By Aaron Hedge
The Rocky Mountain Collegian
Presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul (R. Texas) is known for his support among college-age voters and his policy — is widely regarded as bizarre, unconventional Constitutionalism. Over the last year, the unlikely presidential hopeful has shocked the nation with his extreme right wing annecdotes, broken all-time fundraising records ($4.3 million on Nov. 5 alone) and taken an unlikely 2nd place to Mitt Romney in Nevada, a leading caucus state. America’s favorite Libertarian and possibly the most polarizing candidate in the presidential arena spoke to 13 different university newspapers across the country via phone conference hosted by U-WIRE Tuesday about his plan for the country in the event that he becomes our president. Here are some of his answers.
Georgia Tech Technique: Despite the surprising success that your campaign has had so far, there still seems to be a lot of disconnect between your campaign’s message and that of more mainstream candidates. Because there’s so many people that you can reach on the campaign trail, what more might be needed to convince Americans to pay attention to things like inflation and way Congress declares war and less about the other things that the other candidates seem to focus on?
RP: It is a challenging question because if you have unlimited funds, you can do a lot of advertising. If you have complete support from the mainstream media, you’d get a lot more national attention. We are raising more money now than most presidential candidates ever could. We’re getting a little more attention from the mainstream media. Hopefully there will be a continued upsurge in the interest, ’cause just yesterday we had a fundraising day and there were over 6,000 new supporters that came in and donated money. I don’t think there are that many campaign that can declare they gained 6,000 new supporters in one day.
Oklahoma State Daily Collegian: You advocate in your campaign freedom of choice. How can you be in support of no abortion and advocate freedom of choice?
RP: With the Libertarian belief, I believe you can’t commit an act of violence. Some would say the restriction on a woman is an act of violence because you’re telling women what they can do with their body. But the only question that exists is whether or not there’s a human life. If I as a physician hurt the baby before birth, I get sued. If there’s a homicide (of a pregnant woman), it’s always considered a double homicide. So there’s strong evidence that there’s a legal entity involved. So it isn’t so much only protecting the mother’s rights, but we have this other life that we have to deal with. To deny the baby right to life before birth sort of defies logic and legal standings.
University of Utah Chronicle: I often hear that people are drawn by your foreign policy and your position on Iraq. People are less pressed with your domestic agenda. Do you find that as people learn more about your domestic policy, like dismantling the department of education and the FBI, the CIA, that they become less supportive of your candidacy?
RP “I guess for some that might be the case because some who enjoy what I say and agree with me on civil liberties as well as on the war resort to saying that it’s the responsibility of the government to redistribute wealth. I see that as an illegal and immoral use of force in both areas. So I just work hard to show that a consistent defense of liberty means that you don’t use force in any area, whether it’s social issues or economic issues. Liberty has one unit. You don’t have personal social type liberties separate from economic liberties that are one and the same and I think people who study this will come around to gradually understanding this, especially when they’re seeing the total failure of the welfare state and that what’s happened in our financial markets today is that the welfare state and socialism just plain doesn’t work. So therefore, the same principle that applies to personal liberties applies to economics as well.
University of Iowa Daily Iowan: You talked earlier about your strong support among the youth and I’ve seen a lot of support on the Internet. In Iowa and New Hampshire exit polls, you get around 20 percent among voters under 30. How do you explain that disparity from the aggregate result and what so you plan to do to change that?
RP: It just means that young people are more alert and more attuned to the principles of liberty in the constitution and maybe they get their information off the Internet and they have learned a lot more than others who depend on mainstream media. We do a little testing of that in polling and we find out that people who get most of their news from radio talk shows are least supportive of me. People who get most of their information from C-SPAN and also from the Internet are inclined to be very supportive. So it’s where people get their information.
Colorado State University Rocky Mountain Collegian: You have talked about getting rid of the Department of Education. I know there a lot of students at Colorado State who rely heavily on things like Federal Pell grants to fund their education. I was wondering how that reliance might be transferred back onto the states if there is no Department of Education.
RP: We have to think about the way it was at one time. It hasn’t been too many years ago that we didn’t have a Department of Education. When our country was started, especially in a time when our country was being settled, it was always the parents and the churches and then eventually there were communities and local government that did it and even that was not too bad. But then the states took over, then courts took over, then the federal government took over. Then the money left the states and the federal government took over, draining the states of the best resources and all they got back were regulations and less money. So this to me makes no sense, it’s not proper under the Constitution. There’s no evidence that it improves the quality of education. The money is important, but it’s not the most important thing. It has to do with the quality of the teacher. Home schoolers do quite well and on average they spend about $1,000 a year on a home schooler, where in D.C. they’re spending around $14,000 a year. So there’s a lot more to it than just saying whether the federal government should be involved and without the federal government something damaging would be done to education. I just don’t believe that at all, I think the quality would go up.
News Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at email@example.com.