By now, if Americans hear someone talking about that “kooky old guy with the bad foreign policy ideas” who is running for President, they immediately know that Republican candidate Ron Paul is the topic of discussion.
Though it is easy to write Paul off as a fringe candidate, given the establishment’s disdain for him and his zealous base of support, the philosophies he has abided by and encouraged for three decades are quickly and quietly becoming mainstream.
Fiat Money And The Federal Reserve
In 2009, End The Fed made its debut at No. 6 on The New York Times Bestseller List. Though Paul had been discussing the problems of fiat money and the Federal Reserve’s reckless economic policies for decades, his book brought the average American to the roundtable. In simple terms, Paul had broken down what the Fed does and why it is wrong. After the book was published, many people began to ask questions about the Federal Reserve; the political pressure has led to much progress in the way of increasing Fed transparency.
Last year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was able to carry out the first-ever audit of the Federal Reserve due to an amendment added to the Dodd-Frank bill by Paul and Representative Alan Grayson (R-Fla.).
The audit was vehemently opposed by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and the other banksters at the central bank. They lied and said that Fed transparency would devastate financial markets. Americans soon found out why Bernanke and his Fed counterparts so opposed the transparency: They had issued $16 trillion in secret bailouts since 2008 as the dollar continued to lose buying power.
Those who have followed Paul in recent years have undoubtedly seen videos of his harsh exchanges with Bernanke during House Financial Services Committee meetings. Paul was, it seems, the only Fed critic in the room back then. Bernanke, often schooled by Paul, usually sat, nodded, sometimes agreed and never seemed very worried.
But now, Paul is no longer the sole critic. Many other lawmakers are asking questions. Last week, Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, took Bernanke to task over the central bank’s failure to do anything but hurt the American people.
Support for a House bill calling for a more comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve (HR 459) has drummed up 199 co-sponsors, according to Campaign For Liberty.
In a Nation of people desensitized by the fact that their Nobel Peace Prize-winning President repeatedly used drones to kill targets (sometimes American citizens) in foreign lands where the country is not at war, converted the once-covert SEAL Team Six into his own lethal public relations firm and declared his homeland a warzone by authorizing the detention of American citizens, it is no surprise that Paul’s foreign policy seems unorthodox. At some point, the idea that the President’s first and foremost foreign policy duty was diplomacy was lost (i.e., “Speak softly and carry a big stick”). It seems that for the past several decades the United States has taken to shouting while hurling twigs and stones at enemies abroad.
Paul’s foreign policy plan embodies a new (old) way of thinking: Work with countries until it becomes evident beyond the shadow of a doubt that they pose a real military threat to the United States, and then work with Congress and military officials to create the most effective plan of action.
An article by Pat Buchannan in The American Conservative sums up why any foreign policy plan but Paul’s may lead to the undoing of the United States:
Begin with South Korea. At last report, the United States had 28,000 troops on the peninsula. But why, when South Korea has twice the population of the North, an economy 40 times as large, and access to U.S. weapons, the most effective in the world, should any U.S. troops be on the DMZ? Or in South Korea?
… U.S. forces there are too few to mount an invasion of the North, as Gen. MacArthur did in the 1950s. And any such invasion might be the one thing to convince Pyongyang to fire its nuclear weapons to save the hermit kingdom.
But if not needed to defend the South, and a U.S. invasion could risk nuclear reprisal, what are U.S. troops still doing there?
When top brass military officials announced the new “military model” for the United States last month, they emphasized the need to ensure that the country is capable of fighting two wars at once. Recent developments, as Iran continues to kick sand and North Korea adjusts to its new leadership, do not look good for a nuclear superpower like the United States intent on hurling twigs and stones while shouting, even as other nuclear superpowers like China and Russia warn of implications.
Paul’s supporters are generally Americans worried about the future of their country. The candidate’s supporters are young, old, wealthy, poor, left, right or sideways.
The “Paulbots” who scan the Internet for stories about the candidate and liberty-threatening issues, commenting on forums and leading discussions about the dire state of the Nation are one type, probably those most responsible for the 76-year-old’s massive Internet presence.
Another group of supporters are the Constitutionalists, the group that can be taken as a whole or broken into subsets. Some of these people are vehement defenders of the 2nd Amendment, some are States’ rights activists and some just want to live in peace, knowing that the Federal government does not have the authority to tell them how to behave or how to care for themselves.
And still, there are some Paul supporters who are just coming around, possibly out of self-preservation. Speaking on CNBC, Pacific Investment Management (PIMCO) co-founder Bill Gross said that Federal Reserve policy has affected his thinking in a peculiar way: He has become “a little Ron Paulish.”
“Both parties basically have followed a policy that hasn’t promoted long-term investment in the United States and I think ultimately we need to produce things as opposed to paper,” he said, before continuing that policy change is very important no matter who is elected.
Paul may have no chance of winning the nomination, but for his supporters it may be enough to know that the debate has changed around his ideas. And it’s possible Paul will find himself in or near the White House even if he does not secure the nomination. A recent report by The Washington Post indicates that he and favored-candidate Mitt Romney may be willing to work together if either of them secures the Nation’s highest office. Only time will tell what long-term impact Paul’s ideas, or the absence of his ideas, in American politics will mean for the Nation.