Apart from news of a radio gig, Ron Paul has kept a fairly low profile since his bid for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination last year. Last night at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium Paul gave what was, if I’m not mistaken, his first speech in DC since the 2012 election. He touched on familiar subjects like the Fed and the drug war, but also focused on the plight of whistleblowers John Kiriakou and Bradley Manning, and the Republican Party’s long-forgotten noninterventionist streak.

He was introduced by Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-TN), an early conservative opponent of the Iraq war who said Paul “deserves a tribute such as being placed on one of our coins.”

One hopes it would be a gold coin.

Paul also briefly mentioned on the nomination battle over Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel:

We’ve had this big argument, just the last couple of weeks, with the confirmation of Hagel and Kerry. Hagel, of course, is a Republican. He said some things similar to what I’ve just got done saying, that maybe we shouldn’t go [to war] so fast, maybe we should be cautious. Who piled on him? It was the Republicans who piled on him. ‘Don’t talk like that, don’t talk like a wimp! We don’t want you in there!’ … These two guys actually went to war and were wounded and won medals. And who’s jumping on them? People who have never even served in the military. This whole idea that you can challenge someone’s patriotism because they happen to take a position that is slightly less anxious to go to war … we ought to be cheering someone who’s more cautious about going to war.

The bit about challenging someone’s patriotism is a clear reference to Sen. Ted Cruz, whose senatorial bid Paul endorsed. During the nomination hearings Cruz suggested that Hagel’s loyalties were divided due to alleged ties to foreign governments and “radical and extremist groups,” a possible reference to a now-debunked hoax perpetrated by the reliably belligerent–in rhetoric and foreign policy–Breitbart blog.

Paul also spoke about the need for the GOP to return to its noninterventionist roots:

There was a time when the Republican party was the peace party, back with Taft, before World War II, and even with Eisenhower. Eisenhower did some great things! You would never believe that the Republicans at one time cut the military budget by 30 percent in real terms, and it was considered beneficial to the economy, and we had a great decade in the 50s. That’s what Eisenhower did. Of course, Taft argued we shouldn’t be the world policeman. If we want the Republican Party to help lead the charge in this revolutionary change, we have to decide what we believe in, and one big issue will be foreign policy. Some will say, can we steal this from the Democrats? Aren’t they the peace party? Aren’t they always for peace? Yeah, sure, our current president gets in, a week later he wins the Nobel Peace Prize, and the next day he sends in thousands of more troops and expands the war in Afghanistan. Politically, though, he was the peace candidate.

In regards to war, he also said this confusing thing:

The burden is going to be placed on you to pay for this. The founders understood this, they were so clear on this. This is the reason they put in the Constitution that no president can go to war without a declaration of war by the U.S. congress and the consent of the people. [Bold mine–JB]

What was he trying to say with that statement? The latter part isn’t really true, except implicitly, and Dr. Paul, the strict constitutionalist, has to know that. Was it an endorsement of the Ludlow Amendment?

Paul also repeated a conspiratorial claim about DHS armaments purchases. Yesterday Infowars among other places reported–reported?–that DHS bought 2,700 tanks, presumably intending to use them to round us up into FEMA camps pursuant to Agenda 21. The story isn’t true–the tanks are actually MRAP assault vehicles, and they’re going to the Navy. But the claim about DHS buying 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition turned out to be real, and at least the good doctor is keeping up with the headlines.