The National Federation of Republican Assemblies is having a “presidential preference convention” in Des Moines today. “We believe in conservatism…a lot of us believe in the more libertarian strain of that,” said NFRA president Ron Martin, who opened the event at 9:12 a.m. He said the group’s goal is to “take back the Republican Party from the establishment….Enough is enough. The elites have had their say…It’s time for a change.”
GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul took the stage first, at about 9:20 a.m. Nearly all in the crowd stood to applaud his entry into the room. “Glad to see everybody up and ready to go this morning,” Paul began, telling the crowd he had a “soft spot” for the NFRA.
“I consider this the constitutional wing of the Republican Party,” Paul said. “…Our goal right now has to be the defense of liberty…and make sure those individuals in Washington live within the law,” he said.
Paul told the crowd one of his “biggest gripes about government” is its secrecy. “If there’s any one thing that would benefit us is to get more openness in government,” he said. “…It’s been especially the case since 9/11…Quite frankly, we way overreacted.”
He called for the repeal of The Patriot Act, and got hearty applause.
The one “big issue” for the group, Paul said, is “to get rid of the secrecy and all the chicanery” of the Federal Reserve system. That got even louder applause, as did Paul’s call for getting rid of the Federal Reserve.
Paul said much of the opposition to his point of view is coming from the IMF and the UN, and he talked about currency competition with gold and silver as “legal tender.”
Republicans in the House are “doing a pretty good job” on exposing the problems with the Solyndra grant and “horrendous problem” with the Fast & Furious program.
Whistleblowing isn’t welcomed on the “fallacies” of U.S. wars/foreign military interventions, according to Paul. “The American people should know about these things,”Paul said, to applause. “…We should never go to war without a full examination and a declaration of war.”
Paul talked about Vietnam. “When I was drafted in 1962, it wasn’t for a declared war. It was for another war based on a lie,” he said. Paul also criticized U.S. involvement in NATO and UN operations. “We should only go to war when the people in this country declare the war,” he said, to lengthy applause and a standing ovation from most of the crowd.
Paul said he’s like to see an investigation of why the federal government is conducting SWAT breakins “on the pretense” someone might have drugs – “without a proper search warrant.” Another burst of applause for that.
Paul next decried the “assassination of American citizens” like the al Qaida operatives in Yemen. “Who knows what this can translate into down the road,” Paul said, assailing the killing of two 16-year-olds by a drone attack. “…How intimidated to we have to be that we would assassinate a kid?…I fear much more the erosion of our liberties here at home…than I do from any foreign adversary,” Paul said. Many in the crowd stood to applaud this, too.
Paul decried U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. “I think it’s time for us to come home and mind our own business,” Paul said. “…I want to drastically reduce military spending…on this militarism that gets us into so much trouble.”
Paul talked about his proposal to cut $1 trillion out of the federal budget in his first year in office.
“This country needs to wake up and quit lying to itself whether it’s on the economics or the foreign policy. What we need is a healthy dose of the spirit of liberty,” Paul said. “…We must remember that an idea whose time has come it cannot be stopped by armies.”
“…We need to make a decision. Do we want to live in a free society…or are we going to succomb to…dictatorial power, authoritarians taking over?” Paul asked rhetorically. “…There is no reason in a free society that you ever need to sacrifice your liberty to be safe and prosperous.” Speech over at 9:46 a.m.