Ron Paul Rewind: 1988 Libertarian Presidential Nominee Ron Paul Interviewed At William F. Buckley Jr.’s Firing Line – OpEd


This weekend, delegates at the Libertarian Party national convention will be selecting a presidential nominee. For the 1988 election, the party’s nominee was Ron Paul, who had previously served several terms in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican from Texas.

Paul did not come close to winning in 1988. Neither can it be expected will the Libertarian presidential nominee soon to be selected. But, as did Paul in his presidential run, the new nominee can be expected to use his campaign to reach people with his views on political issues. One way Paul did so during his campaign was in being interviewed on William F. Buckley, Jr.’s Firing Line program.

In the interview, Paul advocated for the US government taking actions including eliminating the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the income tax. There was scant agreement between Paul and Buckley until the last few minutes of the episode when the conversation turned to welfare programs.

Interestingly, Paul’s appearance on Firing Line was in January of the presidential election year. For that election, the libertarian nominee was chosen by national convention delegates in September of 1987 — over a year before the November of 1988 presidential election date. Starting in 1996, the party’s presidential nominees have been chosen much closer to the November election date — at national conventions taking place in the period of May to July of presidential election years.

Adam Dick

Adam Dick is a Senior Fellow at Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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