Rand Paul: Politico Shocked He's Behaving Like a Libertarian

Sure, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has gone out of his way to call himself a constitutionalist conservative rather than a libertarian per se, and many (perhaps most) libertarians object to his objections to abortion (though if you genuinely believe a fetus is a human life, there is nothing inherently unlibertarian about laws to protect them).

Still, Politico is acting way more shocked than they should be that Paul is making many libertarian-leaning proposals such as a call

to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for pot possession. He wants to carve a compromise immigration plan with an “eventual path” to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a proposal he believes could be palatable to conservatives. And he believes his ideas — along with pushing for less U.S. military intervention in conflicts overseas — could help the GOP broaden its tent...

Referring to these stances (especially on drugs and war) as a "Rand Paul evolution" as their headline does is mistaken; nothing they report on there contradicts how Sen. Paul has sold himself so far.

Sure, on immigration he is a guy who as candidate called for an underground electric border fence and as Senator has introduced bills to kill birthright citizenship. These are stances that culturally don't tend to go along with trying to find a sensible path to legality for those already here.

But there is nothing ideologically contradictory about it either. Rand will doubtless not, like his dad Ron Paul did in 1983, enter into the Congressional Record lines (from Austrian economics teacher Hans Sennholz) such as:

 In the cause of individual freedom, we must defend the rights of all people, including illegal aliens. But if the political rights of American citizenship entail the denial of the human right to work diligently for one’s economic existence, and if we are forced to choose between the two, we must opt for the latter. The right to sustain one’s life through personal effort and industry is a basic human right that precedes and exceeds all political rights. 

Still, one can be against letting in more immigrants or letting their kids become citizens without also being an advocate of deportation or even "self-deportation." (Of course, it is disappointing that Rand's libertarian leanings don't allow him to see that even treating immigration as a big issue/problem at all isn't necessary.)

The Politico article goes on to explain that Rand is still being cagey about his 2016 presidential plans (my own read of the Paul world gives a very, very, very strong probability to his running) and that being an ideological outlier in the Senate makes it hard to actually get your agenda through.

It is alas not unusual for non-conservative media to treat "Tea Party" as meaning "everything liberals don't like about the GOP turned up to 11" rather than understand their distinct qualities. My colleague Nick Gillespie points out to me this morning that NPR persists in referring to defeated Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin as a "Tea Party" candidate despite how such Tea-Party identified groups as FreedomWorks fought against him in the primaries for being just one more big-government Republican.

The Tea Party idea at its best is about cutting government spending to manageable levels, which Paul has been great about. Libertarian approaches to drugs, foreign policy, and immigration are necessary parts of that. Other right-wingers have long recognized the sinister libertarian dangers of Tea Party man Rand Paul.

Reason's June 2011 cover story on Rand Paul.

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  • Dylboz||

    First. And by 2016, he'll have more than double the senatorial experience Obama did when he was first elected.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Rand's six is not "more than double" Obama's four in 2008. But nevertheless he is no doubt qualified.

  • CE||

    Rand Paul is the leading contender right now. Seriously.

    Chris Christie? Those Obama photo ops will never go away.

    Santorum, Huckabee, Palin, Perry -- been there, done that, boring.

    Jeb Bush? Wrong last name.

    Jindal, McDonnell, Martinez, Sandoval? Unknown governors.

    Marco Rubio? The only real competition, but he has nowhere near the fiscal policy cred that Rand Paul has now, and will have in 4 years, when the nation will be tottering on the verge of economic disaster.

  • hcoguybrush||

    There are probably a million things stupid/wrong with people commenting "first" on videos and articles. One of them being the simple fact that if someone is seeing your comment at the top of the list, they ALREADY KNOW ITS THE FIRST ONE!

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Actually, I have not quite gotten over the treatment he got from the media when he was campaigning. Namely the incident where he was held responsible for an attack on a protestor committed by some of his supporters and when Rachel Maddow pulled out Anti-Libertarian Trump Card #1 and seriously asked him if he supported the Civil Rights Act.

    So, it's nice to see that some people are finally giving him some positive attention.

  • squarooticus||

    Sorry, but IMO it is inherently unlibertarian to be in favor of laws outlawing abortion when there is no consensus on the embryo-as-person issue. (I'm avoiding "fetus" because I do actually think there is popular consensus that an 8-month old fetus is a person and should not be aborted.)

    I'm all in favor of people believing whatever floats their boat, but I draw the line when you impose your will on others where (a) the issue involves violence against another AND (b) that will isn't nearly unanimous ("community standards"). Abortion clearly qualifies as violence under some perfectly reasonable perspectives, but it fails the community standards test.

    Outlawing abortion in some locale where nearly everyone is a fundie seems perfectly reasonable, but outlawing abortion nationwide when a command majority (or even a sizable minority) of people disagree? By virtue of the fact that this argument has been going on since the beginning of time and people still haven't come to a consensus, it should be clear that this is simply one of those gray areas that the law can't completely resolve. I hope I don't have my libertarian card taken away for suggesting that there are gray areas in which rights may vary according to community standards.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Not to mention some sort of Pregnancy Security Administration would have to be built to protect the little snowflakes.

    Followed by a surveillance state and SNOWFLAKE Act.

    Rand Paul loses big liberty points there.

  • ant1sthenes||

    "Not to mention some sort of Pregnancy Security Administration would have to be built to protect the little snowflakes."

    Or the FBI could just shut down abortion clinics, which would presumably be much easier. Plus, it's totally legal under the commerce clause, which overrides a woman's right to own her body.

  • Enough About Palin||

    You're a buttplug!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The shit stops here!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I hope I don't have my libertarian card taken away for suggesting that there are gray areas in which rights may vary according to community standards.

    Don't worry, we all fall short of the LP Purity Test. It is a bitch.

  • Randian||

    Especially those of us who love massive financial regulations, national health care and illegal wars.

    And by 'us' I mean you, shrike.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You're such a liar. I support

    1. Bank capital standards
    2. I am opposed to national health care
    3. I was the most vocal critic of the Iraq War here.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    What about the kinetic military action in Libya, which totally wasn't a war and which pacified that region to such an extent as to make American citizens and personnel totally safe?

  • Hyperion||

    You trying to be a Libertarian? I don't think you can pass even the basic test.

    1. What about Obamas signing of NDAA?
    2. What about the WOD?
    3. What about Obamas drone strikes on civilian targets?

  • Randian||

    I am opposed to national health care

    Bullshit. You spoke openly about how closely your opinions track with Soros. You always laud countries like Australia and NZ and Canada for having national health care.

    You lie.

    I was the most vocal critic of the Iraq War here.

    What about Libya?

  • Hyperion||

    What about Libya?

    His guy didn't start that one.

  • Hyperion||

    I mean Iraq.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Soros is not a NHC proponent.

    I only cite Australia because Heritage Foundation calls it high on the Freedom Index despite its progressive laws.

    Libya took out Qaddafi with NATO - good. We never put a soldier in the country.

  • Randian||

    Soros is not a NHC proponent.

    Another wingnut lie. Soros gave HCAN (link) 5 million dollars.

  • Randian||

    Libya took out Qaddafi with NATO - good. We never put a soldier in the country.

    It was an illegal war. Read the War Powers Act.

  • SugarFree||

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    In 1909, there were different community standards on lynching. In Mississippi, for example, there was a consensus that a black person accused of some criminal or moral offense was a non-person, or at least that he had no rights that the lynch mob was bound to respect. So naturally, the people who exercised their freedom of choice to kill unpopular black people in Mississippi were not harassed by the law.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Ellisville, in Jones County, Mississippi is a small town set down in Piney woodlands in the southeastern part of the state. Like other southern towns, it has antique shops, a struggling downtown, a monument to the Confederate dead near the courthouse. In this town on June 26, 1919, a black man named John Hartfield was lynched before as many as 10,000 gathered whites. Accused of assaulting a white woman, Hartfield was pursued by posses for weeks until being mortally wounded and captured. The mob took the wounded Hartfield to a doctor to keep him alive for 24 hours, then announced his coming executing. The NAACP urged the governor and the federal government to intervene. Both did nothing and Hartfield was strung up on a tree and show to pieces. Parts of his body and postcards of his killing were sold as souvenirs."

    http://cameronmcwhirter.com/wo.....ed-summer/

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The lynchers weren't prosecuted because there wasn't a consensus that it was a crime to kill a black person accused of assault on a white woman.

    Maybe if they had proper training?

  • ||

    Sorry, but IMO it is inherently unlibertarian to be in favor of laws outlawing abortion when there is no consensus on the embryo-as-person issue.

    By that logic, is it also unlibertarian to be in favor of wholly and unambiguously libertarian policy changes unless there is a "concensus" among voters? WTF?

  • sarcasmic||

    Consensus is the new scientific method.

    Didn't the global warmers teach you anything?

  • Hyperion||

    The science is settled! Denier!

    Only quaulified scientists through peer reviewed papers bloviating former vice presidents are allowed to comment on that!

  • Randian||

    By that logic, is it also unlibertarian to be in favor of wholly and unambiguously libertarian policy changes unless there is a "concensus" among voters? WTF?

    Abortion is done. Over. Enough is enough.

    Rand should just give it up already, or at least stop voting for Big Government solutions to it and leave it to the states.

  • sarcasmic||

    Abortion is done. Over. Enough is enough.

    What are you talking about?

    I was told by the truthsayers on MSNBC that the Republicans are waging a War on Women, and that if elected they will make abortions illegal!

    That dude Maddow said so!

    He never lies!

  • SugarFree||

    Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

    Can you really say with a straight face that Republicans aren't still trying to make abortion illegal, or at least so difficult to obtain as to make de facto illegal? No one made Akin and Mourdock open their retarded whore mouths about the subject. Even Paul Ryan said he doesn't support legal abortion for rape and incest victims.

    The Republican party wants to restriction abortion. People who don't want that to happen object to the words and deeds of the Republican Party. Snap out of your goddamn delusion.

  • sarcasmic||

    Wanting to do something and being able to actually do it are two completely different things.

    I never denied that Republicans oppose abortion. But can they do anything about it? Nope. Short of packing the Supreme Court and retrying RvW, neither of which is going to happen, legal abortion is here to stay.

    Unless you mean that not allowing federal money to pay for abortion equals banning it, eh Sandra?

    Is that what you meant, Ms Fluke?

  • SugarFree||

    But can they do anything about it? Nope. Short of packing the Supreme Court and retrying RvW, neither of which is going to happen, legal abortion is here to stay.

    The GOP should shut the goddamn fucking hell up about it then. All you do is give their enemies ammunition and succor to the dumbfuckedest elements of the party.

    I'll just leave your Fluke joke alone, as it is a testament of the fact you have no argument.

  • sarcasmic||

    The GOP should shut the goddamn fucking hell up about it then.

    Dude, it's called "politics". They talk about it because they're trying to woo the single issue pro-life voters.

    I'll just leave your Fluke joke alone, as it is a testament of the fact you have no argument.

    My argument is that it's stupid to say Republicans are going to ban abortion, regardless of their stated intentions.
    You tell me that they're trying to de facto ban it.
    OK, smartypants. How?
    By not allowing federal funds to pay for it? Just like your birth control pills, Sandra? Who's the one without an argument?

  • ||

    De facto via regulatory burden.

  • SugarFree||

    Ultrasound wanding. Waiting periods. Using medical licensing to close clinics by making them to conform to the standards of giant hospitals. The efforts to make it illegal to cross state borders to obtain an abortion.

    These are attempts to make abortions more difficult to obtain.

    And if they want to woo dumbasses, let them. But they turn people off when they do. It's not unreasonable for abortion rights advocates to assume that Republicans want to do exactly what Republicans are saying and doing.

    This is really very simple. I guess I could draw you some stick figures or something.

  • sarcasmic||

    These are attempts to make abortions more difficult to obtain.

    I still say it's stupid to say Republicans are going to outlaw abortion.

    This is really very simple.

    Yes. Yes it is. They're not going to outlaw abortion. It's really that simple. Regardless of what politicians and talking heads say, legal abortion isn't going way. They can want all day long, but it won't do any good. They can try to make it difficult, but it will still be legally available to those who want it bad enough.

    It's true.

  • SugarFree||

    You tell me that they're trying to de facto ban it.

    [I tell him]

    I still say it's stupid to say Republicans are going to outlaw abortion.

    Goalposts successfully moved.

    Regardless of what politicians and talking heads say, legal abortion isn't going way. They can want all day long, but it won't do any good. They can try to make it difficult, but it will still be legally available to those who want it bad enough.

    Which just leads back to my "then shut the fuck up about it then" idea. Which you have twisted yourself into knots to deny.

  • nicole just can't even!||

    Yeah, SF is right on here. There's just way too much stupid.

    (1) No, they are not going to actually ban it.
    (2) Instead, they are increasing regulatory burdens as much as possible. This not only sucks for non-progressive pro-choice women, it also gives really stupid ammunition to progressives because a lot of these regulatory burdens are really fucking stupid.

  • sarcasmic||

    Goalposts successfully moved.

    Um, no? The goalpost was whether or not Republicans can outlaw abortion, regardless of their stated intentions. You tried to Tulpafy the argument by adding de facto into the mix.

    Which just leads back to my "then shut the fuck up about it then" idea.

    Who? Me? I'll shut the fuck up when I feel like it. Republicans? Sure. Great idea. Not gonna happen, though. They're going cling to legislated morality and social conservatism even if it means they lose every election. Wait a sec...

  • SugarFree||

    Um, no? The goalpost was whether or not Republicans can outlaw abortion, regardless of their stated intentions. You tried to Tulpafy the argument by adding de facto into the mix.

    So if they don't ban food trucks, but rather just make the regulatory burden so high that no one can operate a food truck, then food trucks haven't been banned.

    I think we know who the Tulpa is here.

  • sarcasmic||

    Except that they're not regulating abortions out of existence. They may be trying, but for the most part they're failing.

    Legal and easily accessible abortions are here to stay, no matter what Republicans say or want.

  • SugarFree||

    OK, keep playing stupid. You win.

  • sarcasmic||

    Keep pretending that Republicans are accomplishing their goals regarding abortion. You win.

  • squarooticus||

    If they don't involve violence against another person, they shouldn't be laws in the first place, failing part (a) of my aforementioned test.

    EvH had a better objection than this. That one is tougher. Why is it that every time I think about the abortion problem, I think I've come up with the philosophical justification that has evaded humanity for millennia? /doh

    I guess the spirit of my suggestion was that the community has to define what constitutes "violence" in the first place: the problem most pro-choice people have with life-begins-at-conception types is that we fundamentally don't think there's a person there until some indeterminate point after conception, thus making violence against that collection of cells impossible.

    The problem with objective standards is that there can be none: there is simply no firm dividing line between person and non-person in this regime. So standards have to be set somewhat arbitrarily, and arbitrary standards are probably best set as close to the local level as possible to avoid the one-size-fits-all problem in which abortions-for-all pisses off the fundies in Ohio and no-abortions-for-anyone pisses off the libruls in Massachusetts.

  • nicole just can't even!||

    squarooticus, the right answer is simple: anarchy.

    No, seriously.

  • squarooticus||

    I'm an AC; you don't need to convince me. But there's a long way from here to anarchy, and even in an anarchy you have to live with/near and interact with other people, so you can't just run around wantonly murdering people, so some kinds of laws will exist and be enforced by the community at large.

    Anarchy doesn't mean lack of order; it means lack of government. You can still enforce natural law: if someone steals your stuff, for instance, you can get your own posse together and go get it back, and you don't need to ask anyone's permission first or get the local law enforcement monopoly to do it. But *there are still laws*. Anarchy doesn't relieve people of the necessity of determining how best to coexist with other people. Still, it would be nice to go back to discovering law rather than creating it.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Sorry, but IMO it is inherently unlibertarian to be in favor of laws outlawing abortion when there is no consensus on the embryo-as-person issue.

    So, should libertarians wait for a pro-pot consensus before pushing legalization? Which rights do libertarians need to wait for other people to believe in before they can advocate for their protection?

  • squarooticus||

    Does smoking pot involve violence against another person? See (a). Next.

  • IceTrey||

    It is inherently unlibertarian to be in favor of laws outlawing abortion because to force a woman to use her body to support the life of another human being against her will is to enslave the woman to the fetus. Have you forgotten "Galt's Pledge"? The fact is because a fetus is 100% reliant on the mother it survives and thrives only by her good graces. Are we going to prosecute mothers for not taking vitamins and eating right? Will mothers who throw themselves down the stairs be tried for first degree murder?

  • Enough About Palin||

    ABC Denver 7NEWS reporter went on the Internet to get an image of the book cover, the reporter mistakenly grabbed a Photoshopped image that said, “All Up In My Snatch.”

    http://americablog.com/2012/11.....natch.html

  • Rasilio||

    Anyone wanna bet it was an unpaid intern behind this?

  • ||

    That might be the greatest mistake ever. Harmless, hilarious, and kinda truthful.

  • ||

    Oh dog, that's awesome.

  • ziggy||

    Has anyone seen this Rand Paul video that needs to go viral:

    is 1984 now?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALN7LTeLxtI

  • Hyperion||

    That's very good. But my question is this.

    If he actually gets the GOP nomination in 2016, and we know the establishment will do everything in their power to stop that from happening, they want another McCain or Romney... Would he actually come out and say those sort of things while campaigning? Or would he just tow the same old same old GOP strategy of playing to SoCons and NeoCons?

  • ziggy||

    I doubt that will happen and he would come out as a flip flopper because how he has voted.

    He know christie, santorum, gingrich and rubio will just offer the same neocon crap the GOP has been selling these last 12 years and that is a losing strategy...

  • Hyperion||

    What has he voted flip flop on? Rand has had a pretty stellar voting record from what I can recall.

  • ziggy||

    nothing. I was saying if he starts to pander to the neocons and SoCons he would seem lik e aflip flopper because of his voting record which has been very pro liberty(for the most part).

  • Zeb||

    But, sadly, it does seem to still be a winning strategy in GOP primaries.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Terrific video

  • ziggy||

    I hope REason does a story on this to give it some press...

  • Hyperion||

    Rand Paul is an evil man. If he ever gets elected POTUS, right after inauguration, he will reveal himself to be the Aqua Buddha.

    BTW, I am still pissed at him for endorsing Romney. But I would still vote for him. I mean endorsing Romney isn't quite as bad as signing NDAA or being one of the Dems that might run against him, like God forbid, Bitme or the Hildebeast.

  • Belgian||

    Good lord, the comments:

    You know what, I can't even post entire comments, the stupid is just too painful. But some excerpts:

    When you start a business, you get a business license, which enters you into an agreement (contract) with your community to provide some service to the community. Your license ensure certain standards are up held and those standards come from the local chamber of commerce which is influenced by local, state, and federal laws.

    And then there's this, which seems to come from the Chris Mallory of the left:

    Rand Paul has bought in to the R oops Vatican party.
    The Vatican is a hostile nation to the US and uses every means possible to destroy it. The bloc of congress and senate that are Catholic have blocked the securing of the borders for 50 years.
    I have a question. Is there a successful Catholic nation in the world? Please name one.
    The problem with government is not R, and it is not D. The problem is Catholic.
    The religion that is anti US, and follows the pope instead of the Constitution of the US....

    These are a real gold mine. Even better than HuffPo.

  • Hyperion||

    I told you. Politico has the dumbest posters on earth.

  • Rod Flash||

    Truth. I started reading the comments, and all I could think about was a quote from the noted conservative thinker Eleanor Roosevelt - "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."

    So what kind of minds aren't able to discuss anything?

  • ||

    Us?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I didn't realize how stupid/evil (I've given up on trying to distinguish) the readers of politico were either until I skimmed a few. Not sure how I missed it.

  • Hyperion||

    Politico is a leftist rag. I got banned from there once for telling them that. But that is what they are. Their posters, the leftist ones, are dumber than the posters on HuffPo. I swear this to be true. If you don't believe me, go see for yourself. You have been warned. They make the dumbest of trolls here look like relatively intelligent people.

  • mr simple||

    my own read of the Paul world gives a very, very, very strong probability to his running

    What do you know about the Paul world, Doherty? If you've done all kinds of research, why don't you write a book or something?

  • ||

    He could call it something like, "Inside Paul's Insurrection".

  • Don Mynack||

    "He wants to carve a compromise immigration plan with an “eventual path” to citizenship for illegal immigrants"

    So they can immediately join the welfare state? I'd much prefer a guest worker status where they pay some taxes (but lower than citizens), are never part of the welfare state, and have to leave after some period (say 9 months or so), then wait a bit before returning. Kind of like the (flawed) Bracero program.

    The unions would kill it like they killed that program, however.

  • Calidissident||

    Key word is "eventual"

  • ||


    LiberalAgnostic
    Party: N/A
    Reply #1
    Nov. 13, 2012 - 5:33 AM EST
    And this insane Ayn L Rand freak wants the states to be free to be as bigoted as they want without intervention.
    He wants the FEDERAL government destroyed along with the UNION.

    Mmmmmmmm.

  • ||

    IRONDEM
    Party: Democrat
    Reply #13
    Nov. 13, 2012 - 8:27 AM EST
    Why are Libertarians here when they can live in Libertarian Heaven.....Somalia
    No pesky big government...you are a free as a bird...total freedom
    If you have your own private army.......

    Somalia! YESSSSSSSSSSSSS

  • Hyperion||

    Those are 2 of the smarter trolls on Politiburo, Warty.

    Actually, they aren't even trolls there, they are the normal posters.

    Try to find something posted by WhatIheard, or some of the other really retarded ones.

  • Calidissident||

    I totally agree with the people here who say that Politico is home to the dumbest people on the Internet. I scrolled the first 20 comments last night and I swear I found a perfect caricature of every fallacious argument against libertarianism just in those 20

  • Hyperion||

    Every once and then, if I was drinking and bored, I liked to go on there and antagonize the simpletons by posting outlandish sacrsam, which they failed to recognize, and just watch them fly into foaming at the mouth rage about Rethuglicans, Boosh, the Koch bros., Sarah Palin, the evil rich, well you get it. It just got boring after a while, so I don't really go back anymore.

  • Hyperion||

    The last time I was on there, there was one poster who just kept screaming in all caps about progress, progress!

    One of the sane posters there asked him several times 'what is this progress you are speaking of, progress for what?'

    He/she/it finally replied 'P-r-o-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e!, Duh!'

    So ohter poster asked, what does progressive mean?

    Reply" Progress!, duh, you rethuglicans are stupid!

    This is pretty much the entire mentality there.

    These people are truly the bottom dwellers of society. If they were honest they would just say 'please pay more taxes, if my moms welfare check gets cut, they might cut off the internet, and I won't be able to post stupid shit here'

  • Nick M||

    It is alas not unusual for non-conservative media to treat "Tea Party" as meaning "everything liberals don't like about the GOP turned up to 11" rather than understand their distinct qualities.

    I would say that this is how it is used almost exclusively. NPR, cable news and network-TV news all seem to present it this way.

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