HATTIESBURG, Mississippi — “You’re my President, Dr. Paul!” a woman in the crowd of 300 here shouted as former U.S. Rep. and presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-TX) took the stage.
“It looks like I came to the right place,” he joked.
Campaigning for Mississippi state senator Chris McDaniel, locked in a heated primary runoff against six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Paul told the crowd he’s sure McDaniel “will stand up to the Republican Party when they screw things up too” and that “my son, Rand Paul… is going to get some help up there in Washington, D.C., in the U.S. Senate.”
Paul also noted a super PAC supporting Cochran had just received a $250,000 from former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, an icon of the nanny state.
“We hear stories that this guy Bloomberg is actually helping–is that correct?–helping Thad Cochran?” Paul asked the crowd. “That’s the guy that wants to tell you what you can drink and eat and whatever else it is. Liberty means responsibility. It means that you can make decisions that are harmful–but in a free society, your mistakes should be your mistakes and not collective and you can’t go to the government and tell them to fix the mistakes.
“But if you have a society that understands what personal liberty is all about and you’re rewarded for that, it means you ought to be able to keep the fruits of your labor–which means that there’s a simple conclusion to what type of tax policy we have.”
The donation has caused a stir, and Cochran actually released a statement distancing himself from Bloomberg’s views on gun control and noting his National Rifle Association endorsement.
“I adamantly disagree with Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun agenda. In my campaign, I have never received a contribution from Michael Bloomberg,” Cochran said–omitting that a super PAC whose only purpose is to help his campaign did receive the donation.
McDaniel, during his speech, said about Bloomberg: “I don’t care how much money he raised Thad Cochran, he’s not getting our guns.”
He also hit back at attacks from Cochran’s campaign that his views are “dangerous.”
“Sen. Cochran called me an ‘extremist,'” McDaniel said. “He said I look ‘dangerous.’ Do I look ‘dangerous’ to you? Do I? Now here’s the thing–now here’s the thing though, there’s nothing ‘extreme’ about a balanced budget. There is absolutely nothing ‘dangerous’ about adhering to constitutional principles–which are your civil liberties.
“I don’t think there’s much ‘extreme’ at all about Mississippi values, in fact. I think we are the precise state at the precise time to lead a conservative revolution in Washington, D.C.,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel charged back on through his speech, feeding off the crowd interaction as he’s done in previous campaign events throughout Mississippi. “Our Constitution is worthy of your defense,” he said to cries of “Amen!” and “Hell yeah!” from a parking lot outside a Gander Mountain store.
“Your country is worthy of your defense. There’s no better place to lead this charge than from Mississippi. You can’t do it from Maine. You can’t do it from Massachusetts. You can’t do it from California. You are the fertile ground for the conservative revolution.”
Paul’s remarks were one of his most in-depth speeches since leaving Congress last year, after he ran for president unsuccessfully but has left a deep mark on politics with his libertarian ideas.
“I spent 23 years in Washington, not straight through,” Paul said during his remarks, noting that he first met Cochran in the 1970s. “I went up in ’76–I won a special election. I was there for four terms and that’s when I met the opponent that you’re campaigning against and I think he’s been there way too long, to tell you the truth.
“Even though I ended up there a good many years, after my four terms I thought: ‘What is this all about?’ I had no desire to stay there forever, to become a committee chairman. Besides, I never would have made it anyway because they want you to toe the line to become a chairman so after four terms I said, ‘you know what, I think I’m going back to medicine.’ I left, I went back and I practiced medicine for 12 years.”
After that, Paul ran for the House again and won–and has become an intellectual force among grassroots conservatives over the past several decades, especially in the past five plus years with the birth of the Tea Party movement.
“This country is continuing to go downhill,” Paul said. “The main problems that I have seen in this country come from the fact that we don’t have enough energy to defend one principle, and that is personal liberty. If you take personal liberty and associate this with property rights, you can solve all the problems in the world because personal liberty means you have to understand where our lives and our rights come from.
“For me, our lives and our rights come from our Creator–not our government. Therefore, if that is the case–if we have self ownership and ownership of our lives–along with that comes our responsibilities to take care of ourselves and to take care of our families and to protect our families, and to not allow the government to become the parent. That is what we have today–we have a nanny state. We have to get rid of the nanny state.”
Paul called during his speech for the repeal of 16th Amendment to the Constitution so as to “get rid of the income tax completely.”
“And if you really want to undermine the special interests in Washington–all the big corporations and military industrial complex, all the banking system and now the medical industrial system–if you want to undermine that system, and understand the financial system, you have to understand monetary policy and when we get rid of the IRS, which I hope we can someday, and how about the Federal Reserve system?” Paul said, adding that he thinks career politicians in Washington should face criminal repercussions for their actions.
“As long as we have a system where politicians are rewarded by spending money, not worrying about the debt, and borrowing money to the hilt and as long as people will keep loaning they keep spending and then if they keep spending they come up short and they just print the money,” Paul continued. “They’ve been getting away with counterfeiting. You know, if you or I counterfeited–rightfully so–we’d be prosecuted. Well, I tell you what: We should start prosecuting those individuals in Washington who have been counterfeiting our money system.”
Paul also addressed his foreign policy views–which has become, interestingly enough, a topic of heated debate between his son Rand Paul and Rand’s Tea Party colleague in the Senate and likely 2016 GOP presidential rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Paul argued his views are “non-interventionist,” not “isolationist”–and that such non-interventionism more closely resembles what the Founding Fathers intended for U.S. foreign policy when they drafted the Constitution.
“I have strong resentment of those who I guess think we should be the policemen of the world,” Paul said. “What’s ever so clear cut today is the fact that policing the world makes no sense, doesn’t happen to help our national security–it’s time we think about a constitutional non-interventionist foreign policy.
“The founders were very clear about this: we shouldn’t get involved in entangling alliances like the United Nations and the IMF and the World Bank and the WTO. Of course they also advised us to stay out of the internal affairs of individual nations–believe me, that would be a great foreign policy and it would be one that would not be isolationism at all. Isolationism is when you put on sanctions and you bomb countries, even though they haven’t attacked us.”
Paul said the election in Mississippi is “so crucial” because there “is momentum for the freedom movement” right now.
“It’s been building,” Paul said. “I spent time working on this issue since the 70s and nothing much was happening–as a matter of fact, I didn’t see any breakthroughs until 2008. The discussion came around–it became different–as the failure of the marketplace which was understood by the Austrian economists, and now the failure of the foreign policy.”
Paul said the failures of big government “gives us a tremendous opportunity” and voters must decide whether they continue down the current path or move in a new direction.
“They won’t admit that they’re bankrupt. They’re arguing over the shrinking pieces of pie. In the old days, our country was very strong and very wealthy–the middle class was big. Today the middle class is shrinking while the wealthy get wealthier and they control all the efforts up there.”
McDaniel wrapped up by comparing his primary against Cochran to Dave Brat’s historic defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
“We made history just a few nights ago,” McDaniel said. “We won that race, we won the popular vote–the people of Mississippi came out. The people of this state are awake and they’re alive and they’re enthusiastic, just like the people of Virginia.
“On the 24th, we stand again. We remind Washington, D.C., that they work for us–not the other way around–and can you imagine the fear on their faces, can you imagine the shock on the morning of the 25th, when the people of this state say you know what? We’ve had enough of the status quo. It’s time for a change. We’re reclaiming our government and we’re reclaiming our country.”