Ron Paul was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and lived in a small town where his father ran a small dairy. At age 5, Paul was working alongside his brothers in family basement, checking milk bottles for spots. In high school, Paul was an all-state track athlete before attending college. After this he went on to graduate from Duke University’s school of medicine, and served as a medical officer in the Air Force for 5 years. Before entering politics in 1978, Paul was an obstetrician-gynecologist.
Mr. Paul married Carol Wells in 1957 and together they had five children. Paul relocated to Texas, where he opened a private practice, and was known for routinely lowering fees or working for free as he refused to accept Medicaid or Medicare. Paul has been a member of Congress off and on since the 1970′s, during which time his views have ranged from conservative to libertarian.
Note: In gathering the following material, I attempted to use objective information based on voting record, quotes, and non-partisan sources. At the moment, I fall in the category of “undecided” with respect to both the candidates and the parties they represent. Therefore, the views expressed here are not necessarily my own. (see also posts for Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum)
On Poverty 1 of 9As a former Libertarian-turned Republican, Paul holds to the more extreme ideas of small government, which includes eliminating government entitlements that encourage a welfare state. Recently, Paul stated that entitlements are not rights, but are rather a perk reserved for those in high-up positions. He further contends that welfare programs are surrounded by too many moral issues, making it impossible to regulate. In 2000, he voted to abolish the federal welfare program so it could be placed in the state's hands.
Notable Quote: Welfare State is not in the Constitution 2 of 9Q: A long time ago, a fellow Texan was horrified to see young kids coming into the classroom hungry. The young student teacher later went on to be Pres. Lyndon Johnson. Providing nutrition at schools for children--is that a role of the federal government
PAUL: Well, I'm sure, when he did that, he did it with local government, and there's no rules against that. That'd be fine. But that doesn't imply that you want to endorse the entire welfare state. No; it isn't authorized in the Constitution for us to run a welfare state. And it doesn't work. All it's filled up with is mandates. But, yes, if there are poor people in Texas, we have a responsibility--I'd like to see it as voluntary as possible--but under our Constitution, our states have that right--if they feel the obligation, they have a perfect right to. This whole idea that there's something wrong with people who don't lavish out free stuff from the federal government somehow aren't compassionate enough. I resist those accusations.
Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011
On Abortion 3 of 9A former gynecologist who delivered over 4,000 babies, Mr. Paul opposes abortion, and in fact sponsored federal "personhood" legislation. He has incurred criticism from anti-abortion activists for his stance that states should enforce abortion laws. He has, however, signed the pledge to appoint only those with anti-abortion views, as he feels abortion creates an inconsistent more basis for the value of life. Mr. Paul believes that a person's right to privacy extends to most areas but not for contraception. He is against any federal funding for organizations that promote abortions, and he would like to see the adoption market deregulated. A look at Mr. Paul's voting history shows a strong consistency with his views against government funding for social issues.
Notable Quote: More Law Don’t Solve the Problem 4 of 9Q: You have said that you believe that life begins at conception and that abortion ends an innocent life. If you believe that, how can you support a rape exception to abortion bans, and how can you support the morning-after pill? Aren't those lives just as innocent?
PAUL: They may be, but the way this is taken care of in our country, it is not a national issue. This is a state issue. And there are circumstances where doctors in the past have used certain day-after pills for somebody with rape. And, quite frankly, if somebody is treated, you don't even know if a person is pregnant; if it's 24 hours after rape, I don't know how you're going to police it. We have too many laws already. Now, how are you going to police the day-after pill? Nobody can out-do me on respect for life. I've spent a lifetime dealing with life. But I still think there is a time where the law doesn't solve the problems. Only the moral character of the people will eventually solve this problem, not the law.
Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011
On Education 5 of 9Mr. Paul sees federal initiatives and programs such as No Child Left Behind a failure. In line with his small government views, Mr. Paul has said he would like to dismantle the Department of Education, but not the public school system. He feel families should have the right to "opt out" of the public school system, though. He has supported tax vouchers for attending Christian schools, but at the same time doesn't believe teaching evolution supports atheism or diminish God. Furthermore, Mr. Paul sees school prayer as a state's issue. His record shows a consistency in voting against federal involvement and funding in education-related bills.
Notable Quote: Stop enforcing No Child Left Behind 6 of 9"If you care about your children, you'll get the federal government out of the business of educating our kids. In 1980, when the Republican Party ran, part of the platform was to get rid of the Department of Education. By the year 2000, it was eliminated, and we fed on to it. Then Republicans added No Child Left Behind. The goal should be set to get the government out completely, but don't enforce this law of No Child Left Behind. It's not going to do any good, and nobody likes it. And there's no value to it. The teachers don't like it, and the students don't like it. But there are other things that the federal government can do, and that is give tax credits for the people who will opt out. We ought to have a right to opt out of the public system if you want.
Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011
On Taxes 7 of 9Senator Paul is known for his extreme position on the federal tax system. He is particularly outspoken when it comes to the inflation tax. Senator Paul see this as an unfair penalty placed on the poor and middle class, and has said he will impose no new taxes if elected. Senator Paul's voting record shows that he supported making permanent an increase in the child tax credit (2004) as well as also eliminating the marriage penalty tax (2000, 2004).
Notable Vote: Voted YES on reducing Marriage Tax by $399B over 10 years 8 of 9Voted to pass a bill that would reduce taxes for married people by $399.2 billion over 10 years by doubling the couples' deduction and the child tax credit. Among other provisions, the bill would allow married couples filing jointly to claim a standard deduction equal to the deduction they would receive filing singly.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Weller, R-IL; Bill HR 6 ; vote number 2001-75 on Mar 29, 2001
Parting Quote: Let Parents Decide on Mental Health 9 of 9"Forced mental health screening simply has no place in a free or decent society. The government does not own you or your kids, and it has no legitimate authority to interfere in your family's intimate health matters. Psychiatric diagnoses are inherently subjective, and the drugs regularly prescribed produce serious side effects, especially in children's developing brains. The bottom line is that mental health issues are a matter for parents, children, and their doctors, not government."
Source: Weekly column, "Texas Straight Talk" , Jan 31, 2005
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Ron Mattocks is a father of five (3 sons, 2 stepdaughters) and author of the book, Sugar Milk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can’t Afford Vodka. He blogs at Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, and lives in Houston with his wife, Ashley, who eternally mocks his fervor for Coldplay.
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons (Gauge Skidmore #9) ; #5 Freerangestock