Near the end of the third day of this year’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference, it was time for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) to take the stage. Paul, fresh off his victory in the CPAC straw poll, gave a characteristically fired-up speech that took on the views of the Republican party establishment.
“The question has been raised about whether or not our president is a socialist,” Paul said. “I am sure there are some people here who believe it. But in the technical sense, in the economic definition of a what a socialist is, no, he’s not a socialist.”
“He’s a corporatist,” Paul continued. “And unfortunately we have corporatists inside the Republican party and that means you take care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country.”
Paul said examples of President Obama’s “corporatism” were evident in the heath care reform bill he signed into law last month. He said the mandate in the bill put the power over health care in the hands of corporations rather than private citizens. But he said the bill wasn’t the only place where corporatism is creeping into Washington.
“We see it in the financial institutions, we see it in the military-industrial complex,” he said. “And now we see it in the medical-industrial complex.”
Despite his opposition to the bill, and despite Republican calls to repeal it, Paul said that when it comes to the landmark health care bill, “throwing it all out is probably not going to happen.”
He said the only hope Republicans have is to change the bill for the better. Paul said he will introduce his own legislative fix when the Congress returns from recess next week.
“There’s one piece of legislation that I’m going to introduce, it’s going to be one page long,” he said. “It will be to remove the mandate so you don’t have to participate if you don’t want to.”
His speech, which touched on his oft-repeated calls to close down American military bases overseas and shift toward libertarian-style social policy, drew cheers from the Paul fans in the crowd and what sounded like boos from others in the room.