Ron Paul Rally Attendees Say it’s ‘Paul Or Nothing’
It was a rainy, cold Sunday—but that didn’t stop an estimated 4,000-plus Ron Paul supporters from coming out to see the Republican presidential candidate speak at Independence Mall. Fans came from near and far to hear the candidate, whom many called the only qualified for public office, speak in the pouring rain and to later be the subject of some “not fair weather friends” jokes on CNN.
Take Vera and Oliver, who didn’t give a last name. The middle-aged couple came from Potter County, Pennsylvania (North-Central Pennsylvania, near the New York border and little else) to see the man speak. “He was totally awesome, truthful and honest, as always,” said Vera.
Dressed in full waterproof camouflage, the couple claimed they’ve been supporting Paul since he began running for president in 2007, but this was their first rally. Both recognize the reality of his losing candidacy—which Paul vowed to take to the convention.
“I sure hope [he takes this to the convention], I’m hoping for it, man,” says Oliver, who sported a long, gray beard and sunglasses.
And if Romney takes the nomination, which he’s all but certain to do? Both said they won’t support the Republican. “It’s Ron Paul or nothing,” says Vera. “I’ll write in Ron Paul.”
The Old City rally began at 1 p.m. and included speakers like Pennsylvania State Sen. Mike Folmer and New Jersey State Sen. Mike Doherty. Both were on hand to introduce the presidential candidate and explain his influence on their legislative priorities. Folmer, for instance, has made one of his legislative priorities in the Pennsylvania Legislature a bill that’d allow third party candidates an easier time getting on the ballot, which we recently detailed in a PW cover story. Doughty flexed his anti-Transportation Security Administration muscles while on stage, to a series of cheers. But the Jersey boy was cut off early.
A black SUV came down Market Street around 2:30 and parked at the mall. The crowd erupted with “President Paul” chants.
Once on stage, the presidential candidate got right into it, covering all the bases, beginning with the stance that earned him his national popularity in the first place, four years ago—anti-colonialism/interventionism.
“No one’s coming to invade us,” he said, “so why do we have people out looking for dragons to slay, and looking for enemies and stirring up trouble around the world when our real threat [is] the domestic enemies out here today that are chaining down our liberties.” He called the notion that you can’t support the troops without supporting the war “ridiculous.”
Paul then moved his theory of non-interventionism to every front of American life. He claimed the Federal Reserve intervening in domestic monetary policy, the government intervening in health and the military intervening overseas are all symptoms of the same problem, from both parties. And just now is that starting to catch on.
“This is the first time the Federal Reserve and monetary policy has been an issue in a presidential campaign,” he said. “We have an obligation not only to audit the Federal Reserve next year, but to repeal the Federal Reserve Act and get rid of it…[When] someone says, ‘Well what are you going to replace it with?’ Well, let’s replace it with the Constitution.”
The Constitution, he said, calls for silver and gold legal tender. And that’s what the U.S. should again use. Paul recently penned a book titled “End the Fed.”
Similarly, he said, the Constitution does not allow for an entitlement system or welfare state as it stands today — and arguments calling for sympathy for the poor are moot.
“Guess what? The housing program was sympathetic…we’re going to give everyone a house,” he said, “but who made all the money when the housing bubble blew up and who lost their jobs and who lost their homes? This is the reason we have to point out that this whole entitlement system doesn’t work; the foreign policy doesn’t work; the monetary policy doesn’t work; and this is the reason our revolution with these changes will be successful!”
He moved onto calling for the legalization of drugs, too, calling the War on Drugs an “absolute failure.”
“We need to recognize that drug addiction is a disease, it’s not a crime,” he said. “We ought to treat it more like alcohol—if you do harm to people, yes, that is a crime. But if it’s your own business, your own body, it’s up to you. I would give you some strong advice,”– at this point, the crowd interrupted him for strong cheers –”to be very cautious with it, but I also know as a physician that addictions are much worse on prescription drugs than they are on illegal drugs.”
After speaking, Paul got off stage as supporters lined up and down Market Street waiting for a potential chance to shake his hand. Or at least get a look at the man. Dominic and Lauren, from New Jersey, were two of those waiting in the rain after the fact. This was their first Ron Paul rally, though they’d both watched several others on the Internet.
“I’m here to take pictures and put them all over my Facebook to show everybody that says he doesn’t have a chance, to show that he does,” said Lauren.
Lauren and Dominic agreed something went on the night of the Iowa caucus that perhaps cost Paul the first primary state. As we noted last week, conspiracy-theory news site InfoWars called Paul’s loss in Iowa the “Biggest fraud since Kennedy stole West Virginia.” Lots of Paul supporters believe their candidate was the true winner in that state, and some at the rally noted the delegate counts with cynical “so they say” and “supposed” prefixes. Ron Paul recently picked up 20 of Minnesota’s 24 delegates, which many believed would be assigned to Rick Santorum before he dropped out of the race.
Like Vera and Oliver, Dominic and Lauren don’t believe the media’s portrayal of the race. They’re in it to win it.
But let’s say that doesn’t happen. Let’s say Ron Paul loses. Will the couple vote for Romney? They say no. If Ron Paul actually endorses Romney? “I don’t think that’ll happen,” said Lauren.
“It’s Ron Paul or nothing,” said Dominic, sporting a NORML T-shirt under his rain coat. “I’ll write him in.”