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Ron Paul has the single-best campaign promise of any Republican presidential candidate, which explains, in part, why he more than doubled his Iowa Caucuses showing over 2008, while Mitt Romney actually got fewer votes in 2012.

What is that campaign plank?

It is to cut $1 trillion from Washington’s spending assumptions if he is elected.

There’s just one problem with that vow. A president can’t do it.

But Congress can – and must. And if Republicans seeking election or re-election to the House and Senate in 2012 are smart, they will embrace Ron Paul’s very sound promise. His opponents for the Republican nomination would be well-advised to do the same.

Though a president alone cannot dictate what the budget will be in any year, the Congress can. In fact, if Republicans want to cut $1 trillion out of spending assumptions (note, I do not call it a budget, because budgets are obsolete in Congress) Republicans can do it – with control of only one house of Congress.

They can accomplish this monumental, revolutionary redirection of the federal government simply by voting no to any increase in the debt limit. And that’s why I have embarked a yearlong campaign to make that rejection a reality.

Deficit spending is the biggest single problem in Washington. It represents a death knell to limited government. It represents a death knell to the Constitution. It represents a death knell to representative government. It represents a death knell to individual liberty. It represents a death knell to state sovereignty. In short, it represents a death knell to everything that sets the America government apart from the rest of the world.

Many Republicans who would never vote for a tax increase today feel perfectly justified in raising the debt limit every time they are asked to do so – even by Barack Obama! In fact, last year, they abdicated their responsibility to approve future increases in the debt limit and virtually handed Obama and the Democrats in Congress the power to do so unilaterally over their objections.

Too many Washington Republicans have accepted the conventional wisdom that you simply cannot stop borrowing cold turkey. They believe the myth that Washington must somehow be weaned off the borrowing compulsion over many years. Until then, they say, we must keep digging a bigger debt hole. Even if that would actually work, they are forced to get Democrats to go along with such a plan, something that will never happen.

But Republicans don’t need to compromise and sell the idea of dramatic cuts in spending as long as that overspending is dependent on their votes to exceed debt limits.

That’s why we absolutely must persuade Republicans – from presidential candidates to members of Congress to candidates for Congress to influential organizations and individuals – to open their minds to doing something that is currently unthinkable: Opposing a hike in the debt limit in January 2013 when the new Congress is seated.

According to every public opinion poll, the American people overwhelmingly supported freezing the debt limit in 2011. They were ready to downsize Washington. But the Fed, the Wall Street tycoons and the Republican leadership prevailed upon the Republican House to continue business as usual – to give Obama all the money he needed for his scorched-earth policy against constitutionally limited government as well as any semblance of reason and responsibility.

There’s a reason Ron Paul is resonating with Republican voters – because he wants to downsize Washington, and everyone knows he’s serious about it.

Isn’t it time for other Republicans to embrace their own rhetoric about smaller government and channel it into a plan to do it next year?

It’s too late this year. They blew their chance.

But if Republicans and independents and tea-party activists rally around this simple concept starting right now, lobbying Congress, pressuring candidates and making the case with influential individuals and groups, we can accomplish this next January no matter who is elected president.

What can you do?

You can join me right now in the “No More Red Ink” campaign and start lobbying House Republicans right now. They need to hear from you. They need to be encouraged that we don’t live in a time of timidity and business as usual. Let them know the American people are serious about cutting up their credit cards and putting their fiscal house in order.

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