COMMENTARY | Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, has announced his third run for the presidency, according to AFP. Paul previously ran for president in 1988 on the Libertarian Party ticket and again in 2008 in the Republican primary.
Paul has been well known for decades for holding small government and isolationist views that have placed him somewhat on the fringe of contemporary politics. However, with the rise of the Tea Party movement and a growing consensus that the federal government has gotten too big, with a budget deficit that is in excess of $1.5 trillion, Paul, 75, believes that his time has at last come.
Paul believes, for example, in a return to the gold standard as a means to prevent inflation. In fact, he is in favor of having gold and silver not just as commodities, but as forms of legal tender with which people can buy goods and services and store their wealth. Paul would also abolish the income tax, and hence the IRS, but unlike other politicians would not replace it with anything like a flat tax or national sales tax.
As for health care, Paul would not only abolish Obamacare, but likely also Medicare and Medicaid as well. He would allow people to deduct the full cost of their health care from their taxes. People who cannot afford to pay for insurance or health care directly would rely on doctors and other health care providers working pro bono.
In keeping with his libertarian views, Paul is opposed to the “war on drugs” and would instead treat drug addiction as a social and medical problem. However, Paul is a strong border security politician, opposing amnesty and welfare services for illegal aliens.
While his small government views have become more beguiling for many people, his views on foreign policy are very controversial. He has suggested that the United States is the aggressor in the War on Terror. His solution to the problem of terrorism is to withdraw American military units from the Middle East, the theory being that if the United States leaves the terrorists alone, they will leave the the United States alone.
While Paul has been a successful congressman from Texas — for instance, voting against farm subsidies, though he represents a rural district — it is unlikely that he will last on the national stage. While people want small government, they also likely want one that is slightly larger than Paul favors. Paul’s isolationist (he prefers “non-interventionist”) views on foreign policy are likely not to find favor except on the fringes. But his third and likely last run for the presidency is likely to be entertaining, at the very least.