Rand Paul

Rand Paul and The End of The Republican Party (And the Dems Too)

|

Break out the champagne, folks. The traditional parties aren't clicking with voters like they used to.

Only Team Red and Team Blue dead-enders can disagree. In January, Gallup found a historically high number of Americans – 42 percent – self-identify as politically independent. The Republican brand is totally in the crapper, with just 25 percent copping to that affiliation, and the Democrats are flatter than a leaking bottle of SodaStream seltzer, pulling just 31 percent (abandon hope, all ye who pray for Elizabeth Warren).

The one major exception to politics as usual on the national stage, I argue in a new Daily Beast column, is Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who is injecting libertarian viruses into the body politic like some sort of Dr. Feelgood. A snippet:

Paul recognizes that the way forward on the national stage is not to get hung up on social issues (marriage equality, abortion, immigration) that act as dog whistles for the party faithful but do little to address widespread concerns about the size, scope, and competence of government. After years of activist government under both George W. Bush (who jacked spending, regulation, and surveillance like nobody else) and Barack Obama, a large and growing majority of Americans agree that government is "trying to do too many that should be left to individuals and businessess". The record 72 percent of people who consider government a bigger threat than big business or big labor to the future of the country are not likely to be wooed back to the Republican and Democratic folds via fervent appeals to build a really tall wall along the U.S.-Mexico border or to fight against the Koch Brothers.

While Paul's past calls for a libertarian embrace of freedom in "both the economic and the personal sphere" have been inconsistent, he's now also talking about procedural reforms that voters of all ideologies should support. "There is a third way and it's out there," he told Beck. "We need term limits, we need reading the bills, we need single-purpose bills…I think you would see people from both parties rally" around such ideas.

Read the whole thing, including interesting comments about Paul from Democratic strategist Joe Trippi (whom Reason TV interviews here). Trippi, who masterminded Howard Dean's internet-fueled insurgency, thinks Paul could be among the first candidates to win the White House in a post-political-party era.

Matt Welch and I interviewed Rand Paul in 2011. Check it out:

NEXT: White House Facing Pressure From Grassroots Over Immigration

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Until one of the doctors Paul prescribe medical MJ for glaucoma, they cannot claim the “Feelgood” appellation.

    1. Ron Paul is a gynecologist so he’d need to prescribe it for something other than glaucoma – PMS, perhaps. Denying women the pot they need to treat they’re debilitating PMS is equivalent to a WAR ON WOMEN.

      1. Ron Paul hates women (and, therefore, by extension, so does Rand). His hatred is expressed when he fails to not only prescribe pot for women suffering from PMS but fails to pay for it as a covered service under Obamacare.

        Ron Paul is engaging in a WAR ON WOMEN.

  2. I can only imagine the derpitude in the TDB comments, seeing as how the site is a half-step removed from the Kos Kiddies.

    1. Oh wareagle!! It’s really bad. I knew it would be a mistake, but I waded in there anyway, and now I have massive headache and I feel like gouging my eyes out.

  3. In January, Gallup found a historically high number of Americans ? 42 percent ? self-identify as politically independent.

    That’s nice, except most of the people I know who self-identify as “independent” would rather douse themselves with kerosene and set themselves on fire than vote for anybody who doesn’t have a big D next to their name. It’s just a coincidence, though.

    More useless trivia from the pollsters.

    1. Same here but substitute R for D, because THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVER WE HAVE TO SUCK IT UP THIS TIME!!!

    2. ^THIS^ It’s fashionable to be a political iconoclast. I’ll take these polls more seriously when I see an LP candidate in a post-primary debate.

    3. I indubitably concur, as I have routinely debated the type and they always fall to team BLUE. (and/or work for the gov’t, one I know is interning at the sate dept.)

    4. 19% did vote for Perot in 1992.

  4. Paul recognizes that the way forward on the national stage is not to get hung up on social issues (marriage equality, abortion, immigration) that act as dog whistles for the party faithful but do little to address widespread concerns about the size, scope, and competence of government.

    We’ll see how well this works out for him as he winds his way through the primary season.

  5. George W. Bush (who jacked spending, regulation, and surveillance like nobody else

    Word.

    1. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-

      *gasps for breath*

      OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!

      *wheeze*

      1. I can’t wait till 11:59 on January 20, 2017, when you will no longer be entitled to criticize anything Obama did.

        1. No, we welcome criticism of anything Bush, Obama, or any other immoral government tool ever did. We just don’t point to them as excuses for anything a current immoral government tool is doing.

          1. Is Bush in prison after a trial at the Hague? No? Then we’re nowhere near finished with him.

            1. I assume then that you want Obama to go on trial right next to him for continuing the same policies?

              1. I want you to go on trial for the crime of false equivalence in the commission of sucking Republican cock.

                1. Are you saying Obama closed Gitmo?

                  1. He wants to. Congress won’t let him.

              2. Extrajudicial executions, assassinations are not crimes sarcasmic! Even when your secret paramilitary unit accidentally murders 20+ preschool children whilst botching one of those assassinations!

                1. What are you talking about, tarran?

                  Those things are crimes. When Bush does them.

        2. So you expect Team Red to win in 2016? Why is that? I thought after 8 years of the Messiah, it would be a shoe in for Team Blue.

        3. Hey diddle diddle,
          The cat and the fiddle,
          The cow jumped over the moon.

    2. Thank you for demonstrating our point that while the rest of us have principles, you only have principals.

  6. (abandon hope, all ye who pray for Elizabeth Warren).

    See above: those people would be delighted to vote for Warren.

  7. Well, ain’t he clean, bad machine, super cool, super mean

  8. OK, “social issues” are a distraction, but we should definitely be talking about drug legalization. And drugs aren’t a social issue because…well, because legalization is a Good Thing and so it ca ‘t be a social issue because social issues are by definition Bad Things. Unless you take the right side of a social issue in which case it’s a Fundamental Question of Human Rights (marriage equality!)

    Thus, a social issue is anything I feel uncomfortable discussing (abortion) or some issue where my side is winning so just lay back and enjoy it (SSM). Drugs are NOT a social issue because drug policy is important.

    1. Not to mention that immigration is a 100 percent economic issue.

    2. No, what he’s saying is that Republicans should shut the fuck up about social issues that do not advance liberty, alienate half the fucking population and will never be won.

      1. So they should talk about the rights of private businesses to choose their own customers and employees, and set their own employment standards? That’s not a winner from the purely political point of view – as I’ve said, the proposed Employment Nondiscrimination Act is *more popular* than SSM. And recall what happened to Rand when he talked about the existing “civil rights” laws.

        1. Make no mistake – this is a social issue and anyone taking this position is a H8er and divider.

        2. So they should talk about the rights of private businesses to choose their own customers and employees, and set their own employment standards?

          Well, I don’t know Eddie, does it advance liberty?

          You do know what the root of your problem is don’t you Eddie? You attempt to sync your god to your philosophy, and they are at odds.

          Right and wrong stems from the NAP, not from a book where 60 some odd mystics pulled a bunch of random shit out of their ass and slapped it all together in one book blessed by the high priest of mystics.

          SSM- complies with NAP
          Employment Nondiscrimination Act- does NOT comply with the NAP
          Abortion- compliance with NAP undeterminable

          IOW, Republicans need to shut the fuck up about the things that they are obviously wrong about AND need to shut the fuck up about abortion because there IS NO clear right or wrong and it does nothing except alienate half the fucking people in the world.

          1. You don’t have to be a fundamentalist like Thomas Jefferson, with his superstitious babble about the laws of nature and of nature’s God, to defend the rights of Bob the Baker, but you *do* have to be willing to be accused of exploiting divisive social issues.

          2. You don’t have to be a fundamentalist like Thomas Jefferson, with his superstitious babble about the laws of nature and of nature’s God, to defend the rights of Bob the Baker, but you *do* have to be willing to be accused of exploiting divisive social issues.

            1. And your argument is about some social issue positions being right and others wrong, you’re not responding to the political argument for avoiding the issue altogether. I agree with you that it’s a matter of taking the right side of an issue, not acoiding the issue.

            2. And your argument is about some social issue positions being right and others wrong, you’re not responding to the political argument for avoiding the issue altogether. I agree with you that it’s a matter of taking the right side of an issue, not acoiding the issue.

              1. I will cede to you, Eddie, that there are no “social” issues. There are only “issues”, as when you drill down far enough, everything is social.

                1. Thank you, I guess I was groping towards this point – the division between types of issues is so blurry it’s best to ignore the classifications.

                  1. You’re playing the same game with “social issues” that the SC plays with “interstate commerce”

                2. All issues are civil rights issues.

                  ALL.

      2. No, what he’s saying is that Republicans should shut the fuck up about social issues that do not advance liberty, alienate half the fucking population and will never be won.

        Republicans ignoring social issues ends with Kanye West saying, “George Bush hates black people.”

        I mean, the standoff at the fiscal cliff over Obamacare was purely social motivated, right? And that played out in Team Red’s favor, right?

        1. Also, in 2012 the Dems campaigned hard on social issues. Romney tried to talk about the economy and downplay social issues, but it didn’t work – in addition to being the monocle-twirling capitalist from the Monopoly logo, he was an oppressor of women who wouldn’t even let them have contraception.

          And the social issue of the HHS mandate was also an economic liberty issue.

          The Democrats never got the message that they had to shut up on social issues. Their take-home is that they can play these issues for all they’re worth, especially the part where they interfere with private businesses in the name of “human rights.”

          For Republicans to shut up on these points means letting businesses be regulated and pushed around in the name of Fairness to Women and Gays, and not uttering any complaints lest they trigger articles about how “divisive” the GOP is.

          1. Recall how the Dems pushed their War on Women idea in 2012. It wasn’t because Romney was trying to imprison people for contraception. It was when the HHS mandate got slapped on private entities, including religious entities, and a Congressional committee held hearings on the impact of this mandate on religious freedom. Then the Dems went with “Where Are the Women/Sandra Fluke, etc.”

            So if you cede these social issues to the Dems, it means private institutions facing more regulations: religious institutions forced to provide contraception, bakers being forced to bake cakes for SSM ceremonies, etc.

            So to “avoid social issues,” the Republicans should defend Bob the Baker’s right to smoke dope, but not his right to choose his customers.

            1. In what 2012 did the GOP stay silent on social issues? We had ‘legit rape’ and the usual anti-immigrant malarky from Romneybot and others.

  9. One the one hand, that’s pretty lazy alt-text. On the other hand, it’s better than Feeney.

  10. George W. Bush (who jacked spending… like nobody else)

    Nobody else, except for current president Barack Obama. It wasn’t George W. Bush who passed a stimulus of close to a trillion dollars in early 2009 and then made that part of the permanent budget baseline. There’s a reason why we’ve accumulated six trillion dollars of public debt in just the last five years!

    1. Quit lying.

      The stimulus of 2009 is not permanent and the spending portion was $500 billion (1/3 was a tax cut).

      1. There was also the Omnibus, signed in March:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O….._Act,_2009

        Obama got away with claiming that the projected spending for 2009 was all Bush.

      2. Like I said last night Weigel, not only are you a liar, you’re not even a good liar.

  11. Do any of you actually like Rand Paul, think he’s a good politician, would make a good president? Or is he just the only option available?

    Because this is serious fairy land shit. Rand Paul wins the nomination only by out-Jesusing Huckabee, which, if such a thing were remotely possible, would completely alienate you guys. And there’s only one scenario in which he wins the general election that I can think of, and it involves an asteroid collision.

    1. Yes. If he wins the nomination, he would be the first presidential candidate that I felt good about supporting. While not perfect, his demonstrated commitment to scaling back DC’s footprint, adopting a more modest foreign policy, and restoring basic rights is commendable.

      I like how he represents a real alternative to the status quo. Bush II, Kerry, Obama, and Romney all offered a continuation of the same old thing. Technically, Obama offered a change but that didn’t really turn out so well.

      I’ve no doubt that should he win, we will not get some Libertopia. Leviathan is too big and Presidencies are often defined by situations that arise unexpectedly (see 9/11).

    2. Would Rand Paul make a good president? He’d probably be one of the least bad ones.

      Is he electable? Quite probably – Bush made it through the 2000 primaries by pretending to be a small government, non-interventionist antidote to Clinton’s corrupt and hubristic administration, and Rand can make a more credible case that he’s the real deal in that front.

      Now my question for you… did you really conflate electability with being a good office-holder? Or was that merely and editing error as you changed your comment mid stream?

      1. Bush made it through the 2000 primaries by pretending to be a small government, non-interventionist antidote to Clinton’s corrupt and hubristic administration

        Excellent point.

      2. I don’t think I conflated them. But winning is probably a good first step to holding office.

        1. Winning proves someone as the skills necessary to win an election.

          It doesn’t prove they have the skills necessary to govern.

          One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

    3. Rand Paul wins the nomination only by out-Jesusing Huckabee.

      Another guy who obviously wasn’t paying any attention during 2008. Mitt Romney is a Mormon and he barely talked about religion at all, you dumb fuck.

      1. In the fantasy world where Tony lives, Rick Santorum was the Republican nominee in 2012. Hence, he believes that Huckabee has more than a snowball’s chance in hell at securing the nomination in 2016.

    4. Rand Paul wins the nomination only by out-Jesusing Huckabee,

      Yeah I mean what next? A MORMON getting the GOP nom?

      1. You guys are right. Fuck if I know what the GOP base wants. Probably whoever shouts Benghazi the most.

        But let’s remember that Romney won because he had money and because the base had chewed on and spit out everybody else first. The calendar is accelerated this time around.

        1. Funny how when the guy a liberal doesn’t like wins, it’s always because of the money.

          But when liberals outspend their rivals and lose, suddenly money doesn’t matter in an election.

          It’s almost as if liberals have no principles.

          Did I say almost?

    5. That’s why Huckabee was the nominee in 2008 and Santorum the nominee in 2012. They out-Jesused everyone else. The nominations didn’t go to a secular grump and then a Mormon.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.