Republican presidential candidate U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) addresses supporters at his Maine caucus night rally in Portland, Maine February 11, 2012 (Reuters / Brian Snyder)
Texas Congressman Ron Paul took his campaign for the presidency to the state of Washington this week. From there, the Republican Party hopeful continued to tackle issues the rest of the GOP isn’t taking into consideration.
Congressman Paul has put himself in a different category among his party rivals by continuously being outspoken on subjects left unscathed by rhetoric repeatedly revived by other Republicans. He has been the only one of the frontrunners to challenge the National Defense Authorization Act and remains alone in his opposition for foreign policy with ideas that are deemed dangerous by others.
From Seattle, Washington, this week, the candidate came out against something his supports have long rallied in opposition to: the American War on Drugs.
Paul pulled his campaign bus over in Vancouver, Washington on Thursday, and addressed around 1,000 supporters at a rally there, just across the state line from Portland, Oregon. The congressman went after issues like America’s ongoing wars, which have been a trademark of his campaign so far. Also discussed, however, was an issue that while Paul has pressed on about throughout his career in politics, but he has remained relatively mum on so far this election year. Speaking in Vancouver, Paul revitalized his insistence that the US government’s war on drugs is a ridiculous waste of money and infringement on civil liberties.
The legalization of marijuana for recreation purposes is expected to be on the ballot later this year in the state of Washington. In not so many words, Paul told supporters he stood by what should be the right of every American to do what they please with their bodies, even if it includes administering drugs.
“If we are allowed to deal with our eternity and all that we believe in spiritually, and if we’re allowed to read any book that we want under freedom of speech, why is it we can’t put into our body whatever we want?” Paul proclaimed from Vancouver.
The Associated Press reports from the state of Washington that Paul was unwilling to attack his Republican Party rivals while on the road, but without hesitation went after President Barack Obama for abusing his power. Elsewhere in Washington this week, Paul specifically attacked the NDAA, which Obama signed into law in late December. Under the act, the president grants himself the ability to use the United States military to indefinitely detain American citizens without charge. At a SeaTac rally Thursday, Paul brought up the National Defense Authorization Act once again.
“The military can arrest any American citizen,” said the congressman.”They can be put in a secret prison – indefinitely.”
Although the other GOP frontrunners have remained mostly mum on the NDAA, Paul recently traveled to DC to propose a legislation that would strike the dangerous provisions from law. Along with the war on drugs, Paul has put both issues up for debate during recent speaking engagement, although his emphasis on ending the drug war has taken a backseat to other matters as of late. To a riled crowd in Washington, however, Paul’s persistence in ending the war — and others abroad — comes at a perfect time.
“It’s not the guy so much as the message. If you tell the truth, people will understand.It’s not an everyday thing to hear the truth, and that is why I came here,” Vaughn Merritt, a student at Central Washington University, tells Seattle PI.
During a debate last November, Paul went after then-contender Rick Perry, who was supporting the War on Drugs. “I think the federal war on drugs is a total failure,” said Paul. “I fear the drug war because it undermines our civil liberties. It magnifies our problems on the borders. We spend — like, over the last 40 years, $1 trillion on this war. And believe me, the kids can still get the drugs. It just hasn’t worked.”
Voters in Maine that had their caucus postponed last week will reconvene on Saturday to vote for the GOP candidate of their choice. Before all the votes were collected, Paul was awarded a second place victory last week. If he garners the amount of support in the state that he suspects, Maine could be awarded to Paul once all polls close this weekend.