Is he running for US Senate? Is he signaling his bid for US president? Or is he hinting at something deeper within the US political climate?
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) sounded like he was about to hit the campaign trail again during his speech at a right-wing forum Friday, but before he left the podium, he warned Americans that their federal government was in trouble.
"Tragically, you're going to have the opportunity [to not ask the federal government for anything], because government is in the process of failing, and they can't deliver on the goods, just as the Soviets couldn't deliver the goods and maintain their own power," he said during the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Rep. Paul continued, "We will have those same problems domestically. We face serious economic problems as this dollar crisis evolves."
Paul has hinted in recent weeks that he might seek the Senate seat that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison plans to vacate after nearly two decades in Congress. If he should win, he would join his newly-elected son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
However, Paul, 75, seemed to be cultivating his position in the libertarian wing of the Republican Party.
"I'm glad to see that the revolution is continuing," he said, adding, "We don't need to just change political parties. We need to change our philosophy about what this country is all about."
Paul drew thunderous applause for bashing his favorite targets: the Patriot Act, US aid to foreign nations, and US military bases overseas. After his call for the Federal Reserve banking system to be audited, the crowd chanted, "End the Fed! End the Fed!"
Paul became the chair of the House financial services subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology after Republicans retook the House last fall. He held his first meeting on the Federal Reserve this week.
"The Federal Reserve will end itself," he added. "They have eliminated 98 percent of value of the 1913 dollar, and it's continued erosion."
Paul used the newly-extended Patriot Act as a sign that grassroots activists were pulling the grip on power away from Washington.
"We didn't get a majority vote, but they didn't pass it automatically with a 2/3rds majority vote, sending a message that this country is waking up," he said. "We want to protect our civil liberties as well as our economic liberties."
Paul, who was the only Republican to bring up the situation in Egypt at the conference, blamed US foreign aid to other countries for the instability in the United States, and he warned that the revolutionary spirit against US-backed dictators sweeping the Middle East would soon envelop Saudi Arabia.
"All of the Middle East is unstable because of this [foreign aid]," he said.
Paul continued, "Now it's Tunisia. Next it's Egypt. And it's going to keep going because all the problems are there because the people don't like us propping up their dictators, no more than we would like it if a foreign country came here to prop up a dictator in our country."
The conference was not without its own revolution. On Thursday, Paul's supporters chanted "war criminal" at former Vice President Dick Cheney, who is seen as one of the masterminds behind the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Defend liberty," Paul closed.
This video was published at YouTube, broadcast Feb. 11, 2011, via RonPaul2008dotcom.