GOP candidate Ron Paul has some of the most fervent supporters, especially among the savvy online users that keep his message in front of readers. The 76-year-old Texas congressman has an especially strong appeal to younger voters, college students and military servicemen and women.
I spoke with 10-year veteran and Florida active duty serviceman Ray Morgan, 29, about his support for Paul. Morgan has served four tours of duty overseas, including two in Iraq. He holds no official position in the Ron Paul campaign, and spoke solely as an American citizen. He is, like thousands of other supporters, someone who believes in the congressman's message, not in the politics of party affiliation.
* Initial interest in Ron Paul -- Morgan said he was first intrigued by Paul's foreign policy positions and that made him take a look at other issues. "He just makes a lot of sense to me," Morgan said. "Once you scratch the surface, there is no benevolence in what he is talking about on anything. He's just about putting America first."
Morgan said so much of U.S. foreign policy depends on helping countries that have no love for American values and often become countries we have to fight. "We are furthering our agenda and propping up despots and dictators. I really don't understand why we prop up a dictator. It makes no sense to me at all."
* Ron Paul's durability as a candidate -- Paul's message speaks to a lot of voters -- especially young voters who see government doing too much, he said. "Ron Paul wants to end foreign aid, which makes a lot of sense when it's our money we keep giving away…and we don't have it to give anymore."
Morgan said Paul want to return to following the Constitution, especially when it comes to fighting foreign wars. "We've been in Iraq and Afghanistan for a decade," Morgan said. "There's never been a declaration of war passed by Congress...and that's what the Constitution says must happen. Ron Paul is the only candidate who is truly talking about issues that affect the American people. He's completely believable."
* Other than foreign policy, what else attracts you to this candidate? "It's about the core issues that are not getting addressed by anyone else," Morgan said. "Take the Federal Reserve, for example. Just having a centralized control of the money supply for a country is a bad idea…it's a global problem."
Morgan concedes that other countries have centralized monetary controls as well. "That doesn't make it right. Regulations aren't effective if they are protecting the wrong people." He said the federal bailouts in 2008 were a bad idea and added billions to the national debt. "The government saved the companies they wanted to save, and everyone else was on their own. It's just wrong."
* Can Ron Paul be elected? -- "I'm not a political expert, but I know he's talking about issues that are important to me and a lot of other people. There aren't any other candidates out there who want to talk about controlling the Federal Reserve, ending these budget deficits and reducing the size of government."
Morgan said he doesn't believe he can support any of the other Republican candidates if Ron Paul does not win the nomination. "It's still really early, I mean most of the states haven't even voted yet. But if Ron Paul doesn't win the Republican nomination, I don't see myself being able to vote for one of the other guys."
"I don't see myself as supporting a particular political party at this point," he said. "They are all supported by lobbyists. Ron Paul has a track record to show that he truly believes in what he's talking about."
Dan McGinnis is a freelance writer, published author and former newspaper publisher. He has been a candidate, campaign manager and press secretary for state and local political campaigns for more than 30 years.
- Ron Paul
- Ray Morgan