with hipsters, seniors, a little girl in a tutu, and pretty much everyone in between, all pushing our way to the front of the crowd waving books, markers, T-shirts and cameras.
Yes, Ron Paul was in town.
An enthusiastic supporter attempted to award me with my very own “rEVOLution” button as I made my way toward the press area. I thanked him politely and nudged through the crowd.
Along the way, I asked a few questions.
Jennifer MacMillan, a stay-at-home mom, saw Paul for the first time the previous night at the University of Nevada, Reno. “I’m tired of the whole process of us not really choosing. We are told who to vote for. … I tended to listen to FOX News, but if you listened to [Paul] years ago, he says the same thing now. Other politicians don’t. Ron always says the same thing.”
Brandon, a local executive, was just fine with being late to work to see Paul. “2012 is our last chance,” said Brandon. “Obama promised us a lot, and Ron Paul is the man who can actually deliver. Greece and Rome both fell, and Ron Paul is the only person to bring us back. The United States has a chance. Ron Paul is that chance. ”
Rep. Paul himself was impressive, yet unassuming. “Nevadans want to keep what they earn,” said Paul. “The solution to Nevada’s problems is not [for Washington] to come in and promise more stuff. Nevada needs to know where I’m coming from. We can get Nevada back on track by changing the country’s economic policy.”
Paul had much to say on the issue of housing, as well. “The crisis was predictable,” said Paul. “Too many houses built because of government programs and easy money. Wall Street made a fortune, and now look where we are. They told us the bailout was absolutely required, and it brought on the inevitable recession, and people lost their jobs, their houses, and their futures. We have been buying the debt from the bad guys and dumping it on the taxpayers—I did everything in the world to stop that.”
Paul was adamant about bailouts. “A bill like TARP, where we sucked up bad stuff and dumped it on the taxpayers—we should do everything conceivable to restrain the Fed from taking care of their friends. When the Fed bailed them out during this crisis, Nevada suffers, but the foreign banks got saved! A third of the [TARP] money went to the foreign banks! There are too many houses here, but the prices are coming down, and at a certain level people will finally say, ‘I can’t afford it,’ but you can’t do it with government. Government decisions make it worse. “
Paul’s stance on Yucca Mountain was passionate. “There was a vote, I remember very clearly; the federal government said all the nuclear waste should be dumped here. Everybody ganged up on Nevada, and I voted against. It wasn’t on the issue of whether this was a reasonable approach to deal with it, but I thought it was unreasonable for the other states and the federal government to gang up and impose this on Nevada. I believe in this being a state’s rights issue. My position is that in all the Western states, control should be turned over to the states, hopefully then to private ownership.”
Many are quick to write off Rep. Paul and his quixotic bids for the White House, pointing fingers at his apparent lack of support and outlandish positions. They scoff at his chances, but I’ve been in politics a long time and never have I seen someone with facial piercings and sleeve tattoos tearfully screaming out, “I love you Mitt Romney!” Rep. Paul, although not my choice at this point, has something to say, and I’m flattered he took the time to sit down with me and say it.