Leave it to the Pauls to realize there are more important things than procedural squabbling over the "government shutdown."
First, Ron, as is his wont, leaves the day to day of policy behind to focus on the big issues, as U.S News and World Report reports:
Paul told U.S. News the shutdown isn't as significant as some say and he finds the ongoing squabble between party leaders "rather annoying."
"It's less of an event than everyone's claiming it to be," he said. "The closedown doesn't close down people who want stuff, it didn't close down [the National Security Agency] and all the other things the government may be doing to us. The government marches on."....
"Republicans are supposedly on the side of cutting and watching that we don't get too much government intrusion in medical care, but when they were in charge they increased the size and scope of government intervention in medical care," he said, "so I don't think they're sincere about it."....
"The shutdown is actually a distraction from the debate that I think they should be having," Paul said. He's particularly upset by domestic and foreign U.S. policies, and says Federal Reserve policy and deficit spending should have taken precedence in the current government-funding debate.
"Republicans and Democrats are basically in agreement with authoritarianism," Paul said. "They believe that one way or another you have to be an authoritarian, to tell you how to spend your money [and] both of them tell you how to run your personal life. And they're both very excited about telling every country what to do, and giving them money if they behave or bombing them if they don't."
Paul said "the wave of the future" is a coalition of anti-authoritarian progressive Democrats and libertarian Republicans in Congress opposed to domestic surveillance, opposed to starting new wars and in favor of ending the so-called War on Drugs.
"The so-called shutdown is more of a political event," he said, "The government doesn't really shut down, they do the symbolic things: you can't go up in the Washington Monument, you can't visit the White House and you can't go in the parks."
I can hear the bored sigh in Paul's voice, one I became familiar with from reporting my book Ron Paul's Revolution, when people try to get him to focus on things he finds pointless minutia.
And pundits are noticing that Ron's son, Sen. Rand Paul, is staking distinct ground from some other right-wing heroes of the Republican Party.
As Mediaite quoted from his Sunday appearance on Face the Nation, in which he seems more open to compromise and negotation than many colleagues, not laying out non-negotiable demands re: ObamaCare or spending:
“Historically, Bob, the way it worked is if the House is Republican and passed something and the Senate was Democrat and passed something you had a conference committee, equal number of Republicans and Democrats, and you hashed out your differences. Why don’t we have a conference committee on this? You could appoint one today, they could meet tomorrow, and hash out the differences. That is the way it is supposed to work. Republicans and Democrats are supposed to find a middle ground. But right now the president is saying my way or the highway.”
I direct you once again to the shrewdest politician in the GOP’s 2016 field, Rand Paul. Though he is second to no one in opposing Obamacare, he stays clear of vilifying Obama and endorsing a government shutdown, has been largely quiet during this whole drama, and has come out in favor of a clean House resolutionto keep the government running. He knows Cruz is on a kamikaze mission.
My hunch today is that the more visible Ted Cruz is over the next two and a half years, the more acceptable Rand Paul will appear to Republicans who are true to their conservative principles but would still like to win the presidency.