Rand Paul

Dems on Rand Paul: He's Bizarre. Also, He's Just Like All the Others.

Too mainstream or too extreme?

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As Rand Paul formally enters the presidential race, MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin observes a contradiction—or at least a tension—in the Democrats' early attacks on the candidate:

Who wears the mask?
The Rand Paul Store

Is Rand Paul a "bizarre and even dangerous" candidate filled with kooky ideas? Or is he "the same as any other Republican presidential hopeful" while only masquerading as the fresh new thing?

Democrats deployed both of these attacks on Tuesday. The former quote came from opposition research group American Bridge, the latter from a statement by Democratic Party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Taken together, they point to a broader question of how to tear down Paul given his unique role in the GOP field, where his libertarian views on foreign policy and civil liberties often clash with other party hopefuls.

The "wacky" side and the "same old" sides aren't necessarily contradictory. Both the DNC and Bridge prominently feature Paul's record on social issues, for example, which they hope can counter his potential appeal with young voters. But there are challenges to hitting both messages at once: Too much time portraying Paul as an oddball could reinforce his message that he's an iconoclast; too much time portraying him as more of the same could undermine attacks on his libertarian views as uniquely extreme.

With foreign policy, Sarlin notes, another problem kicks in. Despite his recent compromises and flip-flops, from his support for a war with ISIS to his call for a hike in military spending, Paul is still the least interventionist major candidate (*) on the field—not just less hawkish than the other Republican contenders, but less hawkish than Hillary Clinton. And so the Dems have been hammering Paul as a peacenik, an approach that could pose problems for their likely nominee:

Hillary Clinton may be the overwhelming frontrunner to win her nomination, but the biggest weakness with her base is her relatively hawkish record. Going after Paul too hard could strike progressive critics as jingoist.

"She lost the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 because she voted for the Iraq War and steadfastly refused to apologize for that vote," Republican strategist Liz Mair told msnbc. "There are a lot of voters out there who dissent from these foreign policy and civil liberties views, many in her own party, and to them, she's the wackadoodle."

Sarlin's story is about the professional political operatives, but they aren't the only ones unsure which line of attack is best. This week Salon's Joan Walsh published a piece in the Paul-is-just-a-standard-Republican genre, headlined "Stop calling this man a 'libertarian.'" Salon, you may recall, habitually illustrates its articles about libertarianism with photographs of Rand Paul, even when he isn't actually mentioned in the story. (**) 

(* You can make a decent case that Paul is now less dovish than Bernie Sanders or Jim Webb. But I don't think they qualify as major candidates. Sorry, guys!)

(** OK, so that last one does include a passing reference to "the Paul family." You can judge for yourself whether that justifies the big opening photo.)

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  1. I get the feeling that the Left is going to do more to aid RP’s campaign than the GOP.

    1. I was listening to Uban View last night- https://www.siriusxm.com/urbanview – because i noticed they had a Rand Paul conversation. The host was trying to tear Paul down and the callers were not all in lock step. They were asking why he wasn’t giving the same criticisms to all the other candidates. They talked about Paul actually talking to Black voters. It was interesting. The host was talking over everyone to get the party line message out- and there were way more callers talking about how they’d never vote republican no matter what- but it was interesting.

      1. “[…]and there were way more callers talking about how they’d never vote republican no matter what-[…]”

        Commie kid was here predicting that Paul doesn’t get the nomination and all of us here will immediately start singing the praises of the Rethug nominee.
        Something, something, projection, something….

  2. You can make a decent case that Paul is now less dovish than Bernie Sanders or Jim Webb. But I don’t think they qualify as major candidates. Sorry, guys!

    Don’t worry, I’m sure american socialist will find some way to justify voting for Hillary.

    1. How on Earth can they say that when they viewed/view Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Warren, and a very long list of totally unqualified and inept people as appropriate for the job?

      1. Says Mr. I Love Dubya.

        You don’t know what “inept” means.

        1. Ok. This is perhaps the dumbest post the Plug has ever made. And that’s a high standard, indeed.

          1. See, I’d know if Pro Lib was in the I Love Dubya club, ’cause I’m not just a member, I’m the president. True story.

            1. Well, to be fair, I did compliment Bush once for his uncanny ability to dodge a shoe. That was impressive.

          2. He’s right, though. The aptitude of a politico is measured solely voter tallies. An inept politician is one who loses his seat. Everything else is permissible.

            1. That’s certainly their metric. Voters are totally insane to accept that for their own purposes.

          3. Give him a break. He’s spent the last six years watching his chocolate man crush continue to govern exactly like BOOOOSH all the while trying desperately to ignore reality. But try as he might, his entire world has come crashing down along with the last tattered shreds of his sanity. All he has left now is his cum-soaked Shepard Fairey “Hope” poster and his unfullfilled hopes and dreams of what could have been.

            1. I truly do not get the partisan mindset. Toss your credibility, reason, and soul out for. . .what, exactly? What are you buying? It certainly doesn’t change my mind when people try to use lies, misdirection, and insults to alter my opinion. Quite the opposite, actually.

              1. Membeu uv uh Twybe. Uh Twybe stawtid uppah wessyde.

        2. You don’t know what “inept” means.

          You illustrate it frequently.

    2. Don’t worry, I’m sure american socialist will find some way to justify voting for Hillary.

      Oh, I can barely wait for the spinning, rationalization, and cognitive dissonance from the left.

  3. kooky, wackadoodle…is it too much to ask that we use grown-up language?

    1. wackadoodle is 4 full syllables. I don’t know what you think qualifies as a grown-up word…

  4. Bush was the imbecile that masterminded 9/11. Reagan was the terrible actor who fooled an entire nation. Now Rand is bizarre and just like everyone else.

    It’s almost as if the left lives on doublethink.

    1. Bush was the idiot who let 9/11 happen despite evidence it would happen. The CT that Bush “masterminded” 9/11 is banned on some prominent lefty blogs.

      I used to post on the Liberty Forum and the 9/11 CT was pervasive there. They eventually shut it down but it is still in the wayback machine.

      1. The CT that Bush “masterminded” 9/11 is banned on some prominent lefty blogs.

        Tolerance in action.

      2. Palin’s Buttplug|4.8.15 @ 9:56AM|#
        “Bush…”

        What was that, turd?

      3. I still hear this bit of idiocy from the left but nobody cares to substantiate the claim. It reminds me of an urban legend.

        So now I’ll ask you, PB, can you link to,evidence that there was evidence given to Bush or a cabinet-level appointee that the 9/11 attacks were imminent and defined as to their method and location. Please give links.

        We’re all hungry for knowledge here and will appreciate you finally clearing up this matter once and for all with some legitemate evidence to back up these serious allegations. Thank you.

        1. Yeah, the PDB of Aug 6(?) 2001 ‘bin Laden determined to attack US’.

          Of course no date was given but the FBI knew that Al Qaeda symps were in flight training schools.

          What could Bush/CIA have done? I don’t know.

          1. I’m sure the PDB specified when and how he planned to carry out his wishes?

            And people sympathetic to AQ were in flight schools? Oh,noes! We had people from other countries getting flight training! And those people didn’t have an American outlook on the world. Jesus Christ. You do realize that that’s probably the case today, don’t you? Probably was a decade before Bush II assumed office. That’s certainly not new here, seeing as we respect other people’s opinions to free speech even if they’re guests in a flight school or university. How many foreign Palestenian supporters and Israel-bashers are on college campuses spouting their nonsense? Should we deport,all,of them because Intel says that AQ wants to,attack us and those kids might blow up a dormitory?

            What could Bush/CIA have done? I don’t know.

            Yet you just said this: Bush was the idiot who let 9/11 happen despite evidence it would happen.

            They totally contradict each other, as does your previous statement that no dates were given. Well, no plot was given either, so if Bush would have rounded them all up and sent them back to Saudia Arabia and one of the AQ sympathizes,that was,on a college campus,blew up the fucking football stadium, you’d have vilified,him for violating those pilot trainee’s civil rights (rightfully) and for “letting the AQ sumps blow up a football stadium”.

            You’re a fucking idiot.

      4. Re: Peter Caca,

        Bush was the idiot who let 9/11 happen despite evidence it would happen.

        Bush. Right. The State, the apparatus, an innocent bystander – in Shrike’s mind, of course.

        1. Also, Bush unilaterally invaded Iraq. No mistaken intelligence guided his decision. Also, he never sought or enjoyed congressional approval. Noooope. Never happened.

          1. Cheney fixed the intelligence you fool. He spent months at Langley with the CIA.

            1. I also heard Darth Cheney caused Katrina with the Halliburton Hurricane Machine.

              1. And it worked so well he only killed,those,dumb niggers with it!

                Then he used it with Superstorm Sandy to go after the Jews in NYC. Because illuminati and shit.

            2. Months? You,mean the VP spent months working with our intelligence specialists,in an area that is considered to be his area of expertise? People in government should work in areas they are familiar with.

              I guess that’s why Joe Biden spends so much time hanging around elementary schools and feeling up unsuspecting women.

  5. They’re scrambling for a narrative they can push.

    1. You throw enough shit at a wall and some of it is bound to stick.

      -King Edward I

  6. Wonder if Joan Walsh will be just as conciliatory with the Christian dude, Rand Paul, if he ‘evolves’ on gay marriage like the two-term left-wing progressive we have for a president.

    1. Who gives an airborne copulation what the fuck Joan Walsh wants/thinks. That’s like caring about what Michael Moore wants, or what Amanda Marcotte thinks.

  7. Even if he doesn’t win the nomination, Paul’s campaign and his continued importance in the Senate is going to drive Progressives insane. Progressives live every day in the absolute certainty that all Republicans are evil, intolerant, racists and want to turn the country into a fascist police state. That certainty is an essential part of the Progressive identity and sense of moral superiority. Here we have Paul who is not just a Republican but a pretty popular and important one. And he is talking about civil rights and privacy and the need to reform the justice system and stop sending so many people and black people in particular to jail. Those are progressive issues. Progressives think they own those issues and only they care about them. Paul can’t do that. And the fact that he is and their own dreamy first black President is absolutely appalling on them are facts that are too horrible for Progressives to comprehend. So their reaction to Paul is only going to get more angry, disjointed and bizarre as time goes on.

    1. Republicans are evil, intolerant, racists and want to turn the country into a fascist police state.

      Sounds like the GOP platform.

      1. Yes Shreek, you are retarded and delusional. But we already knew that. You don’t have to prove every day over and over again.

        1. I’m not a frequent commenter on these boards but PB has got to be a troll. First off while some of us do have some Republican leanings, it’s sad to think that Reason and the commentors are locked stepped with the GOP when some of the most bitter criticism has come from this board. Secondly, whenever Democrats and Obama do some incredibly stupid instead of him having some sort of integrity and taking them to task, he basically uses the tuquoque argument. I know people that use the same method and I refuse because I love my snaity to argue with them.

          1. You weren’t around when he wrote under his given name, David Weigel?

          2. He is a total troll. The other thing is that we only get trolls from the left. Other than the infamous Juanita, whom I haven’t seen in years, I can’t think of a single troll on here who comes from the right. The trolls are always liberals on here concern trolling about it being too pro Republican or screwing up the threads that make Obama look bad.

            If you ever notice, Shreek, Tony and Bo never show up on the non partisan threads. You never see them on a dead puppy thread or a thread about movies or pop culture. They only show up on threads that involve team red versus team blue. Their entire purpose is to come on here and try and pull the board left and limit any damage that is done to the cause.

            1. John and Mike M are right wing trolls. There is not a libertarian bone in their heads.

              1. No dipshit, we comment on everything and criticize both sides. You in contrast only comment when you can defend Team Blue. You are a leftist troll and everyone knows it. Your presence here does nothing except prove the contention that left wingers are ignorant, hateful assholes.

                1. Dave Weigel is a genius! He tells himself this every 15 minutes in an emergency Men’s Room Mirror pep talk.

            2. Their entire purpose is to come on here and try and pull the board left and limit any damage that is done to the cause.

              A summary of writings by The Nickster and by Rico Suave shows that the articles give Weigel & Associates (sock puppets FOR THE CAUSE!) plenty of headroom within which to finnagel, distort, distract, mind-fuck, and pull-to-port. Hell, you might even say The Nickster and Rico Suave seem to be working for Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

              1. Or, more likely given The Nickster’s eagerness to lie for ever-increasing pay, for The Podesta Brothers. Say hi to John & Tony for me, Nickster. You know which John & Tony I mean here, right Nickster?

          3. I don’t know if it’s trolling. For some, the knee jerk (and, really, only) defense of offenses their team does is to state the other side did it, too. Or worse.

            Most of us is guilty of it, from time to time. But with some people, it’s the sole response you get.

            1. Sure, Fist. I might do that from time to time. But I’ve seen you do,the same thing.

          4. There’s a very deep and fundamental problem in politics, and it’s this team sports mentality we all ridicule. People excuse all sorts of behavior that many of them would never accept in their personal lives. Rather than holding people with great power to much higher standards of behavior, they don’t appear to hold them to any standards at all.

            Personally, I want the best I can get representing my interests, not the worst.

            1. Personally, I want the best I can get representing my interests, not the worst.

              So Nicole is right out then?

      2. Sounds like the GOP platform.

        Weigel, you never fail to impress. Your political acumen comes from false binaries employed for tribalism, which you think makes you a genius. Remind me, Dave. Who hires you to write analysis that will be used for anything other than twitter fury or facebook snark? When was the last time you analyzed something of meaning for someone who put it to meaningful use?

        You’re the poster boy of the negative fallout from the George Stephanopoulos/DeeDee Myers “revolution” of naive callow egomaniacs given a megaphone and a pulpit to fuck with people’s minds and futures. Somehow, in some fucked-up alternate universe you inhabit, this is a prideful thing.

    2. I said it yesterday but it got lost in the Randstorm: if Paul loses but he manages to keep his cool and run a respectable campaign, it could put him in a very strong position for 2020, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It will give him more experience, more time to refine his message, and put him in a position to advance some of policies in the Senate.

      The country is ready, I’d even say desperate, for someone who will move away from partisan politics. They thought Obama would do that and he hasn’t. Rand may end up being a total disappointment, too, but for the time being he has the opportunity to build a really interesting coalition.

      1. Absolutely. Reagan lost in 76 but set himself up for 1980 in the process. If Paul runs a strong campaign and finished in the top three, he will be set up to be one of the most if not the most important Republican Senator in the next Congress. He doesn’t have to win to make a big difference.

        1. He doesn’t have to win to make a big difference.

          Maybe not,for,his,political future, but I’m not sure we can recover from another four more years of the fascist shitshow we’ve experienced since 9/11 “changed everything”. Unchecked military adventurism. Unchecked surveillance. Diminished,civil liberties. It gets worse every election. I hope Paul wins because I don’t know how close we are to the tipping point.

          1. I don’t know how close we are to the tipping point.

            I’d say we’re about one more crisis (large scale terrorist attack, economic crash, etc.) away from going full fascist.

          2. Well, even the Gracchi winning couldn’t pull Rome back from the tipping point, so I don’t know, we m may already be there…

      2. The other thing to look at here is there is a very strong possibility of another recession taking place in the next four years–they typically run on 7-10 year cycles and we’ve entered that window if you go by the “official” end of the last downturn. Whoever gets elected in 2016 is likely to be a one-term president, short of some serious national emergency.

        1. Unless that person can do what Reagan did and basically just make the country take it’s medicine such that we’re already in strong recovery by the time 20 rolls around…

      3. I think even if Paul loses bug garners a lot of support its going to force the right to pick up some of his positions to take his voters. While that may just lead to more talk about justice reform, WODs, etc. talk is more than we’ve gotten so far.

        I think the country is sort of pissed about the bill in the mail from Ocare and are in a more libertarian mood for the moment. In 4 more years people may have just gotten used to being fucked in the ass on Ocare and have other issues in the forefront. This may be a unique chance to pull a small government ideologue into the Whitehouse, instead of just a person who pays lip service.

    3. Paul’s campaign and his continued importance in the Senate is going to drive Progressives insane

      good enough for me.

      1. In fairness, it is a pretty short trip. But Paul is definitely going to cause them to take it.

        1. the more hysterical the better. become unhinged and enraged.

  8. She lost the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 because she voted for the Iraq War and steadfastly refused to apologize for that vote,

    Bullshit. She lost the nomination because the current teleprompter-in-chief had more white guilt cards than she did.

    -jcr

    1. That and the Chicago machine destroyed her in the caucuses. Obama didn’t win the primaries. He won the states with caucuses. Every time there was a straight up vote, Hillary won.

  9. OT: It’s great to see the progressives in Chicago show their true colors. Rahm basiclly won the black vote last night and now the white progressives are asking how black people could vote for him and throwing out terms like uninformed and easily fooled. It would be funny if it wasn’t downright sickening.

    1. Cite? Genuinely curious.

    2. http://www.dailykos.com/news/Chuy Garcia

      The Daily Kos’ Garcia coverage is hilarious. They have a conspiracy about pre-marked ballots for Rahm, they have an open letter nostalgically harkening back to the wonderful days of Harold Washington’s mayoral regime (?), and a whole lot of pissed off posters.

      “Of course Rahm fucking won! He ain’t no fucking libtard with all their weeping about those poor, poor moochers at the public schools and shit like that. Rahm is like the Law Offices of Mark E. Salamone, he means business!”

      “To five million and a dis intrested and somewhat racist city. And the idea that chicago is progressive or that illinois is progressive, or even democratic is laughable.

      In illinois the politicians use the parties for power and access to power. They would easily change sides if it would give them what they want.”

      A majority of blacks voted for Rahm and this proves Rahm is the heir to a racist power structure.

    3. Re: EdWuncler,

      the white progressives are asking how black people could vote for him and throwing out terms like uninformed and easily fooled.

      My sister is in that camp. She is a big “Chuy” supporter because, well, Rahm just wasn’t leftist enough for her (despite the fact that “Chuy” is not really a lefty, just another Union puppet).

      She has me banned from FB, but not my wife. She told me my sister posted in her wall that the Chicago Tribune’s poll that showed with remarkable accuracy where the two candidates were situated in regards to voter preference (which showed that Rahm had a 2-to-1 preference with black voters) was actually not accurate because “they polled county workers” which were all for Rahm anyway. I wanted my wife to reply to her “Yeah, they found them all” but she didn’t want to be banned, the coward.

      1. The Garcia campaign seemed to think “hey, our guy’s brown – therefore everyone at least as brown as him will automatically support us!” His pitch to Puerto Ricans was, I shit you not, “vote for me, my wife’s from Puerto Rico!”

  10. But there are challenges to hitting both messages at once: Too much time portraying Paul as an oddball could reinforce his message that he’s an iconoclast; too much time portraying him as more of the same could undermine attacks on his libertarian views as uniquely extreme.

    In the end it will not matter when it comes to the dumb Demo-rat voters because most maintain this “libertarianism = Jim Crow/Secession/Plutocrats” meme in their tiny minds. Paul has to convince the other tiny minds in the Progressive Trotskyite Right (the Neo-Cons), not to mention the SoCons and the independents, because he probably already has the libertarian Republicans in his pocket.

  11. I suspect their “he’s the same as any other Republican” line of attack is aimed at keeping millenials from straying.

    E.g.: “Don’t be fooled by his foreign policy, civil liberties, and drug policy stances, he’s just the same old poor people hating, grandparents off a cliff shoving, putting black people back in chains, birth control banning, war on wymen waging, gay righte denying, racisty homophobic sexist meanie fo-feanie poopie head as the rest and you better not vote for him or you hate poor people, minorities, gayz wymenz too.”

    1. I think you are right. I doubt it will be very effective with anyone outside the retard true believers. When you think about it, the GOP establishment is doing Paul a big favor by going after him. It is going to be pretty hard for the Dem op media to believably claim Paul is just another Republican when John McCain and the Weekly Standard are all having screaming temper fits about what an evil Libertarian hippie he is.

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    This is what- I do…… ?????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  13. …a statement by Democratic Party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

    Let’s be accurate here. It was a statement by AIPAC stooge/Friend of Israel/Hater of Goyim, Debbish the Nebbish.

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