Rand Paul

Agree or Disagree?: Rand Paul Should Go Libertarian or Go Home

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A recent Los Angeles Times story by Lisa Mascaro argues that "After sagging in fundraising, Rand Paul 2.0 reboots campaign." The thesis is that the Kentucky Republican is failing to gain traction with GOP conservatives and is consciously trying to re-align himself with libertarian-leaning voters.

"Out of necessity he's moving back to his base, which is a sign the strategy he adopted was the wrong strategy," said Aaron Day, chairman of the New Hampshire chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a nationwide libertarian-leaning organization within the GOP. "He needs the grass-roots — and they know this now."

That's something Paul's people say just isn't true:

Rand's campaign denied any rebooting of his message or positions, and insisted that he never intended to replicate the campaigns of his father, the former Texas GOP congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul. "There has been no change, no pivot," said campaign manager Chip Englander. "He has the same view he's always had."

As a matter of fact, on a bunch of recent issues, Paul has been very close to other, more-consciously conservative Republican candidates than to any vision of libertarianism. His response to the murder of a San Francisco woman by an illegal immigrant, for instance, was to denounce "Sanctuary Cities" and support an onerous surveillance program. He's against the Iran deal. While he was quick to call for yanking the Confederate battle flag from public grounds, he was slow-to-never in challenging Donald Trump's moronic view of Mexican immigrants as mostly criminal or to issue a statement about the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage (he eventually said he wants to privatize marriage). Earlier in the year, he supported more defense spending than a couple of GOP hawks (albeit, Paul wanted to pay for the increases with offsets elsewhere in the budget).

Which is to say that despite his clear libertarian-ish leanings, Paul is hardly covering himself in glory when it comes to being a consistent champion of libertarian ideas and policies in the GOP presidential race. Many times, he seems to be the sixth or seventh or 10th candidate in a crowded field to come along with a pretty-conservative take on an issue of the moment.

This is doubly frustrating for those of us pushing for "Free Minds and Free Markets." First, because we want a champion in the GOP (and the Democratic Party too) that is unapologetically socially tolerant and fiscally responsible. Second, because Rand Paul will never rise to the top of the heap by being a distant echo of awful big-government conservatives rather than a clear choice for voters sick of the past 15 years of screwups and overreaches by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Paul has always been at his most interesting not just to Reason readers but to the American public exactly at the moments when he is most unabashedly libertarian—standing against unrestrained government surveiilance and executive power, questioning Obama's bombing of Libya and attempts to attack Syria, reaching across the aisle on sentencing reform, pushing for hemp and marijuana reform, saying that "we will find a place" for immigrants who come here and that the GOP must become a broader, more-inclusive group. His response to Ferguson—he was the first national politician to say the police's militarized response to initially peaceful protests was fucked up—contrasted sharply with his jokes about being glad his train wasn't stopping in Baltimore during Charm City's riots.

From Mascaro's LA Times piece:

Nick Gillespie, editor of the libertarian Reason.com, said Paul does best when he stakes out classic libertarian positions to distinguish himself from the other candidates.

"All of the moments where he stands out — where he captures not just the political imagination, but the public American imagination — are the most libertarian," Gillespie said.

Simply from a marketing angle, it seems to clear to me that Rand Paul would do better in the current campaign by offering a clear alternative to the uninspired stew of reactionary social positions, hawkish defense posturing, and lukewarm promises to fix the economy via tax cuts rather than cutting spending that characterize his competition.

Far more important, harping on a clear libertarian alternative—regardless of its effect on Paul's run—would massively improve the national conversation we need to have about the size, scope, and spending of goverment at all levels. We're all strung out from the failures of conservative and liberal regimes to succeed on their own terms. Surveys consistently show large majorities of people interested in candidates who espouse a generally libertian worldview in which the government does less in the economic realm and doesn't push a particular set of values. That's the world we've been building for ourselves in the sharing economy and an America that is manifestly less racist, sexist, and xenophobic than in the past.

Yes, yes, politics is "a crippled, lagging indicator" of where we're heading as a society, but it's damn nigh time we get a top-tier major-party candidate who reflects the overall direction of the country and maybe even speeds the trip up a bit.

Read "After sagging in fundraising, Rand Paul 2.0 reboots campaign."

What do you think?

NEXT: Second Planned Parenthood Exec Talks Fetal Tissue Donation in New Undercover Video

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  1. I prefer a more libertarian Paul, particularly in office. I figure a truly libertarian president could accomplish much in the weeks before they impeach and remove him.

    1. Yes. I think you can’t really do anything until the debates start to happen. I think if he comes out kicking ass and dropping mics he’ll be good. He’s just been drowned out by the 15 other candidates announcing their candidacy/buffoonery.

      1. I do think he should stick with the maverick persona, which is closer to the truth, anyway. Be a libertarian. Stake out that position. Moderate where you plan to act more cautiously, but don’t hesitate to trash big government and corruption and to promote liberty and free markets whenever you get a chance.

        1. The REAL test is if he can make that Ace of Spades surface at the top of the deck.

            1. Well…I did not think about it, one bit, until you played that card!

      2. I’m worried he’ll be drown out in the debate as well. I can see 58 people on stage all screaming at Donald Trump and Trump calling them poor or ugly or a Mexican lover. Without Trump, Paul was going to be the guy ganged up on. But that would have been better for him than this Trump shit show is going to be.

        1. I don’t see how Trump can hang on to the debates. He’s such a train wreck. Sure, the media loves a buffoon claiming team-red colors, but are they really going to keep it up that long? I don’t do much talk radio, but the 10 minutes of local talk I listened to today gave me the impression that his poll numbers are a sham. I didn’t hear anyone on the conservative side calling in with words of support. It was pretty unanimous that this guy is barely capable of dressing himself in the morning.

          1. I just read that the first debate is next month. Geez. So I’ll have to retract that. Looks like Trump will be in the first debate.

            Wow, this should be entertaining. In the same way that inviting a poo-flinging monkey to compete in the Miss America pageant would be entertaining.

      3. What he needs to do is show up at the debates with a sword and decpaitate all the other ca do dates, therefore acquiring their quickenings. This will make him all the more powerful to battle Hillary for the Prize. If Hillary receives the Prize she will bring a thousand years of darkness.

        Is all like that documentary about that Scotsman from the ’80’s.

    2. If the libertarian president had an “R” or a “D” next to their name, they would never be removed from office. Team politics is too strong in Washington.

    3. I prefer a Rand Paul that cranks up a gas-powered wood chipper on stage and starts shoving the CFR candidates and politicians and drug war judges in head first. I am not saying I advocate violence….I am just saying that strategy will work better for Rand Paul than either of the two choices offered by Gillespie.

      Nice try at the dialectic though…get us all arguing against each other on the best bullshit political strategy for libertarians.

  2. I’m just here to avoid the abortion thread.

    Carry on.

    1. so, you’ve aborted your potential comments on that article?

      1. Aborted and sold to the highest bidder. They never had a chance.

  3. All candidates move to the center as they campaign. Remember that Rand is just a politician. He ain’t no messiah.

    1. This is true, and I don’t find it surprising. However, I think Paul faces more of a dilemma than most candidates in doing this. His libertarians streak is what separates him from the rest of the crowd and is largely responsible (along with being the son of the most prominent American libertarian in recent history) for him being a prominent figure on the national political scene. Given that the GOP is far from a bastion of libertarianism, it’s not surprising that he would feel the need to make his positions seem more palatable to the average conservative. At the same time, the more he does that, the less he distinguishes himself from the other contenders and becomes more of a face in the crowd. It’s a tight rope to walk. My honest take is that Paul will finish in the top 4 or 5, but he’s ultimately not going to get the right combination of breadth and depth of support he needs. The only part of the Republican party that Rand is, and in my opinion will be, the number 1 choice for is the libertarian wing, and it’s not big enough to win the primary. I don’t think he’ll ultimately get the support he needs from other groups to win. I hope I’m wrong, but that’s the way I see it playing out.

      1. About the best thing I could see Rand accomplishing is injecting some sanity into the debates.

        1. He’ll have his work cut out for him. Trump may make this more of a trainwreck than that California governor’s race Gary Coleman, Larry Flynt and a porn star ran for.

        2. please…when that happens…the injection will kill the patient and then sanity will be blamed for all that is bad in the world and sanity will thereafter be banned from the debates.

      2. I’ve long thought that he should run about where he’s been in the Senate. Definitely favoring a reduced size and scope of government, definitely pro-markets and civil liberties, but picking and choosing his libertarian battles–not aiming for ideological purity but for actual change.

      3. it’s not surprising that he would feel the need to make his positions seem more palatable to the average conservative. At the same time, the more he does that, the less he distinguishes himself from the other contenders and becomes more of a face in the crowd. It’s a tight rope to walk

        Not really. Your average primary voter only has a couple of issues he votes on; the rest he could care less about. If you want to run as a libertarian in that environment, look for the top 4-5 issues where there is activist support within conservative circles to attract grassroots support from these camps and code everything else libertarian so as to attract and retain libertarian support (and also give hope to libertarians that he’ll approach those 4-5 issues that way as much as possible, as well). This seems, in fact, to be exactly what Rand is doing (witness his approach on abortion and immigration).

        1. “Your average primary voter only has a couple of issues he votes on; the rest he could care less about.”

          I think this is less true of libertarian voters, though. And some of those couple issues are often ones that conservatives find libertarian views unpalatable, oftentimes even when expressed in a moderate manner like Rand Paul does. Go on to conservative sites, and plenty of people there find him insufficiently hawkish and “tough” on national security or immigration. His stance on drugs, sentencing reform, and to a lesser extent surveillance aren’t as big of dealbreakers for conservatives IMO, but for many still feed into a perception that Paul is not conservative enough. Conservatives aren’t exactly lining up to support Paul, at least in the polls thus far. I know it’s early, but they seem a lot more eager to support a loudmouth jackass like Trump for saying stupid shit about Mexicans and foreign trade than they are for someone making serious proposals about limiting the size of government.

          And I still think it’s intuitively true that the more Paul adopts standard conservative positions, the less unique he becomes. I’m certainly not saying he’s lost all of his unique brand, just that downplaying his libertarianism necessarily makes him stand out less. It’s a tradeoff, and the political reasoning is understandable, but I don’t think one can argue it’s not a reality.

    2. “All candidates move to the center as they campaign”

      Knowing this to be true I still had a little *shutter* when I envisioned what the magnetic true center of the modern day Democrat party must look like as Bernie draws crowds large enough to move Clinton further to the left than she started out.

    3. Treading water for a while isn’t the worst thing in the world for Team Paul. Fundraising is one thing, poll results are another. It’s interesting to me that poll results tend to support whoever or whatever is toward the top of the headlines, which is a fair to middling sign of shenanigans. To quote Dr. Sowell, “Like most people, I’ve never seen a pollster.” Paul just needs to hang with the pack until he sees his chance to try and make a move. It’s early yet.

      To further emphasize just how early it is, imagine if Stanley McChrystal were to announce he would seek the Democratic Party nomination for president. That’s not entirely fantastic and we could easily imagine how it would serve to turn the current overall situation on its ear.

      If Paul can’t make headway in moving his party away from a losing platform the GOP will be stick-a-fork-in-it done. He’s doing well to play it boring, play it safe.

  4. I’m more of a “tits or GTFO” guy, but whatever.

    1. So you want Rand to get implants?

  5. I think there’s something to the suggestion that Rand Paul is going to have to lure people who wouldn’t normally care into voting for him in the primaries–but the nomination will be won by appealing to a majority of registered Republicans.

    I think Rand Paul’s biggest advantage is how much better he lines up against Hillary Clinton on the issues compared to the other candidates. Don’t focus on what the other candidates for the Republican nomination are saying or doing. Go after Obama. Go after Hilary Clinton.

    If Rand Paul wins New Hampshire, comes in the top three in Iowa, and convinces a plurality of Republican primary voters that he’s the guy that’s most likely to beat Hillary Clinton, then he’s got as good or better a chance of winning the nomination as anybody.

    It isn’t about the issues. It isn’t about mimicking or denouncing other Republicans on any particular issue. The real issue is who is most likely to beat the Democrats in the general election. Convince a plurality of Republicans that Rand Paul is that guy, and the rest of the Republicans will find a way to rationalize voting for him–no matter where they stand on the issues.

    1. GO TEAM RED! GO GO GO!

      The real issue is who is most likely to beat the Democrats in the general election.

      1. Isn’t this thread about how Rand Paul can win the Republican nomination?

      2. Do you realize Ken was making a statement of the nature of politics and not a statement in support of the GOP? No, you do not.

        1. Ken is prioritizing a GOP victory over political substance.

          1. NO. Ken is describing a reality.

          2. Well, given that the substance of the modern Democratic Party was scraped off of the bottom of a moldy septic tank, it’s kinda hard not to prioritize their defeat.

          3. In a thread about winning the GOP nomination. How shocking. You really are just a bot, aren’t you?

          4. Ken is prioritizing a GOP victory over political substance.

            I don’t think you know what words mean.

          5. Yeah, I admit I’d like to see Rand Paul as President.

            He’ll certainly be better for libertarians in the White House than he is as 1/100th of 1/3 of the federal government, and I think the best thing for him to do to get into the White House is to capitalize on being the Republican that’s most likely to beat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

            You don’t convince Republican primary voters of that by bashing other candidates. What, I guess Trump is up to 24% in the polls right now? That means 76% of Republican primary voters know all about him–and they want someone else.

            Incidentally, I’m largely skeptical of politics as a means to positive libertarian change. I think that kind of change comes from the grassroots up–it isn’t inflicted on the American people from above by the efforts of popularly elected politicians.

            But I hope I’m wrong about that. I hope I’m wrong about that, and I hope that Rand Paul wins the Republican nomination and the White House. Rand Paul is running as a Republican, and as long as he’s a Republican, I’ll be supporting him as a Republican.

            1. “He’ll certainly be better for libertarians in the White House than he is as 1/100th [of 1/2] of 1/3 of the federal government.”

              Fixed!

              1. well, when you put it that way… it just depresses me.

            2. “…change comes from the grassroots up–it isn’t inflicted on the American people from above by the efforts of popularly elected politicians.”

              For better or worse, this is absolutely true. This is why Ron’s campaign was so important. Sadly, we’ll need a few more just like his to educated people before they’ll be ready to elect a libertarianish president.

          6. I think you need to go in for a SW upgrade. You’re way more retarded today than normal, and that’s saying a lot.

          7. I would. The Democrat party is a socialist wasteland. They are the enemy of liberty. To deny that is to be full tard.

            1. As if the GOP isn’t an enemy of liberty.

              1. Justin Amash – hello? Ever hear of him?

              2. There are no Democrats who are even remotely libertarian. They don’t even fake it.

                If they support same sex marriage, it is incidental; they use it to expand state power, not to limit government or protect individual human rights.

                Republicans are not perfect; not in a long shot. They lose when they try to be mini-statists (we’re bad but Team Blue is worse).

                But some Republicans “get it”, whereas no Democrat will ever reach Enlightenment.

                Cause it isn’t about Democrat vs Republican. It’s about government vs the individual

        2. That would require the program that posts his comments to at be able to pass a Tuering test. It’s a rudimentary AI at best. I suspect the dumbasses who programmed it just put in some rudimentary word recognition algorithm. In this case it saw “GOP” “Republican” and “beat the Democrats” in the same comment and responded with idiotic drivel meant to imply that Ken is Republican supporter.

          1. Even if he’s isn’t a bot, he’s definitely been programmed.

            It’s like a parallel to Poe’s Law on sarcasm.

            “Without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, parodies of extreme views will be indistinguishable from sincere expressions of the parodied views to some.”

            Only in this formulation, it’s more like, “Without a clear indicator that the author isn’t a bot, the programmed views of a bot will be indistinguishable from the sincere expressions of real people whose views consist of regurgitated programming”.

      3. opposition to Democrats != support for GOP

      4. As opposed to Bernie “Socialism is Swell” Sanders or Hillary “I’m even more crooked than Chocolate Nixon and Damn it, It’s MY TURN” Clinton?

        Go fuck a duck demfag.*

        *I know you’re probably not sentient, but this is, shockingly, not an endorsement of the GOP.

      5. I prefer he stay away from economics or foreign policy and do what he can to advance gay marriage. Yes that will certainly help libertarians the most.

    2. sad and true.

    3. No, don’t go after Hillary, go after Bill Clinton, because that’s who the Hillary supporters expect to be the de facto president.

  6. He’s against the Iran deal.

    Well, so is most of the Peanut Gallery. Apparently war or the status quo is preferable to inspections and a world united to insure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.

    1. False dichotomies are false.

      1. Retards are retarded.

        1. Tautologies are taut.

          Wait, did I do that right?

    2. a world united to insure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons

      A lot of us prefer not to pretend that signing a piece of paper with no teeth, but a bunch of obligations isn’t going to help matters any.

      And Obama united the world here as much as he was bipartisan. Which is, not at all.

    3. Apparently war

      Who said anything about war?

      or the status quo

      Inflicting pain on a murderous theocracy does have its merits, you know.

      is preferable to inspections

      There will be no meaningful inspections.

      and a world united to insure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.

      You realize this deal, if it is fully complied with, gives Iran a green light for nukes in 10 – 15 years, right? This isn’t about preventing Iran from getting nukes, its about delaying it, maybe.

      1. Who said anything about war?

        I may have mentioned once, but I think I got away with it.

        1. You started it, you invaded Poland!

      2. I think your assessment that it is 10-15 years is off by an order of magnitude. I see them getting a bombin in 18 months to 2 years uness the unbelieveable but now materializing alliance between Saudi Arabia/UAE and Israel goes after them.

        I believe that this deal is so bad that it all but guarantees a war in the ME, and then sooner than later.

        1. Yes, but if they’re only going to drop it on Israel, why should be care? /prog

        2. I think your assessment that it is 10-15 years is off by an order of magnitude. I see them getting a bombin in 18 months to 2 years

          Where do you retards get this bullshit?

      3. You realize this deal, if it is fully complied with, gives Iran a green light for nukes in 10 – 15 years, right?

        If you believe this, you are dumb. Sorry.

        1. His ability to speak has nothing to do with this thread! Otherwise, he has a lot of support when it comes to not trusting the Iranians, and/or, underestimating their abilities. (Which the rest of the nations, of Earth, seem to do!)

      4. Any plan is ultimately only going to delay Iran. The only thing that ends (or at least makes less threatening) their nuclear program is the end of the theocratic regime, and it’s impossible to predict when that’ll happen.

        The only question to ask is if making the Iranians play cat and mouse with UN inspectors is going to slow them more or less than whatever sanctions we could have gotten the Russians and Chinese to agree to. I don’t know the answer to that.

  7. The thesis is that the Kentucky Republican is failing to gain traction with GOP conservatives and is consciously trying to re-align himself with libertarian-leaning voters.

    He seems to be consciously trying to align himself with whoever things selling fetal organs is horrific.

    1. I’m on his mailing list from giving his dad money 8 years ago, and he’s been spamming me about baby murderers. It’s annoying.

      1. Wait…is he talking about abortion, or is there an actual epidemic of baby murder I’m unaware of?

        1. The baby organ selling thing. Apparently it’s good to get the donations coming in.

      2. Same here, I’ve never gotten so many donation requests in my life.

    2. I started tuning Rand out when I started getting anti-choice spam with his name on it. You can’t simultaneously claim to support small government and still want government to be big enough to have the power to ram religion down the throats of American citizens.

      1. Yet, libertarians are supposed to be in favor of upholding the right to people’s (and infants’) lives. That said, I don’t think that harvesting organs from aborted fetuses is going to garner a lot of support, either. Does the human being in the mothers body not have a right to life? That seems to be a libertarian quandary! The abortion laws need to be less supportive of the aborting of viable humans. But, we also must understand that laws prohibiting anything, (even murder!) does not, always work. It did not work with alcohol. It does not work with drugs. It does not work in kids and their use of cigarettes. God could not even make it work with Adam and Eve! (something to do with freewill!) As an ex-general surgeon and Christian, I hate the thought of abortion. But that does not mean I can force someone else not to have one. I feel responsible for stopping the abortion of viable fetuses. Then, we need to get to 100% effectiveness, with birth control with 0%, of the unwanted pregnancies occurring. They must still be working on that!

  8. I think just from a slice-of-the-pie perspective, staking out a unique position attracts attention to the outlier, and with Paul’s ability to clearly advocate for libertarian positions, he should be accentuating the differences where he thinks he can steer the party, and then of course, reluctantly joining in when he’s sure they won’t budge.

    Which is what it seems like he’s been doing all along, albeit with some sharp right turns lately, in cases where he probably should fall in line with the mob.

    In that mix, however, he should trumpet as loudly as possible any freedom issues he already owns.

  9. It’s hard to tell what stance Paul is taking because the media barely mentions him in between the wall-to-wall Trump coverage. He’s made some dumb decisions of late, but this GOP field is a mess and the media has basically blackballed him. So, his conventional conservative shift isn’t going to get any traction even if he had friends anywhere within the GOP establishment or media.

    1. Might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

    2. You mean blacklisted, not blackballed.

      1. Same … thing? Kind of?

  10. “All of the moments where he stands out ? where he captures not just the political imagination, but the public American imagination ? are the most libertarian,” Gillespie said.

    Though this may be true, I do not think a majority wants a president who stands out…we live in an age that seems to value confirmation bias above all else. And while everyone says their minds are captured by candidates discussing ideas like hope, liberty and apple pie, they’ll vote for the candidate who they believe will confirm their biases with the power of the law.

    1. I do not think a majority wants a president who stands out

      To their great credit. Majorities ushering the messianic into practical politics *are* the problem with democracy, simply stated.

    2. Don’t forget the part about about too many voters voting for the candidate they believe will give them the most stuff supposedly paid with other people’s money.

  11. “Surveys consistently show large majorities of people interested in candidates who espouse a generally libertian worldview”

    LIBERTARIAN MOMENT!

    Whatever a libertian is.

    The fortune cookie I ate the other day told me, ‘stay true to your roots’.

    1. Or is it LIBERTIAN MOMENT?

    2. The Liberian moment never happened, BTW.

  12. I wish he would just go after the dick-pic voting block.

    Every time somebody asks him a question, just hold up an 8×10 glossy of his dick. Every time. Bring it to interviews. Hold it up on C-SPAN in lieu of voting. Make campaign posters out of it.

    Why doesn’t anybody go after this constituency?

    1. Way to go making me burst out laughing in the mechanic’s waiting room in front of these people.

      1. You have mechanics in Canada?!

        1. Typical American parochialism. “Mechanic” is a Canadian term for doctor.

          1. But what are mechanics called?

            1. But what are mechanics called?

              Chips. Or, in Quebec, poutine.

              1. You’re just making that up. Of course, the truth is that mechanics are called lumberjacks.

                Other examples? Canola oil is called rapeseed oil.

                1. Isn’t everyone in Canada a lumberjack?

            2. Car Fixers…

              1. Actors, of course, are referred to as shats.

              2. Every 40,000 kilometers, you need to inspect your belts and hosers.

                1. Kill-o-meter? What is that? Some sort of anti-measurement regulation?

                  1. If you like your Kill-o-meter, you can keep your Kill-o-meter. If you like your plaid-wearing mechanic, you can keep your plaid-wearing mechanic.

            3. Snow tires already?

              1. Don’t want to risk not getting to the latest Terrance and Phillip movie at the movie theater!

                1. You mean theatre.

    2. He’d have my vote.

    3. That’s Weiner’s base and he has a firm grip on it.

      The base that is.

    4. He should always wear a “Vote for Rand” tee shirt and a Dick Towel

  13. OT- did anyone see the Cuban Ambassador yesterday mention that they wanted compensation for economic losses due to US sanctions? What brass fucking balls, man.

    1. No, no, that’s fair. We’ll pay after they return the land and other assets they stole. Oh, and we’ll pay the Republic of Cuba, not Castroland.

    2. Why not?

      Obama just gave Iran everything it asked for, and couldn’t even be arsed to ask for the Americans currently being held hostage in return.

      The Castros have every reason to believe that Obama will just dig into that bottomless Obama stash and write them a big ol’ check. Why wouldn’t they?

      1. Yeah, like he caved in on Puerto Rico’s request for debt relief on $72 billion? And Detroit?

        But he didn’t.

        GOP lies, RC Dean. Try not to repeat them.

        1. Burn the straw man, Buttplug. Dean only mentioned Iran and Cuba. But you won’t let that get in the way of blasting Booosh or Team Red, you one-horse wonder.

        2. Don’t forget to brush your teeth.

          1. His breath smells like he had been eating shit, again, so that is good advice.

            1. THREAD BREAK:

              There are plenty of feculent bacteria in the human mouth. That is why your breath can smell like feces! (Ever wonder where “dragon breath comes from?) That bacterial combination makes human bites and monkey bites among the most dangerous of bites, to incur. When I was in surgical residency, dog bites were only, very loosely, closed, and only if they were on the face! Human bites demanded hospitalization and IV antibiotics. Just sayin’!

        3. And Detroit?

          Where he screwed the bondholders and taxpayers in favor ot the UAW?

    3. There exists many people who believe Cuba is poor because of sanctions, and the sanctions exist because we probably hate brown people or something. The nationalization of land, and attempts to do away the concept of money are not a problem, or they wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for obstructionists.

      1. We were I think the one remaining country on Earth who had sanctions against Cuba; most of the rest of the world could give a fuck and had been trading (to the extent they have shit to trade) and sending tourists for decades. Maybe, just maybe, Cuba’s dirt poor because Communism exacerbated the geopolitical and economic challenges faced by most other small Caribbean islands.

    4. OT- did anyone see the Cuban Ambassador yesterday mention that they wanted compensation for economic losses due to US sanctions? What brass fucking balls, man.

      Can we compensate the commies with .45 cal bullets flying towards them at 1200 fps?

  14. he was slow-to-never in challenging Donald Trump’s moronic view of Mexican immigrants as mostly criminal

    So moronic, in fact, that mockery or ignoring were the correct responses. I think I’m okay with his silence. Trump’s a troll. Let everyone else feed him.

    1. I still think that a lot of the media attention on Trump is from the Clinton supporting wing of the MSM. The longer they keep people’s eyes on Trump, the less they have to cover Bernie Sanders’ momentum.

      1. Perhaps, but I think the biggest factor is the fact that what he’s saying is actually resonating with the GOP base enough to the point where he’s leading in the polls. If he was still getting 2-3% of the vote in the polls, he’d be getting a lot less attention. The guy leading the polls of one of the major party’s nominations is going to get media coverage, particularly given the quick rise and Trump’s controversial nature, which makes it even more newsworthy. From a business POV, Trump gets a lot more eyes than Sanders or really any other contender does, at least for now.

        1. The guy leading the polls of one of the major party’s nominations is going to get media coverage, particularly given the quick rise and Trump’s controversial nature, which makes it even more newsworthy.

          It’s a chicken and egg thing. Is Trump’s popularity the cause of the media coverage, or does the media coverage create his popularity?

          In the long run, it doesn’t matter. Countless elections have shown that peaking this early is a death-wish for the campaign. I think that the Dem elites in the media are much more scared of Sanders pulling an Obama on Hillary than they are of The Donald being around for the general election. They’re happy to keep the bandwagon rolling for Trump, because they need some distraction from Hillary’s campaign sucking wind.

          1. “It’s a chicken and egg thing. Is Trump’s popularity the cause of the media coverage, or does the media coverage create his popularity?”

            Both, in the sense that the media covering him has spread awareness of the positions he’s taking, which resonates with many people in the Republican Party. The media can’t force people to support a politician, and considering that the coverage of Trump has been overwhelmingly negative, I don’t think you can simply blame the media for talking about him. If what he’s saying didn’t resonate, all the coverage in the world wouldn’t make a difference in the polls for him.

            1. It’s negative, but it’s reverse psychology. They know, like with Sarah Palin, the more they shit on Trump the more conservatives are going to rally behind him. So it’s a win-win for them: he’s good TV for them, and there’s a chance he’d win the nomination and Hillary will win at least 45 states.

          2. The cause is the media wants him for their infotainment love so they don’t have to talk about real issues, they can just bring a candidate on and said “Yesterday Donald Trump said your daughter is ugly so you can’t be President.” And they hope the double digit IQs in the Republican voting bloc get him in so Hillary can win in a cakewalk.

    2. Was it. He seems to keep rising in the polls the more he says ridiculous shit.

  15. He’s against the Iran deal.

    What! The only reason someone could be against the Iran deal is because they want WAR! Chocolate Jesus divined that deal for us, so our sins could be forgiven.

  16. Now I want Dalmia to write an article. “Dalmia’s Thoughts on Nick Gillespie Quoting Someone Else Quoting Nick Gillespie”.

    Can we get that?

    1. *authentic frontier gibberish*

      “Dalmia Johnson is right!”

      “Gilespie Johnson is right about Dalmia Johnson being right.”

      1. Rrrraaaarugh

      2. Never mind that shit, Mongo’s coming!

  17. I think Rand Paul should be honest and say what he thinks is the right answer on every issue presented to him without regard to whether it is Libertarian or not.

    People are tired of cynicism and cold calculation. Honesty will get him farther than anything else. And this will come as a shock to Libertarians but no ideology is perfect or works the best in every situation and this is a big country where most people are not Libertarian and even if they are are not such on every issue.

    Just be honest and give what you feel are the right answers. If it doesn’t work at least Paul will have his integrity and if it does and he wins he will have an actual mandate to do something.

    1. You’re basically just re-stating my comment from 11:03, you plagiarizer.

      1. I’m wondering what Poll led you both to this conclusion. DIck Pic 2016!

      2. I agree with you and with John’s reiteration of you and with anyone else who agrees with this proposition.

      3. Good artists create. Great artists steal.

        1. Libertarianism is perfect, libertarians just are not.

          I say that kind of tongue-in-cheek. But really, how is an ideology that seeks to remove all aggression that far from perfect?

          1. The problem isn’t the ideology per se, nor is that people aren’t perfect. Rather, it is that too many people are already entrenched are going to continue to push back to keep their:
            free shit
            laws against other people having fun
            laws against other people practicing the “wrong” religion
            laws for “national security”
            laws “protecting” their livelihood (to the detriment of others trying to make a living)

          2. That may be a good goal, but does it qualify as an ideology? Could not more than 1 ideology have that goal, yet differ as to what constitutes aggression or how to remove it?

    2. I actually think he is being honest. Libertarians like to question a politician’s integrity every time they disagree with a position. I don’t think he is or ever was a hardcore libertarian. I know I don’t agree with the standard libertarian line on everything. Some people seem to think that is a character flaw for some reason.

      1. I don’t think he is or ever was a hardcore libertarian.

        I disagree with this. I think he’s FAR more libertarian than he lets on. You want to see a man’s true colors, look at what he said BEFORE running for office.

        Some of his early stuff was VERY libertarian. Sadly, now he’s pandering, as all those elected by a democratic process must.

        1. To be fair, you’d also have to discount whatever he said while he was working on his father’s campaign. And that probably leaves you a fairly sparse record to judge by.

          The guy lays out a basically “conservatarian” case on a lot of issues. And he generally does so in a way that suggests he’s given a lot of thought to the matter (laying out reasoning, rather than talking points). If it really is true pandering, he’s doing a hell of a slick job of it.

          1. It is exactly what I would do if I were ever a politician.

            You have to know how to talk to people, and if you’re going to present them with a new idea, you need to bring it in a way that they will understand. For this, you HAVE to be knowledgeable of the other person’s stances and you have to incorporate them.

            For example, if you talk to a conservative about the myriad of ways that the government involves itself in the day to day lives of people, and then ask them what they think of the government doing the same thing on a social issue, they’ll realize how hypocritical their normal answer would sound.

            I even heard RUSH FUCKING LIMBAUGH say that he is against abortion but isn’t for the government making it illegal and throwing people in jail over, he wants to change hearts and minds.

            Nobody wants to be a hypocrite, and Dems and Republicans are both extremely hypocritical, you just need to guide them into figuring it out themselves.

        2. Is it not also possible that the decisions he makes once saddled with the responsibility would be different from those he thought would be no-brainers when he was far from being responsible for their implement’n? Who here has never said, maybe flippantly, that if they were in such & such a position they’d do so & so, & yet if they really were in that position they wouldn’t? Like, for instance, the chipping of wood?

      2. Some people even, God forbid disagree with what the libertarian line on something is.

        1. Yeah, but how will we know without running it past Michael Hihn, God Emperor of Libertarianism, first?

          I’m just posting this because I’m shocked to see he hasn’t chimed in yet. Maybe someone should check on him, send some cops to do a old person check or whatever they call it.

          1. Ok, maybe lighten up on Hihn a little. He got defensive, we all do.

            1. You are so naive . . .He deserves scorn and ridicule. He’s a pig.

    3. Honesty.

      You know, it just might be crazy enough to work.

      1. Would be a good campaign slogan

    4. People are tired of cynicism and cold calculation.

      People, maybe. Voters? Not by a long shot. The typical dumbass voter in this country likes to hear what they want to hear.

  18. he was slow-to-never in challenging Donald Trump’s moronic view of Mexican immigrants as mostly criminal or to issue a statement about the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage (he eventually said he wants to privatize marriage).

    Presumably a socially tolerant Paul would have been more unthinkingly reflexive and enthusiastic in his reading of the Party-approved stances on weed, Mexicans, and butt sex.

    Surveys consistently show large majorities of people interested in candidates who espouse a generally libertian worldview in which the government does less in the economic realm and doesn’t push a particular set of values. That’s the world we’ve been building for ourselves in the sharing economy and an America that is manifestly less racist, sexist, and xenophobic than in the past.

    All while government keeps increasing in size and becoming less tolerant of divergent opinions. Yes, I see that libertarian moment shining like the sun.

  19. Simply from a marketing angle, it seems to clear to me that Rand Paul would do better in the current campaign by offering a clear alternative to the uninspired stew of reactionary social positions, hawkish defense posturing, and lukewarm promises to fix the economy via tax cuts rather than cutting spending

    Naturally, a libertarian pundit who’s never met a quixotic campaign he doesn’t like is the best positioned to offer pragmatic advice about horse-race politics to Rand Paul, including but not limited to violating the tenets of his faith and reversing himself on his foreign policy stances to avoid being tarred with nebulous buzzwords and catchphrases like “reactionary” or “hawkish” (neither of which currently describe Paul Jr).

    1. That is an extremely disingenuous and selective quotation, leaving off the last few words of the paragraph, which are pretty key.

      “Simply from a marketing angle, it seems to clear to me that Rand Paul would do better in the current campaign by offering a clear alternative to the uninspired stew of reactionary social positions, hawkish defense posturing, and lukewarm promises to fix the economy via tax cuts rather than cutting spending THAT CHARACTERIZE HIS COMPETITION.”

      He wasn’t calling Paul hawkish or reactionary. He was saying that he would do best by CLEARLY differentiating himself from the rest of the crowd on the issues he mentioned. Agree or disagree, the quote does not accuse Paul of what you claim it does.

      1. He has differentiated himself, and the implication of the article is that by being honest and consistent about his long-held positions on these issues he is being “reactionary” (e.g., his position on abortion, which is also held by his father and which he has held throughout his entire public career) along the same lines as his ostensible competition in the primaries. Other quotes from the article support this interpretation (“Rand Paul will never rise to the top of the heap by being a distant echo of awful big-government conservatives”), and there is nothing disingenuous about my quotation — supposing that he is being reactionary *alongside other Republicans* doesn’t impact the point that the OP is suggesting reactionary views on Rand’s part and offering such helpful advice as flip-flopping on these long-held areas of disagreement *among libertarians themselves*.

        1. “He has differentiated himself”

          Agree or disagree, Nick’s argument was that he should focus on continuing to do so. I don’t think it’s at all uncontroversial to say that Paul has focused his campaign more so on establishing his conservative credentials with the Republican base than differentiating himself as the libertarian option in the race. I don’t even think it’s really a matter of flip-flopping. For someone like Paul, who has conservative and libertarian views, simply talking about different issues will give off a different impression. If, for example, all Paul ever talked about was abortion and cutting taxes, he wouldn’t be saying anything to distinguish himself from mainstream conservatism, even if those were sincerely held beliefs.

        2. “and the implication of the article is that by being honest and consistent about his long-held positions on these issues he is being “reactionary” (e.g., his position on abortion, which is also held by his father and which he has held throughout his entire public career) along the same lines as his ostensible competition in the primaries.”

          The article didn’t mention abortion once. That generally seems to be an issue that Reason doesn’t press Paul too hard on IMO, because being pro-choice is probably about the most suicidal move one can make in a Republican primary. I don’t really agree with your assessment of the article. I don’t think one has to think Paul is a reactionary or a hawk to think that he’s not sufficiently distinguishing himself from the reactionaries and hawks within the party. I agree with you that, with the possible exception of defense spending, I don’t think Paul has really changed his position on anything mentioned in the artilce. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true that he’s generally playing up his more conservative positions while talking less about his libertarian ones

          “and there is nothing disingenuous about my quotation”

          Really? It isn’t disingenuous to cut off the last four words of a paragraph for no apparent reason, words that make it clear that the terms “reactionary” and “hawkish” were explicitly used to describe his opponents? Even if you think that distinction doesn’t matter, there’s still no good reason to leave out those last few words

        3. The ironic thing is he acted the way he did on defense spending to distinguish himself, it showed he was the only candidate who would not take on additional debt to grow the military

  20. Is it safe yet to to hold an opinion about, or comment on, anything? Most likely not.

  21. LOS ANGELES (AP) ? Police investigating the death of a Los Angeles man uncovered an arsenal inside his home and garage ? more than 1,200 guns and about two tons of ammunition, authorities said Monday.

    http://news.yahoo.com/police-p…..8394.html#

    this guy wasn’t going quietly to an Obama FEMA camp.

    1. How did he afford that?

      1. So a guy who died, who did nothing illegal and is accused of no act of violence, owns a lot of guns. OHMYGERRRRDD!!!!

        And this is newsworthy because….he owned a lot of guns. Right. But the media isn’t hostile to the Second Amendment.

        Do we get stories when some guy dies and in the investigation it turns out he owns a lot of cars? Because cars kill around 35,000 people every year.
        How about real estate? Probably some lousy 1%er.
        Guitars??

        1. There may be storage requirements related to the amount of material in a magazine that were violated. The requirements may treat live rounds in a heap as if they were capable of bulk detonation in that condition; whether they do, & whether they are, I don’t know.

      2. I’m just amazed the AP for once used the word arsenal where it actually applies instead using it in reference to the accused’s trivially small gun collection.

    2. Hey ButtliKKKer. Nock. Nock.

    3. I am stunned the Yahoo article and the police quotes are as fair-minded as they are.

  22. This whole exercise is pointless. We no longer live in a republic with a government of limited enumerated powers. The question is whether this experiment collapses into abject tyranny in my lifetime or my grandsons. Pigs murder people with impunity. So we are most of the way there.

    1. We are never going to have absolute tyranny. The country is too big and our government is too incompetent. We are going to have tragic comedy. Just hope you can be lucky enough to avoid the tragedy and do what you can to enjoy the comedy.

      1. Never? I think our individualist focal point is quickly fading. It only takes enough of us who want to march to the government’s tune to end the American experiment altogether. Likely in a way that’s not overtly totalitarian, at least, not to begin with. We can’t keep ceding everything to the government without losing control altogether.

      2. I wish I could believe that John. I see every institution I can think of :churches, the military, the press, our government, marriage…. All of them are declining. Some faster than others.

        Our fuckstick president wants to executively repeal the 2A rights of millions of americans on social security. Just outright revoke their rights to bear arms. No hearing. NO due process at all. This is something we should be in the streets, armed, over. But yet it is just a little notch in the in heat in the Kettle. The frogs don’t even notice nor care.

        1. 500 years from now, history books will say that patriotism was the undoing of America. The people were so afraid of hurting the country they worshiped that they were unwilling to stand up against an ever-encroaching tyranny.

          1. Fuck America, love people.

      3. God, I hope you’re right about that. But remember the Soviets enjoyed many decades of utterly tyrannical rule over an enormous area with many disparate peoples. And I’m not sure I’d credit Stalin and his government with any sort of competence.

        1. My comment was directed at John’s prediction of a tragicomic rather than tyrannical future.

        2. It doesn’t take much competence to kill people.

  23. I’m sure Nick would be shocked to learn that there are plenty of libertarians who are against the Iran deal and open borders. You might disagree, and that’s fine, but don’t shove your head up your ass and pretend those people don’t exist or have no valid arguments.

    1. It’s like Nick prioritizes being cool over rationality.

      I could care less if people think I’m edgy. Apparently it means a lot to Nick. Open Borders is suicide for libertarianism and the country at this point. Fuck that, we expand liberty far quicker by being an example, not by letting in droves of people the Democrats can quickly subjugate in their purposely made under-class vote breeding machine.

      1. Nick is no libertarian. He’s a Democrat. He’s just playing games until that better-paying Salon chief editor job is available.

        The “libertarian moment” . . . What a joke! And I fell for it.

        Never again.

        1. Back to Team Red for you then? Good. Can you take the rest with you? It’s like a fucking CPAC convention in here.

          1. Team Red has booted my butt out of their big tent along time ago. I am like the book George Castanza took to bathroom – I’m flagged, man!

            So, libertarians are stuck with me.

            But Nick is still not a libertarian.

    2. What? like libertarians against abortion and deep dish pizza?

  24. OT = Flags lowered at Capitol to honor Tennessee victims, but not at White House

    No word yet on whether Obama plans to either personally urinate on heroes’ graves, or to apologize for offending ISIS in flag-lowering counter-strategy.

    (this is the closest i have seen to a real-life Kelly cartoon)

    1. That’s shocking, even for this administration.

      1. I think playing politics with flags is super gay.

        That said…. i think the admin is actually trying to avoid even the slightest admission that the shootings were “terror”-inspired. bad narrative. Instead, let’s talk about Racism

      2. I got no problem with BO not lowering the flags, oddly enough. I smell political theater by Boehner and Co. I’ve long thought the flag at half-staff should be reserved for truly significant moments of national mourning. That is always going to be a tough call. I mean no disrespect to any of my deceased shipmates, but none of us thought we would get half-staff if we died in some training accident, or car accident, or aircraft crash, all of which kill a fair number of servicemen and women every year, just like the rest of the citizens of the US. I’ve seen lots of people killed and the flag at Base didn’t even go down.

        1. ^ yeah, this is pretty much my original take

        2. I tend to agree, but I don’t think this is consistent with the practice in the past. I could be wrong–I’m not a mast-watcher.

          1. UPDATE = Obama Shamed Into Belated Flag-Lowering

            Fox notes that its a week late, NBC does not, suggests Obama is classier than the hicks who rush into such action.

            God, its so fucking lame. But apparently some ‘self-styled hillbilly’ (see the first link) started shouting about this issue on Sunday at a memorial to the people killed, and politicians decided to jump on it. HillbillyGate!

  25. That’s the world we’ve been building for ourselves in the sharing economy and an America that is manifestly less racist, sexist, and xenophobic than in the past.

    I think Paul is as libertarian as he ever was, and more so then many writers on this site. The very idea that our politicians should be engaged in trying to shape the populace to be less “racist, sexist, and xenophobic” is a progressive one, not a libertarian one.

    1. What I want from Paul is an attempt to dramatically reduce the size, scope, and spending of government, to restore as much of the concept of a free market as possible through massive deregulation, and to take whatever steps necessary to maximize rather than minimize civil liberties.

      Until we move on these issues, nothing, not even foreign policy, can take precedence–at least, not as things stand today. We go broke, then we’re screwed on every front.

      1. Exactly. “Fuck you, cut spending” (maybe in PG wording) ought to be the slogan for a winning campaign.

        Paul has the chance to distinguish himself from the rest of the field (both R and D) by offering something different. A fresh perspective, but without the clownish craziness of Trump. To be honest, I see little difference between Christie, Jeb, and Hillary. It’s the same old crap about surveillance, lots of overspending, fight the war on drugs harder than ever, and police the world. All the rest of the field echoes those themes.

        Does distancing himself make it impossible to win? Not necessarily. Reagan distanced himself from the Nelson Rockefeller wing of his party and won two terms. Bill Clinton distanced himself from the Walter Mondale wing of his party and also won two terms. I’m always hearing how, even while only a small percentage of Americans identify as libertarian, OVER 50% readily attest to being socially liberal and economically conservative. If Rand has any political smarts, he will beat that drum incessantly all the way to winning the general. But, from what I can see, he’s already getting wishy-washy on both the social and fiscal side.

        1. OVER 50% readily attest to being socially liberal and economically conservative.

          And I’ll bet that 85% think they are “smarter than the average bear”.

          Doesn’t mean it’s true…

      2. Agreed. Concentrate on halting government’s meddling in everyday life. Forget the culture wars, however much fun it is to bash the unenlightened rubes.

      3. Exactly. “Fuck you, cut spending” (maybe in PG wording) ought to be the slogan for a winning campaign.

        Paul has the chance to distinguish himself from the rest of the field (both R and D) by offering something different. A fresh perspective, but without the clownish craziness of Trump. To be honest, I see little difference between Christie, Jeb, and Hillary. It’s the same old crap about surveillance, lots of overspending, fight the war on drugs harder than ever, and police the world. All the rest of the field echoes those themes.

        Does distancing himself make it impossible to win? Not necessarily. Reagan distanced himself from the Nelson Rockefeller wing of his party and won two terms. Bill Clinton distanced himself from the Walter Mondale wing of his party and also won two terms. I’m always hearing how, even while only a small percentage of Americans identify as libertarian, OVER 50% readily attest to being socially liberal and economically conservative. If Rand has any political smarts, he will beat that drum incessantly all the way to winning the general. But, from what I can see, he’s already getting wishy-washy on both the social and fiscal side.

    2. ^This.

      Rand Paul is 10x the libertarian than say Richman or Dalmia.

      He is a politician, not a philosopher, let him be what he is.

      What he says makes little difference at this point, I think we all know what is at the heart of Rand Paul. Just as we all knew what was at the heart of Obama. Difference is, we all like what Rand Paul stands for, if not always what he says in his need to gather votes.

    3. Yes, thank you

  26. If Paul does go full Reason libertarian he might as well go home. Much of the stuff folks here are hot for won’t play well with the voters he needs to get elected and, anyway, has been covered by the Democrats for years. Whooping for abortion, open borders and gay stuff will just piss off righties while campaigning against free shit turns off the lefties.

    The uncommitted “middle” that pollsters are always finding seem to vote for one camp or the other or just stay home come election day.

    1. It amazes me that people still think there is a libertarian position on abortion.

      1. I think there can be a position, that the government shouldn’t be involved in the matter. That means no funding, no licensing, no regulation, not a single law, policy, grant, nor any other mechanism of control or subsidy. For the purpose of “defining” murder, return to the old common law standard of “persons born”. Unfortunately, most people on “both” sides of the issue cannot see the distinction between “not banned” and “endorsed”. The “right” thinks not banning it means it will happen willy-nilly (as though all things flow through the government) and the “left” thinks if the government won’t pay for it then it won’t happen (as though… all things flow through the government). The idea of autonomy and consequence existing outside of government sanction is truly alien to most people.

        1. I think this ignores the core of the issue.

          The pro-lifers are legitimately and truly of the belief that abortion is a subset of murder, and (whether or not it is politically practical) have an end goal of making abortion illegal. They may not say it publicly, but they certainly think it.

          The pro-choicers are legitimately and truly of the belief that abortion is a subset of elective surgery, and that there is no moral component to abortion, just like there is no moral component to getting a cyst removed.

          The statists merely use either side of the debate to increase the size of government.

          Legal but unsubsidized abortion is still repugnant to me. It’s less repugnant than the status quo, but it’s still legalized murder in my eyes.

          1. Not sure that the pro-life and pro-choice opinions are as black and white as you say.

            If I believed that Abortion == Child Murder, I would not hesitate to take the law into my own hand…consequences to me be damned to save the life of a baby. I imagine that a great many would have the courage to do the same, and I don’t consider myself particularly courageous. But you rarely see this level of devotion to that belief. To me that means that most pro-lifers do not actually equate abortion and murder.

            Further, I think that a great majority of pro-choicer’s find abortion to be a terrible and even immoral decision, but one that they would not take away from others.

      2. I did say the “Reason” position, not “libertarian” position.

    2. I disagree. He needs to frame it differently and educate the public about what is NOT the government’s business and why it’s dangerous to involve the government in everything.

      The SoCon stuff is a loser, I’m afraid. If you don’t like gay marriage, make sure you don’t marry a gay. Personally, I’m not a fan of abortion, but I don’t think it should be illegal.

      As for people who love their free shit, they need to understand it is NOT free. Not only is it costing money and comes with a great many strings attached, that “free” stuff is also acquired in the most inefficient ways possible. This is the same government that pays 30 grand for a single hammer or a coffee maker. Do you really think their safety nets are not actually money pits meant to line corrupt pockets?

      1. Yes, but for people who like free stuff, even if they understand it’s not free they’ll understand that someone else is paying for it. How does one show they (or someone/something they care about) are being hurt by the government extracting funds from others to give to them. I expect most people don’t really mind this and are perfectly capable of rationalizing it.

  27. Paul should ignore all the cocktail concern trolls and fake libertarians here at Reason (they’re mostly a bunch of Buttplugs who don’t really like him anyway), and just go ahead and get elected.

  28. While I think Rand should stake out more-libertarian postures on certain issues in order to distinguish himself from the rest of the GOP field, i don’t think anything nick mentions says anything one way or the other.

    Its idiotic to think that he should run as an open-borders, pro-immigration candidate. At best he can simply say, “the system needs fixing”, avoid the mexican-bashing, and move on.

    same with national security – purists want him to pull a Ron Paul-style screech about creating terrorists. He did that earlier this year already, but apparently Nick is not satisfied. Now that its campaign season, Rand is going to STFU and say what every candidate needs to say = “We need to be humble in our foreign policy, but prepared to defend our interests when necessary” Its the same bullshit formula that everyone supports. Expecting anything else would be idiotic. The election is over a year+ away. he’s going to cruise the middle ground and avoid doing anything stupid until the also-ran candidates have run out of money.

    re: Iran ‘deal’ = there is absolutely nothing “libertarian” about any view on that topic. Posturing like its obviously a one-sided libertarian issue is absurd. Do sanctions stink? Sure, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get something substantial in return for ending them.

    1. ^^This, (from Gilmore, just to be clear).

    2. There is absolutely nothing libertarian about the topic because libertarians don’t have a coherent national security policy, besides stick our heads in the sand, which is a very, very unpopular sentiment among the American people. Whether it is right or not is a different debate, but it is not going to win ANY election, ever.

      1. true

        I don’t get this posture Reason has taken re: Rand, busting his balls all the time.

        he’s the best candidate any libertarian has had in decades. and i’d expect this mag to be looking to support him as much as possible instead of nitpicking about comments that rub them the wrong way on issues where there are already *significant disagreement among libertarians themselves*.

        Neither “open borders” or “lets abandon national-security entanglements” are election winners… and I’d argue that you’d struggle to get even a strong majority of libertarians behind any one-dimensional articulation of these kinds of ideas.

        Its begging for him to pander to a niche perspective that has little real electoral traction. Any sane person should *expect* him to not just soften his views for the benefit of a wider audience, but to even take sometimes less-than-libertarian postures (like on immigration) for the sake of enlarging his appeal with Primary Voters, who lean more-Right than the average GOP voter, much less Cosmotarian pundits.

        1. Some libertarians have gotten so used to living in “Not Gonna Happen” land that they have forgotten that re-injecting liberty is a multi-decade process. You aren’t getting libertopia in one election cycle, no matter who you put on the ballot. The American public is down on liberty, and needs to be reintroduced to it before diving in the deep end.

        2. I think he needs to be banging the anti-government drum at every turn. THAT is the winning angle. Government doesn’t solve problems, it makes problems. It can be applied to every aspect of this election, he can bang both Republicans and Democrats over the heads with it. If there is any opposition he can simply point to the failures of the last several decades, AND it’s as libertarian as libertarian gets.

      2. Whether it is right or not is a different debate, but it is not going to win ANY election, ever.

        All one need do is point out the $4T+ squandered, 14 years of people’s lives completely wasted, expensive military equipment chewed up, 4500 dead Americans and countless thousands of civilian casualties with absolutely ZERO ROI to demonstrate the last 14 years of interventionism doesn’t work.

        …but if we just hang in there a little longer, I’m sure it will all turn around.

        1. I think republicans are still emotionally attached to the Iraq war since Bush was their party’s man and “”support the troops” even though most probably suspect it was a mistake. Prbly why rand hasn’t taken this route but has been outspoken regarding proposed interventions by democrats.

        2. “…4500 dead Americans and countless thousands of civilian casualties with absolutely ZERO ROI to demonstrate the last 14 years of interventionism doesn’t work.”

          11X that many Americans and lots of non-Americans killed in Vietnam demonstrated that interventionism doesn’t work, but we forgot that in a few years. 4500 dead won’t make much difference next time.

        3. Very well put. Except the 4500 figure fails to impress. Less than an average month in Nam. Which is why if RP2 keeps doing really over the line NeoCon grovelling stunts like signing Tom Cotton letter, maybe look at whether Jim Webb could come out of nowhere.

      3. If libertarians could be more nation-centered that problem would go away. Focus on advancing libertarian principles for the nation first. This precludes promoting open borders, though one could probably get away with an agnostic stance on it. Its similar to the problem with “international socialism”. You need “national socialism” first. National security policies should not be much different between parties. It’s only when you get someone who wants to enforce their own ideological preferences on other countries.

    3. This raises an interesting point. When did it become necessary for a president to have policy positions on everything and offer solutions to all possible problems? It’s really anathema to a free society for presidents to even voice opinions on most issues, let alone try to control them.

  29. I have no interest in Republican Rand Paul, so for me it’s either go hard libertarian and abandon conservative-statist positions entirely, or lose my vote to the least of Dem evils. He could easily have the same sort of galvanizing effect that Bernie Sanders has had by saying forget the party, I’m going to start telling it like it is and get out of the tightrope business. Can you imagine a Bernie Sanders vs Libertarian Rand Paul general election? What an incredible step forward from the glib professional campaigners who’ve dominated both sides of the last few contests. We might actually hear a hard topic discussed on network television.

    1. “lose my vote to the least of Dem evils”

      lol

      yeah, you’re the Real Libertarian voter he should be shooting for.

      1. Yeah, I know, right?

        There is no such thing as a non-statist Democrat.

        Rand Paul would actually roll back some of the rampant statism, but I’m not going to vote for him because of a few things he said!

        Sounds more like you’re a statist and are looking for an excuse to vote that way, Nick S. Know thyself.

        1. Which Republican besides Paul is remotely libertarian? I can vote for social liberties and less warmongering if I vote for certain Dems, so it’s a better option for me than getting nothing I want. Or I can vote for Gary Johnson (who I actually want) and get nothing but a feeling of satisfaction.

          1. I can vote for social liberties and less warmongering if I vote for certain Dems

            Citation Needed

            1. Jim Webb?

              1. Jim Webb?

                After he gets less than 5% in the first few primarys, then sees Bernie Sanders withh a chance at the Dem nomination, he would volunteer to pull a Zell Miller at the Republican Convention.

          2. In the Presidential race? None, really, Perhaps Cruz or Walker on economic issues, but that is a stretch.

            But what Democrat is even remotely close to Paul on economic issues or liberty? (and we’re not talking positive rights here)

            Voting Democrat, especially after Obama moved his party far left, is a vote for statism, full stop.

            If you feel the need to justify voting statist because again, Rand Paul hurt your sensibilities on a subject that probably makes absolutely zero difference and that he would probably not pursue with any of the zeal of which he will pursue economic freedom, decriminalization of drugs, repeal of domestic spying, and a much more even tempered foreign policy, fine. Take your justifications to HuffPo, they’ll probably be greeted with more sympathy.

          3. Specifically what social liberties are you voting for, because from where I stand all the things given that label are really just government forcing people to like other people.

          4. “”I can vote for social liberties and less warmongering if I vote for certain Dem””

            What “Social liberties”, exactly? The right to be liberated of your income for the right to provide victim groups their own special catering services?

            Also, if you think democrats are less prone to warfare, you apparently missed out on the history of the 20th century. Or even just the Obama admin.

          5. “No, the American people cannot be trusted. The government MUST make those decisions and the people will be healthier for it”. Hillary Clinton, 1994

            You’re a fucking retard, NickS. Maybe Hillary knows you too well and had you in mind in 1994.

      2. Until Paul starts demonstrating that he’s not just another Republican, I’m going to assume he’s just another Republican. I’ve been pretty disappointed with the so-called libertarian option.

        1. Nick Gillespie cannot be trusted.

        2. He has over and over, you’re just not paying attention, or again, are trying to justify voting statist to yourself.

    2. it’s either go hard libertarian and abandon conservative-statist positions entirely, or lose my vote to the least of Dem evils

      Show us on the doll where the SoCons touched you.

      1. I’ll show you on my tax return, where I pay the equivalent of a comfortable living wage to the government every year largely because of Republican spending decisions.

        1. I pay the equivalent of a comfortable living wage to the government every year largely because of Republican spending decisions.

          I’m no GOP apologist, but the claim that your taxes are largely a Republican creation is downright laughable! Did you only start following politics in 1998?

          1. Let’s see… a few trillion on pointless wars (Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama), a few hundred billion on Medicare expansions (Bush), a few tens of billions on foreign aid (Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama), a few hundred billion on subsidy programs (Bush)… Lots of Republican names in there.

            1. Lots of Republican names in there.

              You’ve convinced me. You listed out all the Presidents that have been elected in the last 35 years, and therefore I must vote Dem next time around, because there were more Republicans elected.

              Really? You support your voting Dem by just listing off the Presidents for the last 35 years? No shit, the GOP certainly aren’t misers, but the idea that the modern Dems are somehow better on fiscal issues is ridiculous! Let’s talk about the Progressive Era. Let’s talk about Woodrow Wilson and FDR! How about we look at LBJ? Jimmy Carter?

              Oh wait, that’s right, Bernie Sanders is some sort of libertarian messiah, right? No? What about Hillary Clinton? She’s definitely libertarian! Lizzie Warren? Geez, the Democrats seem to be dominated by unabashed statist Progressives.

              Now, I’ll not be biased. I do notice that there are a fuck-ton of SoCons and statists on the GOP side as well. But it’s damn ironic to hold a gun to your own head and threaten to vote for Godzilla because the GOP knocked a building down in Tokyo.

            2. If the KKK Grand Wizard himself hadn’t passed a progressive income tax in the first place, govt wouldn’t had the funds to be modern-day fascists.

              So blame Wilson and Team Blue. 1913 & he started it all.

            3. If the KKK Grand Wizard himself hadn’t passed a progressive income tax in the first place, govt wouldn’t had the funds to be modern-day fascists.

              So blame Wilson and Team Blue. 1913 & he started it all.

        2. I pay the equivalent of a comfortable living wage to the government every year largely because of Republican spending decisions

          For every dollar appropriated by a law passed with mostly Republican support, I can find you a dollar (or two!) appropriated by a law passed with mostly Democratic support. We are in a fiscal fiasco of bipartisan origin.

        3. LBJ started Medicare. FDR started Sicial Security.

          You know why? Team Blue knew you were too fucking retarded to save for your own retirement. Hence, the government has to FORCE you. Because Team Blue loves its mindless retards.

  30. What do you think?

    I think your grandchildren will be interning at the newly created Department of Kittens and you will still be talking about the “libertarian moment”.

    1. here, while simultaneously slamming Reason customers over at Time and the Daily Beast.

    2. Libertarian moment is just a pipe-dream. A hook, to increase Reason subscription revenue.

  31. Maybe Ron Paul should run, then there would be a libertarian in the race.

    1. He’s your Guy!

      1988 US Presidential Election
      Ron Paul/Andre Marrou (LBT) ? 431,750 (0.5%)

      2008 US Presidential Election
      Ron Paul/With Multiple VP candidates ? 42,426 (0.03%)

      In 2008 Ron Paul finished 8th place. Four behind the Libertarian Barr/Root ticket that amassed a whopping 523,686 (0.40%) popular vote.

  32. Paul has always been at his most interesting not just to Reason readers but to the American public exactly at the moments when he is most unabashedly libertarian…

    Bullshit!

    From Mascaro’s LA Times piece:

    Nick Gillespie, editor of the libertarian Reason.com, said Paul does best when he stakes out classic libertarian positions to distinguish himself from the other candidates.

    “All of the moments where he stands out ? where he captures not just the political imagination, but the public American imagination ? are the most libertarian,” Gillespie said.

    Hold everything. Hmm … that Gillespie fellow has his finger on the pulse of America. If the editor of Reason.com agrees with you maybe you are right.

  33. Like you’re the “final arbiter” of what libertarianism is, Nick?

    You bring up sanctuary cities as an example of Rand’s non-liberty flip flops? Really? Because I happen to agree with him on this one.

    1. Right on! Chip that wood!

  34. I prefer that he run his campaign based on what he will do if elected as opposed to pandering to me.

  35. “No one takes bolder stands than Senator Rand Paul,” said Doug Stafford, the Paul campaign’s chief strategist.
    ———–
    See It Now! Dandy Randy Paul’s courageous stand when approached by the Dream Weavers in Okoboji, Iowa last summer.
    It’s a new dance craze sweeping the country! The Libertarian Leap!
    http://www.politico.com/multim…..-king.html

  36. I’ll throw out one idea he should be kicking everyone else’s ass on, and is libertarian (small “l”) and might make the most lasting difference: education reform.

    The country is in a steady decline and anyone who has older kids (and a libertarian bent) knows why: the schools, primary, secondary, and post-secondary education is overrun by Marxists. Seriously, my kids had to read BO’s autobiography – during his first fucking term – and write a (favorably disposed) report on it!!! A sitting fucking President. Like goddamn Chairman Mao. True story – well-regarded public school district outside of Boston, too.

    Paul should be absolutely beating the drum on school choice, hammering teacher’s unions on their inadequacy and flat-out corruption (he can out-walker his R. opponents), hammering public employees’ unions generally, and talking about serious criminal justice reform and ending the War on Drugs.

    These are easy issues that would allow him to distance himself from the mouthpiece d-bags in both parties. In fact, it would show exactly how they’re just the same old shit.

    Education, though, is the one that matters. Until we make a serious commitment to rigor in our schools, regardless of where that might fall on outcomes for any particular race, we’re headed for Idiocracy. Compare a 1915 high school graduate’s report card with any public school graduate’s today. Until we go back to that kind of classical academic rigor for EVERYONE, we’ll accomplish nothing lasting.

    1. Compare a 1915 high school graduate’s report card with any public school graduate’s today.

      I think you’d be surprised to find them quite similar. In most classes, you’re graded relative to your peers, whether or not the class is officially curved.

      Regarding your overall point, I agree! I think there’s a way to craft a narrative that ensnares the WoD, unemployment, high taxes, and mild pandering to the “get off my lawn” crowd through education reform. To oversimplify the point, the biggest fear that people have with drugs is whether little Johnny is buying drugs from school. People are primed to blame high schools and colleges for new graduates wholly unprepared to work a real job. People are sick of paying high taxes for shitty school systems. And certain segments are highly skeptical of Millennials, which can be tied to school.

      A little bit of pandering to the GOP base, and he could make education reform into the rallying cry of this election.

    2. I agree completely. It is a winning issue for the entire Republican party, but Paul has the advantage in that he can actually explain WHY it works and WHY this can be applied to so many areas of the market where government has put its slimy paws on.

    3. Education reform for a presidential candidate?

    4. I think we are doomed for progressive statism so long as the federal government controls the education of the vast majority of Americans.

  37. Nick Gillespie’s libertarian moment was highlighting Jared Polis (D-Col). Why? Because Polis is a gay guy who plays video games!!!

    It doesn’t matter that Polis is a statist, fascist Democrat. The gay congressman plays video games, just like the straight guys do. So, he deserves a nod on Reason!

    Gillespie – you’re a useless idiot.

    1. He’s not useless.

      1. Nick Gillespie and pretty much the entire staff at Reason forget one of the most important things about liberty, and this is a quite by Friedman I think? Paraphrasing:

        You can have capitalism without freedom, but you can’t have freedom without capitalism.

        Reason has it’s priorities fucking backwards. Social issues are important, and they should get their page-time, and at every opportunity it should be pointed out why government involvement has created the problem in the first place, and this should be tied to the markets as often as possible.

        1. And to further that point, you’d think by now with all the fucking polls Reason does, they’d understand that the economy is the single most important thing to Americans. If they want to actually make converts and are not so interested in looking cool in their journalistic circles, they’d push free markets and explain the benefits much more often than they do.

          So sick of hearing retards like Dalmia and Richman preach their bullshit statist and/or irrational opinions in the name of social justice.

        2. Less paraphrased:

          Capitalism is a necessary but not sufficient condition for political freedom.

          Citizens United was one of the most important Supreme Court cases of the last century. That it is vilified by an entire segment of the political spectrum is perhaps the scariest political current going on right now.

        3. You noticed this too, huh?

          It’s pretty bad when the Federalist does a better job at Libertarianism than does Reason.

          I believe that Nick and Matt both voted for Obama. Twice.

          1. Errh -I mean – FOUR TIMES

            1. That doesn’t really make them big Obama fans. Most Obama supporters voted for him at least six or seven times.

              1. Four times is what they’re willing to fess up to.

  38. The dilemma of GOP candidates in recent years is that they seem to believe they need to moderate their opinions to appeal to independents, even during the primary cycle, to the point that many voters couldn’t distinguish between the Republican candidate and the Democrat candidate.

    In 2012, Romney and Obama were both responsible for socializing healthcare; both either advocated or adopted interventionist foreign policies; neither offered a serious belief that the federal budget should be overhauled. At a glance, both nominees offered more of the same, and that discourages people from voting precisely because there is no difference.

    Currently, the illegal immigration debacle and dissent over the Iran deal are exceptions to most of the candidates who are looking to assert the size of their manhood, but Rand’s response to these two issues proves my original point: he somehow feels pressured to compromise so to appeal to a broader base.

    This compromise works against him because it cancels out everything that makes him stand out as a challenger to the status quo. Therefore, he’s getting passed over as Trump is using exactly the kind of techniques Rand should be: stick to your guns, make challenging statements, and never apologize for them. Despite Trump being a moron, he’s seized the attention of the entire nation by going balls to the wall.

    The entire GOP field to stand to learn a lesson from Trump about how to spread your message. Just don’t use the same message, k?

    1. Bingo! Indeed, a similar article could be aimed at the entire GOP. They’ll never win trying to out-promise the Dems on handouts — the Dems will just re-raise the GOP out of the election pot. The GOP also can’t win by imitating Dem economic policy. Even if Team R wins an election, they lose when they pursue said policy, so they (and all of us) still lose.

      The only way to win is to take brave stands on truly beneficial policies and then lose elections until the bad policies catch up with the Dems at the polls. Then when the good-policy platform finally wins, don’t whimp out!

      It’s painful to contemplate, but it’s much better than always suffering bad policy no matter which team wins at the polls.

  39. I want the most libertarian president possible. The Rand Paul that people are complaining about would be the most libertarian president ever. His tax plan is great, he would rein in spending, and there would be no new government programs. I will take much less than perfect over nothing. So I disagree.

    1. David Boaz agrees with you.

  40. Rand Paul appears to be concerned with electability. One gets the feeling that much of his departure from libertarian orthodoxy tends to be a sort of pragmatic sacrifice to his idea of what it means to be electable. Unfortunately, that–getting elected–is and has been the primary motivation for all politicians (with the possible exception of Ron Paul). So, as far as it goes with Rand Paul, in place of authenticity, we get expediency.

    1. Isn’t the whole point of elections that candidates should be concerned w electability? If they weren’t, what would be the point of elections?

  41. I’m not sure why it is “libertarian” to refuse deportation of criminals.

    1. Because Nick Gillespie says so.

  42. Rand Paul doesn’t have the problem you describe. How do I know? Because you’re writing this. You’re treating him as the libertarian, just saying he could be “better”. As long as you & everyone else knows he’s the libertarian, he’s got that nailed down.

  43. “Surveys consistently show large majorities of people interested in candidates who espouse a generally libertian (I assume libertarian, not libertine) worldview in which the government does less in the economic realm and doesn’t push a particular set of values. ”

    I’m calling BS on this. On isolated issues in a vacuum, this might me truthy. But this reminds me of the claim that majorities love most of the provisions of Obamacare.

    Those in favor of more benefits? Yay!!!!
    Those in favor of paying for them? Booooo!

    Those in favor of decriminalizing the the things you like to do and spending less on things you don’t like? Yay!!!!
    Those in favor of decriminalizing stuff and spending less on things that icky people do/like? Boooooo!!!

  44. I think my initial skepticism towards Rand as a libertarian option have proved to be valid and again I’m baffled by those seeking to push “libertarian” (with a little “L”) progress through the GOP. These guys will use us when it suits them and discard us when it doesn’t. True change will only ever come via Libertarian (with a capital L) party action.

    1. “True change will only ever come via Libertarian (with a capital L) party action.”

      I (and history) disagree. Our awful FPP voting rules entrench a two-party system, so sea changes now come from activist takeover within those parties. The clearest historical example is the Socialist Party’s takeover of the Democratic Party in the 1920’s. The socialists didn’t win elections, but they did get their entire party platform turned into law (the capstone being Obamacare).

      That said, the libertarians fighting for control of the Republican Party apparatus probably won’t succeed without outside pressure from a vote-stealing Libertarian Party. That’s why I vote Libertarian whenever the GOP nominates a democrat in republican clothing.

      1. Taking the broader historical view, it’s not clear that internal takeover is how it always happens. Most countries, and most the US history, have parties falling in and out of favor over time. Now maybe modern polling means the two major parties will never make that big of a misstep, but we don’t know for sure.

  45. Rand is almost certainly correct to oppose sanctuary cities and the Iran deal. Even Hillary Clinton didn’t wholeheartedly defend sanctuary cities.

    Not too long ago Rand admitted to racial bias in this country (he blamed the big government for it, of course) during the Brown saga and everyone applauded him for being a new kind of Republican who finally gets it. It’s not surprising that Reason writers are playing partisan / purity games themselves.

    Rand’s problem is that he’s not a populist, and he lacks the kind of charisma that captures the more casual voters’ imagination. Trump and Sanders are a bunch of unorthodox characters and they’re firing up parts of their base who aren’t satisfied by the front runners. The GOP field consist of the same individuals who aren’t exactly foreign to conservatives.

    Foreign policy and privacy issues attract a lot of noise, but they’re not pivotal issues to most voters. Rand has to focus on the economy. It’s not racists who are flocking to Sanders and Trump, but rather long term unemployed who fear illegal immigrants, outsourcing and foreign visa workers. Rand should set the record straight, avoid culture wars and go after Obama’s economic policies, which should fire up some conservatives.

  46. Rand is almost certainly correct to oppose sanctuary cities and the Iran deal. Even Hillary Clinton didn’t wholeheartedly defend sanctuary cities.

    Not too long ago Rand admitted to racial bias in this country (he blamed the big government for it, of course) during the Brown saga and everyone applauded him for being a new kind of Republican who finally gets it. It’s not surprising that Reason writers are playing partisan / purity games themselves.

    Rand’s problem is that he’s not a populist, and he lacks the kind of charisma that captures the more casual voters’ imagination. Trump and Sanders are a bunch of unorthodox characters and they’re firing up parts of their base who aren’t satisfied by the front runners. The GOP field consist of the same individuals who aren’t exactly foreign to conservatives.

    Foreign policy and privacy issues attract a lot of noise, but they’re not pivotal issues to most voters. Rand has to focus on the economy. It’s not racists who are flocking to Sanders and Trump, but rather long term unemployed who fear illegal immigrants, outsourcing and foreign visa workers. Rand should set the record straight, avoid culture wars and go after Obama’s economic policies, which should fire up some conservatives.

    1. Interesting point – and I agree that Rand needs to focus economic issues – and how individual liberty benefits all of us.

  47. Could it be that he’s trying to expand the conversation beyond the 2% (a generous number) of the politically active that ID with either big or small “L” philosophies?

    1. Yes, but how many Independents are libertarian?

      1. I’d start with social security and letting individuals opt out of paying ss taxes and medicare taxes.

  48. Rand Paul should run as a Libertarian if he wants Hillary to become president. Libertarians help Democrats when the run in contested elections.

    1. The Virginia Gubernatorial election had results pointing the other way.

  49. Rand Paul has a unique opportunity of ability to contact and utilize the information available from the greatest living American statesman, his father. He needs to take advantage of that unique opportunity to a much greater extent than he has done up until now.

  50. If you don’t vote for Rand Paul you are a bastard child of Nick Gillespie, Michael Hihn, & ENB. Sorry Enb, but they needed a womb.

  51. From my perspective Ron Paul is not a libertarian based on just the positions Nick has outlined in this article.

    There is however a perfectly good libertarian candidate who is doing something to level the playing field and end the Democrat/Republican duopoly in American politics. He has sued to force the debates to be open to candidates who have sufficient ballot access to enable them to compete in the Electoral College.

    In 2012 this would have resulted in a four way debated between the nominees representing the Democrats, the Greens, the Libertarians and the Republicans.

    The result would have been a better debate, and a more informed electorate. Go to the FairDebates.com website to find out more.

    I wish Reason would pay more attention to something like this than covering the Conservative Republican Rand Paul, who should go home.

    1. What’s the dillyo, Mr. Cryptic? There is a perfectly good Libertarian but it’s a guessing game as to his/her identity. I’ll never get back the time I spent reading your post.

  52. I would like to think that there is a winning coalition of R, D, and I voters who make up a Libertarian-leaning majority of this country. But how does their candidate get nominated in our two-party Presidential system?

    The traditional road to upheaval is through Congress. When you start to see Rs & Ds in large numbers expressing themselves through a bipartisan Libertarian caucus, you will then see an honest Libertarian candidate, rather than one who is trying to win the R primary.

  53. What do I think? I think you said it all right in the beginning, that he is lagging in find raising. And that is the entire game these days, particularly for a guy way behind, like Paul, as well as someone who is challenging both parties ( at least you say he does).

    No sympathy from me. You were all for Citizens United, and money equals free speech. The Dems and Reps will never have a problem in that regard…they will always do just fine.

    Libertarians will never have a chance, particularly if you think the GOP base will ever move more libertarian. They won’t.

    1. *fund

    2. I’ll put it this way, Nick. Where is Rand? Is he even around? Totally invisible. Nothing. The news doesn’t cover him, they’re to busy with Ttump. Oh, that’s right. Your website has run about 20 articles on Trump in the past few days, and about one on Paul.

      And the only way he can overcome that is to get his name out there, and for that, he needs money. It’s over. And from your support of money equals speech, to your overarching concern about the well being of the GOP, you’re as much to blame as anyone.

  54. Paul should go libertarian, or go Libertarian.

  55. If Trump were to fund Rand Paul, Trump would begin to look good to me.

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  57. I think Rand has been a disappointment.

  58. Senator Rand Paul is attempting to be elected president. Abandoning the GOP would inhibit that. We are still in a two-party system. The Libertarian Party is not yet a viable path to elective office on the federal level, or even the state level in most states.

  59. Like it or not, he needs to win over a percentage of the base of the Republican Party in order to have a shot at winning the election. Is he as libertarian as his father? No. Is he the most viable libertarian-ish option? Yes. What’s the alternative? Gary Johnson, a registered Libertarian, who doesn’t have a chance of actually winning? And Johnson is actually less libertarian than Rand on some issues. I think libertarians need to hold out for the long haul and continue to give Rand their support as he does his best to appeal to establishment Republicans for now, because that’s what he needs to do to win the nomination for the party. He can’t do that on the support of libertarians alone. I have a feeling that, should he win the nomination, his campaign in the general election will take on a much more libertarian feel.

    1. At the end of the day what difference does it make ?

  60. he has an uphill climb, but i still think he’s well positioned if he runs the long race. new hampshire matters a great deal for him, and certain candidates are going to drop by the way side, and there’s always one or two who also just run a bad/stupid campaign, causing them to abandon all hope as well. so, if he can spend wisely and not sell out completely -he’s a libertarian/conservative who doesn’t fit neatly into either camp, and should own it- i think he has a place in this race. i don’t think he is as likely to get the nomination as i would’ve thought though, but i definitely think he’s stronger than the establishment thinks. obviously the debates are huge.

  61. Might help if Libertarians would, for example, actively support him rather than being like “OMGZ he’s co-opting our ideaz and stealing votez from Gary Johnson!”

    Just a thought.

  62. He should start with the war on drugs.
    Explain it is un Constitutional and against our natural right to control our own body.

    Briefly explain the WoD is un Constitutional since the document does not give government authority to tell citizens what they can or can’t put into their body.

    Prohibition happened because a Constitutional amendment was passed. No such amendment for any drug.

    Explain the founding documents were based on natural rights such as life, liberty, property, and the means to defend them.

    the slogan.
    Who owns your body?

  63. What do I think, Nick? I think RP2’s grovelling to neoCons by knocking Iran deal was putrid, yes. And his signing Tom Cottons letter, vomitatious. But.
    But I will not be told that as a Libertarian I must subscribe to the WSJ’s view on immigration. Can Libertarians oppose Sanctuary Cities? Yes.
    If you presume the answer is No, that only gives proof to the “unrealistic-purity” objection you’ve heard more than a few times raised to the whole concept of Libertarians participating in public life: Gold standard, Lunch counters, etc you know what I mean.
    If I see a Libertarianish candidate who echoes Trump on immigration (maybe Jim Webb? Who knows?) he or she has my vote and should have yours, Nick, if HRC is the alternative.

  64. Nick Gillespie should accept that not everyone agrees with him or go home.

  65. I think you are right Nick, that Rand would would probably get much more traction if he took a clear turn toward consistently more libertarian positions. But doesn’t this assume that he is, down deep, truly libertarian? That he spouts many surprisingly conservative positions to broaden his base?

    But what if he isn’t libertarian at all? Maybe we “free minds, free markets” people are barking up the wrong tree. Maybe Rand Paul was always “conservative” and never really “libertarian”.

  66. Ron Paul is just barely libertarian enough for me to vote for him. Rand Paul is no more libertarian than Ronald Reagan was. Reagan promised to balance the budget, then submitted budgets with record deficits. Ron Paul did not flip-flop like Rand Paul is doing.

  67. What is Rand known for, nationally.

    First was “I don’t need the government to tell me how to buy a toilet!!!” Classic.

    Then we have drones. Also epic.

    Then we have domestic surveillance. A winner across the board (well, except with the cranky old fart in his 70’s crowd. Hi Dad!)

    The rest of his stuff is probably off the radar for all but the biggest wonks. And folks over at HuffPo. They know him as the racist who wants to bring back slavery and make all consumer products into dangerous death traps.

    At any rate, he hasn’t introduced the larger audience to his full agenda yet. And still he has pretty positive ratings overall. I’d say he should stick with the libertarian firebrand stuff on issues that people are firmly in his court on. Like domestic spying. And crony capitalism. If he can get in to the actual Republican primaries as a serious candidate, the “he can beat Hillary” message will start to resonate. That’s his end game, because so far he’s the only guy who whips her head-to-head.

    And any democrat would tie themselves up in knots trying to tack to the left of him on social issues. Of course, they’d have an easy time getting to his right on defense… But somehow I think this time around the dem rank and file is more likely to cross over for their issues than the conservative republican base is likely to vote for Hillary over military funding.

  68. Nick is right. If a Republican primary voter just wants a conservative nominee, they have a dozen people to choose from. There’s no reason why that voter should support Rand Paul over Scott Walker or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or any of the others.

    On the other hand, if you value individual freedom, then Rand Paul (while definitely imperfect) is the only game in town.

    However, he faces the same problem as every politician who cares about anything other than being elected. If you never compromise, then you’re Ron Paul (or Dennis Kucinich or Bernie Sanders), and you may have a lot of admirers, but you end up with no power to actually get anything done. On the other hand, if you compromise all the time, then what good are you? You’re no different than any other RINO. If you actually want to change the government (in any way) you need to compromise enough to get elected, but not so much that you stand for nothing.

    What’s different now, in the crowded GOP field, is that for once political principle aligns with political expediency. You need to be different to stand out from the field, so Rand should be different for the right reasons, and actually stand up for liberty.

  69. Agree or Disagree? Go Home? Huh? Since when does a libertarian or a libertarian magazine, have any actionable cause to admonish another human being (who is a registered Republican and running as a Republican) what life choices to make?

  70. My observation is that the main reason Republicans feel turned off/ambivalent about Rand Paul ? what’s causing his political ceiling – is that he advocates policies that have the effect of expanding the Democratic Party. That is the one thing that cannot be abided. Rand has advocated for the cross-voting of Democrats in primaries (i.e., the Mississippi primary, which scorched bridges), voting rights for felons, against voting ID laws, and for more open immigration/borders with the understanding that the immigrant population would gain citizenship and vote mostly Democrat. (These are common desires among libertarians, and why you want this needs open discussion). Rand wants the Republican nomination, but he supports measures that would help Democrats permanently overwhelm and destroy the Republican Party, especially its best candidates.

  71. The neocons offer up national defense deviation as the cause of his rejection by Republicans, but in my opinion, as long as he doesn’t blame America for the actions of others, and as long as his defense policies are not pacifistic, it’s not a campaign killer and may even benefit him at times.

  72. Rand: To thine own self be true…. frak the “conservatives”!

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  75. I think you should change your comment system to something like Disqus.

  76. That the Rs are still wallowing in the abortion and gay marriage issues is indication enough that they just don’t get it. Rand Paul and the libertarian movement represents a direction that could help Republicans fend off the inevitable decline as their socially conservative, baby boomer base erodes. What about 50 years of a disastrous, meddlesome foreign policy that has resulted in the needless deaths of tens of thousands of brave US service men and women not to mention millions of “enemy combatants” and other innocents caught in the line of fire. How

    1. How about the trillions of taxpayer dollars squandered by politicians who see the US budget as their private slush fund. Let the social conservative crap die a peaceful death it’s inevitable anyway. Focus on things that matter.

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  78. Whether or not if Rand Paul is the Libertarian candidate or not is irrelevant. We just need to get involved in all political parties to steer them. If we elect someone who leans libertarian it sends a message to the people illegally plotting to overthrow government (the two parties), that the voters want more libertarian solutions.

  79. “and is consciously trying to re-align himself with libertarian-leaning voters.” Constitutionalism, not libertarian, unless that overlaps with mini-archs.

    Gillespie may wish to try “defining” what libertarianism is first. Nope, can’t do it. Constitutionalist, fairly definable. Its in writing.

  80. The last thing I want is a candidate to pretend to be Libertarian. Rand isn’t one, so can we be done with this topic, Reason…..please? Your fantasizing about him has grown tedious.

  81. I’m looking for Prove It quotes

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