Ron Paul

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Biography

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ron Paul moved to Texas in 1968, where he set up a medical practice specializing in obstetrics/gynecology (Dr. Paul boasts he has delivered over 4,000 babies).

Paul ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1974, but then won a special election when that seat became vacant, and he served from April 1976 to Jan. 1977. Although he was not reelected in 1976, he won the election in 1978, and held that seat until 1984, when he made an unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate.

His retirement from politics wouldn’t last long, however. In 1988, he campaigned for the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination, and ultimately received 431,750 votes.

After the "Republican Revolution" in 1994, Paul returned to the GOP, and returned to the U.S. Congress after his hometown had been redistricted to the Texas 14th Congressional District. He successfully won the Republican primary against party-swicher Greg Laughlin by focusing on comments made against him by then Majority Leader Newt Gingrich some years earlier. In the House of Representatives, Paul serves on the Financial Services Committee (as vice-chairman of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee), the International Relations committee, and the Joint Economic Committee.

Besides his legislative duties and outspoken advocacy of a strict adherence to the Constitution, Rep. Paul has also published a number of books, among them Challenge to Liberty, The Case for Gold, and A Republic, If You Can Keep It.

Ideology

Ron Paul describes himself as a strict adherent to the Constitution, and only the constitution, voting against any legislation he deems outside the scope of the founding documents, regardless of how his party sees it.

In practice, this has caused Paul to be viewed as a firebrand and a maverick in the Republican party, often coming out against his conservative colleagues on such critical votes as the Patriot Act and the War in Iraq. Paul seemingly has no qualms with fiercely criticizing his own party when he feels they’ve overstepped their constitutional bounds, which is often. Far from a safe Republican vote, Paul sides most often with the Libertarian Party, and is counted by them among their list of allies.

As listed on his official web site, these are The Ron Paul Freedom Principles:

  • Rights belong to individuals, not groups.
  • Property should be owned by people, not government.
  • All voluntary associations should be permissible -- economic and social.
  • The government's monetary role is to maintain the integrity of the monetary unit, not participate in fraud.
  • Government exists to protect liberty, not to redistribute wealth or to grant special privileges.
  • The lives and actions of people are their own responsibility, not the government's.

Controversial positions

  • Paul was one of two House members to vote against H.R. 923, the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007, a bill that would have reopened hate crimes cases from before 1970. In keeping with his minimal Government beliefs, Paul maintains that the House of Representatives should not be involved in local law enforcement of any kind. (Source: Tom Coburn: The Shame of the Senate)
  • A splinter group from Paul's 1978 PAC "Foundation for Rational Economics and Education" (FREE) began publishing a series of newsletters in the early 1990's which were filled with racism, bigotry and conspiracy theories. Paul has stated he was uninvolved and unaware of the newsletters until they where brought up in his 1996 campaign. (Source: ThinkProgress.org, Jan. 8, 2008).

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