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Here we go again, not ignoring Ron Paul

December 23, 2007 |  9:22 pm

Don't worry about the Ron Paul people -- they'll find something to complain about in these last glorious days before the reality of the actual primary/caucus voting starts, even though it can't be about being ignored by the big media anymore.

The 72-year-old, 10-term Republican representative from Texas with the libertarian ideas has been on just about every conceivable broadcast outlet in recent times. He's getting so much attention he's now starting to be criticized for some things, including accepting funds from and not returning them to some white supremacists.

That's what raising $18 million in the still unfinished fourth quarter ($6+ million of it in one day) will do to your political obscurity. That and the online and local meet-up group work by thousands of fervent fans who profess to be newcomers to the political process, so inspired are they by the ob-gyn who represents the Galveston area and his strict constitutionalist ideals and the simple clarity of his goal to return government to its strict constitutional boundaries. No more Department of Education, for instance, or many other federal departments.

Paul is on a roll, up in some polls, down significantly in others, which Paul people don't care anything about because they say they don't believe in polls because nobody's going to tell them how to vote, even though polls aren't orders for anybody, they only reveal how a few hundred people say they're going to vote at that moment in time.

Because everybody Ron Paul supporters say they talk to either already are or immediately become Ron Paul supporters, they believe the Ron Paul Revolution will sweep the country sometime shortly into the New Year, starting perhaps in New Hampshire where they have so many yard signs and the license plates say "Live Free or Die." Also, the new Ron Paul blimp is flying around there.

Anyway, today was Ron Paul's turn to be waterboarded by Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press." As one sign of how the Iraq war surge's recent success has made it a non-issue, Russert didn't even ask him about his stand (Paul's the lone GOP candidate who opposes the war, saying it creates much more trouble than it's worth and that maintaining an empire always bankrupts the colonial power).

Paul wants to bring home all American troops abroad to save money and avoid making ....

enemies. Russert asked him how many U.S. troops there are abroad. Paul didn't know. Russert told him 572,000. "And you'd bring them all home?"

"As quickly as possible. We -- they will not serve our interests to be overseas. They get us into trouble. And we can defend ourselves without troops in Germany, troops in Japan. How do they help our national defense? Doesn't make any sense to me. Troops in Korea since I've been in high school?"

Russert asked, "So if Iran invaded Israel, what do we do?"

Paul replied, "They're not going to. That's like saying, 'Iran is going to invade Mars.' "

Russert asked if Paul would cut off aid to Israel. "Absolutely," he said. "But remember the Arabs would get cut off too and the Arabs get three times as much aid altogether as Israel. But why, why make Israel so dependent?"

Russert asked if Paul wanted to abolish the IRS and income tax. "That's a good idea," he said. "I like that idea." He said the U.S. got along fine without an income tax until 1913.

Russert asked if he knew how much lost government revenue that would be. "A lot," said Paul. "Over a trillion dollars," said Russert. "That's good," said Paul. He suggested cutting spending would save a lot of money, reducing federal departments, not being involved overseas as we are.

Russert asked him about the apparent inconsistency of being against federal involvement, yet regularly inserting dozens of earmarks into legislation representing billions of federal dollars going to his district. Paul said there was no inconsistency because he always voted against the earmarks he'd inserted, although they usually passed.

"If you were true to your philosophy," Russert said, "you would say, 'No pork spending for my district.' "

"No, no, that's not it," replied Paul. "They steal our money. That's like saying people shouldn't take Social Security money."

Russert asked about term limits. Paul said he'd voted for them many times. Russert noted he'd been in Congress more than 18 years. Paul said he hadn't agreed to any voluntary term limits, but he supported them.

Russert asked about many other things including whether defeat in the GOP primaries might cause Paul to launch a third-party effort. "I have no intention to do that," Paul responded. But he would not guarantee it, just said he was 99.9% sure but didn't like absolutist statements.

Paul supporters will say anything that sounds critical or dumb about their candidate was taken out of context. So you can read the entire interview transcript here and view the entire video here.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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