When Dr. Ron Paul last ran for president, he was booed for suggesting America should end its aggressive foreign policy. Much of the media labeled him a "fringe" candidate. Will this election cycle be different?
In this week's column, I write about my interviews with Paul over the years, and how his ideas seem more mainstream this time around:
"People outside of Washington are waking up," he told me, "and they're getting the attention of a few in Washington."
Paul has been in Congress more than 20 years, and much of that time he's played a lonely role, often being the only representative to cast "no" vote on bills to expand government.
"Twenty years ago, there weren't very many people around that would endorse these views. So ... I'm very pleased with what's happening. There are more now, but the problems are so much greater."
Because bigger government creates built-in resistance to cuts.
"Everybody has their bailiwick they want to protect: 'We know the spending is bad. But don't touch my stuff.'"
The biggest growth is in entitlements. Recently, after constituents yelled at them, Republicans backed off on their reasonable plan to try to make Medicare sustainable.
"This is one of the places where good conservatives and good libertarians have come up short. ... We get a bad rap that we lack compassion. A liberal who wants to take your money and give it to somebody else ... grab(s) the moral high ground."
At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, Paul floated a novel idea: "Would you consider opting out of the whole system under one condition? You pay 10 percent of your income, but you take care of yourself -- don't ask the government for anything."
The CPAC crowed applauded.
Full column here.