A few days ago, my colleague Mike Riggs pointed to comments in Iowa by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)—Reason's own "most interesting man in the Senate"—that should give most libertarians pause.
I've got a column up at The Daily Beast that asks
Is Rand Paul simply the latest in a long line of Republicans who cultivate libertarian-leaning voters—broadly speaking, people who believe in fiscal conservatism and social liberalism—as they gear up for presidential bids? And then disappoint those same voters almost immediately? In a 1975 interview with Reason shortly before he made a nearly successful primary run at Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan opined, "I don't believe in a government that protects us from ourselves" and "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism" —before attacking the idea of legalizing drugs, gambling, prostitution, pornography, and other "non-victim" crimes.
If he's serious about scraping the moss off the Republican Party, [Paul] needs to boldly defend his most contrarian, libertarian positions rather than temper his comments based on his speaking venue.
I think Rand Paul is the most articulate and insistent defender of limited government currently in office. I hope he doesn't muffle his message in the coming years.