Ron Paul has been getting some attention lately:
- The Economist:
Paul the Apostate.
Is this would-be president brave or crazy?
RON PAUL, a libertarian Republican congressman from Texas, likes to say what he thinks. And among the things he thinks is that the census is a violation of privacy. He has opted out of the congressional pension programme. He claims never to have voted for a tax increase, or for an unbalanced budget, or for a congressional pay rise and never to have gone on a congressional junket. He wants to return to the gold standard. Most notably, he strongly opposes the Iraq war and has from the beginning.
Mr Paul is running for president. And according to the latest report from the Federal Election Commission, he is in better financial shape than John McCain, once the front-runner. Mr Paul raised $2.4m in the second quarter of the year, has roughly that much on hand, and has no debts. Mr McCain raised far more money but spent it just as fast, ending the quarter with $3.2m on hand but with $1.8m in debt.
- Christopher Caldwell, writing in the NYT Magazine:
Paul’s opposition to the war in Iraq did not come out of nowhere. He was against the first gulf war, the war in Kosovo and the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which he called a “declaration of virtual war.” Although he voted after Sept. 11 to approve the use of force in Afghanistan and spend $40 billion in emergency appropriations, he has sounded less thrilled with those votes as time has passed. “I voted for the authority and the money,” he now says. “I thought it was misused.”
There is something homespun about Paul, reminiscent of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” He communicates with his constituents through birthday cards, August barbecues and the cookbooks his wife puts together every election season, which mix photos of grandchildren, Gospel passages and neighbors’ recipes for Velveeta cheese fudge and Cherry Coke salad. He is listed in the phone book, and his constituents call him at home. But there is also something cosmopolitan and radical about him; his speeches can bring to mind the World Social Forum or the French international-affairs periodical Le Monde Diplomatique. Paul is surely the only congressman who would cite the assertion of the left-leaning Chennai-based daily The Hindu that “the world is being asked today, in reality, to side with the U.S. as it seeks to strengthen its economic hegemony.” The word “empire” crops up a lot in his speeches.