5 Things You Don't Know About Ron Paul
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul has spent 14 terms endearing his libertarian-minded fiscal policies to his constituents in Texas and roughly the past five years spreading the gospel of economic forbearance to a broader national following that loves him for it. The supporters he picked up during the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries of the 2008 presidential election were drawn to his calls for decreased federal debt, reined-in spending (including military cuts that put him at odds with the GOP establishment) and overall smaller government.
|Ron Paul has an uphill battle in another run for president, starting with the fact a poll shows he's popular with only about 5% of potential Republican voters.|
His message hasn't changed, but America's stance toward it certainly has. The economic crisis that ushered in the tea party movement and helped install some of its acolytes in office during the midterm elections brought many of Paul's criticisms of public programs, foreign policy and the monetary system to the fore. While some of his views are still considered extreme even in conservative circles -- ending foreign aid, immediately withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, defending legalization of drugs including heroin (as he did last week during a Republican debate on Fox News(NWS) ) -- elements of his platform are becoming more palatable to mainstream Republicans and voters.
"I think there was more of a consensus on foreign affairs four years ago within the Republican party and Congressman Paul was outside that consensus, and it disqualified him from being considered a serious candidate," says Trey Grayson, director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. "Four years later, especially after the death of Osama bin Laden, there's a lot less consistency in the Republican party on foreign affairs."