Ron Paul has launched his latest endeavor that does not involve running for president. On Wednesday Ron Paul held a press conference to announce the launch his new think tank, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. The Ron Paul Institute will limit itself to foreign policy and civil liberties.
The press conference was attended by a host of people on both sides of the political spectrum. Included in the lineup was former Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who has worked with Paul in the past on foreign policy issues. Curiously missing from the press conference was Ron Paul’s son, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
The institute will focus on promoting a non-interventionist foreign policy on Capitol Hill. In a press release on Paul’s Facebook page it proclaims, “The neo-conservative era is dead. The ill-advised policies pushed by the neo-cons have everywhere led to chaos and destruction, and to a hatred of the United States and its people.” The institute will have a summer school component that aims to teach non-interventionist foreign policy to college and graduate students. It will also score the votes of member of Congress on a “peach and prosperity index” and include a “Neo-Con Watch” to track members of Congress that they would consider interventionists. The institute would also promote its ideology through speeches and articles but not through long white paper, as is the norm with major think tanks.
Although the leftist Kucinich and the libertarian Paul may appear to be an odd couple for a policy institute launch the two have worked together on foreign policy issues in the past. Back when Kucinich was in Congress, the duo often worked on similar issues such as the controversial foreign drone strike program that was started under the George W. Bush administration and greatly expanded under President Barack Obama administration. In fact during one his presidential campaigns, Paul said that he would consider putting Kucinich in his cabinet. Kucinich will serve on the board of directors of the Ron Paul Institute.
Notably missing from the press conference was Rand Paul.
Rand has differed from his father in some key respects however. During the press conference Ron Paul urged Congress to close the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison camp entirely. Rand Paul answered earlier in the day at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor that he opposing the closure of the prison camp. Rand has opposed closing the prison camp as far back as 2009.
During his presidential runs, fellow Republicans often criticized Ron Paul for his non-interventionist stances. During debates Ron Paul was criticized and occasionally booed by the audience for foreign policy positions that fell out of the Republican orthodoxy. Rand Paul, who has made no secret of hinting about a 2016 run for president, may be attempting expand his brand of conservative libertarianism outside of the usual audience that proved to be insufficient for Ron Paul to win Republican nomination by taking specific stance that make him more palpable to mainstream Republican voters.
As Ron Paul transitions to a lifestyle outside the halls of Congress, his new institute will attempt to promote his ideology of non-interventionist foreign policy. We will see what happens if Rand Paul casts votes or takes positions that the Ron Paul Institute disagrees with.