Texas Rep. Ron Paul proved once again Saturday that his politics continue to divide the Republican Party.
He was met with both disapproval and applause during the Southern Republican Leadership Conference for describing conservatives as hypocritical when they call for a return to Constitutional values while supporting foreign wars.
“The conservatives and the liberals, they both like to spend,” Paul said, according to Think Progress. “Conservatives spend money on different things. They like embassies, and they like occupation. They like the empire. They like to be in 135 countries and 700 bases.
“DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rather conservative to say, Ã¢â‚¬ËœOh itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s good to follow the Constitution. Oh, except for war. Let the President go to war anytime they want.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ We can do better with peace than with war.”
While most of the other speakers at the event used plenty of rhetoric for “easy applause,” as Washington Post reporter David Weigel put it, Paul stuck to the outrage over American foreign policy that has defined his platform.
Whenever the boos grew loud enough, Paul returned to his “humble” foreign policy stance.
“It’s been 60 years since we went to war in Korea,” said Paul. “Why do we have to have troops there?”
Enough of Paul’s supporters showed up for the conference that many of his fellow speakers were met with boos on issues of government spending. In a straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Paul walked away with the most support for a 2012 presidential bid: 31 percent.
Eying another bid for president after a run in 2008, Paul is telling Republican activists that “the American people have awoken” because Washington won’t address the nation’s fiscal crisis.
“The reason why the American people have awoken … is because the country is broke and the people in Washington won’t admit it.”
Paul added, however, that President Obama is not the “socialist” he has been labeled by Tea Party activists.
Most political commentators believe Paul is vying with Mitt Romney for the top slot of the straw poll of this weekend’s conference.
In a question-and-answer period after his speech, a blogger asked Paul why his supporters seemed so disinterested in the Republican Party.
“The question you should be asking,” said Paul, “is, why isn’t the Republican Party interested in them? We can get huge crowds with this message.”
Due to an editingÃ‚Â omission, the source of the story was originally not included. Paul’s quote was first noticed by Think Progress.