Ron Paul doesn't know what twerking is and he doesn't care. Neither do his often-young libertarian-minded fans who enjoy his new venture the Ron Paul Channel. The retired congressman who spoke to BuzzFeed Monday was the same Federal Reserve-bashing, anti-government spending Paul as always, but seemed a bit more relaxed now that he's free from the constant call of Washington.
1. Meet the Ron Paul Channel, Paul's new grab-bag anything-goes outlet for expressing his views on a routine basis. You can subscribe, for just $9.95 a month.
"I want to have a channel where people can come together, have a take on the news that'd be different from what they can expect from any major network or almost anything they see on TV. Like, this morning I did a commentary on some articles that showed up over the weekend," Paul told BuzzFeed, before launching into his usual "end the Fed" rhetoric that so many have come to know him for.
"Not exactly what you would hear on the evening news," says Paul of the expected Fed critique you would see on his channel. "My goal was to talk about economic policy, monetary policy, all the spending, the attack on our civil liberties, and also the foreign policy, which would be not unique entirely but different from what you would see on the television. And people who are seeking more information, and a more truthful approach to the news would get it from our channel."
2. Paul said he doesn't know if his high-profile son, Kentucky senator and possible presidential hopeful Rand Paul, watches his channel. Paul said he's never even asked him.
"Oh, I don't know. I've never asked him. He's so busy. I can't watch all his YouTubes, because he's on so many and I have my thing, so, my guess would be he wouldn't have time to but he was on the channel," Paul said. "His schedule and mine do not overlap, we sort of keep up, but not on a daily basis."
3. And Paul's not worried about opposition researchers digging through his channel to find tidbits to attack his son should Rand decide to run for president. He doesn't think it could get any worse than what people have already found.
"Couldn't be any worse than they've already done. He's already vulnerable — you know, it's a mixed blessing for him because I think any individual who's been in public life, there's gross distortions and exaggerations, and they're out there, and they've already been used against him. At the same time, the freedom movement, I've been closely associated with it, and there's a large number of people involved and I was able to help him with fundraising and get him started on the Senate race. So yeah, it has to be mixed, but a lot of politics is that way. You have advantages and disadvantages."
4. For Paul, leaving Congress has been a time to relax and do the things he didn't have the time to do as a member of Congress.
"It's been really quite enjoyable because my time is more my own. I've gotten to go to the universities. I've been to several universities, and I like talking to young people who are interested in the freedom philosophy as well as Austrian economics. So I've traveled. I've got a book out on homeschooling. I've got the channel started. I do some radio. And it's just something that is on my time. Also, one of my former staffers helped me get started on a new institute. The Institute for Peace And Prosperity, which concentrates on foreign policy. So my activities have probably been busier. Before, a lot of time consumed but not really accomplishing a whole lot by running back and forth and going at the behest of the speaker. So now I don't have to do that and have more time to do the things that I enjoy doing."
5. Paul also said Rand's done eye exams on him, correcting this reporter, who originally misstated that his son was a previously a dentist.
"Before he was in politics, if my wife and I stopped in to see the family in Kentucky we'd have our eyes checked. It would save me a visit to an ophthalmologist down here because I don't have any problems, but there's a history of glaucoma in the family, so it's best to get the pressures checked. He's done those examinations on me."
7. He also thinks it's "fantastic" the neo-conservatives lost on Syria, not to mention that he's not so sure the rise of the libertarian wing of Republican Party means they're disappearing — they could just be biding their time until the next conflict.
"They won't go away quietly, they're still there. All they need is some excuse and they'll be back in it if there's some serious confrontation in the Middle East," Paul said. "I thought it was just fantastic that the neo-cons lost the public debate about bombing Syria and planning a war for Iran. And now they're negotiating, making an effort to talk to the Iranians in the first time in all these years. I think it's fantastic, but the neo-cons definitely have a setback, but I think they're going to be around for a long time. They're just looking for another excuse. The 9/11 episode certainly gave them their excuse to do what they've been wanting to do all along. They're the ones who had the Patriot Act sitting around for years, waiting for the opportunity, and they've also wanted to remake the Middle East. They've done a good job of remaking it, but it turns out it's a lot worse now than it was before they started. Just think of how many people have been killed and how much money we've spent."
8. And twerking? Paul doesn't know what it is. He doesn't care either because he says his viewers and fans care about the big picture, not the little things.
"When I'm totally oblivious to those very important things that people your age love, they don't hold it against me because they know that the system I'm interested in, freedom of choice and freedom to allow people to have their own social values, they understand that. So I think they get a big charge out of the fact that I'm the last guy in the world that would ever be involved with marijuana and then yet I'm the champion of legalizing drugs. I think it gives that movement some creditability, because I don't have ulterior motive. My guess is they don't hold that against me and they think it's rather neat. But I know a lot more than I did a few years ago."
9. Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange, and Jesse Ventura have all been on his channel already. Now he's eyeing to bring on one of his most famous supporters.
"Maybe someday I will get one of my supporters who donated money to me, Edward Snowden. Maybe he'll come on the show. Who knows."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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