Skip to comments.(Congressman Ron) Paul Gets Warm Reception at Luncheon
Posted on 08/25/2005 11:49:48 PM PDT by anymouse
FRIENDSWOOD How does someone opposed to the war and lukewarm about NASA spending fare before a crowd of astronaut-enthusiasts and loyal Republicans?
Pretty good from the looks of things at a luncheon for U.S. Rep. Ron Paul at a family-owned Mexican restaurant Thursday.
It was the congressmans first official visit to Friendswood since his district was changed to include parts of Galveston County.
Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark sponsored the burrito and fajita event, which drew more than 50 residents and elected officials.
Paul got some strong applause for his calls to eliminate the IRS and pull the United States out of the United Nations.
The audience was less responsive to his criticism of Iraq war spending and his comments about the Patriot Act.
I dont think the federal government is capable (of keeping citizens secure), but what it is capable of doing is taking away some of your civil liberties, Paul said. It is sort of like guns. You think, Oh we dont want any more gun violence so we will take the guns away from everyone in this room, but nobody in this room is going to commit a crime.
Paul said the more than 1,000-page Patriot Act, theoretically passed to prevent future terrorist attacks, infringes on peoples basic rights.
Regarding NASA, Paul got some laughs when joking that no one saved him a spot on congressional charter flights to the recent Florida shuttle launch. But there was no applause when he said the federal government should get out of the way and let private companies invest in space exploration.
More than 10,000 employees or contractor for NASAs Johnson Space Center live in the Clear Lake Area.
A veteran congressman and self-defined libertarian, Paul said he is used to opposition from members of both political parties over his views. His aides said he wins over voters with his honesty and consistency.
He is the only guy in Congress who has never taken a junket, who rejected his congressional pension, has never voted himself a pay raise, and he has never voted you a tax raise, Penny Langford-Freeman, his district political director, told the crowd.
Paul served in Congress in the late 1970s and early 80s, but then took a hiatus until 1996 to practice medicine.
In 1988, under the Libertarian ticket, he made a bid for the presidency, garnering about 3 percent of the vote.
Besides casting one of the few congressional votes against the use of force in Iraq three years ago, Paul recently signed a resolution calling on President Bush to begin troop withdrawal from Iraq by October 2006.
Paul said he sees more people agreeing with him lately.
This month, North Carolina Republican Walter Jones, the congressman who coined the term Freedom Fries, signed that same resolution.
There definitely is a shift, Paul said following the luncheon. Politicians shift because the polls shift. Right now only 36 percent of the people support the war.
Not everyone was convinced, though.
Ruth Pifer, a Friendswood Republican, said Pauls thoughts the Patriot Act made sense, but hesitated when asked about his vote against the Iraq war.
I didnt know that, she said.
Others, though, let politics slide.
Josie Barcenas, owner of the Mexican eatery, said she knew little about Paul but was excited to listen to his speech.
At the beginning of the luncheon, Paul presented Josie and Homero Barcenas with an American flag from the Capitol.
The couple opened Barcenas Mexican Restaurant seven years ago with just one cook, two waiters and a copy of the familys recipe for cabrito. Their business has since grown to two restaurants and 30 employees.
Josie Barcenas said she hopes Pauls visit will put Barcenas on the map.
As usual the reporter misrepresented what happened at this event to try to knock Republicans and drive a wedge between Republicans and libertarian leaning folks like Rep. Ron Paul.
There were closer to 75 people in attendance (packed house) and the Congressman's discussion about NASA and private space companies was in the middle of a longer discussion without a pause for applause. This weren't many in attendance with ties to NASA or its contractors (none of which have facilities in Ron Paul's district.)
I first met Ron Paul in 1974 when we were both on the ballot together as GOP Congressional nominees- Ron in the 22nd District and me in the 18th (versus Barbara Jordan). That was the year Nixon resigned and we both got killled at the polls. Fortunately Ron eventually got elected in his district. He is a man of unquestioned integrtity and intellectual honesty even thought we have our differences.
Sorry if I don't line up to pat the heads of the consistent, principled Pauls, Feingolds, and Bernie Sanders of the world.