Campaigns/Elections

The Conservative Case Against Politicians Who Might Take Cutting Spending Seriously

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Alex Knepper at FrumForum is mad at Rand Paul, the Tea Party standard-bearer GOP Senate candidate from Kentucky, for some reasons just not true (he is allegedly being "boosted" by Mises Institute head Lew Rockwell, which he is not), some potentially objectionable but of little relevance to his potential contributions as a senator (he talks to conspiracy-minded Alex Jones).

The real problem with Paul is that, unlike his Democratic opponent Jack Conway who Knepper endorses in the name of conservatism here, Paul "does not believe in the American exceptionalism of Ronald Reagan's variety… Paul's America [is] one in which America retains no global military presence." And to conservatives of the Frum/Knepper variety, that is the one unnegotiable demand of politicians: that they spend more and more on more and more war to certify America's mighty exceptionalism. Debt? Small government? Domestic liberty? The Constitution? That all may bring people out to Tea Party rallies, but really…talk about that stuff too much, and you might as well be Alex Jones.

Behind all of Knepper's assertions is something that lots of dedicated fans of Rand's dad, Texas GOP Congressman Ron Paul have come to seriously doubt: that no matter what he says or does on the way to election, Rand agrees with his dad about everything when it comes to government. It's probably not true, alas. But if it was, that is all the more reasons for Tea Partiers--who Knepper accuses Ron Paulites of overrunning or corrupting--to be strongly behind him.

Indeed, Tea Partiers--dedicated, right, to a smaller, leaner, less destructively overspending federal government--really ought to be even more enthusiastic about certain of Rand Paul's allegedly horribly radical and unconservative views (the very views he is soft-pedaling or abandoning as an official GOP candidate) such as ending overseas intervention and at least de-federalizing the drug war.

But remember, conservatives: it doesn't matter what he'd do about spending, debt, or freedom: Rand Paul will "oppose most of the party's legislation, anyway!" Conservatism is about supporting the Republican Party, except when it requires us to vote for a Democrat, because the Democrats agree with the Republicans more than someone Knepper is afraid might be a serious libertarian. And that is being serious about electoral politics, conservatives.