Rand Paul: Breaking the Lame Tradition of Freshman Senators

Congress-focused newspaper The Hill notes the impressive noise freshman Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul is already making. Some details:

Rand Paul has broken with tradition by eschewing the unwritten rules for freshman senators: Keep a low profile, learn the chamber’s arcane procedures and cozy up to senior colleagues.

Unlike ex-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and many others, Paul (R-Ky.) has tried to drive policymaking in the upper chamber instead of sitting quietly in the back.

He has pushed a proposal to cut $500 billion in federal spending over the course of a single year. That has applied pressure to GOP leaders, including Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, to take a similarly hard approach or risk looking timid to Tea Party activists.....

He was the first Senate Republican to publicly dismiss as insufficient a proposal by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to cut $32 billion from the federal budget for 2011.

Hours later, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) released a letter warning House Republican leaders that their spending plan was inadequate.

And on Monday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), one of the most influential fiscal hawks in Congress, said Paul’s budget blueprint is viable....

Defying Republican orthodoxy, Paul has called for steep cuts in defense spending. Picking a fight with the pro-Israel lobby, he is seeking an end to all foreign aid, including aid to the U.S. ally.

Like his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the 48-year-old senator is provocative and adept at attracting headlines....

The story discusses Paul's controversial inaugural speech slamming the reputation of his 19th century Kentucky predecessor Henry Clay, and notes that Paul's fellow Kentucky Sentator Mitch McConnell walked off the floor in the middle of it (though his aides say it was a scheduling conflict, not disgust.)

Paul is doing what he's gotta do, say some of The Hill's sources:

Donald Gross, chairman of the political science department at the University of Kentucky, said Paul has become “locked in his own creation” because he ran for office as an outspoken critic of business-as-usual in Washington and now voters and the media expect him to fulfill that role....

Scott Jennings, a member of the Kentucky Republican Party’s executive committee, said Paul promised to take aggressive stances during the 2010 election.

“One of the underlying key reasons he was able to build such momentum in the Republican primary is he presented the view and vision of the next senator from Kentucky as being someone who would lead from the front,” said Jennings.

I wondered right after his election how much in the way of action and results we could expect from the far-outlying Sen. Paul.

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  • waffles||

    Defying Republican orthodoxy, Paul has called for steep cuts in defense spending. Picking a fight with the pro-Israel lobby, he is seeking an end to all foreign aid, including aid to the U.S. ally.

    Awesome! I never understood why we gave aids to Israel and armies oppsing Israel. It wasn't sane then and isn't now. Apparently it's taboo subject to broach, but seriously let's leave Israel alone.

  • Juice||

    The US gives them money and they give the money to US corporations to buy weapons and such. It's corporate welfare wrapped in a bribe.

  • MJ||

    It's Jimmy Carter's Camp David Accords legacy.

  • ||

    Besides, they're God's chosen people... he'll protect them.

  • Cruz||

    Nice

  • ||

    THIS.

    I'm as Pro-Israel as they come, but I still want to zero-out their funding.

    If we're Out of Money™ here in the U.S., why are we sending our dollars over there?

  • Cytotoxic||

    We are of like minds. Another thing to think about: how much damage to Israel has been caused by UN-funded anti-Israel PA propaganda, which is largely funded by America indirectly.

  • ||

    Not perfect, but significantly better than average, and perhaps as good as we can get.

  • SIV||

    The Reason guide to all you need to know about Rand Paul.

    Paul says he opposes abortion without exception, not even in cases of rape, incest or the health of the expectant mother. He also opposes marriages between gay and lesbian couples.

  • waffles||

    well, duh. No one thinks that couples should get married, that's confusing! If they a person marries another person, fine. But should they link up with another couple, NO!

    Can you imagine a marriage with 4 spouses? 8? 16? 32? Yes this is alarming. But if the people will it, I propose a hard cap of 256 for maximum persons in the same marriage. To go any further would be indecent.

  • alan||

    Fits perfectly into an 8 bit array that can be used to keep track of all the spouses in a spread sheet app. Makes sense to me.

  • Spiny Norman||

    It's a slippery slope, made even slipperier with all the lubricant that would no doubt be required.

  • alan||

    Think of it as an investment opportunity.

  • Brendan||

    Bad idea. If we allow 8 bit marriage, it won't be long before the liberals are calling for marriage v4 with its 32 bit array and 4,294,967,295 possible partners. Marriage v6 would mean the end of everything we know with it's 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 possible partners.

  • Juice||

    Wasn't plural marriages a fad there for a while? Like 4-6 people, men and women, all getting married.

  • affenkopf||

    Nobody's perfect.

  • Paul||

    He also opposes marriages between gay and lesbian couples.

    I oppose marriage between gay, lesbian and straight couples. So from where I stand, he's almost there.

  • creech||

    Is he trying to outlaw abortions or is he just saying his opinion is that he wouldn't condone one if bearing a child full term would kill his daughter? Plenty of bona fide libertarians oppose abortion but very few want to outlaw it.

  • R. James||

    Fuck yo nuance!

  • SIV||

    Rand Paul on baby killing:
    Iam 100% pro life. I believe abortion is taking the life of an innocent human being.
    I believe life begins at conception and it is the duty of our government to protect this life.
    I will always vote for any and all legislation that would end abortion or lead us in the direction of ending abortion.
    I believe in a Human Life Amendment and a Life at Conception Act as federal solutions to the abortion issue. I also believe that while we are working toward this goal, there are many other things we can accomplish in the near term.


    Virtually all pro-lifers accept abortion to save the life of the mother.

  • ||

    Plenty of bona fide libertarians oppose abortion but very few want to outlaw it.

    I would say a solid minority of libertarians support laws against elective abortions, based on the application of the non-aggression principle and their working assumption that life/personhood begins at conception.

  • SIV||

    I'm not so sure it is just a minority. I suppose it all depends how you define "libertarian".

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    Very much so; also, the fiscal and personal responsibility that libertarianism espouses WRT to elective procedures.

  • It's a||

    human being. Not a puppy, not an ear of corn, not a hood ornament for a 1949 Hudson... a human.

    But the fedgov does need to butt out of abortion, in all aspects.

  • PabloKoh||

    Why does the State sanction the union between between two people anyway. Can't we leave that to private contracts?

  • SIV||

    That question translates in Reason-speak to GOD HATES FAGS!!1!

  • Frank M||

    Are you saying that because of his opposition to abortion we shouldn't accept his plan to cut 500 billion from the budget?

  • Scott||

    I like it. And when somebody is bold enough to do that kind of thing on his own, it tends to lend courage to the more timid...here's hoping.

  • ¢||

    The Reason guide to all you need to know about Rand Paul, revised:

    "-tucky."

  • Jerk||

    Look, I hate statists as much as everybody, but why specifically point out Clinton and Frankin? Haven't ALL freshman senators, from both parties, largely just sat in the back and done nothing useful?

  • Ska||

    Nothing would generally be an improvement. It's them voting straight party line that fucks everything up.

  • Tolly||

    The focus on those two might be due to the fact that both came in as self-declared rebels who were going to buck the system. Franken shows moments of trying to stick to his scruples but Clinton, with all the drug-war rhetoric and wikileaks-pillorying, shows how much she's become part of the establishment(as if it was ever about anything but being in office).

  • marlok||

    Didn't Rod-ham vote to make flag-burning illegal in one of the more ridiculous centrist head-fakes of the past decade?

  • ||

    ...including Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, to take a similarly hard approach or risk looking timid to Tea Party activists

    Fucking Sweet.

  • Ice Nine||

    >>"he ran for office as an outspoken critic of business-as-usual in Washington and now voters and the media expect him to fulfill that role..."

    The gall!

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    Indeed, the temerity of such an upstart! The impudence of scruples!

  • #||

    And then there is this gem...

    http://paul.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=331028&

  • The Thinking Man's NASCAR||

    Yes, that's quite an elegant speech against the USA PATRIOT Act. If only we had more true statesmen willing to oppose such freedom-shredding legislation. Rand and his dad can't do it alone, after all.

    Watch it here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSDBswx90Cs

  • T||

    As much as I like a lot of what he's doing, I'm gonna have to go with an overall assessment of much sound and fury signifying nothing.

  • Brett L||

    It is kind of perfect to submit a schedule of bills that are dead center of the public momentum but completely unpassable. Like you, I'm kind of waiting for him to establish a voting record before I start making space for a Rand Paul bust on my mantle.

  • marlok||

    Well, I'd rather have a guy screaming stop to the driver of cadillac heading for a cliff than have him reclined in the backseat sipping a mimosa.

    Sometimes sound and fury is the best you can hope for.

  • ||

    Donald Gross, chairman of the political science department at the University of Kentucky, said Paul has become “locked in his own creation” because he ran for office as an outspoken critic of business-as-usual in Washington and now voters and the media expect him to fulfill that role....

    "This bizarre behavior is inexplicable. It's almost as if Senator Paul meant what he said during the campaign, but this hypothesis lies outside the model. What to do, what to do?"

  • ||

    That, plus apparently Mr. Gross is the Secret Puppetmaster in Washington, since he also claims that the media's expectations control what Senators actually do.

  • Paul||

    Donald Gross, chairman of the political science department at the University of Kentucky, said Paul has become “locked in his own creation”

    Obama was slave to no such creations of his own. Take that Rand Paul.

  • Moe19||

    RACIST!1!!

  • Literary Revisionist||

    The original comment had 'nigger' in it, but we changed it to 'slave'.

  • economists||

    You just need to add some more parameters in your model to make it fit. For example the racistivity factor can cover just about anything. Just be careful to only collect data post 2008.

  • Paul||

    Donald Gross, chairman of the political science

    No need to read any opinions past that introduction. Political "science". Lulz.

  • Tolly||

    Yes, his social views are backwards. That's disappointing, but right now we need to veer away from bankruptcy and he's one of the few "conservatives" who seem to grasp that it's urgent and necessary. GOP-ers like Mitch McConnell are just following the cronyism and stunted fiscal policies of what got us into this trouble in the first place.
    I only hope that Paul's social views will be overridden by the popular progressive views on gays and abortion.

  • Wesley||

    The popular views are moving toward more gay rights, but against abortion. People under 30 don't seem to fit in the same boxes as their parents on social issues.

  • Law Student||

    As a 24 year old who supports people forming any kind of marriage they want and who opposes abortion, you can add me as anecdotal evidence.

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    Ditto.

  • IceTrey||

    Pretty much everyone in the world "opposes" abortion. Abortion is horrific. That has nothing to do whether it should be legal or not.

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    Pretty much everyone in the world "opposes" abortion.

    Citation please.

  • Brett L||

    So Planned Parenthood isn't composed of people?

  • ||

    So Planned Parenthood isn't composed of people?

    Uh... no. It's a corporation and therefore able to buy and sell elections at the flip of a switch or the stroke of a pen. This is what happens when century-old precedent gets overturned by 9 old people in robes.

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    If it's a corporation, then it can fund its own enterprises and get off the federal tit. Enough with the crony!

  • marlok||

    My impression was that the left thought of it as a simple surgical procedure like removing an appendix. They believe that it is a fully moral action if the woman wants it. I hear the "just a ball of cells" line used a lot.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, lefty readers.

  • SIV||

    Pretty much everyone in the world "opposes" abortion.

    The Chinese government and millions of American and European feminists excepted

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    And IslamoNazis if the gender happens to be XX.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tolly,

    Yes, his social views are backwards.


    You mean he doesn't want to pay for yours?

    I only hope that Paul's social views will be overridden by the popular progressive views on gays and abortion.


    You mean you want him to eschew his principles for political goals?

  • Invisible Finger||

    "Locked in his own creation"?

    How clueless can you get?

    He hasn't been in office long enough. As time goes by and some of his ideas turn out to have unintended consequences, THEN we'll see if he's lock in his own creation and willing to admit mistakes instead of spin them.

    People like David Gross are the ones locked in their own creations - thinking political science is a viable occupation rather than self-contradictory nonsense it is.

  • IceTrey||

    His deeds follow his words and people are shocked.

  • Old Mexican||

    Defying Republican orthodoxy, Paul has called for steep cuts in defense spending. Picking a fight with the pro-Israel lobby, he is seeking an end to all foreign aid, including aid to the U.S. ally.


    Which part of "We Don't Have Mo' Money" don't you guys understand???

  • ||

    He also just came out against the extention for the Patriot Act provisions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

    I think we can now stop questioning his libertarian creditentials.

  • Gregory Smith||

    I like Rand Paul, he was elected to raise a ruckus, not to hide in the corner. Good for you, Rand, stand up and show those statists that The Tea Party will not be silenced!

    10 Questions for La Raza.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl.....-raza.html

  • Joe R.||

    That's 10 more than I have. And 10 more than this article had.

  • TallDave||

    Fairly impressed with Rand Paul so far.

  • ||

    Question for you guys vis a vis American foreign policy. Is it acceptable for American companies to sell weapon systems to other governments? Because, if I recall correctly, old-school neutrality included the responsibility of the neutral government to restrain businesses from trading with belligerents. Which would be violation of liberty of contract, right?

    So American foreign policy under a hypothetical libertarian government would be non-interventionist, but what if South Korea wanted to buy some new anti-armor missile from Raytheon*? Because historically speaking, the US has found itself drawn into war because American businesses were trading with belligerents, several times in fact.

    Your thoughts?

    *With their money, none of this "we reimburse you for the cash you spend buying American weapons from the foreign aid budget"

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Let Korea buy the weapons. Our businessmen will be happy to take their money. And then you don't get into a war with them.

  • ||

    Except we got into war with France and England because they didn't like how we sold things like food and other needed supplies to both sides during the Napoleonic Wars. American merchants made their fortunes supplying any and all customers, and both England and France hated us for selling to the other guy.

  • ||

    I wondered right after his election how much in the way of action and results we could expect from the far-outlying Sen. Paul.

    Funny how these fairly tame "outlandishly fringe libertarian" ideas don't sound so outlandish any longer now that a senator is expressing them.

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