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Father of the Tea Party

"Father of the Tea Party" Continued...

Issue: "Face-off," Aug. 13, 2011

Lew Rockwell, a friend of Paul's who heads the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which Paul helped start, is another associate with a pessimistic outlook on American government. Rockwell was Paul's chief of staff in the late 1970s and early 1980s and wrote the introduction to Paul's book on foreign policy. In a July blog post on his website, lewrockwell.com, Rockwell described government as the "greatest killing, torturing, and looting machine on earth." The U.S. Constitution, he wrote, grew the government into "the monstrosity we have today." Cato vice president Boaz, who has known Paul personally for 30 years, said, "I've never heard him say anything questioning whether the federal government was behind 9/11, but I do think he is too indiscriminate in his associations . . . he should have been more careful over the years."

Paul responded later: "David's a friend of mine," but added that he is "probably a more liberal libertarian." Paul isn't friends with the Republican power players in Washington. He's friends with other outsiders, people like Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who shares his anti-war views, and whose far-left views put him on the fringes of the Democratic Party. Paul's base is also diverse-potheads, homeschoolers, anti-war activists, and some evangelicals. An obstetrician-gynecologist who has delivered thousands of babies over the course of his career, he has a pro-life following too.

"Ever since evangelicals have re-entered the political fray back in the 1970s, we've had a difficult time with accepting its terms as the 'art of the possible,' or the inherent compromises and settling for the-good-over-against-the-best nature of things," said Jay Green, professor of history at Covenant College. "Paul is attractive to various libertarians and evangelicals because he is pure and seemingly unsullied by the dirty compromises that politics asks us to make."

When I asked Paul why he wouldn't make a compromise, even if it was pragmatic, he said, "No reason you have to. We don't think about doing that on our religious values." He acknowledges: "Ultimately the only thing that counts is what the people endorse, what they think the role of government ought to be."

Emily Belz
Emily Belz

Emily, who has covered everything from political infighting to pet salons for The Indianapolis Star, The Hill, and the New York Daily News, reports for WORLD from New York City. Follow Emily on Twitter @emzleb.

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