Ron Paul

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Ron Paul served as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 22nd congressional district from 1976 to 1977 and again from 1979 to 1985, and for Texas's 14th congressional district from 1997 to 2013. On three occasions, he sought the presidency of the United States: as the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988 and as a candidate in the Republican primaries of 2008 and 2012. As a right-wing congressman having some less politically correct libertarian views on some issues, he gained some interest also among some of the non-libertarian politically incorrect more generally. Recent views on mass immigration have largely reflected typical libertarian views. In 2016, he wrote: "How to tackle the real immigration problem? Eliminate incentives for those who would come here to live off the rest of us, and make it easier and more rational for those who wish to come here legally to contribute to our economy. No walls, no government databases, no biometric national ID cards. But not a penny in welfare for immigrants. It’s really that simple."[1][2][3]

Ronald Ernest Paul, Sr. (b. 20 August 1935 in Green Tree, Pennsylvania) was a long-term Republican United States Congressman from Lake Jackson, Texas, a physician, and three times a Libertarian Party or a Republican presidential candidate. He has represented Texas's 14th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1997 - 2013, and its 22nd district, 1976 – 1977 and 1979 – 1985. Paul also placed third in the 1988 presidential election as the Libertarian Party nominee. After his 1961 graduation from Duke University School of Medicine and a residency in obstetrics and gynecology (ob/gyn), he was drafted and served during the Vietnam War elsewhere as a flight surgeon.

Paul has been called a conservative, a constitutionalist, and a libertarian. He advocates non-interventionist foreign policy and voted against the Iraq War Resolution; favors withdrawal from NATO and the United Nations; and supports free trade. Having pledged never to raise taxes, he would abolish the federal income tax; he would reduce government spending by sharply lowering taxes and abolishing most federal agencies; he states he has never approved an unbalanced budget. He also opposes the Patriot Act, the federal War on Drugs, and gun control. Paul calls himself "strongly pro-life" while also advocating states' rights.

During his 2008 presidential campaign, Paul has generated strong support on the Internet. While he places in the top tier in Republican straw polls and has fundraising receipts tantamount to those of the top Republican contenders, he has not polled highly among Gallup samples of Republican voters nationally. He received 5.6% of the votes during the 2008 Republican Party presidential primaries. Paul received 10.9% of the votes during the 2012 Republican Party presidential primaries. He was not a presidential candidate in 2016 but his son Rand Paul was.

Recent views on immigration have largely reflected typical libertarian views. In 2016 he wrote "How to tackle the real immigration problem? Eliminate incentives for those who would come here to live off the rest of us, and make it easier and more rational for those who wish to come here legally to contribute to our economy. No walls, no government databases, no biometric national ID cards. But not a penny in welfare for immigrants. It’s really that simple."[4][5][6]

Early life and education

Paul was born in Green Tree, Pennsylvania, to Margaret "Peggy" Paul (née Dumont) and Howard Caspar Paul, son of a German immigrant. His family owned a dairy farm in the small town, which lies just outside of Pittsburgh. He was the third of five sons born during seven years in the Great Depression. Paul's father had an eighth-grade education and was co-owner of Green Tree Dairy, along with his brothers Lewis and Arthur. Paul began working at his father's dairy at age five. Later he delivered newspapers, worked in a drugstore, and became a milkman when he was old enough to drive.

He graduated from Dormont High School in Dormont, Pennsylvania, in 1953 with honors. He excelled in track and field, winning the Pennsylvania state championship in the 220-yard dash and coming in second in the 440-yard dash as a junior. He also was on the wrestling team, played football and baseball, and was president of the student council.

Paul paid for his first year at Gettysburg College with saved newspaper-delivery, lemonade-sale, and lawn-mowing money. Paul delivered mail and laundry on the side while in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; for one year, he managed the college coffee shop. He gave up track after a knee injury but joined the college's swimming team instead after taking it up as therapy. He had been offered a full scholarship to run for the track team but declined it, concerned that he would not regain his previous speed. He received his Bachelor of Sciences degree in 1957.

Military service and medical career

Although he had once considered becoming a Lutheran minister like two of his brothers, Paul decided to pursue a career in medicine instead and was accepted to Duke University School of Medicine, where he received his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree in 1961. He interned and began residency training, both in internal medicine, at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, 1961 – 1962, and completed his residency in ob/gyn at the University of Pittsburgh, 1965 – 1968.

Paul's medical training was interrupted when he was drafted into the United States Air Force during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He remained in the military during the early years of the Vietnam War. He served active duty as a flight surgeon, 1963 – 1965, attending to the ear, nose, and throat problems of pilots in South Korea, Iran, Ethiopia, and Turkey, but was never sent to Vietnam. Based out of Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, Paul achieved the rank of captain. He then served in the Air National Guard, 1965 – 1968, while completing his residency in Pittsburgh.

Two years after leaving medical school and moving to Surfside Beach, Texas, Paul worked in a church hospital's emergency room in San Antonio for a wage of $3 per hour ($18 in 2007 dollars). Paul later specialized in ob/gyn and eventually delivered more than 4,000 babies. Taking over the medical practice of a retiring doctor in Lake Jackson, Texas, he was busy as the only ob/gyn doctor in Brazoria County, saying, "I delivered forty to fifty babies a month and did a lot of surgery." Paul did not accept Medicare and Medicaid payments as a physician; instead, he worked for free or arranged discounted or custom-payment plans for needy patients; he says of these patients, "I just took care of them."

Early Congressional career

After several years as physician, Paul became a delegate to the 1974 Texas Republican convention. He had decided to enter politics on August 15, 1971, when President Richard Nixon advocated the U.S. dollar's complete departure from the gold standard. Paul said, "After that day, all money would be political money rather than money of real value. I was astounded."


Paul was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress from the 22nd district of Texas in 1974, against incumbent Democrat Robert R. Casey, in an election where Democratic candidates won heavily. When President Gerald Ford appointed Casey as head of the Federal Maritime Commission, Paul won an April 1976 special election to fill the empty seat. Paul lost six months later in the general election, to Democrat Robert A. Gammage, by fewer than 300 votes out of 180,000; he then defeated Gammage in a 1978 rematch and won new terms in 1980 and 1982. Paul was the first Republican representative from the area. His successful campaign against Gammage took the local Democrats by surprise; they had expected to retain the seat easily, especially since the election came in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

Gammage had underestimated Paul's support among local mothers: "I had real difficulty down in Brazoria County, where he practiced, because he'd delivered half the babies in the county. There were only two obstetricians in the county, and the other one was his partner."

Paul continued to deliver babies on Mondays and Saturdays during his entire term as the 22nd district representative. Paul was also one of only four Republican Congressmen to endorse Ronald Reagan for president against Gerald Ford in 1976, when Paul led the Texas Reagan delegation at the national Republican convention.

House of Representatives

Paul was the first member of Congress, in the 1970s, to propose term limits legislation in the House, where he also declined to attend junkets or register for a Congressional pension while serving four terms. He proposed legislation to decrease Congressional pay by the rate of inflation.

Paul served on the House Banking Committee, speaking against the inflation he saw as due to the Federal Reserve, and against the deregulation of banking rules that allowed for the savings and loan crisis of the 1980's. The U.S. Gold Commission created by Congress in 1982 was his idea, and his conclusions from the commission were published by the Cato Institute as a book, The Case for Gold.

In 1984, Paul chose to run for the U.S. Senate instead of re-election to the House, but lost the GOP primary to Phil Gramm. He returned to full-time medical practice and was succeeded by Tom DeLay, formerly a member of the Texas House of Representatives. In a farewell address on the House floor, Paul said, "Special interests have replaced the concern that the Founders had for general welfare. Vote trading is seen as good politics. The errand-boy mentality is ordinary, the defender of liberty is seen as bizarre. It's difficult for one who loves true liberty and utterly detests the power of the state to come to Washington for a period of time and not leave a true cynic."

1988 presidential campaign

In the 1988 presidential election, Paul defeated American Indian activist Russell Means to win the Libertarian Party nomination for president. Although he had been an early supporter of Ronald Reagan, Paul was critical of the unprecedented deficits incurred by Reagan's administration, for which Paul's opponent George H.W. Bush had been vice-president. On the ballot in 46 states and the District of Columbia, he placed third in the popular vote with 431,750 votes (0.47%), behind Republican Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis.

During his candidacy, Paul was viewed as the Libertarian Party "standard bearer", gaining supporters nationwide who agreed with him on many positions — gun rights, fiscal conservatism, home-schooling, and abortion — and winning approval from many who thought the federal government was heading in the wrong direction on other issues. These supporters formed a nationwide support base that encouraged him to return to office and supported his campaigns financially.

Later Congressional career

1996 campaign

In 1996, Paul returned to Congress after a tougher battle than he had faced in the 1970's. He was hopeful of being more effective in Congress after the Republicans took over both houses of Congress in the 1994 election. His primary opponent, Greg Laughlin, had support from Republican leaders, including House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Governor George W. Bush.[58] Incumbent Laughlin had switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican side the year before, and the Republican National Committee, hoping to encourage other Democrats to switch parties, threw its full support behind Laughlin. Despite these efforts by the national party, the National Rifle Association, and other interest groups, challenger Paul won the primary. It became the third time he had been elected to Congress as a non-incumbent.

Campaigns as incumbent

In 1998 Paul again won the primary and the election, outraising his opponent by a large margin, $2.1 million to $0.7 million. Opposing a Democratic rice farmer and former Matagorda County judge, Loy Sneary, Paul won by 11%; he ran ads warning voters to be "leery of Sneary". Paul accused Judge Sneary of voting to raise his pay by 5%, increasing his judge's travel budget by 400% in one year, and creating more government bureaucracy by starting a new government agency to handle a license plate fee he enacted. Sneary's aides said he had voted to raise all county employees' pay by 5% in a "cost of living" increase. Paul countered that he had never voted to raise Congressional pay.

In 2000, Sneary ran against Paul again, with Paul winning 60% to 40% and raising $2.4 million to Sneary's $1.1 million. Paul was re-elected in 2002, in 2004 (unopposed), and in 2006 to his tenth term (by 20%), outraising his opponent $1.2 million to $0.6 million. He has drawn two primary challengers in the 2008 election: Eric Dondero, a former aide fired by Paul, and Chris Peden, a Friendswood city councilman.


Paul sponsors many more bills than the average representative, such as those that would abolish the income tax or the Federal Reserve; many do not escape committee review. Nevertheless, he has been named one of the "50 Most Effective Members of Congress" by Congressional Quarterly. He has sponsored successful legislation to prevent the Department of Housing and Urban Development from seizing a church in New York through eminent domain, and a bill transferring ownership of the Lake Texana dam project from the federal government to Texas. By successfully amending other legislation, he has also barred International Criminal Court jurisdiction over the U.S. military (2002), American participation in any U.N. "global tax" (2005), and surveillance on peaceful First-Amendment activities by citizens (2006).

In March 2001, Paul introduced the "Constitutional War Powers Resolution of 2001", which would repeal the 1973 War Powers Resolution (WPR) and thus prohibit presidents from initiating a war without a formal declaration of war by Congress. Later in 2001, however, Paul voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which authorized the president, pursuant to WPR, to respond to those responsible for the 2001 World Trade Center terror attack. In order to prevent Congress from yielding its Constitutional authority to declare war to the executive branch, which does not Constitutionally hold that power, Paul introduced legislation in October 2002 giving Congress the opportunity to declare war on Iraq, rather than merely "authorizing" the president to deploy forces without a declaration of war. He said he would not vote for his own bill, but if his fellow members of Congress wished to go to war in Iraq, they should follow the Constitution and declare war. As one of six Republicans to vote against the Iraq War Resolution, Paul inspired the founding of a group called the National Peace Lobby Project to promote a resolution he and Oregon representative Peter DeFazio sponsored to repeal the war authorization in February 2003. His speech, 35 "Questions That Won't Be Asked About Iraq", was translated and published in German, French, Russian, Italian, and Swiss publications before the Iraq War began.

Paul says his fellow members of Congress have increased government spending by 75 percent during George W. Bush's administration. After a 2005 bill was touted as "slashing" government waste, Paul wrote that it decreased spending by a fraction of one percent and that "Congress couldn't slash spending if the members' lives depended on it." Paul said that between 2001 and early 2004 he had voted against more than 700 bills intended to expand government.

Paul charged his fellow legislators with voting for the Patriot Act without reading it first; more than 300 pages long, it was enacted into law less than 24 hours after being introduced. In response to such Congressional actions, Paul introduced "Sunlight Rule" legislation, which would not allow votes on legislation to occur until ten days after its introduction, with the intent of giving lawmakers enough time to read bills before voting on them. The bill requires allotting 72 hours for House members and staff to examine the contents of amendments.

In 2005 and 2007, Paul introduced the Sanctity of Life Act, which would define human life as beginning from conception, removing abortion from federal jurisdiction and effectively negating Roe v. Wade. Paul has also introduced a Constitutional amendment with similar intent. Such laws would permit states to declare abortion to be murder and to outlaw new fetal stem cell research and some contraception and fertility treatments.

Support of Israel

Paul is a staunch supporter of Israel.[7]


  • We should be their friend and their trading partner. They are a democracy and we share many values with them. But we should not be their master. We should not dictate where their borders will be nor should we have veto power over their foreign policy.
  • America should never be the master of Israel and its fate. We should be her friend.
  • Israel should stop sacrificing their sovereignty as an independent state to us or anybody else.
  • Yet, while we call ourselves a strong ally of the Israeli people, we send billions in foreign aid every year to some Muslim states that many Israelis regard as enemies. From the Israeli point of view, many of the same Islamic nations we fund with our tax dollars want to destroy the Jewish state. Many average Israelis and American Jews see America as hypocritically hedging its bets.


Paul married Carol Wells on 1 February 1957. The couple married in Paul's senior year at Gettysburg College. While they lived in Detroit for his residency, Carol ran a dance school in their basement. They have five children, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Three of the Paul children have also received medical degrees. Paul supported his children during their undergraduate and medical school years, not allowing them to take part in subsidized federal student loan programs. He has not signed up for a Congressional pension for the same reason.

See also

External links

Articles on Western Voices World News