Politics

Weekly Standard Finds Daylight Between the Pauls

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If only he repudiates the Birchers!

Matthew Continetti has an interesting and respectful cover profile out on Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). The gist of Continetti's thesis:

As founder of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, he is perhaps more associated with the movement than any other freshman Republican. He has led opposition to renewal of the Patriot Act, quoted Ayn Rand from his seat on the energy committee, called for $500 billion in cuts in discretionary spending this year, said that to believe in a "right" to health care "means you believe in slavery," and released a plan to balance the budget in five years. Not exactly a shrinking violet.

Yet Paul has a cool and pragmatic streak. He has a talent for networking, coalition building, and political maneuvering that—maybe you've noticed—many in the Tea Party and Ron Paul troop lack. While the substance of his positions is barely distinguishable from his father's, and his goal of "constitutional government" is entirely in accord with the Tea Party, Paul avoids the fiery jeremiads and utopian demands of his allies. He's willing to talk to and work with people who disagree with him. (Ron Paul's office did not respond to my requests for an interview.) He realizes that tearing the federal government apart is impracticable. "I'm for incremental change," he told me. […]

Funny penny

Whereas Ron Paul is a lone wolf, Rand has quickly developed working relationships with several other senators. Nor is his circle limited to conservative stalwarts like Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah. He's collaborated with Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. "Rand is incredibly practical and principled," Graham told me. "I have found him to be very engaged in trying to build coalitions. He is much more than just saying 'No.'" […]

For two years now Rand Paul has walked a tightrope between a particular strain of libertarian ideology and an agenda with broad appeal. So far he's avoided the temptations of both the fringe and the GOP establishment. The rewards will be great if he can keep his balance. Indeed, he could turn out to be one of the most important conservative statesmen in decades.

Lots of fresh quotes in there from Reason Senior Editor Brian Doherty, and a telling little closing anecdote about choosing the right political magazines in life. Read the whole thing. My June cover essay on Paul here. Reason.tv interview below.