Bruce Bartlett went to work for the presidential candidate back in the 1970s. He recalls:
Ron was not your average Republican or a typical member of Congress. Most Republicans reflexively voted whatever way the White House told them to Gerald Ford was still president, and party unity was the order of the day. And most congressmen hate being on the wrong side of a lopsided vote. But Ron voted his conscience and was often the only 'nay' vote out of 435.
Since Ron is a medical doctor, he became known as "Dr. No," which delighted him. He hadn’t run for Congress as a stepping stone to becoming a lobbyist, but to define the political spectrum by showing how a consistent libertarian would vote. This meant being for the free market and against gun control conventional right-wing positions but also being in favor of drug legalization and nonintervention in foreign affairs more commonly left-wing positions.
This is still Ron's philosophy. It is why he has consistently opposed the war in Iraq, making him something of a darling among those on the left who see no connection between Ron’s free market views and his antiwar position. But to him and other libertarians the issues are one and the same. They're against unjustified government intervention at home or abroad.
The column, alas, is on TimesDelete. Here's a list of Ron Paul's policy stances. He's a pro-life libertarian who voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment. He's for legalizing marijuana. And he got 60 percent of the vote in Texas.
(Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty.)