When actor Vince Vaughn telephoned Congressman Ron Paul about two and a half years ago, it was not because he was interested in becoming a political activist, although he was interested in a political issue. The Federal Reserve and its inherent problems had become of increasing concern to Vaughn, and he knew that Rep. Paul was one of the most outspoken critics of the United States’s central bank. Paul obliged Vaughn, recommending books and websites related to the actor’s questions, and the two began a relationship first based on shared philosophical interests which would develop into a friendship. Vaughn even invited Ron and his wife Carol to the Hollywood premier of Vaughn’s movie “Couples Retreat” last year.
I can tell you from first-hand experience that most of the congressman’s staffers and campaign workers were, until very recently, barely aware of this friendship. Both parties simply preferred to keep their relationship to themselves. For those who know Congressman Paul, his discreet and respectful manner comes as no surprise — and apparently, the same is true of Vince Vaughn.
When Vaughn introduced Paul at the Liberty Political Action Conference in Reno, Nevada last week, it was not something the actor took lightly, knowing full well that introducing the 2012 GOP presidential candidate in a public forum would make national headlines. Of course, that was sort of the point. But whereas many Hollywood actors revel in their role as political activists, Vaughn did not particularly want to use his celebrity to promote his views or anyone else’s. Still, Vaughn had political concerns, as do most Americans, and felt it was appropriate and important to make his support for Paul known. It’s not as if Vaughn stood to garner any accolades from liberal Hollywood for supporting a conservative Republican trying to take Barack Obama’s job. It’s certainly not even that the actor would help his career by taking a public political stance, which obviously always carries some risk for anyone in the entertainment industry.
No, Vaughn supported Paul simply because he felt it was the right thing to do. Vince stood behind Ron because he believes his ideas are what’s right for this country. This was not a backroom deal made for mutual benefit. This wasn’t even a backroom deal. Vaughn’s showing of public support for Paul was that of a concerned American, who just happens to be famous, who wanted to do what he thought was right and just. Vaughn did it as a philosophical ally and a friend, and he quite literally had nothing to gain personally from this — which is precisely what made it so special.
Paul’s critique of the Federal Reserve and his promotion of the Austrian school of economics always has been, and remains, Vaughn’s primary attraction to the congressman’s philosophy. And he is certainly not alone. The conservative notion of not spending money you don’t have and empowering the free markets has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. The son of a conservative Republican, Vaughn’s interest in restoring sound money as a return to fiscal sanity coincides with public fear of a national debt that now equals the gross domestic product. Vaughn’s promotion of Austrian economics coincides with growing American sentiment that the conventional solutions of federal stimulus, bailouts and bigger government do not work and have only made things worse.
Many Democrats, and unfortunately more than a few Republicans, do not seem to have the appropriate sense of urgency on these issues. But Ron Paul does. So, apparently, does Vince Vaughn. So do, increasingly, a substantial portion of the American people.
If Vaughn’s famous movie “Old School” is about middle-aged men reverting to what they considered a better time in their lives, Paul’s belief that we should return to the Constitution reflects an earnest desire to rediscover the founding principles that first made this country great: individual liberty over collectivism; state and local solutions over Washington solutions; sound money over an increasingly devalued dollar; a strong national defense over a costly and irrational offense.
Such propositions are no longer radical to an American public that increasingly realizes politics-as-usual have failed to answer the most pressing problems of our day.
Paul’s philosophy of liberty poses a direct challenge to the status quo of both parties, and that philosophy is spreading — whether judged by Paul’s continued strong double-digit performance in most national polls, continued competitive fundraising or the dominance of his ideas in this election.
Indeed, by most measures, it’s safe to say that more Americans than ever are beginning to agree with Ron Paul. Vince Vaughn is simply another one of those Americans.
Jack Hunter writes at the “Paulitical Ticker,” where he is the official Ron Paul 2012 campaign blogger.