Thursday, June 14, 2007

Transcript: Ron Paul on the Tucker Carlson Show

TUCKER CARLSON (host): [Joining us now is a] Congressman from Texas, Ron Paul. Congressman, thanks for joining us.

REP. RON PAUL: Thank you, good to be with you.

CARLSON: So the conventional explanation for the problems between Israel and Palestine is — partly, anyway — the United States doesn't intervene enough, we're not engaged enough in the peace process. Do you buy that? Should we be engaged in that peace process?

PAUL: Well, I don't think the fact that we're involved has caused the problem as much as I think they're naturally enemies and they're going to fight and they have been fighting for a long time and they're going to continue to fight. But I think our presence there doesn't do much good, and it's not going to solve the problem. You know, it reminds me of that statement Ronald Reagan made in his memoirs when he was explaining why he left Lebanon in the early 1980s. And he said the irrationality of the politics of that region made him change his policies there. And he brought the Marines home, and we left. But he just sort of threw up his arms and said it was beyond his ability to solve those problems.

CARLSON: But we take a side in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, broadly, we send billions to Israel, but we also send money to the Palestinians, but essentially we're on Israel's side. Most Americans think we ought to be. Do you think we ought to be?

PAUL: I think we should be on the side of neutrality and friendship with everybody and not subsidize either side. I mean, in the Middle East, we're strong allies, and we subsidize Israel, but we've been propping up the Saudi government for more than 50 years, since World War II. And it sort of fits my argument that intervention doesn't lend itself to a peaceful world, especially for us. We lose a lot of men and women now being killed, and a lot of money being spent, and there's no more peace than if we weren't there. Matter of fact, I think Israel would do quite well without us there. They'd probably have a peace treaty with Syria. They want to talk peace with Syria, and we interfere with that process and say, "Oh no, you can't talk to the Syrians." So, Israel would have a great incentive to work out agreements with some of its neighbors. Now the Palestinian affair is a lot tougher than Syria, but I think they've worked out an agreement — of course, with our help — with Egypt, but there would be a tremendous incentive for Israel to work with Syria, come up with it, work with the Arab League. So, I don't think we add a whole lot to solving that problem over there.

CARLSON: A new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll finds that 52 percent of Americans — more than half of Americans — want the Democrats to take over the White House in this upcoming election. Obviously, bad news for you, running as a Republican. But doesn't it speak to the larger trend, that shows pretty clearly Americans want more from their government. They expect the government to do more for them than they expected, say, 15 years ago. How do you reverse that trend?

PAUL: Well, I think that's the real contest. Because obviously the people that work for me and campaign for me want exactly the opposite, they want to get the government off their backs. And, you know, 52 percent might want a Democratic president, but that doesn't sound all that strong. I mean, right now, the Democratic congress isn't rating very high. That's a healthy sign that the American people are waking up and they're getting disgusted with what they're getting. So, maybe they will come to realize that we need less government, not more government. If they're unhappy, we can hardly argue that we've had minimal government over these past 50 years, all we do is have an expansion of government. And that fits my argument that we have too much government and we need a lot less.

CARLSON: But your government, as you just put it, you want government off our backs, you want government to stop interfering in people's lives. But isn't interference that natural consequence of government services? In other words, when someone does something for you, he's by definition interfering in your life. So if you want less government interference, you're going to get fewer government services. You're not going to have government-provided health care, for one thing.

PAUL: Yeah, you know, this is the whole thing. When you get something from government, that's all they talk about. The politician brags about it and the people who receive it, they feel good. Unless the services don't arrive on time, like in Katrina. You know, the services didn't work out so well. So I think what we forget are the people who have to pay. You know, there's the other half of the equation. Yes, the people who have to pay, and the young people, especially today, who are sick and tired of the mess and who are inheriting this debt and inheriting this war, they have to pay. So services always come with a cost, whether it's direct taxation, future taxation, borrowing, interest payments, or a debased currency, and that is inflation.

CARLSON: OK, then would you be willing to say out loud into the camera that the people of New Orleans ought to be responsible for building their own city, that it's not the responsibility of the rest of the country?

PAUL: Well, that's the way it's supposed to be originally under the Constitution. It's only very recent years, in the last 10 to 15 years that it became central economic planning from the federal government and it hasn't worked that well. I —

CARLSON: So would you support a return? I mean, I guess, my point is, if you say something like that out loud, it is taken by most people as callous, as mean. Would you be willing to endorse a system in which regions or cities or states are responsible for their own disaster relief and the federal government just says, "I'm sorry, we're not getting involved"?

PAUL: Well I think it's callous and mean to depend on the federal government to go down there and make a mess out of trying to save New Orleans. They did such a lousy job. So, central economic planning doesn't work. It's sort of like saying, "Are you going to be mean and not be a socialist? Aren't you going to take care of poor people, starving people? Well, socialism doesn't work. Central economic planning doesn't work. And you know, in the past, a long time ago, in 1900, Galveston was wiped off the map. And they rebuilt and FEMA didn't exist and the sea-wall that they built is still there. So it isn't like it wouldn't happen, it just may happen faster, cheaper, and more efficiently instead of federal agents getting in the way, taking the guns from the people, not letting private owners get to their property. I get so many complaints about FEMA once we have an emergency in our district.

CARLSON: You've been to a number, 3 or 4 Republican debates so far. What's it like backstage? Who do you like? If you weren't voting for yourself, who would you vote for among the other 9 or 10 guys running?

PAUL: Well, you know, I have a tough time, because my philosophy is strict Constitutionalist and anti-war and pro-free markets. And nobody quite fits that build, and probably one of the reasons why I'm in this race. So it'd be very hard for me to get enthusiastic about anybody who's supporting this war and not re-assessing it and making an effort to get our troops home and not supporting the idea that you don't go to war without declaring war and win them and get them over with and be more precise and put more responsibility on the Congress. So I'd have a hard time picking one of them right now.

CARLSON: Well how about Giuliani? He's the front-running overwhelmingly if you ask Republican primary voters. Would you vote for him?

PAUL: I'd have a lot of trouble. I think he's an authoritarian. I think he would use government way out of proportion to what the Constitution intended —

CARLSON: He's an authoritarian? What do you mean by that?

PAUL: That means he likes to use government force. He wouldn't mind using some of these laws that have been put on the books since 9/11, the PATRIOT act, and the rejection of habeas corpus. I think I sense that among the whole group, that they're quite willing. And of course, the other night, we had this debate — to a degree, a debate — discussion on whether we would use a nuclear first strike against a country that has no nuclear weapons and has not attacked us. And they're all for it. So that, to me, is difficult. And yet I feel comfortable as a Republican because I think I speak for traditional, conservative Republicans, and I defend the Constitution.

CARLSON: Ron Paul of Texas, running for President. I appreciate you coming on, Congressman.

PAUL: Thank you very much.