Politico: Has Ron Paul Gone Mainstream?Submitted by RicheyG on Tue, 12/01/2009 - 03:01
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Even Frank, who voted against the amendment, went out of his way during committee debate to associate himself with Paul’s effort. And a YouTube video of Frank’s remarks was quickly posted by a top pro-Paul website.
“I do want to claim credit as chairman of the committee for being the first one in 26 years who gave the gentleman from Texas the chance to [offer] this legislation,” said Frank, an expert at reading the political winds.
“I have never been a Fed worshiper,” Frank continued, before explaining his concerns that the amendment in its present form would raise inflationary expectations.
But Paul isn’t stopping with the auditing measure. He sees the other financial reform proposals throughout Congress as adding, not subtracting, from the vast Fed powers. And he has allies in the heart of the Democratic Caucus.
Democrats like Peterson and Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, along with liberals such as Ohio Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Marcy Kaptur echo concerns shared by Paul that the Fed gains too much power under the financial reform legislation authored by Frank and the Obama administration. Under Frank’s bill on systemic risk, the Fed would be the primary agent of a new council to regulate big, complex “too big to fail” financial firms, a position that would expand the central bank’s current oversight powers.
“Why are we even thinking about giving more power and authority to the Fed?” Peterson, a rural Democrat, asked during a hearing. “It is one of the more unaccountable parts of federal government. Its governance is influenced more on the wishes of major banks and the American people.”
And Sen. Chris Dodd, a liberal Democrat from Connecticut, surely wouldn’t credit Paul, but his sweeping financial reform draft legislation proposes stripping the Fed from bank oversight powers that the central bank has held since its creation.
Paul’s long-standing critique of American foreign policy has also earned him some new allies. Paul joined Reps. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Steve Kagen (D-Wis.) on Nov. 18 in a series of House floor speeches to argue against committing more resources to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The members of this bipartisan team were all signatories of a Sept. 25 letter to Obama that carried 53 other Republican and Democratic names opposing sending more troops to Afghanistan.
“I don’t think we can win the argument,” Paul recalled telling his three co-speakers as they planned the debate. “But eventually we’ll win — not because they’re going to listen to us and have another foreign policy. But we’re going to win because we don’t have any money, we’re broke and the troops will come home.”
“All empires end through a flawed foreign policy,” Paul said at another point in his interview with POLITICO.
For Paul and his vibrant grass-roots supporters, the next item on the legislative agenda is to continue pushing the Fed audit measure all the way to the president’s desk. Campaign for Liberty, a coalition of pro-Paul activists that grew out of the Texas Republican’s 2008 presidential campaign, has dropped hundreds of thousands of petitions on both sides of Capitol Hill in support of the measure. They and other online groups have been drumming up phone calls to congressional offices as well.
“The Senate’s not as close to the people as the House is, so it’s a little harder,” Paul said. “It will take some work over there; there’s no doubt about it. Believe me, the defenders of the Fed are still around, and we’ll still hear a lot from them.”