Foreign Policy

Rand Paul in GQ: A Nuanced Portrait of a Not-Entirely-Frightening Politician

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I'm already hearing whispers especially from the antiwar libertarian hardcore that a strangely respectful and nuanced profile of the GOP Senate candidate from Kentucky via The New Republic's Jason Zengerle in GQ  is giving them all the more reason to dislike or fear him. Here's the money graf on that point:

Ron Paul, in addition to his extreme views on the federal government, has been a harsh critic of the Republican Party's "military adventurism," and in the past Rand has faithfully echoed his father's views. He opposed the war in Iraq, once characterized the September 11 attacks as "blowback for our foreign policy," and scoffed at the threat of Iranian nukes. And yet here he was in Washington, seeking out a secret meeting with some of the Ron Paul Revolutionaries' biggest bogeymen. At a private office in Dupont Circle, he talked foreign policy with Bill Kristol, Dan Senor, and Tom Donnelly, three prominent neocons who'd been part of an effort to defeat him during the primary. "He struck me as genuinely interested in trying to understand why people like us were so apoplectic," Senor says of their two-hour encounter. "He wanted to get educated about our problem with him. He wasn't confrontational, and he wasn't disagreeable. He didn't seem cemented in his views. He was really in absorption mode."

The following month, he met with officials from the powerful lobbying group AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), which has frequently clashed with Ron Paul over what the group views as his insufficient support of Israel. Paul, according to one person familiar with the AIPAC meeting, "told them what they wanted to hear: 'I'm more reasonable than my father on the things you care about.' He was very solicitous."

Unpromising indeed for those who love Rand's dad Ron's political bravery and sense on matters of foreign intervention. And I understand why that is infuriating to the extent that Rand is seen as some sort of gold standard for what "libertarian" or even "libertarian-leaning" is going to mean in American politics. But if you are just looking at him as a potential Senate candidate for the Republican Party, well, that means that maybe he'll be just as bad as every single other one of them on foreign policy. Disappointing, yes, but not infuriating.

More interestingly for the general "respectable framing" of Tea Party candidates (and as it's shaping up, and rightfully so, Rand is being framed far more as a Tea Party exemplar than a libertarian one) is how Zengerle, who one might have expected to flay the guy (he's the writer who broke and here repeats the one-day gossip tempest about some of Rand's college age silliness), both mostly goes out of his way to understand him, and even, as with the above stuff about his foreign-policy "normalization" in a Republican context, seems to be going out of his way to let potential Rand haters left and right have reason to relax about him.

His opening anecdote about Rand Paul being aloofly shunning around his fellow Republicans at a local fundraiser has to read admirably to all red-blooded Americans, I hope. Zengerle then spins Rand's primary victory, rightly, as being mostly about disgust with the regnant Republican establishment, another plus. Other examples from the piece that read like an implicit thumbs up to me:

there's a real worry within the power center of the GOP that Paul will take his seat and eventually throw all the happy party conformity into disarray. In July, Paul told the National Reviewthat he intends to form a "Tea Party caucus" in the Senate. "I think I will be part of a nucleus with Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn, who are unafraid to stand up," he said. "If we get another loud voice in there, like Mike Lee from Utah or Sharron Angle from Nevada, there will be a new nucleus."

And therein lies the problem with the Tea Party candidates. The more they become an electoral force, the more the Republican establishment has to cater to them, and the more vocal and disruptive to the party's actual agenda they'll potentially become. It's one thing to oppose Obama; it's another to oppose legislation and threaten relationships that have been central to how the GOP does business. Paul doesn't support the military spending most of his fellow Republicans slobber over. He doesn't support handing out big fat prescription-drug benefits to private insurance companies. He doesn't support the earmarks that Republican senators, especially McConnell, use to curry favor with voters back home. And in a chamber where arcane procedural rules make it possible for a single member to gum up the legislative works, the presence of just one rogue Republican—much less a whole Tea Party caucus of them—could be enough to make the Senate Republicans finally seem as undisciplined and dysfunctional as the Democrats.

Again, what sensible American doesn't say hoo-damn-ray to that? And even an example of very radical Tea Party type rhetoric–not from Rand himself, but which he is called on to defend or distance himself from–gets a dancey response from Zengerle that on the one hand assures his liberal readers he still thinks Rand's a bit loopy, yet also mostly helps the reader see that there is a thoughtful point about the nature of our current debt crisis and its possible aftermath at play:

Just fifteen minutes earlier the candidate whom Paul came out to support was likening the current Speaker of the House to a former Soviet dictator, so I ask if he thinks that's what the press might be referring to when they say the Tea Party is extreme. He leans forward and smiles. "Well, I think whether or not your analogies are over the top, whether you might extend an analogy farther than others might, is not something to be reviled. It's just an opinion, you know?"

He pauses for a moment, as if wondering whether he should say more, then gives in to the urge. "But I don't hear that and say, 'Oh, he's absolutely wrong.' I hear him and say that our country is slipping towards that, and there could be a time when we slip and lose a lot of our freedoms. I'll say things like that Ben Franklin statement: 'Those who give up their liberty for security will have neither.' I worry about a time when we would have chaos in our country and then a strong national leader would come along and say, 'Give me your liberty and I'll give you security.' Not that it's imminent or happening tomorrow or applies to any particular players on the stage, but there are historical examples."

Paul pauses again, although this time it's not out of any hesitation on his part; he's just making sure we're still with him. "In 1923, when they destroyed the currency, they elected Hitler. And so they elected somebody who vilified one group of people, but he promised them, 'I will give you security if you give me your liberty,' and they voted him in. And that's not to mean that anybody around is Hitler, but it's to mean that you don't want chaos in your country. And we could have chaos, not just because of the Democrats, but because the Democrats and the Republicans have all been spending us into oblivion. And having a massive debt runs the risk of chaos at some point. Not tomorrow, maybe not next week—I mean, I can't even predict the stock market six months from now. But I think that a country is in danger that spends beyond its means and lives beyond its means. And I don't ever say it started with President Obama. I think it started long ago."

It's an incredible performance, one that begins with a gentle distancing from a loony analogy before reframing the analogy to make it seem less loony, then introducing a new analogy that isn't just loony, it's repugnant, but that also, as the analogy gets fleshed out in greater detail, begins to reveal itself as conforming to a certain logic that might be worthy of debate—all before ending on a bipartisan, pox-on-both-their-houses note that makes it clear that no, he was not comparing Obama to Hitler.

That radical point–about the very dreadful things we historically know can happen when currency and debt problems explode–is one it will behoove libertarian and small-government thinkers to make, with nuance and intelligence, from now until our debt and currency problems seem on the way to a solution. Good for Rand for trying to do it–and good for Zengerle for not totally tearing him apart for doing so.

Zengerle even wraps up with an actual open acknowledgement that all this Tea Party stuff need not mean you are a complete goddamn hoot and a half moron, as lots of his imagined readership surely believes:

Unlike some of the prominent Tea Party leaders he's routinely lumped in with, Paul is not an idiot. When I asked a friend of his to characterize Paul's conversations with Sarah Palin, who provided him with an early endorsement, the friend replied: "Brief." Paul doesn't avoid the press because, like Sharron Angle, he's afraid of revealing his ignorance; rather, he does so because he's afraid he'll be unable to resist the temptation to prove how smart he is.

"If you challenge him intellectually, he's incapable of letting it go," says one GOP consultant to whom the Paul campaign has reached out for advice. "I'm sure he's wonderful at dinner parties, but he can't be having a dinner party debate with Rachel Maddow on national television." In fact, it's easy to imagine that in Paul's heart of hearts, he'd much prefer being interviewed by a smart person who deeply disagrees with him, like Maddow, than a doofus with whom he's in superficial accord, like Sean Hannity.

The piece leaves me feeling about Rand Paul as I already did: not as good as his dad; likely better than every other Senator of his party. And it leaves me a little more sure that any success he has won't be successfully used to shame or marginalize the domestic limited-government movement writ large (except to the extent that it distances it from anti-interventionism, which remains lamentable).

NEXT: Ayn Rand's Revenge

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  1. In 1923, when they destroyed the currency, they elected Hitler.

    Oh, Rand. Godwinning your own campaign. You know you can’t make your point by referencing one of the most significant world events of the 20th Century.

    In fact, it’s easy to imagine that in Paul’s heart of hearts, he’d much prefer being interviewed by a smart person who deeply disagrees with him, like Maddow…

    O.M.F.G. How is desperately trying to get from your guest a gotcha soundbite considered intelligent debate? Fuck that.

    1. If Paul wants to debate someone intelligent who has opposite views, he should probably find a show that someone is watching instead of Maddow.

    2. Her lexicon is wider and filled with more multi-syllabic words than Hannity’s. That, in liberal circles, is what passes for intellect.

      Moreover, I would feel safe saying that Maddow is smarter (albeit extremely disingenious and as beholden to the commentary-as-journalism, soundbyte, hyper-partisan, and sensationalist bias as Hannity et al) than Hannity, while tacitly acknowledging that I might have more in common policy-wise w a Hannity (although I think it could be closer to a wash). But make no mistake, Sean Hannity is about as dumb as they come, so it is hardly elevating her to some intellectual pedastal.

      1. Not to detract any from Maddow’s awfulness, but Hannity is an ape. He is such a thuggish chimp that it makes me cringe. I detest all the news talking heads, but Hannity really bugs me.

        1. Just to clear, I agree that Hannity is unlistenable/unwatchable. But let’s not pretend that Maddow is any better. Both those fellows are equally terrible.

      2. Sean Hannity is about as dumb as they come

        He’s a right-wing hack who simplifies everything to us-vs.-them, but I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say stupid. My crackhead neighbor who never brushes his teeth really is as dumb as they come. And he couldn’t host a radio show.

        1. I suspect that Hannity is quite intelligent. I suspect the same of Maddow. Brilliant people often believe weird things. Arthur Conan Doyle believed in fairies. Bobby Fischer was a full-on psychotic loon in love with Hitler.

          The author makes the mistake of equating political beliefs he shares (Maddow’s and not Hannity’s) with ‘intelligence.’ We’d be wise not to fall into the same trap.

          1. One of my professors was in the same chess club as a kid, and he was only a few years older than Bobby at the time. He said Fischer’s mother was a deeply disturbed woman who hovered over the boy. The psychology is almost too easy to score there.

            There is something about chess that attracts the weird. Aleister Crowley had the ambition to become a chess master and studied the game until he felt competent enough to play a tournament. When he got there and saw these masters whom he admired up close and in person, he decided they were too weird to emulate. Aleister Crowley. decided. they. were. too. weird. to. emulate.
            So he went on to become a British spy with an intriguing cover instead.

    3. O.M.F.G. How is desperately trying to get from your guest a gotcha soundbite considered intelligent debate? Fuck that.

      Agreed. He may have wanted a debate but Maddow wanted to score points for team Obama.

      Which is sad. I have seen Maddow on Tucker’s show when he was on PBS. There she would debate.

      But for the Rand interview she wanted to get a Katie Couric moment…and looking at the polls she failed.

      1. In all fairness, Couric was magnificent in her interview with Geitner yesterday. Sigh. I love her.

    4. The real problem with that statement is that Hitler was NOT elected. He was appointed chancellor by Hindenberg. He then was given dictatorial power by the parliament through the Enabling Act.

      1. True, Hitler himself was not elected, but the Nazi party was able to gain a large number of votes. Sure, the Nazi party used a lot of political chicanery to get their way, but the fact of the matter is that 44% of the vote went to the Nazi party in the March election after the burning of the Reichstag. In addition, when it came time to vote for the enabling act, the Nazi’s needed a 2/3 majority, which they clearly lacked, but were able to obtain with the cooperation of other parties. Clearly there was plenty of voting that went on in the Nazi’s favor.

        1. Is it really fair to conclude anything about vote totals in those days given how the Nazis weren’t above voter intimidation even before they got into power?

          1. True, but aren’t a lot of votes won by hysteria, propaganda, etc? Yes, there was a lot of intimidation, but they obviously had enough popular support. If 80% of the population were anti Nazi, the Nazi’s would never have gained any traction in the first place. The Nazi’s popularity shot up several years before the burning of the Reichstag. Much of the time the Nazi’s and the existing conservative party shared a similar kind of voter, but then the Nazi’s became even more nationalist and even more socialist and became a true fascist party. My point is that they obviously had enough popular support to get into power to begin with.

        2. That’s interesting but a non seqiutur. Rand said “they elected Hitler”. That’s false. He also says the people chose security over liberty by vote. That’s also false. As you point out Hitler took power by force. If the interviewer wasn’t as clueless about history as Paul he could have really raked him over the coals.

  2. The GQ article was actually very fair to Rand Paul…. its the copycat articles that have come up since then which have taken quotes from the GQ article and misrepresented them by taking them out of context.

  3. Off-topic but speaking of fear, remember this thread? All the comments are gone!

    1. Jesus Christ, did the well known child molester Arthur Allen Wolk babyrape all the comments away?

    2. The known child molester Arthur Alan Wolk, I mean. I apologize to the known child molester for misspelling his name.

    3. Holy shit! And now Warty’s comment is gone!

      1. What comment? I never called Arthur Alan Wolk a child molester. That would be absurd. How silly of you.

        1. Get out of the house! Get to a secure location!

          Don’t answer the phone!

          Find Molly Norris and get her brother Chuck to put an end to this madness!

    4. Well, fuck. At least I can call Arthur Alan Wolk an asshole without getting deleted, I hope.

      1. I mean, really.

        Really.

        So every comment on that thread was somehow legally actionable?

        Would not the threat of legal retaliation against non-defamatory content be a misuse of the legal system, which could be actionable in itself?

        1. Well, an actual lawyer is probably scarier than Lonewacko, so if hurling vile untruths at Locosolo gets a subthread nuked, then doing the same to a lawyer should get an entire thread thrown down the memory hole, I guess.

          Besides, the Kochtopus doesn’t want to waste its money on defending the right to defame non-kiddydiddlying lawyers like Arthur Alan Wolk, who is absolutely not a child molester.

          1. How about wasting its money defending the right to not-defame the aforementioned particular individual.

            What kind of deal was made? Transparency?

      2. Can you at least draw Arthur Alan Wolk?

        1. And now it’s back! Is this the work of anon-bot?

    5. Pretty piss poor performance for a group that cites freedom of speech and expression as one of its central tenets.

    6. Christ. Apogee, you are my witness to this shameful episode.

      1. So, just to reiterate, now my non-defamatory comment was deleted, simply because I mentioned the name of a particular individual.

        Ok kids, lets have some fun, or at least, an explanation.

        1. It seems entirely possible that I and maybe some of the other obnoxious regulars will keep pushing this issue until we get banned. In the meantime, Arthur Alan Wolk is not a sasquatch, not an alien, and not a child rapist, and I’m going to play Civ 5. Fuck you, Arthur Alan Wolk, and fuck you, deletey web dude.

          1. I’m not all that obnoxious, and I guarantee I’ll push it.

            If this was Media Matters, I wouldn’t care.

            But it’s not supposed to be.

            1. Amigos this is a money losing publication that, as he so often explains to us, often paid MW less than $40k, pays The Jacket so little that he’s forced to live in Ohio, and generally watches its budget closely to make the best use of its contributors donations to spread a message of free minds and free markets. If you would like to start a site dedicated to educating the public about Arthur Alan Wolk I will be happy to join you. But if Reason doesn’t want this to be it, can’t we be content with that?

              1. I’d be perfectly content with Reason simply explaining that the comments were removed, and then explaining the process that led to that removal.

                There would be nothing wrong with issuing an explanation for the removal, rather than creating a “memory hole” that swallows up controversial and non-controversial comments alike, which then calls into question what other uncomfortable information has been quietly deleted.

                I donate to different foundations, and I’d like to know if they’re walking some sort of tightrope regarding legal threats, legitimate or not.

                Legal threats against foundations unfavorable to attorneys should not occur in secrecy, for obvious reasons.

                It’s not the response to a legal threat that’s disturbing, it’s the unnecessary secrecy.

                1. Cool. Let’s talk to the grownups in the morning and ask for an update after they have had a cup of coffee.

                2. Also, the implication is that we’re petitioning to have the subject of Arthur Alan Wolk brought up on the blog.

                  This is not the case. The story is already posted and commented. If it is to be removed, then an explanation should follow. If there is a threat to keep the removal quiet, then that can be alluded to without going into specifics.

                  1. Of course. My point is only that it’s the middle of the night and the boss is asleep.

                  2. Apogee, if you don’t like the way Reason operates their blog, you’re free to chillax somewhere else.

                    1. Tulpa, if you don’t like my comments, feel free to go fuck yourself.

      2. Screen grabbed & loaded.

        Expect some extra visitors, as well.

      3. Why am I always late to these censorship episodes?

        1. Feel free to call people child molesters, dude. It seems to get the job done.

          1. Warty is a child molester.

            1. I believe for a comment to be considered dangerous, it must be against someone who is likely to retaliate physically (Muslim extremists on Draw Muhammed Day) or legally (The-Lawyer-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named or anyone with large amounts of time and money to waste on frivolous law suits). The statement must also not be demonstrably true. Your comment fails all three tests, so it should endure.

              1. Perhaps the solution is to only have Hit ‘n Run post about happy things, like puppies and chocolate.

                Now who could be offended at that?

                1. Other than PETA.

                  Hmmm. Ok, so no puppies.

                  What? Who’s on the phone?

                  Nestle?

                  But…but…we just said that Clinton was a policy wonka chocoholic.

                  I see. Ok.

                  What about the article mentioning Barney Frank’s Hershey Highway?

                  No go? Oh, the Senator from Pennsylvania?

                  Ok.

                  Well….we’ll just go with Matt’s family interest article: Welch’s favorite breakfast juices.

                  What? Who? But they’re a co-op! It’s not even about them.

                  Ok.

                  Oh, and one other thing – MADD called and wants the masthead changed from “Hit & Run” – they say it’s insensitive.

              2. Warty, why don’t you threaten legal action?

                1. Sir, your comments are untrue and defamatory, and your mother is a whore. Retract your allegations at once or face legal action.

          2. Yes, but I didn’t do that. What got the job done for me was asking if it was all right to draw a certain particular individual.

            That’s it.

            Comment deleted.

            What is it when non-defamatory statements are deleted?

            Sure isn’t free minds and free markets.

            1. Arthur Alan Wolk is not involved in any deviant or illegal sexual intercourse.

              1. Because, of course, unsubstantiated rumors of Arthur Alan Volk’s sadistic and deviant perversions could never be printed.

            2. It’s free minds an free monkees.

    7. Does anyone remember any exact phrasing of any of the deleted comments? Google may have cached them… (Maybe the draw Muhammed day comments too?)

      1. We cast aspersions on his sexual practices. It was similar to Lonewacko’s Last Fiesta, if you’re familiar with that.

        1. I’m not. Wazzat?

          1. Well, I called him a child molester and then he threw a hissy fit and the thread vanished. Presumably, he threatened Reason. The same thing is happening here.

            1. Nope. Unfortunately, the same thing isn’t happening here.

              I mentioned this person’s name, in a completely non-defamatory manner, and had the comment deleted.

              This could be problematic, in an Alynsky way.

              One wonders whether any one person yelling obscenities at a rally could get the entire rally shut down.

              The complete removal of all material is problematic, not only because it doesn’t pertain to the complaint, but because it calls into question the allegiance to the concept of “free minds and free markets” so espoused by Reason and its foundation.

              1. The original article still has comments open.

                https://reason.com/blog/2010/08…..tect-his-r

                1. I…uh, ahem, made a comment.

                  1. I…uh, ahem, made a comment.

                    Hehe. Good girl. You know, we might as well make some Mohammad dick jokes while we’re at it.

                    1. I hear it’s as small as a lentil.

              2. I remember the term “sheepfucker” used a lot in the deleted thread.

                Actually, I can understand why Reason.com did what they did. They didn’t want the legal hassles, and didn’t want to go through comment by comment and decide which to delete, so they just deleted them all.

                1. I understand fully, but it’s still disappointing.

                2. didn’t want to go through comment by comment and decide which to delete, so they just deleted them all.

                  False. A comment of mine on this thread was deleted, and it was in no way defamatory.

                  This thread.

                  The one we’re on right now.

                  Also, one might think that “someone” making a complaint might specify what the complaint was about.

                  Weak performance – especially from a journalistic perspective, much less freedom of speech.

                  I’m a little curious about what is going on.

                  Should we all ask permission from the legal community before we think?

                  1. Apogee no, generally frauds who make complaints about defamation do *not* specify what the complaint is about. Or if they do they do they make up their own defamatory claims to complain about. As a typical example, you might read:
                    http://www.sequenceinc.com/fra…..itigation/

                    1. Which reinforces my opinion that the deletions should have been handled openly, as any fraudster who wants to file a defamation suit will only be assisted by unnecessarily secret removals.

                      If it doesn’t matter what is written on the blog, because the complaint can be vague, then what safety lies in removal?

                    2. I believe the intention is to placate his over-sized ego.

                    3. And what’s to keep a friend of AAW’s from making defamatory posts oh H&R so that AAW can sue Reason?

              3. it calls into question the allegiance to the concept of “free minds and free markets” so espoused by Reason and its foundation.

                I don’t think you understand what “free minds and free markets” means. It certainly doesn’t mean you have a right to have your comments posted on someone else’s blog in perpetuity.

                1. I’m not saying I have a right.

                  What I’m saying is that this site champions freedom of expression. This site put up a post about a lawyer being “touchy” about anyone commenting on what appeared to be his legal errors.

                  It’s their property, and if they want to delete all the comments, or not even have comments, then that’s up to them.

                  But I find secretly deleting comments because of legal threats, not because they don’t like the comments (some of which weren’t even defamatory)to be counter to the stated goals of the site.

                  Why are my complaints so threatening to you? It’s as though everyone should just do as they’re told.

                  You really do envy the totalitarians, don’t you?

  4. Ron Paul > Rand Paul >>>>>>>>>>>>>> rest of Senate. It’s that simple. If libertarians can’t support someone who is at least above 50% on their issues on a practical level (for all intents and purposes, “federalist” is libertarian on the federal level), we quite frankly deserve to lose — especially since the alternative is some asshole who embodies the worst characteristics of both major ideologies.

    1. Almost as important is the effect it can have on other Republicans and Democrats. Successful candidates are copied.

      1. Exactly. Think of Rand Paul as a trial balloon: a libertarianish candidate running in a predominantly conservative state. Trial balloons, by their very nature, aren’t meant to be perfect, they just need to be able to fly. If Rand is able to win statewide, it proves that right-libertarian appeal isn’t just limited to certain gerrymandered districts (I’m looking at you, Jeff Flake and Ron Paul), and that it is possible to run statewide on a largely libertarian platform.

        1. As a KYian, I will be voting for him in November. This time. Beyond that will depend on performance.

    2. WTH happened to McConnell? Back during the McCain Feingold debate, he was the best. Now he is Harry Ried’s read guard.

  5. Regarding the question where Rand stands on non-interventionism and what his above reported meetings with the Kristol ilk and AIPAC might mean, I want to make just one point:
    The article doesn?t say anything about what Rand actually said but only reports what the other parties heard from him (or maybe just thought they heard). I remember a statement on Israel from the campaign, probably from around the same time as these meetings, that superficially read very hawkish but on closer inspection at no point ran counter to non-interventionist principles. They just were repackaged fitting for the target group and with a bow on top.
    Some might call that deceptive, I call it diplomatic.
    And diplomacy is a pillar of non-interventionism after all 😉 .

    1. Besides, I have no problem with a guy saying, as it pertains to Israel:

      “We like you guys, really we do. You seem pretty reasonable and you like to make a few shekels. And we totally recognize that those other dudes are batshit insane, but since they’re so batshit insane, we’d prefer to stay the hell away and not send you $3bn/year. I’m sure you’ll make do.”

      1. How about “when you folks can figure out your problems, you let us know. In the meantime, don’t ask us for money, mm’kay? Thx bye.”

        1. I liked the nicer version. You’re too dickish as usual.

          1. You may not realize it, but that’s a compliment; thanks.

  6. as the analogy gets fleshed out in greater detail, begins to reveal itself as conforming to a certain logic that might be worthy of debate

    It’s almost like some libertarians might have some brains in their heads.

    Remind me to put some of the causes of the most horrific wars and genocides of the last hundred years on my list of topics that might be worthy of debate at some point in the future.

  7. Also, I’m not so worried about his conversations with Neocons. By the articles own admission, Rand is hardly bashful about discussing the merits of policies and takes great pride in his intellectual abilities. Perhaps he was wishing to persuade or find common ground with some of the more hawkish foreign policy types and even convince them of a new direction or at least talk up the benefits of soft power. Besides, I rather like the idea of a person who is willing to talk to the opposition (providing its without major policy concessions) as it will help him figure out an effective means to pursue a non-interventionalist strategy.

  8. Rand is running as a Republican, for the Senate, and in Kentucky. Even if he identified entirely with Diddy Paul, politically, he’d be foolish to make it an issue. I suspect he is a little more in line with Pops, but why create an issue for yourself? People are tiring of war (Afghanistan will increase this sentiment), and it will be just as easy to make an economic case for foreign policy reform. I believe he learned that lesson with civil rights comment spin.

    I’m pretty stoked with Rand Paul going to the Senate. I was hoping Peter Schiff got on the ballot. Instead it will be the Craiglist Senator.

    1. I’m way bummed that Schiff didn’t gain more traction too. But Rand will be as good as the Senate has seen in my life. Hopefully, he won’t be as good as the Senate will see in my though.

  9. Of course, in Doherty’s world only leftwing libertarians exist. You can’t be a libertarian and be pro-defense at the same time. To Doherty and his crew, libertarianism equates to surrender-tarianism. Some group attacks your country, just wave the white flag.

    That’s why he doesn’t get Rand Paul.

    Oh, and Rand will be far better than his Dad. We pro-defense libertarians can’t wait til he’s in office.

    1. DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOO!

    2. Silly DONDERROOOOO, you’re not a libertarian. But you’ve been informed of that many times.

    3. war=peace
      bloody murder=defense

      Dondero, your tired little lines are fraying.

      1. Do any of you idiots stop and think: In alternative universe A, where chronic ganja use hasn’t killed your Mr. Flappy and where we did not invade Iraq, where would we be right now?

        That’s right, idiots. IN IRAQ. We’d still have 50k troops in the middle east, still enforcing the no-fly zones, the sanctions and all of that, if not actually in country following a bloody civil war or another invasion under other circumstances.

        Wars have sequels. That’s the rule. It’s not the godd@mn NCAA championships. All the teams don’t go for one head-to-head and then we all get drunk at the playoffs. Yay! No, there’s 20 French and English wars, Arab-Israeli wars, Sino-Japanese wars, and multiple world wars and so on and so forth. We’d be back like Swartzenegger.

        Deal with it.

        I’ve never actually seen any pacifist libertarians. I’m pretty revulsed. Libertarians should be Liberals, in the mark of Mises’ Liberalism, not dirtbag hippies who cannot pick up a gun or a pack because they just, like, took five Queludes, man, and, like, whoa, the room is totally spinning, dude.

        There are damn good reasons to fight, and war is not bloody murder. You had better un&@&% yourself or you’ll have a mighty small, dour party all to yourself.

        1. THANK YOU so much for pointing out that we were already there .

    4. True, everyone who understands anything about defense knows that if a bunch of Saudia Arabian extremists attack your country, it’s time to suit up, grab some ammo, get good and pissed and go completely ignore Saudia Arabia and fuck Iraq up because they may or may be trying to get in a position where they could attack us one day, and besides, their leader’s an evil dictator.

      1. Hahahah. +10

        Yeah. Dondero is really comical on “defense.” Hes a straight-up neocon. There is zero nuance in his defense of neo-con endless-war policy.
        Fuck up Iraq? Why?
        SADDAM IS EVIL.
        Okay, but he didn’t attack us.
        HE MURDERED HIS OWN PEOPLE.
        Okay well, here’s Sudan, and Central Africa, and..Congo, and hmm, here’s Venezuela, and oh China?

        *silence* WE ARE FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM. What about the tens of thousands of civilian deaths?
        THATS REGRETTABLE BUT YOU GOTTA BREAK EGGS etc. besides FREEDOM! THEY HAVE ELECTIONS!

        Hm, okay. So how does creating a Shariah-following Islamic Republic (y’know like Pakistan and Iran! haha) helping American national security?

        FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!

        1. Did Sudan, Congo, Venezuela or China violate their cease-fire with us?

      2. It had more to do with Saddam Hussein violating the cease-fire, not destroying specific WMDs in a verifiable way, and using the threat that he *possibly* still had them to threaten us and his neighbors. Really, it was a complicated situation that evolved over decades, which is why the American people quickly got bored and frustrated with it.

        I’d also ask you to consider the fact that, when interviewed, each and every one of his generals testified that Saddam did have dangerous nukes, chemical weapons, etc. They hadn’t seen them, but everyone was convinced that everyone else had and nobody in the Hussein government would admit to not being involved in having their WMD ready for any American/Iranian/whatever invasion.

        Again, there is so much that is too difficult to write on a bumper sticker. “Bush lied. People died,” is so much more pithy.

        1. “I’d also ask you to consider the fact that, when interviewed, each and every one of his generals testified that Saddam did have dangerous nukes, chemical weapons, etc.”

          That is simply not true. Not at all.

          1. They all pretty much did testify that they were sure that Saddam had some sort of chemical weapons and nuclear program, but that it was somewhere else and they didn’t know where. And that’s partially because it was to Saddam’s interest to make people think that he had those… well, until the USA took him seriously on that.

            1. And it was in the generals interest to tell their inerviewers whatever they wanted to hear. Otherwise they mighta brought in the “enhanced interviewing techniques”.

              1. Which generals were being tortured? Oh right-none at all.

        2. “It had more to do with Saddam Hussein violating the cease-fire, not destroying specific WMDs in a verifiable way, and using the threat that he *possibly* still had them to threaten us and his neighbors.”

          I made this same argument back in my conservative days as well… but if you want to use this line of justification we should be preparing for war with (at the very least) N. Korea and Iran.

          You’re right that it is complicated, but admitting we made a mistake in going to Iraq isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

          1. we should be preparing for war with (at the very least) N. Korea and Iran.
            Why yes we should. Thank you for a moment of lucidity.

      3. The problem is that everyone who understands anything about defense knows that if a bunch of Saudi Arabian terrorists who are based in Afghanistan attack your country you go after them.

        There, how’s that? Because that is, after all, what we actually did. The Iraqi front came later and had to do with the Gulf War cease-fire, open funding of terrorism, and WMD fears.

        It pisses me off that we didn’t hit Saudi Arabia, but that doesn’t change the fact that we went after the actual perpetrators first–despite this weird spin that we ignored Al Qaeda in favor of Iraq.

        1. There’s also the fact that Sadaam was connected with the first WTC attack and was playing footsie with AQ when we invaded.

    5. Yeah when the Iraqis attacked our country we had to protect ourselves! You fucking idiot.

    6. Rand will be better than Ron because he wont have the power to fire you, right Eric?

    7. So, just to be clear:

      libertarian republican = libertarian with a murder boner

      Did I get that right?

      1. No. But you did give yourself a boner with that strawman porn.

  10. I’ve been pretty bummed out by some of Rand’s stuff, especially on the national defense side. But he’d be the best senator of the bunch of day 1, no doubt.

    And the GQ piece was an entertaining read. Actually kinda made me like Randy-bo-bandy just a little more.

    1. Also on day 1. Damn you, nonexistent edit button.

    1. They’re gonna get you! Let’s see how long.

      1. Clock’s ticking.

        Bar the door and hide your dog.

      1. Yeah, that’s the one. That other people allege to be a sheepfucker, I mean.

        1. Those frustrated by the removal of comments about a previous thread may simply wish to pursue communicative options here:

          http://www.airlaw.com/contact.htm

          1. Well, yes. I was under the impression that my comments on that thread were in no way defamatory. Any accusation to the effect that they were would be false, and could be construed as impugning my integrity.

            But are you saying that it is the Wolk law firm that is ultimately responsible for the removal of information from this site?

            Do you have any documentation that it has been asserted in writing that my former deleted comments were, in any way, deleterious to the professional function of the Wolk Law firm?

            1. None whatsoever. But I presume they wouldn’t have been deleted without some action on the part of the firm.

              1. I’m curious about that as well, as “Reason: Free Minds and Free Markets” seems to imply the right to discuss things openly. After censoring non-defamatory comments in their web forum, one might think that there might be a need for an explanatory statement.

                Not right away, but maybe soon?

                After all, it’s not as though the commenters put up the original posting.

                1. I’m curious about that as well, as “Reason: Free Minds and Free Markets” seems to imply the right to discuss things openly.

                  Your freedom of speech does not give you a right to post signs on the side of my house and then bleat “censorship” when I take them down.

                  1. Tulpa,

                    If you allowed the public to post signs freely on your house, then one day took down all signs speaking of a certain topic, you’re censoring. It is within your right to do so, but to call it something else is dishonest.

                  2. Did someone put a sign about sheep fucking on your house?

              2. But I presume they wouldn’t have been deleted without some action on the part of the firm.

                Maybe, but not necessarily. I’ve noticed a few comment sections (as well as whole articles) have vanished from the site before.

          2. I like my tempests in teapots, dammit!

    2. It’s pretty funny Reason calling out the alleged sheepfucker, and then going back and deleting all those comments with its tail between its legs. I believe the kids these days would say Reason got pwned.

  11. He went and talked to people that held views he disagreed with? Great, another extremist nutjob running for office.

  12. Why is it so offensive that someone would want to worship Me?

  13. Arthur Alan Wolk worships me.

  14. not as good as his dad; likely better than every other Senator of his party

    If he’s as good as Jim DeMint that’ll be great. Reason has been remiss in not covering the SC Senator’s electoral insurgency this cycle.

  15. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  16. The sad thing is that I hope he wins. He’s clearly dumber than a box of rocks, and far crazier than O’Donnell. That he is better than the alternatives is… fucking tragic.

    1. He ain’t dumb. He’s got quite the “intellectual” mind actually. He’s just WAY too willing to comromise on principals.

  17. Part of me suspects that Rand is really going undercover and is going to reveal himself to be quite like his dad when in office.

    I saw him during his dad’s campaign. He had obviously done the research on foreign policy, terrorism, etc. Do you think a meeting with someone like Bill Kristol would convince him that all his research, all the facts he already knew, are wrong? That al Qaeda really does hate freedom and Iran is a grave threat to America? Please.

    There’s also a video of him talking about a meeting he had with Murray Rothbard, and how much he admired him. No one who reads Rothbard can have a neoconnish view of foreign affairs

    1. Think you nailed it.

    2. Yeah, I think it’s a case of doing what you gotta do to get elected. Normally repugnant, but when its one of the “good” guys, well….

    3. No one who reads Rothbard can have a neoconnish sane view of foreign affairs

  18. Great analysis, Brian! Thank you for writing it.

  19. Rand needs to study his history before he spouts off. Hitler was NOT elected. He was appointed chancellor by Hindenberg. He was then given dictatorial power by the parliament through the Enabling Act.

  20. It’s kinda funny when you think about it. The GOP is about to get one or two libertarianish Senators (Paul and Mike Lee. While the Dems are about to lose the only (Civil) libertarianesque Senator they’ve ever had (Feingold)http://politicalwire.com/archives/2010/09/22/feingold_trailing_in_re-election_bid.html. Perhaps a final closing of the “liberaltarian” chapter? Well, atleast until the GOP takes back the White House.

    1. Now Feingold, that would have been a Democratic presidential candidate I could have understood libertarians getting behind.

      1. With a knife? Or is this some different Feingold from the one who sought to curtail free speech?

        1. Yes, he’s terrible on that issue, but surprisingly good on others.

          1. Yeah, but that’s a pretty big issue. Kinda like “my husband is great in bed and brings home the bacon; I don’t mind if he chokes me every once in a while” Big. Lady, get the hell out of there.

            There is no freedom without freedom of speech and thought. It is essential.

  21. Paul Rand should just switch to Democrat, mouth a few unspecific platitudes about ‘needing small business’, raise a good deal of money, and then drastically under perform in getting wiped out in the election. Then he’d get some really positive reviews here in The New Repu…er…Reason.

    1. +(10*100)pie(apple custard)

  22. Yeah, so what if people who believe the Twelfth Imam is about to return and love death as the filthy kafir loves life acquire apocalyptic weapons? Those silly neocons get upset over the most trivial issues.

  23. ‘Give me your liberty and I’ll give you security.’ Not that it’s imminent or happening tomorrow or applies to any particular players on the stage, but there are historical examples.

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