What is your appeal?
I think people are tired of what they're getting from their government. They don't believe it's working. They're angry. They believe they're being lied to when it comes to the economy. They believe they've been lied into going to war. And they're tired of it all, and they want change. Even though people poke fun at me—say that I don't look like the one to bring about change—I think I offer a different program than they've heard about for a long time. What do you mean you don't look like someone who would bring change?
They talk about age, and say, why would you appeal to young people? I think it's because the idea of freedom and self-reliance is a very new and young idea. We've experimented with it in this country. I'd like to continue that process rather than reversing back to tyrannical-type government where government tells us how to live, runs the economy, polices the world, runs an empire around the world. You believe you are tapping into anger and frustration?
Not only are there a lot of young people out there; there are a lot of other people who had given up a long time ago and had dropped out and sense this as an opportunity to get back in. Some are Republicans who left two, four, six, or eight years ago, never being satisfied. There are some who come up and say, "I'm 60, 65, and I've never been involved—this is the first time." The Democrats are, I think, rightfully not very happy with their choices because they're not offering a foreign policy much different than George Bush, and people can see through this. Can you characterize a typical Ron Paul supporter?
No. The characteristic is they're not typical, and we're proud of it. We talk about it all the time—freedom brings diversity. It brings people together. Big government divides us, and we become competitive, and we fight over the spoils. That's why you have lobbyists up here fighting. It was fine when everybody thought there was endless wealth in this country. But today people, down deep in their heart, they know there's something wrong. And they see symbolically one of the best measurements of a country that is losing its wealth is when their currency goes down in value. And I've been talking about currency values since the very first time I ran for office. It's the monetary issue that has motivated me. And it's just all coming together now. The welfare spending at home, the militarism, the empire building is bringing us to bankruptcy. And we have a lot more inflation than they'll admit. Here we have currency going down—that in itself is inflation. The figures they fudge with—the CPI [consumer price index]—that is not inflation. That is a pseudo measure of inflation. The dollar is important. The money supply is important. But not government reports on the CPI. Polls have said that Americans feel less hopeful than they can ever remember. Do you sense that loss of optimism?
I think so. I'm always amazed that people walk away from our rallies more hopeful than ever before. "You give me hope," they say. "You remove my apathy"—all kinds of signs like that. I've been wondering about that since I dwell on the problems, though I offer solutions, I spend a lot more time complaining about the problems. Someone said to me maybe it's because it's the first time they had somebody tell the truth about what the problems are instead of denying and instead of saying, "Oh, yeah, everything is fine: No inflation, war's going to end next week, losing 4,000 men doesn't mean all that much." They want the truth. But then I always conclude with an upbeat note that we got into this mess by not following the laws of the land, which is the Constitution, and we could merely go back to that and solve most of our problems. We don't have to give up our freedoms. They applaud loudly when I say this idea that we're obligated to sacrifice our liberties to be safe from terrorists—say the opposite is true. The freer you are, the safer you're going to be. They like that. While recognizing the effects of 9/11, why do you think many Americans have been apathetic about the freedom issue, particularly when it comes to protecting what was once their personal information?