Ron Paul visits the College
The Ostrove Auditorium and Diamond Hall Lobby filled to hear Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Much of Congressman Ron Paul’s visit to the Hill on Friday, Jan. 27 focused on economic issues and the presidential candidate’s desire to reform the programs that he views as the cause of our nation’s tremendous debt.
A libertarian determined to lower taxes and minimize government involvement in citizens’ lives, Paul emphasized the importance of protecting our civil liberties and abiding by the Constitution. “Today there’s so much government intervention,” he said, “We have lost our confidence in the free market....They figure a super-committee can make a super mess out of [the economy]. And they did,” Paul said, accusing Democratic politicians of over-involvement in the free market.
Intending to reduce the national debt, Paul proposed a plan to cut one trillion dollars out of the budget within the first year of his prospective presidency. He blamed much of the excessive debt on the belief that “we could spend money forever and always back it up with gold,” which was a theory that ultimately failed.
Paul insisted that a simple return to the basics laid out in the Constitution would remedy most of our economic problems. Among his biggest objections to the current economic system was the Federal Reserve, which he accused of creating artificial credit. “There is no authority [in the Constitution] for a central bank,” Paul said. “We will need to get a new monetary system because this one is not viable.” According to Paul, “for the first time in 100 years, people are waking up” to the importance of adjusting our monetary policies.
Foreign policy is one area of government from which Paul hopes to cut spending and influence. “We need a foreign policy of nonintervention and peace,” he said, emphasizing the importance of bringing troops home from abroad. Firmly against “policing the world,” Paul acknowledged that United States intervention in foreign affairs was backed with good intentions, but “too much blew back, and that’s why we need to change the foreign policy of this country...I don’t equate military spending with defense spending,” Paul said, and he pledged that, if elected, he would never enter into a foreign conflict without proper permission from the people and from Congress.
Student turnout to Ron Paul’s speech was extremely high, even though much of campus had emptied for the school break. Many were interested in what the presidential candidate had to say, even if they had already decided that their support lay elsewhere. Caitlin Sperzel ’15 said, “It was really cool to get so close and take a picture with him. Even if you don’t support him, it’s nice that he took the time to come to a small town in Maine.”
Paul seemed to avoid many of the issues on his social platform, which are largely conservative and would likely not be well received by a youthful audience. “Even if you don’t side with him on every issue, everyone was able to see his constancy firsthand when he was here,” Matt Cloherty ’14 said.
Congressman Paul’s campaign tour through Maine followed a trip to Florida to rally supporters for the primary election, which was held there on Jan. 31. After making a few quips about the comparatively abysmal weather, Paul said, “we are here to get votes,” and the excitement he brought to campus showed the appreciation of many local Mainers.
Tuesday’s election in Florida put Mitt Romney in the lead, followed by Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul with seven percent. During his visit to the Hill, Paul seemed optimistic about his support, predicting that his “small, little group will change history.”