Ron Paul is on the 'Daily Show' tonight. Will he say something inflammatory?

In past appearances on the 'Daily Show,' Ron Paul has made comments to Jon Stewart that would have gotten other candidates in trouble. Will he push the boundaries again tonight?

Scott Audette/Reuters
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R) of Texas smiles before the Republican Party of Florida presidential candidates debate in Orlando, Fla.

Tonight’s the night – Ron Paul visits the “Daily Show” for an interview with Jon Stewart. This will mark the third time in recent years that the presidential hopeful and the Walter Cronkite of comedians have sat down for an in-depth chat. Paul’s said some inflammatory things in those past appearances. Will that happen again this evening?

Of course, to a certain extent Paul’s candidacy is based on ideas that get the Republican and/or Democratic Party establishments all worked up.

He’s against US intervention overseas to the point where he thinks we should stop bothering Iran about its (alleged) nuclear weapons program, for instance. He’s criticized the building of a fence along the US southern border, in part because he worries that at some point it could be used to pen US citizens in the country.

In past appearances the Texas libertarian has made comments to Stewart that would have gotten other candidates in trouble. (Maybe the purported lack of attention Paul gets from the media works to his benefit at times?) To wit:

Medicare? Meh. Stewart had Paul on back in June, 2007, at the beginning of the last presidential political cycle. Paul was running for the GOP nomination then, too, and Stewart gave him a little plug at the top of the interview.

“You have accomplished no small feat ... you’ve created a nice little buzz about the Paul presidential campaign,” said Stewart. (Who, apropos of nothing, once boosted his career by hosting a Sesame Street variety special titled “Elmopalooza”.)

Stewart than praised Paul’s “consistent principled integrity,” and noted that as a medical doctor Paul didn't accept Medicare payments in his own practice. Did Paul favor getting rid of the program?

“Yes,” Paul replied, “But it’s not high on my agenda.”

Hasn’t Rick Perry been bashed for suggesting that Social Security perhaps should be turned back to the states? Just imagine if he’d said Medicare should be finito. Mitt Romney would send a DVD of the show to every AARP member in America.

The mother of all Ponzi schemes. The media (and Mitt you-know-who) have also criticized Gov. Perry for his description of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.” But you know what? Paul’s been using that line for years. Maybe Romney should go after Perry for plagiarism, too.

During a September, 2009 “Daily Show” appearance Paul was warming to one of his favorite subjects – how big government infringes personal liberty – when the subject of Bernie Madoff’s fraud came up.

“What about Madoff? He deserved to go to jail, but you know there’s a Ponzi scheme down in D.C. It’s the perpetuation of [big] government,” said Paul.

See, Perry only called into question Social Security. Paul’s thinking a bigger Ponzi – Social Security, plus everything else! We await a thoughtful piece from the New York Times editorial board on this matter.

“End the Fed." Remember when Perry said something along the lines of Ben Bernanke would get a wedgie if he came to Texas, only harsher? Well, no one in US politics can match Paul when it comes to animus about the Federal Reserve. He’s been doing it for decades. Perry is a Rick-come-lately in this regard.

Paul’s 2009 appearance on "The Daily Show" came on the heels of the publication of his book, "End the Fed," for instance. So now we know what would actually happen to chairman Bernanke if he came to Texas – he’d end up unemployed.

“You have to find out how they finance big government,” Paul said in 2009. “They have this little thing called the ‘counterfeit machine’, and they just print money when they need it.”

Now, as we’ve said in the past, Stewart is not completely in the tank for Ron Paul. He’s had debates with the man about the proper balance of government versus corporate power that would not be out of place in a university political science course. OK, maybe high school. But still.

We’ll look forward to that kind of thing again tonight.

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