Ron Paul gaining steam for possible 2012 run

Ron Paul's official portrait. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

One of the most intriguing candidates that the Republican Party has fielded in recent years is the Representative from Texas, Ron Paul. Recent polls have indicated that he is virtually even with Barack Obama for a 2012 Presidential run, according to USA Today.  Paul is popular with a great cross section of Independents, Republicans and even an occasional Democrat, espousing libertarian views that often clash with mainline Republicans.  He also gets more cash advances from voters than many other candidates.

Just who IS Ron Paul?

Ron Paul, or rather Dr. Ron Paul (former USAF Flight Surgeon and OB/GYN), was elected the US House of Representatives for the 22nd Congressional District of Texas first in 1976 to 1977, from a special election. He lost the seat, then re-gained it from 1979 to 1985.  After resuming his medical career, he was again elected to office from 1997 to the present continually in the 14th Congressional District.  After he left office in 1985, he unsuccessfully ran for President on the Libertarian Party ticket.

What’s a Libertarian?

Libertarians are a special breed, being the most conservative in ways and the most liberal in others.  First is that government and taxation should be kept to a minimum and that an individual’s civil liberties are of paramount importance. They also believe strongly in the freedom of choice and that the use of force is never justified except in self defense.  They also oppose governmental regulations on anything from medicine to no fax payday loans.

Rep. Paul has been a gadfly of both Republicans (though he is one) and Democrats, criticizing the Iraq War among other things.  He famously sparred with McCain and Giuliani throughout the 2008 debates, angering some, and plays a big part in many CSPAN hearings with the Federal Reserve. Many a YouTube clip features Paul grilling Ben Bernanke in Congressional hearings.

Tea Party Candidate like none other

Ron Paul made waves recently with a speech at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. He was bitingly critical of both parties and received equal cheers and boos.  Selections of the quotes are on,  and full transcripts available elsewhere, but one of the most interesting snippets was his response to the “Obama socialist” rhetoric that has been flying around.

“Barack Obama is not a socialist … (he’s) a corporatist. Unfortunately, we have corporatists in the Republican Party…where (corporations) come in and run everything. We see that in the financial institutions, we see it in the military industrial complex, and now we see it in the medical industrial complex.”

Getting Right Popular

He came in second to Mitt Romney in the SRLC straw poll, and at the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) Straw Poll took the number one spot for presidential candidate.  Tea Party concerns such as taxes, government intervention and Federal Reserve shenanigans are things he’s been railing against for years. Some have tipped Rep. Paul as the successor to Barry Goldwater.  It will be interesting to see if he’ll enter into the 2012 campaign.  Many hope that if he does, he’ll be successful.