Rand Paul

Rand Paul Roundup: Leading in New Hampshire, in Civil Liberties Outreach


For them that consider early polls important, and I'm one of them half the time I suppose, Rand Paul this week polled tied for lead in New Hampshire in a Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm New Hampshire Poll, at 12 percent along with Scott Walker.

For those who wonder if Paul only has fans who are Paul-over-all types who don't fit in the with the rest of the GOP crowd, and that "normal" GOP voters might want nothing to do with him, see that when it comes to declaring their second choice, Paul comes in at 9 percent, tied for third among second choices  with Rubio and behind Jeb Bush and Walker.

• A big part of the way Paul is trying to stand out from the Republican field crowd and claim the newer bloc of voters he insists his Party needs is civil liberties. The New York Times wrote about that aspect of Paul at length today.


In an interview, Mr. Paul said he would use the next few weeks to deliver floor speeches and introduce a series of amendments aimed at curtailing government surveillance. (On Monday in New Hampshire, he told The Union Leader he would lead a filibuster against renewal of the Patriot Act.)

"Someone has got to defend the Constitution," he said in the interview on Saturday…

The issue is one that animates him. And it could help put him back at the center of the debate over national security…

"You can be a minority because of the color of your skin or the shade of your ideology," he said on Saturday. "So there's every reason in the world we have to be concerned about a government that collects all of our records all of the time."…

The story notes via polling data and the stances of other GOP politicians that Paul is standing against the tide of his own party on this stuff. But:

Mr. Paul's attention to privacy matters, his campaign is calculating, could show that he is attuned to the concerns of younger, more technologically dependent voters. And it is an important element in a cool factor that he is working hard to cultivate. His website has a store filled with sardonic merchandise — including obsolete computer hardware billed as "Hillary's hard drive," wiped clean, and a T-shirt that says "Don't Drone Me, Bro."

It's a legitimate and libertarian way to distinguish himself, and he's been doing pretty well holding steady on it so far despite his own Party's (whose presidential nomination he is trying to win) predilections.

On the related issue of criminal justice reform, an aspect of civil liberties this story didn't focus on, I wrote last week about Paul's disappointing-to-some reaction to the Baltimore riots and Freddie Gray's death.

• Since he doesn't know enough about what the Trans Pacific Partnership entails, Paul says he will not vote to give Obama fast-track authority on getting the pact before the legislature. He still says he might vote for the pact itself, thought, which he's previously supported. (Today, the Senate voted to block a motion to begin debating giving the president fast track authority. Paul did vote to actually allow debate on the bill, along with nearly all other Republicans.)

• Paul opined in Time  last week on why he cheers the 2nd Circuit opinion declaring mass phone metadata collection unconstitutional.

NEXT: TSA Isn't Properly Maintaining Those Pornscanners

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  1. But what about the real issues? Have we already covered licking the camera?

  2. I imagine US intelligence operatives are as we speak grooming some gullible dipshit out there to try a terrorist attack on the country to coincide with Paul’s speechifyng.

  3. You know who else led in New Hampshire?

    1. Jed Bartlet?

    2. Jeff Gordon? Dale Earnhardt??

      1. I should have said “Mark Martin? Brad Keselowski?”

        Cause I hate Earnhardt (Sr – RIP anyway) and Gordon….

  4. OT: Protesters in petrochemical kayaks protest Shell rig docking in Seattle after The Prophet Barack Obama told them to get stuffed, and opened up the arctic to drilling.

    A dozen or so men and women, cinched into life jackets, paddles at the ready, were about to launch their kayaks into Elliott Bay early Thursday evening with Seattle’s glittering skyline as the backdrop. For some of the paddlers, it was a first-time experience, and with the water at 50 degrees and choppy, there were some obvious signs of trepidation.

    “O.K., what hazards are we watching for?” Elizabeth Chiaravalli, their instructor, shouted, and a smattering of answers immediately bounced back. “The waves!” “The dock!” “The pilings!”

    As an experienced sea kayaker, I can only take a long, long sigh.

    Interesting that the NYT article doesn’t mention the word “Obama”, let alone The Prophet Obama anywhere in an article this would normally be a central theme.


  5. Is Rand Paul running for President or something? Is Lou Reed supporting his campaign? When is Virginia Postrel’s next article getting posted on reason.com?

    1. Where da sideboob at?

  6. …despite his own Party’s (whose presidential nomination he is trying to win) predilections.

    Except just a little bit up you write:

    For those who wonder if Paul only has fans who are Paul-over-all types who don’t fit in the with the rest of the GOP crowd, and that “normal” GOP voters might want nothing to do with him, see that when it comes to declaring their second choice, Paul comes in at 9 percent, tied for third among second choices with Rubio and behind Jeb Bush and Walker.

    So, let me ask if the Republican party’s (and by that I mean Republican voters’) predilections are so antithetic to Paul’s policies, how come so many are ready to vote for him?

    Why is it so damned hard for some people to think that the Republican party might actually have a libertarian constituency, that there might be some Republicans who also count themselves libertarians?

    1. Well it’s a well known fact that every member of any political party agrees with every plank of the party’s platform. Just like every libertarian agrees on every issue.

      1. Exactly! Do we need to call on Bo to come here and weed out the evil Socons?

      2. Except, I keep hearing that the Republicans and the Democrats are equally non-libertarian.

        Yet, the actual evidence I see is that the most libertarian major candidate we’ve had in my lifetime is running in the GOP and he has lots of support from Republicans. As the article shows, not just a tiny committed contingent, but broad support within the party.

        Where’s the comparable Democrat? And don’t say Wyden. Here he is on the Nolan chart


        Here’s Ted Cruz, a guy a lot of people even here say isn’t libertarian at all


        Cruz is actually closer to libertarian than Wyden.

        But, no, anyone saying there might be a libertarian element in the GOP is either a “Hit-&-Runpublican or a patsy.

        1. You’re right. On a related note, I found the “Social” portion of the Nolan Chart interesting. For instance:

          “A high score (above 60%) means the candidate believes in tolerance for different people and lifestyles.”

          I notice a lot of progs score high on the social portion, but I don’t see actual tolerance for different people and lifestyles.What I see is intolerance directed at different groups.

          1. Yeah I think “tolerance for different people” means supports gay marriage on the Nolan chart, otherwise I can’t see how progs score so high on it, because they definitely don’t tolerate alternative points of views, look at any collage campus.

        2. I think some people say that in order to sound more independent. Libertarians are not above a little social-signaling themselves.

          1. Nor are libertarians above the TEAM mentality sadly.

            1. That is also true

          2. I know. But, sometimes truth should win out, social signaling be damned.

            I’m not saying libertarians should just shut up and support the Republicans no matter who they choose. God knows there’s enough Republicans who plain out suck.

            But, when you see libertarianism making actual inroads in one of the two major parties, that’s something that should put a smile on libertarians’ faces. It’s something they should cheer and support. Not something they should desperately evade. Not something they should treat as less important than the fact that a few progressives don’t like the fact that the government interferes with people they approve of doing things they like.

        3. There is far more in common between conservatives and libertarians than with political liberals !

          Political liberals oppose a full half of freedom of association by opposing freedom of economic association.

          Conservatives have opposed freedom of personal association on some key issues but certainly not the whole branch !

        4. Both Cruz and Walker have some libertarian tendencies but not enough for me. On the outside chance Paul gets the nomination I will vote for him, otherwise it will most likely be Gary Johnson or whoever the Libertarian is. Although I could think of worse things than seeing Mrs. Cruz on TV for a term. She’s not hard to look at.

          1. AJB,

            It’s not a question of whether the Republican candidate is libertarian enough, though. I can easily enough accept, what you’re saying. It’s a standard everyone has to draw on their own. What I can’t accept is this notion of, whenever a progressive shows an iota of an inkling of support for freedom, treating it as the arrival of the Great Libertarian Moment, yet when there’s a massive swing in favor of libertarianism in conservative circles, treating it with the classic “Move along people! Nothing to see here!”.

            As I’ve said before, if there has been a Libertarian Moment, it’s been a moment within conservative and GOP circles. It’s been the fact that fewer GOP voters really give a shit about gay marriage or family values or whatever and more actually want to see the Republicans get serious about fiscal responsibility or limited government that has provided most of the impetus for the recent growth in libertarian politics. The much-vaunted Millenials have given us “safe zones”, “check your privilege”, and “rape culture”. But, as long as they don’t have a problem with letting people they like do things they don’t mind them doing, many of the writers here are ready to proclaim them God’s Gift to Libertarianism.

    2. I know I may be making one of those very late-to-the-party observations, but it seems that the political parties, especially the GOP are more like GOP Inc. Not really a party made up of actual constituents, but a kind of association of insiders who are tone deaf to the population.

      Management has decided it’s going to be Jeb Bush (or whoever) and definitely NOT Rand Paul, so there it is.

      1. The nomination goes to the most hawish. Bush out hawked then all with his recent comments. He’s following McCain’s path to the nomination.

        1. Sad that it wasn’t 15 years ago when his brother was applauded by conservatives when he said that America should not be the policeman of the world.

    3. What makes you think he was specifically referring to voters, and not the actual party organization, other candidates, etc?

  7. “You can be a minority because of the color of your skin or the shade of your ideology,” (Rand Paul) said on Saturday. “So there’s every reason in the world we have to be concerned about a government that collects all of our records all of the time.”…

    Why does Rand Paul hate haystacks???

  8. Bad sign he is only 12%. Rand should be dominating in the live free or die state. This may be his high water mark.

  9. But what’s his opinion on abortion because that’s the most important issue to consider when voting for the President who does not make the laws and cannot overturn Supreme Court rulings.

    1. He is surely anti-abortion as is his father

    2. Ah, but the Prez does nominate the Supreme Court justices. So assuming Hillary runs on any specific issue besides “c’mon, it’s a woman’s turn,” expect her to emphasize this point in her ads and speeches.

      1. He does indeed, but the idea that the qualification that would be used to find an appointee would be the willingness to overturn Roe V Wade is ludicrous. It does make for great scaremongering, but one has to wonder how many decades that tactic will work. Over 40 years now. Five of the Nine current Justices were appointed by Republican presidents. It is not going to be overturned.

        1. Slavery lasted over 200 years on this continent. George Wallace proclaimed “Segregation forever!” The unborn will get the right to continue living that we have.

          1. Possibly. But that will not be dependent on who the president is, that will be dependent on a demand by the populace. It could very well be that as the ultrasound type technology continues to improve and people start to be exposed to that they may demand some time restrictions. If they do, both parties will pander to them.

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