What's the Deal with Ron Paul?

Ron Paul

hide captionTucker Carlson says Ron Paul is libertarian to the core.

David Lienemann/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's got a rabid following, plenty of buzz, surprising endorsements and fundraising records, but his poll numbers keep him in the second tier.

Tucker Carlson, who has been following Paul for an article in the New Republic, describes Paul as being so deeply libertarian that he's uncomfortable telling his campaign staff what to do — even choices as small as whether to turn down the heat in the campaign van.

Paul's platform includes support for getting troops out of Iraq and opposing both abortion and the income tax. But Carlson says it's the issue of the gold standard, and specifically distrust of the Federal Reserve, that fires his base.

"The single biggest applause that I heard in the Ron Paul speeches was 'The Constitution does not provide for a central bank,' " Carlson reports. "It sounds like a parody."

Carlson calls Paul the most genuine, unpretentious candidate he has ever covered. Carlson says he's also the most radical candidate in a long time. "Ron Paul really doesn't think the government should be in charge of your life in any way," he says. "He thinks every person ought to be free from government surveillance."

By extension, the writer continues, that means Paul thinks there should be no "government-sponsored safety net" — a concept almost unimaginable to most voters. "I think if some of them thought that through, they would no longer be on Ron Paul's side," Carlson says.

On our blog, an open thread: What Ron Paul Believes

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