2012 Contender Series: Ron Paul
In this corner… is an ongoing series looking into the viability of potential candidates for the 2012 Presidential race.
(Ed. note: We might as well wrap up the Contender Series biographies of the serious candidates for the 2012 campaign. Paul, likely the last of the serious contenders for 2012, is expected to declare his candidacy in New Hampshire tomorrow but we’ll look at any new contenders as they declare. An exception may be an article on Mitch Daniels in the near future.)
(Updated: Friday May 13th. Ron Paul officially enters 2012 race)
Ronald Ernest Paul, M.D. is currently the Republican Congressman for the 14th District of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico south of Houston. Although he lists himself as Republican, Paul is widely known as a Libertarian*. He ran for President in 1988 as a Libertarian but ran in 2008 and 2012 as a Republican with Libertarian policies.
Paul was born in Pennsylvania and received his BS in biology from Gettysburg College and his M.D. from Duke University. He served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force and Air Guard before moving to Texas in the late sixties. He has practiced obstetrics and gynecology and is also a prolific author. He became active in politics when President Nixon abolished the gold standard which ran contrary to his beliefs influenced by the Austrian School of Economics. Paul won his first election in 1976 in a special election in the 22nd District of Texas.
Paul lost a bid for Senate to Phil Gramm in 1984 and went back to private practice as an obstetrician. He returned to the House in 1996 where he has served since. His son, Rand Paul (R-KY) was recently elected to congress making them the only simultaneously serving father and son ever. Paul’s son, Robert is also contemplating running for office as well.
Paul generally runs counter to both political parties in his voting record earning him the nickname ‘Dr. No’ (a James Bond villain). He is one of the few Republicans who voted no on the Iraq War for example.
When Paul ran for President in 2008 he surprisingly garnered a lot of grassroots support. That same support has turned out for the 2012 Presidential race. He beat Mitt Romney in the straw polls of the CPAC conventions this year and last year. He has become a hero of the Libertarian leaning Tea Party group because of his resistance to both Democrats and Republicans. The only other potential candidate with similar philosophy is New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, but Paul appears to have the momentum from his 2008 campaign.
Paul’s polling has been dropping off as more candidates have declared. Nate’s post yesterday morning has him at 5th amongst Republican candidates in a summary of 2011 polls behind Romney, Huckabee, Palin, and Gingrich; two of whom have yet to declare their intentions. He further gives Paul lesser odds based on name recognition of other candidates. Anywhere between 4% and 6% chance of winning the nomination. This continues to make Paul a second tier candidate. But then, Ron Paul has always maintained that winning has been secondary to promoting the ideology and policy.
*[Generally speaking, Libertarianism is the political school of thought that focuses on individual liberty and minimal government intrusion. More broadly, there are multiple degrees of Libertarianism running from what closely resembles the Republican policy position to what are known as minarchism; minimal government, all the way to anarchism, or no government at all. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Libertarianism, in the strict sense, is the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things. In a looser sense, libertarianism is any view that approximates the strict view.
Other notable Libertarians include Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises, Leo Tolstoy, Noam Chomsky, and Henry David Thoureau.]
- NJ: Ron Paul backers migrate to N.H. en masse (msnbc.msn.com)
- FiveThirtyEight: A Polling-Based Forecast of the Republican Primary Field (fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Ron Paul and the arrogance of the strong (seattletimes.nwsource.com)