Wednesday marked a closing of the Ron Paul chapter in modern Texas politics. The Texas Republican, famous for his libertarian views, delivered yesterday what he said would likely be his final speech on the House floor, since he is retiring next month. In July 2011, he announced that he would not seek reelection for Congress because he wanted to focus on his 2012 run for Republican presidential nominee.
In true Ron Paul fashion, he used his farewell address to lambast federal government. “The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke,” he said, and proceeded to hit all his usual talking points: Freedom has been lost in America, and the government’s infringement on individual liberties has spiraled the nation into peril. Poverty, dependence on government programs, and the current economic condition are national crises. Politicians, he contended, are doing their jobs wrong:
If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty. There certainly was a strong enough sentiment for more freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those who were willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful British government.
During my time in Congress the appetite for liberty has been quite weak; the understanding of its significance negligible.
Paul, who represents the 14th district of Texas and has served as a U.S. Rep. for 23 years over a 36-year period, has not enjoyed much success on the lawmaking front. A Washington Post piece last year notes that it took Paul 482 shots for a bill he authored to be signed into law. That law, David Fahrenthold notes, was not landmark legislation; rather, it granted the sale of a Galveston customhouse.
The unassuming-looking, 76-year-old former OB-GYN has long been known (and often ridiculed) as a frequent naysayer in the House, even being dubbed “Dr. No” by his colleagues because he consistently votes “no” to any measure that he feels violates the Constitution. In Congress, he has been defined by the unpopularity of his ideas and his voting consistency.
But despite Paul’s ineffectual career in the House, he caught national attention when