Ron Paul: Iowa City Liveblog 8/2/11
Good morning from Downtown Iowa City, home of America's Number 4 Party School; 9:13 and we await Ron Paul.
Was wondering yesterday if this was going to happen, but with the doctor's No on the debt ceiling (never any doubt there) safely cast and Congress on recess, he's back on the trail. 9:30 on Tuesday with class not in session if off season in a big way, but the straw poll is when it is. Seating is set up for 100 (98 after I steal 2 chairs) and not quite half full yet.
I'm just remembering: yesterday was listed as a To Be Announced date on the famIly leader tour; never got filled after The Pledge backfired.
This group seems less raucous than past Paul crowds I've seen. (of course, that 2007 Olive Court tailgater would be hard for anyone to top.) Just a couple folks in Ron Paul gear. I get the impression this is a Check Him Out crowd. My Blackberry buzzes; it's a reminder for this event.
Indoor event at the basement of Iowa City Sheraton. No rally music.
9:27 and seating closing in on full, with a dozen standing in back more out of preference. The late arrivers are mainly young. Staffers break out the extra chairs. Let's call it... 120. Don't recognize any Dem interlopers; where's that Republican for a day crossover? Media looks like two TV, three print, one me. Plus multiple photogs who may or may not be press, staff, or civilians. Crowd harumphing increases in volume.
I see Richard Campagna in the house; he's a local who was the 2004 Libertarian VP candidate. Not seeing local GOP leadership.
Introducer/time killer on stage at 9:36. He drops some applause lines and then plugs Ames. Actual intro starting and he's here 9:38
RP goes deep on debt crisis: "we started 100 years ago when we changed our monetary policy." "When we had our revolution be believed government should be minimal." Sees Constitution as "a list of permissions" with 9th and 10th amendment limits.
"We were able to get away with it for a while and we had a maximum amount of freedom." But then we forgot our roots...
"That big fight yesterday is ongoing and will last a long time." Draws an addiction analogy, no, make that a direct reference. "We are addicted to printing money" and here comes the gold standard.
"Governments our size always pay their bills. But what they do is give them money that has no value. The dollar has lost 98% of its value. We can't live like that."
Now plugging Ames. "It's a vote about property rights, about the 2nd Amendment and the 1st Amendment." "It's worth 100 times more than other straw polls." (First applause line.) Notes he lost a FL strraw by 1 vote.
"We're not just trying to change the presidency. We're trying to reverse the last 100 years."
"I'm sick and tired of the wars we need to end these wars" (long applause) "That is the easiest way to cut spending." President can change foreign policy on day one. "Image what would happen if a president took office and sais, the trops are coming home." (longer applause) "Imagine if we spent that money in THIS country and not around the world." (more aplause)
"We want to remove the restraints so you can keep the constitutional fruits of your labors." (appl) From this, back to Bretton Woods and gold. "The answe is not difficult, it's just getting out of the way."
On to security state issues: "Give up our freedoms to be safe? (shaking head) I don't think so. (APPLAUSE) You're not safe because a policeman is guarding your door. You're more likely to be safe because we have a 2nd Amendment. (appl)"
"If you destroy a county's currency, you wipe out the middle class." "I don't have a problem with people working hard and making a lot of money. I have qualms with a system where we have people making a lot of money out of an inflationary climate." "Who got bailed out? The ones who were ripping us off."
Says liberals have good motives. "You want to help the downtrodden and so do I. I believe the downtrodden can be helped be free markets and strong currency. (Appl)" Biggest applause yet: Audit The Fed. Guess this IS a Ron Paul crowd.
"Our foreign policy is designed to choose a Dictator of the week, not protect our interests." Structurally he jumps back and forth: foreign policy, economic applause lines, deep economics lecture. It's all part of The Grand Unifying Theory, but a tad hard to follow in a traditional sense if you're not a True Believer. He acknowledged: "I happen to believe our liberty is all one thing." There's barely a pause from thought to thought, like a very enthusiastic professor who can't restrain himself from sharing The Grand Unifying Theory.
"Much more can be achieved in peace than war and it's a lot cheaper. (big applause)"
"Our rights don't come from our government, they come from our creator." Calls printed money "counterfeit."
"There's no economic benefit to war even though there's war profiteers."
"I don't want to run the world, I don't want to run your lives and I don't think anyone is able to run the economy." (applause)
"I'm optimistic because of the enthusiasm of young people." Sense a winding down at 10:10. "Hopefully I'll see you at Ames."
Intro Guy fleshes out the Ames pitch: tickets, etc.
We have a little Q and A, which they steer to press. Odd format. Usually Q and A in front of audience is questions from audience, and press questions are before or after in small group.
Iowa Politics asks when Rand is coming. Ron: "I don't know the answer to that." Staffer informs him that he is coming and announcement pending. Patch asks about popularity with liberals. "I don't believe I have to compromise, but I think I work more with liberal Democrats than with Republicans," citing Sanders and Kucinich support for Audit The Fed. "I should work with anybody and everybody. The freedom message brings people together. It's an excellent opportunity to broaden the people that join us."
"When the revolution comes about..." yes, he said it...
Kathie Obradovich asks about Ames expectations. RP: "It represents the people who are motivated... last time we came in fifth which wasn't anything to brag about. We're determined to do better than (4th or 5th)"
Iowa Public Radio on debt and credit rating. Paul: "I never thought for a minute we wouldn't raise it, but just theoretically it would have had an effect." Says gold is a better indicator. "The real default comes by debasing the currency." "They had a deal struck, they knew exactly what they were going to do."
Now we get audience questions. Suggestions for what Obama should read. RP: "The Law by Basia from the 1850s. If you can't steal from your neighbor why should the government be able to?" I'll have to google it and it's Bastiat.
NASA post-shuttle. "Nasa's broke and Obama's not interested. If we had a truly free market we wouldn't hAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT." Loves space but not sure govt should spend billion$ on it. "Anything governments can do free markets can do much better. (applause)"
They set up a handshake line, rather than the more typical scrum. Most of crowd moves into line. I see one guy in a Rage Against The Machine shirt which I'm having trouble to politically understand. But then I'm an old school Lennonist.
The handshake is more of a chat than an assembly line as of 10:35. An advantage of being first event of the day; you're not behind schedule yet. Pity the city that's scheduled for A 7 pm rally. That's true across party lines, campaigns, and decades. After the handshake is the signup table; high percentages stopping and signing pledge cards and Ames lists. I correct the first impression; this is less lookers and more of the committed. Probably a high Ames attendance percentage in this room.
Reminds me: I got a robocall last night, which walked me through a number of choices. I screwed up and pressed 1 for Obama, was thanked, the call ended. Had I been thinking faster I would have been undecided and heard the rest of the poll (facepalm) Paul had called Democrats in the past and I've heard other reports from non-Rs of similar calls. UPDATE: post-event staffer says they're only calling Republicans.
We're winding down as of 10:38.