Foreign Policy

Why Rand Won't Be Ron, Part XVIII


Jim Henley at Unqualified Offerings with some thoughts on why Rand Paul won't get away with being Ron Paul, even were he so inclined (while riffing off Daniel Larison's defense in The Week of Rand's anti-military bonafides):

If [Rand Paul] does get elected, it'll be interesting to see what his antiwar and antsurveillance-state inclinations amount to in practice. Paul the Greater has been able to flout the contempt of the Republican establishment for several reasons, including providing great constituent-service (from what I've read), and blanketing his district with a whole lot of campaign spending come reelection time. Both are harder for a Senator to pull off.

Beyond that, though, I think Ron Paul benefits from being, when all is said and done, inconsequentiual….in terms of getting Congress to put any of his ideas into law. It's to Paul's credit that he opposed the Iraq War and the Patriot Act, but his opposition didn't stop anything.

But the Senate is smaller, so a single Senator matters a lot. That means that if Rand Paul bucks the GOP leadership on a core principle – e.g. "All War, All the Time"; "Ever More Surveilance Every Moment" – there's a chance it could actually matter. (We're assuming Paul wants to try.) A dissident Congressman is a colorful sideshow. A dissident Senator is a damned inconvenience. So if the Republican Party of 2016 is the same, lovable "I know he's an American citizen, but still" Republican Party of 2010, and Little Paul makes any serious trouble on its core issues of dominating foreigners and shoveling money to Erik Prince and General Dynamics, the Republican leadership will land on his primary season like a MOAB.

NEXT: Who's Afraid of Synthetic Biology?

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  1. And that will be different than the 2010 primary HOW?

  2. A dissident Congressman who published a racist newsletter for years and is still in office is a shameful sideshow.

    1. As opposed to a party-line toting Senator who used to be an Exalted Cyclops in the KKK?

      1. Libertarians like their own racists, I guess.

        1. Proof, Max. Show your work.

    2. One iNcident, 15 years ago, not authored by Ron Paul – is all you got?

      1. It wasn’t one incident.

    3. Re: Max,

      A dissident Congressman who published a racist newsletter for years and is still in office is a shameful sideshow.

      Was it racist? Care to forward some example? Or are you talking out of your ass?

    4. The “racist newsletter” was an imposter than a fake. Ron Paul is pretty far from a racist. In his book, he denounces it as the worst form of social collectivism, and states that no true invdividualist can condone such a thing.

      I would have hoped that anyone reading Reason wouldn’t need this to be explained to them, but I guess not…

  3. Because GOP leadership did NOT land on his primary like a MOAB, this time? Where were you?

    1. Kentucky.

  4. Glad to see the other commentors have the same idea as me. The establishment Rebublicans came out in force this year against Paul and no one listened. It looks the the big government Republicrats will probably be much weaker in 2016. Oh and to hell with that dick named Cheney. His power is thankfully long gone.

  5. Doesn’t Rand believe that government should be small enough to fit inside a woman’s uterus? And isn’t he for all the Bushie war on terra crap?

    1. Re: Tony,

      Doesn’t Rand believe that government should be small enough to fit inside a woman’s uterus?

      I would prefer a government that fits inside a rat’s uterus, but if Rand pulls it off and achieves what you said, it would suffice, for now.

    2. How’s Obama doing on getting every single troop out of Iraq and Afghanistan, Tony?

      1. Things seem to be going according to plan, which isn’t what you wrote.

        1. If you mean Bush’s plan, then sure.

  6. The Republican establishment already tried sabotaging his campaign and he still soundly won the primary, trouncing hand-picked establishment candidate Trey Grayson…. what rock were you hiding under?

  7. It’s to Paul’s credit that he opposed the Iraq War and the Patriot Act, but his opposition didn’t stop anything.

    But the Senate is smaller, so a single Senator matters a lot.

    So Russ Feingold managed to stop The Patriot Act? News to me.

  8. antsurveillance-state inclinations

    I agree with Rand. The more time the state spends looking at those little picnic-ruiners, the less time it is spying on yours truly.

  9. It could still be a helluva good 6 years.

  10. I hate to say it, but Rand needs to be a better politician. Intellectual noodling about the Civil Rights Act (even if he is correct) on the Rachel Maddow (of all places) show is, frankly, stupid and politically tone-deaf.

    The first rule in running from the front is don’t step on any land-mines. He failed on this account. Part of his appeal and most of his primary money arrived because he made the KY Senate race a national race. Now, he is starting to be perceived as goofy at best, racist at worst. The effect is that his gaffe(s) will allow his opponent to nationalize the race as well. He has agitated the Left and will pay for it in fundraising, GOTV, etc.

    Obviously, he is not the only one – see Blumenthal and Sue Lowden – but it irritates me to see him blowing what should be a cake-walk of an election and turning it into a horserace.

    1. That was an obvious line of questioning. Any liberal (like Maddow) will attack a libertarian-leaning candidate with questions about popular Federal laws like that.

      1. That was an attack? Give me a break. She asked him direct questions, which he refused to answer because they would make him look bad–fair enough. Been done to Dems, too.

        The problem with this clown, as well as most Repubs, is that they think they can weasel out of the most basic social responsibilities–while continuing to hoover up the majority of the benefits, of course–by masquerading as a corporation instead of a man.

        Unfortunately for the sap citizenry, they have the Supreme Court agreeing with this BS.

        1. You obviously understand absolutely nothing about Rand at all. Please do research before publicly displaying your own ignorance.

          Rand made his viewpoints on the Civil Rights act 100% clear. He said that he does not advocate racism, and agreed that the government had to take action to a certain extent to protect people’s freedom. BUT, he said that he doesn’t think the government should not limit freedom of speech just because it’s hate-related, or you don’t agree with it. Freedom of speech is something liberals are supposed to care about, but of course that’s only until they don’t agree. Maddow is a hypocrite, plain and simple.

          Oh, and btw, the bassist from the Allman Brothers (who is black) wrote a letter to Maddow defending Rand’s side of the argument. Funny how only PC white people seemed to be truly offended…

        2. Whatever, maybe you can expand on your comment about Social Responsibilities?

          Every person I’ve ever heard use that term (and Social Justice) is trying to get someting for free that they didwork for and don’t deserve.

          1. er… make that “didn’t” work for.

    2. I thought it was refreshingly brave for him to a) appear on Maddow and b) say what he really believes. Gotta give him points for that.

  11. I’ll take 6 years of anyone with Rand’s viewpoint in the senate.

  12. It is difficult for me to believe the criticism coming from limited gov’t people. You don’t like the way he’s campaigning and you want to pounce on him for rookie mistakes? Why don’t you run. In my mind he’s done a pretty good job — beat the republican establishment candidate by 20+ pts and leading in the polls v. the democrat by 20+ points. We have the opportunity to put a true libertarian in the Senate. Anyone believing in constitutional principles should be genuinely excited.

    1. Hmm, criticizing Rand Paul for going on Rachel Maddow and getting his ass handed to him has nothing to do with (at least my) affection for limited government.

      In fact, I’d like Rand Paul to get elected because he is for limited government. It just saddens me even that he seems bent on sabotaging himself.

      1. The election isn’t until November. Assuming he stays away from the national media these gaffes will be a really underscored in the fall.

        It also isn’t gonna hurt him in Kentucky. He might have torpedoed any chances of having a national voice with this, but he’s still going to get elected to the senate by the people of Kentucky.

      2. Perhaps we watched different videos. I didn’t see Paul getting his ass handed to him. I saw a hostile leftist trying really, really hard to get Paul to say something that could be taken out of context and used in a hit piece, and Paul dodging that bullet while sticking to his principles.

        If you’re upset that he didn’t bullshit like a typical pol, and instead made a nuanced, intelligent argument that didn’t condescend to voters, fine.

    2. Hamilton, we bitch because we love, OK? We really don’t want to see Rand shoot himself in the foot like that ever again.

  13. A lot of Americans agree with Rand. Unfortunatley there will be those that agree for the wrong reasons..(see Ron Paul papers)… But people can and do learn.

    Rand Paul is going to be a rock star.

  14. The “Republican establishment” of 2016 will not be the same one we have now.In six years Sarah Palin may well be “the establishment”.

  15. I just want to know one thing, did Ron name his son Rand after Ayn Rand?

    1. no, it is short for Randal

    2. It appears that Rand named himself after Ayn by shortening Randall in a bizarre way.

      1. Yes, or by shortening it to the first syllable of his name.

        1. What are you talking about?

          – Matt

        2. What are you talking about?

          – Matt

  16. antsurveillance-state inclinations

    I don’t think this means what you think it means.

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