Ron Paul’s New Place in the GOP

Congressman Ron Paul is back in the news this week. The Libertarian/Republican with Christian Reconstructionist ties angered many on the right by defending the WikiLeaks release of classified information. But he remains a Tea Party favorite for his calls to end, or at least audit, the Federal Reserve Board.

Paul, who suggested that there is a 50-50 chance he will run again for president in 2012, barely made it out of single digits in 2008. His chances may or may not be improved in a crowded field now that the Tea Party is launching new organizational efforts, including those by Michele Bachmann and failed Senate candidate Sharron Angle (read about her here, here, and here).

Bachmann recently told CBN that her Tea Party Caucus will be teaching members of Congress what the Constitution “really” means with the help of David Barton. Angle says she is “giving back to the tea party” by building a national clearinghouse of tea party affiliated organizations, the Patriot Caucus.

After all his years of being the proverbial “voice in the wilderness,” Ron Paul’s world is about to change. A new Rasmussen poll finds that 74% of Americans strongly favor a plan to audit the Federal Reserve, something Paul has advocated for years. He plans to push such a plan as the new chair of the House Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee that oversees the Fed and its monetary policy. Reportedly Republican leaders had planned to put someone else in that position but appointed Paul under pressure from Tea Party organizations.

I’ve written about the background of Paul’s economic views, particularly on the Fed, here.

Paul told Bloomberg News he wouldn’t move to end the Fed immediately, but would seek to create a “transition.” He still seems intent on holding the Republicans’ feet to the fire on the federal debt immediately, though: he’s launching a campaign to get Congress to refuse to vote to raise the debt ceiling in January, which, some economists believe has the potential to wreak havoc on the U.S. and world economy, and which promises to be the source of an intense political battle in the new year.