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Carolyn Hax

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Posted at 09:42 PM ET, 12/14/2011

Ron Paul catches fire

Ron Paul is doing something right. He’s tied for the lead in Iowa, doing well in New Hampshire, has plenty of money, fervent followers. Not bad for a 76-year-old guy who spent much of his life on the fringe, demanding a return to the gold standard. Here’s my profile of Paul, running in tomorrow morning’s paper. I’ll discuss it here tomorrow morning, but in the meantime wanted to post the link.

Excerpt:

The Texas congressman doesn’t have “positions” on “issues.” He has a philosophy.

The one big idea: Government tramples liberty. He’s by far the most radically anti-government candidate in the running. He’d boil the federal government down to a few, skeletal functions. He’d end the welfare state, cut every dime of foreign aid, halt overseas military action and bring home all the troops. He’d return to the gold standard and abolish the Federal Reserve.

Paul opposes not only recent government shenanigans but also stuff that happened 50 or 70 or 90 years ago, such as the creation of Medicare (1965), Social Security (1935) and the federal income tax (1913). He’s against national banks, the first of which was the handiwork of Alexander Hamilton in 1791. You have to crank the time machine into the red zone to get back to where Paul is completely comfortable.

He’s also a force to be reckoned with in this presidential cycle. He has passionate followers from across the political spectrum, a good organization, a distinct libertarian message and plenty of money. He could be a game-changer if he decides to run as a third-party candidate.

No one has ever accused Ron Paul of being a flip-flopper. He has been saying the same things for 35 years. Now world events have conspired to make him look increasingly on point.....

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[And this, from later in the story]

Ron Paul flirts with apocalyptic thinking, and opposes many of the political structures of modern America, and yet he has had a life that could be described as the American Dream. From modest ­beginnings he became a highly successful obstetrician/gynecologist, delivered about 4,000 babies, became the patriarch of a sprawling family and was elected to Congress 12 times.

“The American Dream” is the term his wife, Carol, uses to describe their life in the “Ron Paul Family Cookbook.” Not many dystopians have cookbooks, but Paul is one of them. It’s folksy, chatty, filled with pictures of the kids (five) and grandkids (18) and great-grandkids (five).

Carol Paul writes, “Ron and I both understand the dangers America faces and that spurs us both on to do the best job we can for our family, friends and country.” In the very next sentence, she switches to family news: “We have added one more sweet great-grandchild.”

The Pauls live in Lake Jackson, Tex., south of Houston. They sat 30 for their Thanksgiving dinner this year. Nothing fancy, just paper plates and paper cups.

Ron Paul loves to garden. Turn your back, and he’s re-potting a plant. So he’s writing a book called “The Revolution: A Manifesto” one day and dividing bulbs the next.

His favorite movie is “The Sound of Music.”

“He’s ready to make a monstrous change in the world and yet he’s such a down-to-earth person,” says his close friend and fellow doctor Rick Hardoin, a Lake Jackson pediatrician who cared for many of the children in the Paul clan. “Doesn’t sit there and pat himself on the back. He’s a humble person. There’s no pride, none of this ‘I’m so great.’ ”

Another Paul hobby is riding his bike. He doesn’t do so after dark, he says — he’s not crazy.

But no, Hardoin says, Paul never wears a helmet.

By  |  09:42 PM ET, 12/14/2011

 
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