NEVADA, Iowa -- The road to liberty is rough, Ron Paul said Tuesday night.
As patrons at the Story County Republican chili supper leaned back from empty Styrofoam bowls, the Republican presidential candidate spoke about his vision for a dramatically less regulated America. But Paul didn’t leave out the hurdles he sees along the way.
“You have to work harder. You have to cut your expenses and you have to pay down your debt,” he said. “And there’s no way you can escape that. I mean, people don’t want to hear that.”
In a nutshell, this is how we got here, Paul said:
America had a lot of freedom, which gave America a lot of prosperity. But then Americans became more focused on that prosperity, or material wealth, than the freedom.
When the government redistributes wealth in an effort to gain more, he said, liberty gets thrown under the bus.
Part of the road back to liberty then, Paul said, is deregulation.
Speaking about Social Security, Paul said the government should continue trying to deliver checks. As president, he said, he would advocate cuts in the the Department of Education as well as the Department of Energy, “and a lot of other things.”
He asserted there was a difference between defense spending and military spending, decrying American intervention in the Middle East, including Libya.
Something like Libya wouldn’t have happened under the Founding Fathers, when liberty was ripe, he said.
“That was one of the major issues of the Revolution,” Paul said. “They didn’t want to be taxed for wars that a king started. But now we’re back to this position where the president starts the war.”
Paul came in a narrow second to Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann in the Iowa straw poll in August, and has floated from back of the pack to bumping his head on the race’s top tier since, polls suggest.
He spoke his way through Dubuque, Clinton and Muscatine on his way to Nevada on Tuesday, drawing crowds of between 100 and 200 people at some stops.
“It’s been a rather long day,” he said.
Past all of the big government woes that Paul said are drowning America, he does see some hope.
“I am an optimistic person, even though I do talk a lot about the mess we’re in,” he said. “But somebody said the reason why you can convey optimism is you first have to understand the mess you’re in before you can do anything about it.”