Rand Paul

Rand Paul: Could He Actually Win? Five Reasons Say "Yes"


The post-filibuster rise of Rand Paul from weirdo maverick to soul of the Republican Party continues as Politico asks the question: could this guy actually win his party's presidential nomination? And answers with a, we can't see why not!

The five reasons:

He has a stronger organization than any other Republican

Paul starts with a built-in base of libertarians that comprises at least 10 percent of the GOP electorate, and his boosters have made tremendous inroads in state parties around the country.

They may be a minority, but they are a devoted one. Paul supporters will drive farther and work harder than any other 2016 contender's core backers. They also tend to be younger and engaged on social media and the blogosphere in ways that people who support someone of the older generation like, say, Jeb Bush are not….

He's perceived as principled

Grass-roots conservatives in the early states loathe career politicians as much as ever. There's a real appetite for someone who doesn't always do the politically prudent thing.

The filibuster was a seminal moment not because it changed the conversation on drones but because it showed that Paul cared so deeply about something that he was willing to not urinate for 13 hours….

His dad's nickname was Dr. No, and the younger Paul has a similar voting record. Paul consistently opposes spending bills, which means that he cannot be attacked in 2016 like Rick Santorum was in the 2012 debates for supporting earmarks. Paul backs a balanced budget amendment, term limits and even returned money to the treasury that he did not spend from his office budget.

He's more cautious than voters realize

Paul often speaks carefully and gives nuanced answers. It's an acknowledgment of sorts that if he wants to be a mainstream leader of the party, he needs to be careful about offending large swaths of Republicans.

His immigration speech is a case in point. An early draft obtained by The Associated Press prompted the wire to report that he would endorse a "path to citizenship," but when Paul delivered his speech, he avoided that term…

On other issues, Paul takes a states-rights federalist approach. He thinks states should decide whether to allow medicinal marijuana, for example.

On CNN Tuesday, he talked up his support for "life" but dodged when pressed by Wolf Blitzer on what specific exceptions he supports for abortion. (He introduced a bill last week that would say life begins at conception.) At the same time, Paul has rankled some social conservatives with his position on gay marriage.

"I'm an old-fashioned traditionalist. I believe in the historic and religious definition of marriage," he told National Review last week. "That being said, I'm not for eliminating contracts between adults. I think there are ways to make the Tax Code more neutral so it doesn't mention marriage."

He appears to have fewer skeletons than his father

…..Barring a surprise, opponents have nowhere near the volume of material on Rand Paul, a benefit of spending most of his adult life on the periphery of politics….

He can play the inside game in a way his dad never could

After introducing several bills during his first two years in the Senate that went nowhere, Paul has become a more savvy legislator.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the alliance he has formed with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who backed Paul's GOP primary opponent in 2010. Paul's campaign manager that year, Jesse Benton, is now running McConnell's 2014 reelection effort.

After a rough start during his campaign, Paul has become adept with the media. He kept the buzz around his filibuster going for days with a series of interviews and events.

And he has taken pains to brand his foreign policy ideas as within the GOP mainstream. In a recent speech, he described himself as an heir to Ronald Reagan when it comes to national security — "a realist," Paul said, "not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist."….

This longtime libertarian movement watcher has an ingrained cautiousness about declaring the electorate at large is ready to embrace someone as libertarian as Paul. I detailed my own version of the challenges Paul faces on his way to national success last week.

I think the economy is key–the more the next 3 years indicate that Paulite fears of the real consequences of profligate debt and monetary policy are real, the more voters might be willing to embrace what would be, to most, a wrenching change in the direction of fiscal probity and government acting within its means.

That's a general election problem–as far as winning the GOP base, it feels better for Paul, especially since the Party will have no hometeam need to embrace ever-expansionist foreign policy as its own thing–like with the drone filibuster, they can be for peace and a return to a strictly defensive foreign policy posture and be against Obama and the Democratic Party. On all the other things Republicans are supposed to want, Rand Paul is solid.

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  1. I don’t know if he is going to run. But if he does, what Republican beats him? Jeb Bush? No one is going for another Bush. Santorum has no appeal outside of the SOCONs and that is not enough to win. Rubio doesn’t have the organization. Who else is there?

    1. I’d vote for Paul in a heartbeat, and I think many other Republicans would, too. Assuming he stays where he is and doesn’t stumble, I think he’d have an excellent shot at the nomination.

      1. it would certainly piss off the right people. anymore, spite is certainly a factor in how I vote

        1. Voting for Paul will make David Frum cry. I have to admit, that is one hell of an appealing reason.

          1. It will also make Bill Kristol bug out to a cabin in the woods full of AK’s and plot the Resistance to terrorist occupation.

          2. Michael Gerson would have a stroke

          3. Little “Fists of Fury” Dionne would let those little fist fly, I tells ya!

    2. Rubio. Just because he doesn’t have the organization doesn’t mean he can’t get it.

      The Establishment will think Rubio is a great way to appeal to minorities and to make nice with the Tea Party.

      1. Yeah. Rubio is the only real threat. Paul is not a sure thing. But when you can only come up with one other person who is a threat and that person is hardly a sure thing himself, your chances are pretty good.

        One factor to consider in Paul’s favor, he is not a Catholic. He is a real Protestant and he has a lot of street creed on abortion. He will do better among SOCON voters than people think.

        1. At the same time we tend to live and comment in a libertarian bubble. I can totally see the GOP old guard manufacturing a few Romney-style standard GOP candidates over the next 2 years. This is way too early to be getting our hopes up. Let’s see what’s in the field in late 2014.

          1. But it took two election cycles to manufacture Romney. And even then he won by default. The establishment has lost two elections in a row with middle of the road “vote for him because he is the only electable candidate” nominees. That dog is not hunting anymore. The establishment can only do so much. They can’t control how the rank and file vote. And after 2012, there just aren’t going to be many Republicans interested in another Romney or McCain.

            1. That dog may not be hunting, but you can be sure they’ll send ole’ Daisy out just the same to at least try to scare the rabbits with her bark.

          2. that’s true — but mccain and co. have just flipped their shit since the filibuster. i think i’ve read 3 or so editorials freaking out about him. granted, one was a classic EJ Dionne concern troll.

            1. I’m with some guy, it’s WAYYYY too early to get our hopes up about Paul.

              The sheer incompetence of the GOP is too much to overlook this early as well.

            2. Nah. On this one, I’m making sure the message is out to all of my establishment GOP friends. Siding with McCain is a sure way to lose the under 30 crowd by an even larger margin. He couldn’t win because he’s a loser. Anyone who listens to a loser deserves to lose, too.

      2. Yes, they love him, but the establishment guy won’t win if the other guy kicks ass early on. Rand seems to play the game well enough to not get the total cold shoulder his dad got.

        1. “Cold shoulder?” That understatement was positively British!

        2. His suits fit better as well. haha. image is important to most voters.

      3. eventually, thinking people see through the veneer of a hispanic last name. Let’s be honest, if his name were Mark Robinson or, in translation form, Blond, no one outside the conservative media nexus would have him nearly as high.

    3. Rubio doesn’t have the organization.

      The nightmare scenario for Rand is that Rubio gets Jeb onboard early and uses his organization.

    4. If the establishment got behind Jindal, maybe him?

      Don’t know. Jindal is Rand’s only peer in the head.

  2. Rand Paul: Could He Actually Win? Five Reason Say “Yes”

    Five Reason also say fuck grammar in titles.

      1. I misread that. Twice.

  3. Let’s say Rand Paul does get the GOP nomination. What effect would that have on the Libertarian Party and it’s nomination process? How would Paul interact with the Libertarian candidate?

    At first it seems like the LP would be driven further off center. A lot of the more mainstream voters would choose to support Paul, leaving only the “extremists” to nominate a LP candidate. By “extremists” I mean people who apply hard line libertarian litmus tests to their candidates. Would this ultimately hurt the LP, or would the LP be able to ride Paul’s coattails to success?

    1. The Libertarian Party is a fringe party. Generally the worst thing that can happen to a fringe party is for them to achieve some success and get one of the mainstream parties to adopt their ideas. If the Republicans actually became acceptably libertarian, what reason would the LP party have for existing anymore? None. But they would never fold up shop. So what they would do is change the definition of “acceptable libertarian” to something more extreme.

      1. A libertarian presidential candidate is not a libertarian Congress or anything else. Even if the LP endorsed Paul, which is unlikely, that doesn’t take away the need or importance of an LP. The GOP will not become fully libertarian, even if Paul were to win in a historic landslide (which is also unlikely).

      2. The only reason the Libertarian party has any life at all is that the Republican party chased out anyone who wasn’t a “conservative” enough in the late 80’s.

        (Gawdz, I hate the contemporary highjacking of the word “conservative”, and it’s counterpart “liberal” too!

      3. The libertarian party needs to hang around to influence policy, and keep the concentration of parties diluted. The republicans becoming more libertarian might actually increase the likelihood of an L candidate being elected to lower offices. Finally, the more “extreme” libertarians become, the more mainstream things that used to be “extreme” become.

  4. Rand Paul just introduced a bill that would make abortion for any reason illegal in all 50 states, in addition to putting some forms of birth control at risk. How the hell you think he’s nuanced, or careful, or somehow becoming a better lawmaker… What are you guys thinking?

    And he’s clearly for creating a path to citizenship, even if he doesn’t want to call it that. When Rand Paul plays these stupid word games, he’s “nuanced.” When other politicians play those games, we refer to it as pandering.

    The RNC is already planning on dealing with Rand Paul in the primaries, you guys just wrote an article about it a few days ago. Meanwhile, they’re going to pay lip service to the liberty movement and talk about how great it is that they’re changing. They have no intentions to. They’re going to use Rand’s popularity to drag libertarians along, sucking energy from the libertarian party. When the nomination process happens, they’ll shut Rand out as surely as they shut out his dad. They learned from their mistakes last time, though. This time they’ll do it quickly and quietly in hopes that his supporters don’t mutiny in the way Ron’s did.

    Get smart. Rand is being used, and libertarians are being used.

    1. The RNC is already planning on dealing with Rand Paul in the primaries, you guys just wrote an article about it a few days ago.

      Said plan is to make it harder for underfunded candidates to compete. So how exactly will that shut Paul out, a guy who is going to be one of the best funded candidates and already has a huge organization?

      Concern troll elsewhere.

      1. I’m starting to think that the liberty movement doesn’t even want to be a player. That comes with responsibility and shit. It’s way more fun to just sit around and be pissed off, playing the victim.

        1. They are not the victim. They are going to put forward a popular well funded and well organized candidate.

      2. Ron managed to bring in several 10s of millions of dollars in donations. Rand will get that too. But Rand will lose to someone that can self-finance a hundred million or so.

        The establishment went into panic mode in 2012 and did everything it could to keep paulites from having any impact on the convention. I assume they will pre-emptively strike at Rand before he can get to the Iowa Caucuses.

        Note that I am still registered as a Republican only because I hope to caucus for Rand in 2016. But I don’t have any real hope that he can get the nomination.

      3. Ron had money and the best, most well organized campaign probably ever. And yet he still got shut out. The changes that are being made will still make it easier for the RNC leadership to hand pick a candidate, regardless of those things.

        1. But Paul had no appeal outside of his group of supporters. Rand does. Paul didn’t lose because he was shut out. He lost because his ceiling of support was about 30%.

        2. Ron Paul got shut out for the same reason the Dems shut out Kucinich and Nader. Time will tell, but Rand seems to be attracting a much wider base of support.

        3. Finishing 2nd is shut out?

          1. This might be news to you, but only one person can run on the republican ticket for president at one time. I don’t know, I guess he could have received some kind of consolation prize, a fruit basket or something.

            1. Im not saying that he didnt lose, he clearly lost. But shut out is a baseball metaphor and is a technical term.

              And Paul wasnt shut out.

              1. “Shut Out” can also be used in some other senses besides a baseball metaphor. I think what jessie was saying was that he was shut out of participating in the convention to the extent that a candidate who has not dropped out and who has a decent number of delegates ought to be allowed to.

    2. Rand Paul just introduced a bill that would make abortion for any reason illegal in all 50 states, in addition to putting some forms of birth control at risk.

      And also, break Big Birds wings so he can’t lift them over his head and waterboard him until he confesses to being gay!

      And also, they want to go back to 1643 and restart the Atlantic slave trade because they hate blacks.

      And also, they’re going to nuke the peaceful kite flying mooninites.

      And repeal the law of gravity! Anarchy! Somalia!

      They gonna put ya all in binders!

      1. It’s a little hard to tell exactly what you’re trying to get at, but I’m going to guess that you think I’m being dramatic. Look up the law, there’s nothing I’m saying that’s out of the realm of possibility. His bill grants rights at conception, and conception is fertilization. Many forms of birth control can possibly allow fertilization, but prevent implantation.

        I suppose we could trust the state and local governments to exercise the law reasonably and with good judgment… but let me remind you that Rand Paul just stood on the senate floor for 13 hours without taking piss in order to get clarification on a purely hypothetical event that has never and will likely never happen on American soil. The idea that we should leave the interpretation up to the good sense of the government seemed pretty silly then.

        Making abortion and birth control illegal? People try that shit all the time.

        1. I suppose we could trust the state and local governments to exercise the law reasonably

          What law?

          You’re like the people who say Ron Paul – if president – would disband the military in favor of letters of marque.

          What the hell happened to the Supreme Court in your dystopian fantasy of Republicans mandating church attendence?

          Republicans suck and I hate them, but not for such ridiculous reasons as you suggest.

          1. The bill that Rand Paul just introduced on Friday? The one that would guarantee legal protection to fertilized eggs?


            1. You don’t seem to understand the difference between an introduced piece of legislation and something that could feasibly become an actual law.

              Were you one of those people who ran out and bought all the AR’s up when you heard about DiFi’s gun bill?

              You say this could ban birth control. You’re taking issue with how a bill that won’t be passed would be hypothetically enforced if it wasn’t not passed?

              Of all the shit going wrong with this country it always comes back to the real issues somehow, issues that matter, like big bird and birth control pills and squirrel.

              The GOP will not ban birth control. That is stupid. The whole “GOP will ban your birth control” is one giant “Squirrel!”

              1. I’m confused on why we’re giving Rand a free pass on legislation that he introduces, that he’d liked to see passed, and that clearly reflects his views on the subject?

                Why am *I* taking shit for being concerned about a ridiculous, freedom squashing bill that won’t become law? I realize that there are other issues that need to be addressed… So maybe you should tell that to Rand? Why are you focusing on my interest in the bill and not Rand’s willingness to draw it up and introduce it, in one form or another, repeatedly?

                1. Clearly reflects his views? You accused him of wanting to ban birth control.

                  You think that’s clearly his view, really?

                  1. If you count Plan B as birth control, then to some extent that’s what he’s doing.

                    I wouldn’t have expressed it that way, but believe me, if Rand gets anywhere in the primaries, that’s not going to be the last time you hear it put that way.

                  2. I didn’t accuse him of wanting to ban birth control, although that wouldn’t surprise me. I said that the bill could do just that.

                    As I mentioned earlier, Rand Paul just filibustered for 13 hours over an a totally hypothetical scenario that had never either happened or even been proposed. We had a similar tiff over the the indefinite indention clause in the NDAA. Rand Paul is fully aware of what unintended consequences happen with a vaguely worded policy or law… And yet he introduces this bill which taken at face value does appear to allow for the banning of birth control.

                    But hey, I’m sure that’s totally not what he meant, right? I mean, he’s only introduced this bill in one form or another about THREE DIFFERENT TIMES over 2 years. That’s barely enough time to straighten out the wording, you know?

              2. The whole “GOP will ban your birth control” is one giant “Squirrel!”

                You know what would be good, though? If members of the GOP stopped introducing bills that under some interpretations actually would ban birth control, or if fewer GOPers claimed that birth control pills are abortifacients because they can prevent implantation, etc. Because it’s absolutely fucking stupid and it’s obviously fucking them politically.

                They are never going to shed this mantle if they don’t actually shed it.

                1. At the same time, Republicans will forfeit their core supporters if they say they’re open to “compromise” on abortion. If they’re willing to sell out their core principles and core constituencies, putting a whole category of human beings outside of the protection of the law – the very thing King John was barred from doing in the Magna Charta – then how can anyone take them seriously when they claim to be people of principle, unwilling to water down their convictions for the sake of votes?

                  If Rand Paul ever suggests that he’s willing to sell out the unborn for the sake of votes, I would be only one of many potential sympathizers to abandon him and leave him to be devoured by the Rubios and Bushes.

                  But I am greatly pleased to see that Paul isn’t taking the advice of the H&R community, and instead is standing up for the right to life of even the most inconvenient human beings – whether that be people targeted by the President as “terrorists” or unborn children in the womb.

                  So long as Rand sticks to his guns, I’m with him.

                  1. The issue isn’t declaring human lives outlaws, it’s declaring persons outlaws. Regarless of how you and I may feel about it personally, the case that zygotes are persons is not bulletproof. In fact, it’s not even remotely strong.

                    I have no problem with Rand choosing a hill to die on, but it makes sense to make sure the hill is at least potentially defensible.

                    1. “Regarless of how you and I may feel about it personally, the case that zygotes are persons is not bulletproof. In fact, it’s not even remotely strong.”

                      Regardless of how you and I may feel about it personally, the case the Jews are persons is not bulletproof.

                      Yes, Mr. Godwin, I totally went there.

                    2. If we had an AI that could pass the Turing test, the case for its personhood would be strong than the one for a zygote.

                      You’re welcome to hide zygotes in your floorboards when the Gestapo come looking for them, but the morality of your position has no bearing on whether you can do anything legislatively to save them.

                    3. If you’re claiming that legislative action won’t save “zygotes,” then what exactly is your complaint against Rand Paul’s bill? If it won’t make a practical difference, why are you hot and bothered about it?

                    4. Because it’s a symbolic gesture that I believe is going to be ineffective even as symbolism, and is going to have an effect counter to what’s intended.

                    5. You mean abortion will be even more legal than it already is? Oh, no!

                      By your reasoning, if Rand failed to introduce this bill he would be doing more harm to the cause of abortion than if he didn’t introduce it.

                      By the same reasoning, he would have done more harm to the drone-assassination program by staying quite about it than by mounting a filibuster against it.

                      And he would achieve the ultimate victory for freedom by resigning from the Senate and promising not to say another word against the federal government’s abuses.

                    6. I’m not sure how to respond to this other than to say I think you’re underestimating the importance of winnable, incremental victories and the cost of moral last stands.

                      I do believe that this bill could potentially benefit the cause of abortion. It’s not crazy to think that a bad action can have worse effects than no action at all. Isn’t that what we criticize knee-jerk legislators for?

                    7. Again, why not apply the same logic to Rand’s filibuster, which was also in aid of an “unrealistic” prolife stance?

                      The thing is, the battle over human rights is a battle for public opinion. This means, first of all, getting the public’s attention, and, even more important, getting their attention with an appeal to basic principles. Which means explaining why the fundamental right to life cannot be abridged in the name of Presidential power *or* the convenience of the victim’s mother.

                      The fact that this is a battle for public opinion makes me suspicious of concern trolls who say “sure I support you, but just don’t go public with your prolife stance lest it inconvenience you.”

                      Do the choicers encourage bills like Paul’s, which they would to if these bills actually helped their cause?

                      Does Obama secretly rejoice at Paul’s filibuster, because it is too much in advance of public opinion and only reinforces his claims to executive power?

                      To state these questions is to refute them.

                    8. To state these questions is to refute them.

                      Not necessarily. They have different answers.

                      Do the choicers encourage bills like Paul’s, which they would to if these bills actually helped their cause?

                      Pro-abortionists DO wait eagerly for anti-abortionists to overstep public opinion. You may recall something about a war on women? Todd Akin? Since most defensive political campaigns are based on finding perceived gaffes and oversteps and publicizing them, I’m unclear on why they would handle abortion any differently.

                      Does Obama secretly rejoice at Paul’s filibuster, because it is too much in advance of public opinion and only reinforces his claims to executive power?

                      Rand’s filibuster worked because he accurately anticipated public opinion and put Obama on the defensive. If it had been doomed from the start, as it would have been if he had done it over abortion or any number of other topics, it would have been a bad move. Maybe in a year the environment will be different.

                      The fact that Rand is equally morally correct for each stance is not really relevant to what I’m arguing.

                      Is there a particular reason you think now is a good time to move forward with abortion?

                    9. “If we had an AI that could pass the Turing test, the case for its personhood would be strong[er] than the one for a zygote.”

                      And the case for its personhood would also be stronger than the case for a newborn infant. So much the worse for your Turing test, unless you’re a supporter of infanticide.

                    10. This is true. If the onus were on us to prove that infants are human, we would be running into many (but not all) of the same problems as with fetuses. Many would remain unconvinced.

                      It’s hypothetical, though. The average person believes a newborn is a person, but a zygote is not, and our next step is not to be right but to change minds.

                      If it’s easier to convince them that HAL is a person than a zygote, then maybe we should set our sights a little lower to begin with.

                    11. You have probably heard about Princeton’s ethics professor, Herr Singer, and his support for infanticide in certain conditions.

                      I would prefer to have a ready-made answer to his arguments – an answer which doesn’t depend on appeals to “the average person,” since Singer considers himself immune to such appeals.

                      If “the average person” is the only obstacle to legitimizing infanticide, consider the fact that the average person in the pagan Roman empire didn’t object to the practice.

                      Are Americans automatically superior to pagan Romans? Or do we have to work at it to keep our moral sensibilities on the same level? I suggest the latter.

                    12. If the average person’s moral scruples are the only obstacle to infanticide–and they are–then your correct but unpersuasive arguments are going to be a cold comfort when their opinions start to change.

                      I hope if that long before that day arrives, fetal rights supporters will understand that incrementalism and rhetorical finesse are not the same as compromise.

                    13. But prolifers *have* been introducing incremental bills – much to the horror of *Reason* editors and many commenters.

                      When prolifers promote measure to ensure that abortions are performed with informed consent, or in proper medical facilities, then the Reasonoid mockery and insult begins – “I would respect you if you wanted a complete ban on all abortions, but now you’re simply trying to impose incremental regulations which are unacceptable!”

                    14. I’ve honestly never heard anyone argue that.

                      I’m never surprised when absolute abortion supporters are offended by incrementalism, but I never expected them to like it.

                    15. You’re not aware of the prolife campaign for incremental measures like informed consent?

                    16. No, I like the incrementalist measures. But I’m not aware of any abortion middle grounders here being offended by them BECAUSE they’re incremental. Are you thinking of someone specific?

                    17. I found this from Fluffy, denouncing restrictions on the kind of facility in which abortions could be performed:

                      Fluffy| 3.4.13 @ 3:05PM |#

                      The greater doesn’t include the less.

                      Let’s say I believe two things:

                      1. Abortion is murder.

                      2. People have the right to use their property for commercial purposes as they see fit.

                      If I believe those two things, I will try to make abortion illegal. But if I fail in my attempt to make abortion illegal, I won’t turn around and try to do an end run around that failure by passing a law saying you can’t sell RU-486 from any building that has ceilings less than 5000 feet tall.

                      You might think it’s a clever workaround, but it’s not. I’m estopped from making that attempt by belief #2. And if I attempt the workaround, I no longer get to claim I subscribe to belief #2. It’s gone. Forever.


                    18. I’m reading that as saying that incrementalism has to remain philosophically consistent, but maybe I’m missing something from context. In any case, I thought Fluffy wasn’t exactly on the fence about abortion issues anyway.

                    19. I don’t think he is, but this is the kind of “all or nothing” statement I was referring to in my post of 2:18 PM above.

                    20. I don’t think he’s really advocating that, and it doesn’t mean much if it’s not coming from a moderate. I mean, of course you’re going to be offended by an assault weapon ban if you’re a 2nd amendment absolutist. But that’s not how incrementalism works.

                    21. I think you’ve hit on an important point – actual moderates aren’t offended by moderate proposals, so if you see someone who is more offended by a moderate abortion proposal than by a flat ban, chances are he isn’t actually a moderate, but is trying to scare moderates away with some good ol’ concern-trolling.

                  2. There’s a pretty big leap between saying you won’t compromise on abortion and introducing a bill that would ban it completely in the entire country. It’s saddening how willing people are to twist up their logic in order to make excuses for this guy.

                    1. Rand Paul isn’t my guy. I’d drop him in an instant if he sells out to the Dems or the H&R commentariat.

                      Banning abortion in the entire country is the prolife goal, the only legitimate dispute among prolifers is as to the method of reaching that goal. Rand Paul made himself part of that debate by putting forward a specific proposal for ending this horror throughout the country. If anyone has a rival proposal, and arguments for why their proposal for ending legal abortion in the U.S. is better than Rand’s, now is the time to come forward with your specific suggestions.

                    2. I would like to see abortion illegal in all 50 states, but what’s far more important is to see abortion reduced. Symbolic laws that are widely disregarded are worse than no laws at all, which is I think a federalist approach is more viable.

                    3. You miss the point that “extreme” proposals don’t preclude “moderate” measures like informed-consent laws, cutoffs of subsidy to Planned Parenthood, limitation of abortions to carefully-inspected medical facilities, etc.

                      In a political climate where *any* restriction on abortion is portrayed as extreme and anti-woman (see last year’s Presidential campaign and Obama’s hysterical response to a funds cut-off for Planned Parenthood), it is useful to make clear what an “extreme” proposal actually entails. So the fence-straddlers will be able to say that “sure, I support some commonsense restrictions on abortion, but at least I’m not an extremist like Rand Paul!”

                      Without the extremists, the “moderates” wouldn’t have a leg to stand on, since their modus operandi is to get in the mathemtatical middle of what other, more sincere politicians are proposing.

                    4. So you’re saying that Rand is using this proposal as a way to shift the Overton window? That’s plausible.

                      I’d still rather that someone else play the part of the radical in that game because I think Rand will have the political clout to actually pass something. It works better if you can play good cop/bad cop.

                    5. I checked “Overton window” on Wikipedia, and it’s a tad more manipulative than I would support. But the principle is sound – when you put all options on the table, especially the hard-core principled options, then there is more room for moderate compromise in the right direction. If a flat ban on abortion is off the table, then the “center” shifts in a pro-abortion direction, and the choicers can portray perfectly moderate restrictions as extreme.

                      My understanding, though, is that Rand isn’t trying to manipulate the public with an Overton window, but is simply giving an honest statement of what he actually believes, even at the risk of (gasp!) short-term political loss. But long term, maybe some voters will be gratified to finally find a politician who has the guts to say what he thinks.

                      If this moves the “center” of the abortion debate more in a prolife direction, that is great, and I think that is what principled prolifers tend to do.

                    6. I didn’t mean to imply it was manipulative exactly, but an intentional attempt to reframe what the acceptable arguments are.

                      Thinking strategically, a potential law that could outlaw abortion federally with a bare majority could make compromise sound a lot more appealing. The Dems might want to head it off by restricting the majority of abortions that a majority of Americans think should be illegal, taking the wind out of the anti-abortion sails.

                    7. “Thinking strategically, a potential law that could outlaw abortion federally with a bare majority could make compromise sound a lot more appealing. The Dems might want to head it off by restricting the majority of abortions that a majority of Americans think should be illegal, taking the wind out of the anti-abortion sails.”

                      Bingo – if the Dems were politically rational, that’s what they would do.

                      Regrettably, I think that some of the Dems actually believe this stuff, so they don’t want to compromise. If only the *politiques* in their party leadership could exert as much pressure on their part as the *politiques* in the Republican ranks exercise in their party…

                    8. Compromise would be their Plan B if Plan A fails: influence the bill so it includes unnecessary language to make it unpassable or unconstitutional SCOTUS smackdown fodder.

                      Plan A never fails.

                      It’s partly because Republicans are inept at incrementalism, and partly because they’d rather propose laws about abortion than actually pass them.

                    9. I would oppose any poison-pill amendment, if the alternative was a realistic limitation on abortion. Having principles doesn’t mean supporting poison pills. I don’t think Rand Paul would do this, but if he actually sabotaged a decent prolife bill to support a poison pill, I’d denounce him.

                  3. Nearly all Republicans and anti-abortioners are open to compromise on abortion. Does Rand Paul think that every miscarriage should lead to a criminal investigation for murder? If not, then he’s a compromiser.

                    1. If supporting the Fourth Amendment makes him a compromiser, so be it. If he were willing to use Obama-esque rhetorical tactics, he could say that “some folks want warrantless searches of all hospitals in search of evidence of abortion, while others want abortion to be legal – I take the middle ground and say that if the government, complying with the Fourth Amendment, finds evidence of abortion, it should prosecute offenders according to law.”

                  4. Agreed. I can totally see myself voting for Paul and his pro-life stance is part of the appeal.

        2. That’s bullshit. The Supreme Court has been in conservative control for decades. They could’ve heard an abortion case and made it illegal if that’s what they lived for.

    3. And he’s clearly for creating a path to citizenship, even if he doesn’t want to call it that.

      You’ll have to explain to me how allowing more freedom of movement isn’t libertarian.

      1. I never said it wasn’t libertarian. What I said is that he wants to create a path to citizenship, but he doesn’t want to call it that. If any other politician pulled that crap, Reason would be ripping him a new one.

        1. I think it’s a smart play by Rand; any republican who just came out and said “Yeah, illegal immigrants aren’t really an issue. At all.” appears to be automatically ejected from the party.

          Fucking republicans. Need to learn economics.

          1. Fucking republicans. Need to learn economics.

            Would this learning include negative externalities? It seems like people like to pretend those don’t exist when it suits their “economic” arguments.

            1. The use of the word “externalities” automatically excludes you from any intelligent conversation about economic matters.

              1. Yeah, Friedman and Hayek, too. I could live with that.

                1. I don’t remember Hayek mentioning anything about “externalities.” Perhaps Friedman, cause most of his stuff’s bullshit that I didn’t read. Could you cite Hayek in this manner?

                  1. “Nor can certain harmful effects of deforestation, or of some methods of farming, or of the smoke and noise of factories, be confined to the owner of the property in question or to those who are willing to submit to the damage for an agreed compensation. In such instances we must find some substitute for the regulation by the price mechanism.” — Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, 1944.

                    1. You’re a fucking moron. What you’ve cited is the exact opposite of “externalities” by definition.

                    2. “In economics, an externality is a cost or benefit which results from an activity or transaction and which affects an otherwise uninvolved party who did not choose to incur that cost or benefit.”

                      “Nor can certain harmful effects of deforestation, or of some methods of farming, or of the smoke and noise of factories, be confined to the owner of the property in question or to those who are willing to submit to the damage for an agreed compensation.”

                      Explain how these two phrasings are opposites.

                    3. It’s simple, NEM.

                      Any economics concept that progressives can learn and use to shore up their failing arguments is incriminated.

                      Hayek isn’t a progressive, so he would never use bad concepts, no matter what you may THINK you see.

                      Corollary: externalities don’t exist or aren’t a real problem.

                    4. Coase solved Hayek’s problem.

                    5. The meme that externalities mean the market doesn’t work/require external intervention is idiotic, since the market routinely fixes externalities on its own. But saying that they never happen is uniquely stupid, too.

                      Coase only showed that externalities couldn’t break a good system. Besides, you can’t solve the problem of externalities forever because any time an existing set of rules such as property rights is applied to a new set of circumstances, there’s going to be potential for hacks. But bottom-up systems can adapt.

                    6. I’m not claiming that it is an unsolvable problem, only that Hayek recognized that activities can negatively impact those who are uninvolved in the activity and are unwilling to contract to accept those negative impacts.

                    7. Yeah, I know. I was talking about your interlocutors.

                    8. Coase demonstrated that in the absence of transaction costs, the initial endowment of rights doesn’t matter for determining the final solution. It’s a little bit different than “solving” the problem.

                      But immigrants, including illegal immigrants, don’t produce negative externalities on any large scale. Certainly smaller than a lot of other private decisions that libertarians gets up in arms (rightly so) about trying to regulate. It’s overwhelmingly a net positive if you consider the welfare of the immigrants themselves. (And for all the complaints about guest workers and H1Bs and so forth, those are still a huge net positive for the immigrants themselves compared to not being let in.)

                      I do believe in considering the welfare of foreigners.

                      Of course, from a rights-based position, it’s really less of an issue.

                    9. Coase demonstrated that in the absence of transaction costs, the initial endowment of rights doesn’t matter for determining the final solution. It’s a little bit different than “solving” the problem.

                      Coase did more than that. He also handled cases with transaction costs (generally with the view that minimizing the transaction costs is the way the law should default, I think).

                    10. Yes, he addressed the cases with transaction costs. But, as your point about “generally with the view” implies, not the point of “solving” them. For the hard cases, he illuminated a path forward and a framework for thinking about them. A remarkable achievement, absolutely, but there still exist cases where transaction costs are very high and difficult to negotiate.

        2. Paul: Let’s Stop Using Terms ‘Amnesty,’ ‘Path to Citizenship’

          Senator Rand Paul clarified today that he was not opposed to an eventual pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

          “The immigration debate has been trapped and it’s been polarized by two terms: ‘path to citizenship’ and ‘amnesty,'” Paul told reporters in a conference call this afternoon. “So everybody who doesn’t want anything to move forward calls every proposal that somebody else wants ‘pathway to citizenship’ or ‘you’re granting amnesty.’ Can’t we have reform and just not call them by names that discourage the progress from going forward?”

          “What I would say,” he added, “is that we’re not granting amnesty, but we’re saying if you want to work, we find a work visa for you.”

          1. So it’s green card amnesty, not citizenship amnesty?

            1. Essentially. As I read it, he’s saying, fuck trying to round up and/or fine 11M people. Let’s find the cheapest way to legitimize the fact that they are here without letting them jump the queue for citizenship.

            2. It’s accepting reality.

    4. Rand’s approach to abortion is genuinely worrying, and I say that as a Rand supporter and abortion opponent. It’s a divisive fringe issue and no federal level solution is ever going to work in the long run.

      1. +1 this.

        I say this as a Rand supporter who doesn’t really care about abortion one way or another.

        IMHO, the “states rights” stand on abortion is as far to the pro-life side as he should go.

        1. I’m really hoping for a retraction and a less dumb plan, but I know that’s way too much to hope for, even for Rand.

        2. What about history? What does history say of politicians who tried to stay neutral or worse on slavery, or eugenics, or genocide?

          Would you want Paul to become President by waffling on abortion, only to enter the history books alongside Millard Fillmore (the guy who looked for a reasonable compromise on slavery)?

          1. Principles mean diddly if you never get the opportunity to act on them.

            In politics, being right often conveys no real-world advantages whatsoever.

            1. There is a certain kind of voter who admires consistency and principle in a politician, while deploring waffling, evasion and pandering.

              Which course should Rand take – pander and waffle on the divisive issues, or take a stand and own it?

              1. Neither. He should concede. As in, “I find abortion in all forms to be reprehensible and morally equivalent to infanticide. I have no realistic way to fight it right now, so I’ll focus on other critical areas with broader consensus on what we should do, such as fiscal matters. But when the nation is ready to take on this ongoing holocaust, I’ll be there.”

                Remember, popular opinion is slowly but surely swinging against late-stage abortion on demand. We need people with some political capital and credibility in office when the opportunity comes around.

                Liberals win with gradualism, so why can’t we?

                1. “I find abortion in all forms to be reprehensible and morally equivalent to infanticide. I have no realistic way to fight it right now, so I’ll focus on other critical areas with broader consensus on what we should do, such as fiscal matters. But when the nation is ready to take on this ongoing holocaust, I’ll be there.”

                  I think this *is* his position. Am I missing something?

                  1. The difference, in my assessment, is that he’s taking costly action now while there are no worthwhile opportunities.

                    1. He’s honestly staking out his position that abortion is a horror which Congress can and should take a stand against.

                      If you want a politician who shifts and dodges and doesn’t say what he thinks until he believes it’s safe, then there are plenty of perfectly viable alternatives to Rand Paul. Why don’t you endorse Mark Rubio or Jeb Bush, who I’m sure would be extra careful not to get in front of public opinion. But be aware that this includes opposing serious budget cuts until there’s a real emergency, by which time it may be too late. Live by public opinion, die by public opinion.

                    2. And is public opinion quite so much in support of the choicer position as you suggest?

                      The vast majority of abortions are for all practical purposes a substitute for birth control, and this kind of abortion is opposed by public opinion. The prolife position only gets unpopular when you get to that small minority of abortions performed in cases of rape and incest.

                      Since a majority of the public opposes a majority of abortions, why should we be calling on Rand Paul, whose specific appeal is that he’s a politician of principle, to hold off on saying what he believes?

                    3. Also the states-rights stand is de-facto just as good right now as the life-begins-at-conceptions stand (if not better), if your goal is to reduce the number of abortions.

                      So if you have two conflicting principles, both of which, when applied to the real world, produce the same results, but one principle is more inclusive than the other, then, as a politician, you should employ the more inclusive principle, both rhetorically and legislatively.

                    4. We have a situation where one side openly avows its support for abortion, Planned Parenthood funding, etc. and keeps winning victories, and the other side isn’t supposed to frankly avow its purposes?

                      There are plenty of anti-abortion laws being passed at the state level using middle-of-the-road approaches, but the sponsors disdain to conceal that they are prolifers. They go as far as public opinion and/or the federal courts will allow. But even these moderate reforms would have gone nowhere if there wasn’t and openly avowed prolife sentiment behind it.

              2. But Federal government isn’t in charge of laws against murder. States are. And part of defining murder is defining the beginning of life. So to me he is going against some of his principles on this one.

      2. I think Rich said above, this legislation won’t pass and isn’t meant to.

        It does give RaP some conservative bonafides when primary time rolls around. Also, the link Jessie provided is very short on details.

        1. The link Jessie provided came straight from Senator Paul’s page. It includes the word ‘conception.’ Look up the word, have a basic knowledge of how birth control works and that’s all you need.

          I wonder if we had a candidate that said he wanted completely convert our country to communism, do we brush it off because it wouldn’t pass? Probably not. Let’s not be hypocrites.

  5. Just because he doesn’t have many skeletons in his closet now, doesn’t mean the DemOp media won’t manufacture a sufficient supply on demand.

    1. But that is true of every Republican. Yes, the Dem run media is going to go insane over Paul. They are going to try to do to him what they did to Palin.

      1. They will, but not until after the primaries. HuffPo has been all over Rand Paul the past couple weeks, making googly eyes at him. They have not said one word about his personhood bill. And they likely won’t, either. No one seems to be covering that bill. He just introduced it Friday.

        I’m pretty sure democrats would love to see Rand Paul in then general election.

        1. Could be the left is saving it for a general election. And you’re right, it is a potential disaster.

          1. If you’re not familiar with the McCaskill/Akin race, you should read up on it. McCaskill hand picked Akin from a 3 way, close primary. She poured about 1.5mil into making sure that Akin got the nomination. From that point on, it was an easy win for her. She wasn’t a popular senator and would likely have not held on to her seat otherwise.

    2. if he can’t fight back on that same tired BS, he doesn’t deserve to win.

      1. Yup. And it is getting tired. You can only go insane so many times before people stop paying attention. Palin was the first time they all got together and made a concerted effort to destroy someone they considered a threat. Every time they do it they are going to be more obvious and less credible.

  6. Anyone who thinks Rand Paul will get the GOP nomination is a fool. Seriously. Don’t you all know that Chris Christie (progressive) is next in line?

    1. What? He committed national suicide–no way. He may not even run, now.

      1. I wish this statement were true in a literal sense.

        1. Rubio is the bigger threat, though I think he’ll fade in the spotlight. Paul seems a little more adept, which is very strange for a quasi-libertarian.

          1. Rand’s very good at appearing conservative while upholding libertarian principles. I don’t know how he’s done it, but I really hope the charade holds; at least until he’s nominated.

            But, like I said, I am seriously doubtful Rand would -ever- receive the GOP nod.

            1. I think that’s the blueprint going forward. Talk like a conservative, vote like a libertarian. Seems to be working for Rand. I think he’s able to do it because he probably hangs out around a lot of conservatives. As long as you use their lingo, they seem to accept it.

      2. By 2015, his efforts on Obama’s behalf will be ancient history.

        He’ll run.

        The country club wing of the Republican Party will back him, because by god they’re going to put a Yankee RINO in the White House or die trying. Because outreach, moderates, compromise, blah fucking blah.

        1. This. It’s good to know that my thinking is in line with Dean’s, cause Dean is usually right.

          1. Except when it comes to knowing what Yankee means.

        2. Yes, but that will hurt him very much with the national party as a whole and, more particularly, with fundraising.

          Besides, he’s lost much of his luster, as he’s moved more and more away from his mavericky ways.

        3. It is not just the country club Republicans. A lot of people love fatso. It is generally people who don’t follow politics too closely and look at Fatso as someone who is not ideological and can “get things done”.

          I would never count out Fatso.

          1. I actually like Fatstuff as a person. I like his attitude. I just don’t like his policies.

          2. I thought he’d have had a good chance in the last election. But he’s not the great fat hope he once was, and I think it might be terminal to his chances.

            1. You know the fat jokes never get old do they? It is like Warren and Indian jokes or chimps in suits. Some things will just always be funny.

              1. god, what if they ran against each other.

          3. the best part will be when the press, which decided how great he is, turns on him like pack of dogs.

            1. That’s actually where he shines, so that would give him a huge boost.

  7. He should stay his ass in the senate, and more libertarian leaning senators need to be elected.

  8. Sometimes I wonder if the reason he’s always got that little smirk of his is because he’s thinking to himself “You people really think I believe this shit??

  9. John and Randian can attest to my predictive powers in subjects such as elections and Supreme Court rulings.

    1. Rand will not win the primary. (It is unlikely, but this prediction is possibly jaded by my own pessimism.)

    2. If he did, he would win the national. (This one is not.)

    1. Because I would vote for him, and I can accurately predict the outcome of an election by taking the inverse of my ballot, I agree.

  10. Also, is his hair naturally curly or does he get it permed?

    1. Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

    2. It used to be straight, but he made a sacrifice to Aqua Buddha and his request was granted.

      1. Yup, the hair GOT to go. Reminds me of the perms that Japanese guys would get in the 80s. Or the Jacksons with the jerricurls. He needs to gradually straighten it and lose the hair gel.

  11. If Hillary runs I don’t know if anyone in the GOP can win…

    1. Hillary Clinton 2016: What difference at this point does it make?

    2. Fuck that!

      Hillary comes across as ‘strident bitch’ too often to win the national election.

      1. Yeah, but she’ll get the female vote. Maybe if we add Carson as Paul’s VP we’ll have a shot.

        1. She might get a certain segment of the female vote (the hyper-feminists) but the rest of us aren’t that hot on her. Besides, optics matter. Hill has gotten a little rough around the edges and standing next to somebody like Rand would make her look a hundred and fifty years old. Not a good image.

      2. I agree with Bobarian. Also she looks tired and old. Tired and old and strident screams crazy old lady. So, no.

    3. There are too many people that would crawl over broken glass to vote against her.

      1. Can we do that?!

  12. Paul/Jindal or Jindal/Paul… could be awesome.

    1. Jindal isn’t very popular, comes off as a bit out of touch.

    2. As a resident of Louisiana, I am actually not a fan of Jindal at all. He is a snake oil politician and will make it rain with federal money.

  13. lol, another bought and paid for pompous windbag!


  14. He has a stronger organization than any other Republican


    Unless you’re talking about the ragtag band of leftists and truthers that kept Ron Paul from becoming president. In which case…..damn.

  15. ” (He introduced a bill last week that would say life begins at conception.)”

    While that might endear him to the Neanderthal wing of the GOP, it is exactly the kind of thing that will alienate the bulk of swing voters in the general election. He’ll be lucky to get as many votes as Romney.

    That aside, how utterly arrogant and presumptuous of him to think he can redefine something as fundamental to human existence as when life begins. Through the entire history of human law as well as in the Bible, life has been understood to begin at birth (if you disagree, show me your Conception Certificate).

    Of course the truth probably that he isn’t that presumptuous and that he’s just using it as a political stunt to attempt to nullify Roe v. Wade. That kind of political gamesmanship without regard to how fundamental a change that really is, to me is even worse. That means he’s just another opportunistic political scumbag in DC.

    Either way, it all just makes my support for Gary Johnson that much stronger.

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