Ron Paul in Iowa, talking Tea Party & ’12

Texas Congressman Ron Paul is in Iowa, doing fundraisers for legislative candidates in the Des Moines area tonight and fundraisers tomorrow in Ames and Mason City for legislative candidates in those areas.  Friday night he’ll be speaking at the University of Iowa at an event organized by the Campaign for Liberty.

I had a chance to chat with Paul before his speech this evening.  My first question: How can you stay away from Kentucky (where his son is running for the US Senate)?

Paul laughed.  “Well, you know, I have spent very little time there.  People ask me that, but, you know, I’ve just stayed away from it, figuring that I could do him as much good being away as being there.  Maybe I would cause him controversies on some things,” Paul said, laughing.  “My wife and I went there once for the Primary and we went a couple of weeks ago for a little rally, so those are the only two times we went.  He’s his own man, you know, and I’m not going to be able to win it for him and I don’t think it would be particularly helpful if I was there, protecting him — even though at times parents like to protect their children.”

I asked him about the Tea Party movement, and whether he traces its beginnings to the August recess of 2009, or to his own presidential campaign. 

“Oh, yeah, absolutely. It was related to our presidential campaign, even though it wasn’t organized by our presidential campaign, but it was on the authentic day of the Tea Party and it was December 16 in ’07 and that was the day the supporters were excited and they started doing things on the Internet, and they had a Tea Party and it strung up all around the country and they raised over $6 million,” Paul said. “But that’s generally forgotten.  Not too many people mention it, but I think it (the Tea Party movement) was sort of an outgrowth of that, but because the outgrowth was big and spontaneous, of course, it wasn’t directed only to the views that I had been expressing.”

How strong is the contingent of Ron Paul supporters in each Tea Party organization that’s springing up around the country?

“It’s not all just Ron Paul people,” Paul said, but he considers the influence of his supporters to be “pretty pervasive” within the movement.

Do you think the Tea Party and your 2008 candidacy has injected a degree of libertarianism in the Republican Party?

“If people are cautious and they have the right definition for libertarianism, that’s very good and I think that is true,” Paul replied. “I spend a lot of time on campuses and young people respond very favorably to talk about the federal reserve, the constitution, limited government, personal liberty and foreign policy, so if they’re energized by that and that’s something that I’ve tried to talk about for 30 years and it seems like it’s catching hold more now than ever before, so I feel good about it.”

How should the country interpret the results of the 2010 election?

“Well, it’s interesting because the superficial interpretation is that the Democrats messed up and Republicans are taking over and they’re going to be fiscal conservatives and they’re going to change things, but I think that’s simplistic,” Paul said. “And I think they don’t realize that because a lot of the momentum is coming from outside the Republican Party — the Tea Party aren’t real party people, and hopefully the Republican leadership remembers this because they had their chance and they had a lot of clout for eight years and they spent money like Democrats and they expanded wars and they expanded government — the Department of Education and the whole works, so the big question is what will happen.  I think things will be better.  I think Republicans probably have learned their lesson and I think we’re going to have some new people there and this time they don’t have to take their marching orders from a Republican president and the party, because the party is much better at resistance than they are at leading, so in this case, they will probably stick to their principles a little bit more, but it will be motivated mostly because of the (Obama) administration.”

Do you feel the Tea Party movement has been co-opted in any way in order to mute or silence your voice in the party?

 “I think there’s probably some of that,” Paul said. “How much, I don’t know and who’s doing it specifically, but obviously I think there’s a lot of people who are newcomers, to try to come in and get in front of the line and be leaders don’t share my views.  They don’t share my views on foreign policy and they don’t care that much on how the monetary system operates and encourages big government, so yes, I think they did, but I don’t know how much of a conspiracy there is, but there certainly there is evidence that people who have moved in (to the Tea Party movement) have different views.”

What role will you play in the next congress?

“Oh, I would think I’ll have less clout in Washington than I will on campus, but I’m much prouder of my receptions on a college campus than I am in Washington,” Paul said, laughing.

Do you have another presidential race in you?

“That’s a good question. Even my best friends keep saying, ‘Well, we don’t know what you’re going to do,’ and I say, ‘There’s a good reason because I don’t know what I’m going to do,'” Paul said, laughing. “I think it’s a little early for me.  I have been as open about it as I can be.  They say, ‘Do you think about it a lot?’  I say, ‘Yeah, all the time because people ask me all the time, so I think about it all the time,’ but I am strongly motivated by several things.  One, doing whatever I can conceivably do to try to have a foreign policy that gives us peace, not war and an economic policy that gives us prosperity and not business cycles and if we don’t do the right things, we end up with perpetual war — which we have — and if you don’t do the right thing economically you end up with the ultimate climax of all will be the destruction of the dollar and I think we’re approaching that, so if we continue to do this and see more devaluations and interest rates going up, I tell people, frankly, I’m going to have a hard time.  If somebody will listen to me, I’ll probably talk.  Right now, the campuses are listening to me and I go there and I enjoy it.”

Here’s the list of candidates Paul is supporting on this swing through Iowa: Kent Sorenson – Senate District 37; Glen Massie – House District 74; Kim Pearson – House District 42; Tim Gartin – Senate District 23; ChadSteenhoek – House District 46; James Mills – Senate District 7.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. John Bowery says

    Ron Paul is a true patriot and a statesman on a par with the best of our nation’s founding fathers.

  2. O.Kay Henderson,

    Always enjoy reading or listening to Ron Paul. I’ve considered myself to be a Liberal or Democrat, until I listened to Mr. Paul. But Hitler was “Right” and Stalin “Left”, but both equally terrible.

    So what’s in a name ?

    The trouble is see for the American voter is there are only two choices in the USA, and in my opinion, those two parties both epitomize the qualities which have caused America’s problems thus far.

    The millions of people who are receptive to ideals of free markets, free society, liberty and a narrower foreign policy see no choice in either the Republicans or Democrats. They’ve had no where, not even a corner to stand in, until now. What Ron Paul and others are saying is resounding, and all parties including the GOP would be wise to accept that.

    The “Tea Party” has few grande common ideals, and many smaller differences which their enemies love to magnify.

    I hope people will look beyond the quirkiness of this new phenomenon called Tea Party and instead try to learn what they can from them. The more diversity there is in politics the better off people will be.

    Thanks for the article.

  3. I wonder what Ron thinks about his son Rand having Mitch McConnell help with his fund raising. It seems like the Tea Party darling has gone the way of the Dodo and hitched up with the Republicans solidly.

  4. Leftovervictim says

    Ron Paul for President 2012!! The time has come for Freedom and Peace!!

  5. Do you ever intend to post the audio of the interview O.Kay? Or know where to find it? The ‘archives’ over at Iowa Radio are very slim