Rand Paul

Post-Debate, Is Rand Paul Back?

Rand Paul can balance the budget, he blames the Fed, he'll talk rather than start wars we can't afford, and generally seemed the most thoughtfully radical guy up there.


Pundits from The Week to the generally libertarian-hating Salon credited Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul for winning last night's Republican presidential candidate debate aired on Fox Business News. The Week said Paul was "the calmest, most relaxed" guy up there and won for offering opinions on foreign policy that might have the most independent appeal, vital for national victories if not for getting GOP audiences to applaud. Salon found Paul winningly coherent and reasonable and willing to say things the GOP red-meat audience might not want to hear.

Vox declared him a winner, if not the winner, for making himself flashy and relevant tussling with Marco Rubio over fiscal conservatism and militarism and fact-checking Trump. National Review, generally not a pal to Pauls, also gives him a winner status for being "more cogent and less peevish" than they think he usually is. (A different NatRev writer hat tipped to Paul for being right in opposing a Syrian no-fly zone.)

The Washington Post gave him credit for having a "strong" debate and both the Los Angeles Times and Vanity Fair gave him cool points for being the only person smart or brave enough to point out Donald Trump seemed to believe, mistakenly, that China was a party to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.

In a political campaign, "winning" in its purest sense would mean that after and as a result of the debate, more people are willing to vote for you. We won't know whether Paul won in that sense for at least a few days with any reliability. 

Here's what Paul actually said and did last night, from start to finish, and how it might play:

• Paul blamed income inequality on Democratic executives on the local, state, and national level, seeming to pin that Party's policies for being a "root cause" of that inequality. He then tries to walk through why Federal Reserve interest rate policy and how what economists call but Rand didn't (sensibly, no one would have understood) "Cantillon effects" (about the specific ways new money enters the economy) might advantage the already advantaged over the disadvantaged. He further blames the Fed by pointing out that inflation hurts low income people the most. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator has any savings over the course of the Obama administration losing 10 percent of its value.)

All interesting points and all more complicated than Paul was able to make them. Debates aren't really adequate spaces to make arguments that aren't already bone-familiar and basic to everyone watching. Making the case for conclusions involving complicated chains of evidence and reasoning not on the table, rooted in idea-worlds not that familiar to most Americans, will resonate or not based on reasons beyond the actual evidence for what you are saying. (For example, GOP voters are probably happy to believe that Democratic governance increases inequality without hearing the chain of evidence and reasoning behind the assertion.) The more complicated Federal Reserve policy stuff, I suspect, except for making people who already think that nod, will be a wash, but it does mark his distinctive Paulian background, for what that will end up being worth.

• Paul stands up for his fair and flat tax plan by saying it's better in general for money to stay with the private sector rather than government. He credits himself for not just cutting taxes but also thinking through spending cuts enough to get a theoretically balanced budget even with tax cuts. He advocated cutting a penny from every dollar across the board in current spending, which he believes will essentially balance the budget within five years.

He wants to kill the payroll tax as well, even though that gives a larger tax cut in raw cash terms to the more well-off. He advocates a 14.5 percent corporate and individual tax rate across the board, with only home mortgage interest and charitable deductions as "loopholes."

•The part where he and Rubio go back and forth on whether we can afford massive militarism and whether it's "conservative" to imagine we can spend to the ends of the earth in the name of overseas interventionism are getting the most attention and fit the narrative we already understand about Paul vs. his opponents: he's the only one who isn't crazily expansionist on military spending and military action.

While most libertarians (if you count such luminaries as Milton Friedman and Murray Rothbard as covering the widest swath of libertarian opinions) are for any tax cut everywhere, despite a recognition that targeted tax cuts will have distortionary effects to some degree, Paul stresses that Rubio's child-tax care credit could result in not just getting tax money you owe back, but also getting a refund of more than the tax you owe. That might look like a tax cut to the unsophisticated, but Rand slams it as in fact a welfare giveaway to parents with children. Paul is taking a rough "tax cuts forever, giveaways never" stance. Consistent and conservative, but I bet a lot of voters will really want that child care tax credit.

• Paul talks TPP, fact checks Trump on China's role in it, and hat tips to congressional power over trade deals, without using the term condemning "fast track" authority for trade deals and standing up for congressional power to filibuster and amend even trade pacts. He then widens out to a call for more congressional power, less executive power in general. None of the TPP talk tonight got down to the level of understandable specifics, and the Congress v. executive thing might be a bit more subtle political philosophy than the average voter cares about.

• Paul defends the principle of talking and negotiating with Russia under nearly all circumstances, warns that enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria risks starting a new war in the Middle East involving Russia, tries to attach Hillary Clinton to supporters of an enforced no-fly zone. He ends by reminding viewers that not sending arms to rebels in the Middle East we think are on "our side" would have been a great idea to begin with. That is, we need to look not just at the troubles of today, but consider how the foreign policy mistakes of yesterday create the troubles of today. He must sell this idea to lots of voters to do well in the future, so it's great he touched on it.

• Paul admits humans might have some role in global warming but is skeptical that it's the sole explanation for temperature changes, and still calls to repeal the Clean Power Act. He wants to balance environmental regulation with economic growth in an unspecified way, and blames Obama's coal policy for hurting his home state of Kentucky, reminding us that currently coal is a big part of how we can affordably keep ourselves cool when it's hot and warm when it's cold. Probably about as sensible and balanced as a Republican candidate could sound on these (again) very complicated issues.

His final word: "Can you be a fiscal conservative…if you are a profligate spender" on the military? "We have to be conservative on all spending….I'm the only fiscal conservative on the stage."

It's all a far cry from my hope-not-advice in the New York Times earlier this year that Rand Paul run as a more hardcore ideological libertarian, questioning the state's right to manage our lives and our income every step of the way.

But last night's debate performance did, I'd say, demonstrate he's the most thoughtful guy on the stage, combining a sense that we need severe changes in the way government taxes, spends, and behaves with a demeanor and style that feels comfortably mainstream, both in the GOP context and perhaps more importantly in a national context.

Here's the debate video of only Rand Paul:

Other takeaways from other folk from the debate regarding Paul:

The Daily Beast points out the obvious: the three first term "Tea Party" senators all running for the same office with the same electorate are jabbing at each other (as they put it, the "Tea Party Boy Band Breaks Up") and continues the casual and unsupported and unquestioned belief that of course Rand Paul can't win the nomination while of course Cruz and Rubio can. The flaw in this reasoning? Polls in November are not reliable barometers of final results, as Stephanie Slade reliably points out here at Reason.

• Independent Journal reminds us that it only seems like Paul won over Rubio if you actually at least somewhat agree that we can't afford to borrow ourselves into the next century in order to keep our military involved everywhere and spending as much as the next seven biggest-spending militaries combined.

NEXT: Trump's Morally Retarded Plan to "Make America Great Again" Through Operation Wetback and the Trump Wall

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  1. They think Hillary can beat him.

    1. He would trounce Hillary in the general. One of the reasons is his foreign policy. There’s no fucking way Hillary cannot come off as Hawkish. It’s not in her. It would be like training a horse to moo. It can’t be done. Also Rand will go for her throat on the Benghazi and Libya affairs. Rubio will just agree with her. Trump will vow to build a wall around the entire Middle East.

      This is why neither the Republicans or the Democrats want Rand to get the GOP nomination. Both the Dem and GOP establishment prefer Hillary.

      1. Yes. Let Hillary roll with people actually paying attention to her for several weeks straight. Some problems take care of themselves, and Hillary is reliable for little else.

      2. The problem isn’t so much hawkishness as it is ‘unhingedness’. She is the perfect target for Rand to destroy.

      3. You seem to think that sounding hawkish in the general election is a bad thing.

        Rand Paul is the smarmy guy in high school that everyone hated. He’s probably the only Republican candidate who won’t compare favorably to Hillary on personal likability. He just comes off like a dick, even when you agree with him.

        And if he makes it to the general election, just wait for the progressives to deploy their nuclear payload of insane Ron Paul statements (five decades worth), and force Rand to disavow every single one of them over and over and over again, essentially to the point of disowning his father. The media will eat that shit up.

        The only reason they haven’t done it yet is because he’s been such a non-factor in the primaries. But if starts looking like a viable candidate? They’ll treat Rand Paul as though he were simply an appendage of his father, and dig up all the old newsletters and conspiracy bullshit baggage that Ron Paul drags around.

        Rand Paul is simply not going to make it. He might be completely correct about a lot of things, but Hillary and the media will destroy him, and what they don’t destroy he’ll fuck up for himself by coming off like an asshole.

        If you find yourself in agreement with Vox and Salon on a libertarian candidate, then it’s time to take a serious mental inventory of exactly why that happened.

        1. Rand crushes Hillary in a matchup although most GOPers do too. Rand is also a great speaker.

          1. Not that the polling matters right this minute, but according to the RCP average, Clinton beats Paul by 4 points in a general election matchup.

            Carson is the only candidate currently polling ahead of Clinton, with a 4 point lead. The next closest GOP candidate is Rubio, who is only behind Clinton by 0.8 points.

            Third place is Bush, who is behind Clinton by 1 point, and fourth is Fiorina, with 1.2 points.

            Everyone else in the GOP primary trails Clinton by 4 points or more. Again, not that these general election polls matter much at this point, but its still a good snapshot.

            1. Which only goes to show, those polls are worthless. Carson stands zero chance against Hillary in a head-to-head election. He’s way too easy of a target for her “politics of personal destruction” machine. By the time the election rolls around, she would have moved any support he had from the black community right back into the D plantation, women would be sure that he’d come to their home and install womb monitors and there would be “unsubstantiated rumors” of prior abuse against women.

              And that is discounting his less-than-popular stance on many issues. And the nuttier stuff that reporters have been able to pull out of him because he’s willing to give thoughtful off-the-cuff answers instead of spouting talking points.

              I maintain that he’s the least electable of the bunch in a general election. This is just the “unknown new guy” effect. Every time a new guy shows up, people paint their own hopes onto him. Once they figure out who he really is, that advantage fades (whether or not their impression is true). Clinton and Obama are the only politicians in my lifetime to maintain that moment of hope. Obama more than anyone. He not only ran as a Rorschach test, he has largely governed without planting any flags in the ground, other than accumulating more power to the executive.

        2. And Hillary doesn’t come across as a smarmy entitled bitch? Hillary has way more baggage, and she can’t disavow any of it.

          1. Of course she does; her personal likability is in the toilet. But Rand Paul is not the candidate to take advantage of that, because he’s just as unlikable.

            And as for Clinton’s baggage, she can count on the media to ignore it completely. The Republican candidate, however, can count on the media to do the exact opposite.

        3. I think you’re right. Depressing, but you make a few fair points.

    2. I finally figured out how Fist is always first. He has a time machine.
      I commented first at 4:11 PM today, and it was the only comment for a while.
      A few hours later I logged in again and Fist had a 4:09 PM comment.

      Stop messing with the time continuum, or at least be sure to keep some charge on your flux capacitors.

  2. A strong showing last night by Rand Paul, and good to not see Christie and Huckabee taking up space unnecessarily. Hopefully Bush will drop out soon, and voters come to their senses about Trump and Carson. In a 5-person race with Fiorina, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich, I like Paul’s chances.

    1. You better believe it’s necessary for Christie to take up space.

  3. Even Vice couldn’t fault him for anything, other than his hair.

    1. Trump is on the stage and they’re going to pick on Rand’s hair? That’s rich.

      1. And this is also sharing same stage with injection-molded Cruz, hair and all a single mud-filled mold, just different colors made glossy after firing in the kiln. Perhaps his constructors sought to save money with the single-piece head? Only the Gungans know… Anyways, Cruz’s palmy pallor always reminded me of a Star Trek episode that involved fake people – McCoy touches one on the cheek, all soft and foam-like. McCoy was on Cruz’s home planet right then I think.

    2. First the tactleneck and now his hair? People keep trashing him for his best attributes.

      1. Ugh, no. Turtlenecks are bad.

        1. Yeah, tell that to Steve McQueen in Bullitt.

    3. What? He has the best hair!

    4. But remember it’s still sexist to make fun of Hillary’s hair. sigh.

  4. The polls say *harsh buzzer noise* No.

    1. Honestly, why should I care? As far as I can tell, of anyone running, he’s the one guy who’s making a modicum of good sense. Should I pick someone I don’t think makes sense so I can “go with a winner”?

      1. Vote Kodos or Kang! Don’t waste your vote!

      2. Yes. The only question you need to ask yourself is ‘who do I want appointing at least two and possibly four new supreme court justices’. That’s it. You can believe that there’s no real policy difference between establishment candidates, and that may or may not be true. But there are differences at the ideological core of these people, and at least with a Republican you’re getting someone with at least a chance of nominating justices that respect the constitution. Whereas the Democrats have openly abandoned any pretense of constitutionality, and will nominate strictly based on social justice credentials.

        We can end up with possibly another Scalia or Thomas, or DEFINITELY another Kagan or Sotomayor.

        Considering the fact that we’re about one vote away from essentially repealing the first, second, and fourth amendments, all else being equal I can still see justification for voting Republican no matter what.

      3. If I’m gonna do that, I’m choosing someone without a drug-war-boner… and I don’t like my remaining options.

        1. Would Fiorina, in that sense, be a drug-war-squirter?

          (You’re welcome for that visual.) 😀

    2. It sounds like a game show, and it is.

  5. Maybe it’s just me, and maybe I’m out of line with this, but these people talk about politics as if it is some sort of… horse race, or something, ya know? I don’t know, maybe I’m being unfair.

    1. My money’s on the senile old man.

  6. “He further blames the Fed by pointing out that inflation hurts low income people the most.”

    The Federal Reserve is only following what Congress wants re: inflation. I.e., it’s OUR fault, too, not just some cabal of bankers.

    Regardless, I do not understand why people don’t talk about inflation and its effects on average people more.

    1. Inflation is a myth!


  7. Rand Paul is at his best when he’s more Libertarian-ish than Republican-ish. With foreign policy, it is relatively easy for him to do that. Even if one wants more JDAM-on-camel action, none of the pro-camel faction could articulate anything coherent about why such is a good idea.

    1. This and this and this!

      Paul is not a “conservative”. He’s not the perfect libertarian, but he’s the best one we’re going to get for a while. And, there seem to be a great number of people who won’t call themselves libertarians, but are, and I think they will vote for him. Certainly if his name is on the primary ballot here in the people’s republic of taxachusetts, I’ll be one of them!

  8. He then tries to walk through why Federal Reserve interest rate policy and what economists call but Rand didn’t (sensibly, no one would have understood) “Cantillon effects” about the specific ways new money enters the economy might advantage the already advantaged over the disadvantaged. He further blames the Fed by pointing out that inflation hurts low income people the most

    I think I’m in love. This is the sort of thing that needs to repeated as often as possible on the national stage.

    1. Nerd shit like that drives away low info voters. And that’s most of them. Praise democracy, or die.

      1. Blaming Democratic governors appeals to them though, and he did that too.

  9. Electoral system

  10. with only home mortgage interest and charitable deductions as “loopholes.”

    I hope the middle class remembers to lube up during campaign season. That much stroking can cause painful chafing if they do it dry.

    1. rushing, YOU”RE RUSHING! ouch

    2. Here’s the rub (see what I did there?):
      1) You either go full out flat tax NO DEDUCTIONS, in which case the so cons get pissed because churches and American dream shit (but this is truly the ‘fair way’); OR
      2) You include these basic deductions, but then everybody wants their deductions, and then we end up right back where we are now.

      Fucked either way.

      1. Rand is including the mortgage interest and charity deductions. Which seems a potentially popular middle ground.

      2. Fairtax.org Eliminate the IRS

  11. Way too fucking late Rand. Way too fucking late.

    1. I thought the same thing too.

      Of course, I have to remember that IT’S A YEAR BEFORE THE DAMNED ELECTION!

    2. Meh, he just survived the 10 to 8 shrink, now he needs to climb enough to not be the next one on the chopping block.

    3. If McCain could bounce back so can Rand.

    4. I don’t think anything that happens prior to 6 months before the election really matters, barring of course colossal fuck-ups that render one un-electable.

      I’d say Paul is playing pretty smart actually: at this stage, momentum is pointless; Carson and Trump won’t last; right now, the thing to do is shut up and stay alive, and wait for the other contenders gradually eliminate themselves.

      Mind you, I still don’t think he’ll win; but once Carson and Trump dissipate, he may be on the short list with Bush and Rubio and maybe Fiorina.

      1. Except that primaries start in 3 months. We vote Feb 14 or something. It might be too late.

        1. Really? That early? Did I say six month? make that 2 weeks.

      2. Bush, rubio and fiorino, the three stooges.

        1. Including Fiorina on that list is unfair. Trump belongs there but that might be unfair to Bush and Rubio.

          1. I would say Trump, Carson, and maybe Ted Cruz are the 3 stooges; with Fiorina, Bush, and Rubio being the second string 3 stooges. Gotta have back up right?

            In terms of general election winnability, I think Bush, Rubio, Paul, and Fiorina are basically it. Everyone else is a farce. And Bush is still a Bush, and Fiorina’s bona fides are like two weeks as CEO of HP, so it would likely have to be Paul or Rubio or otherwise just pack it in and get ready for Hillary.

            1. It’s way early, but the current RCP averages for a general election matchup against Hillary have Carson beating her by 4 points; he’s the only GOP candidate on top right now.

              Bush is down 1 point, Fiorina 1.2, and Rubio 0.8. That’s your first tier right there.

              Everyone else is down 4 points or more.

          2. Ever really listen to her? I’m leaving her on the list. There were 4 stooges so we can safely add trump with the other three.

      3. Weren’t they saying that Trump won’t last long over 3 months ago? His immigration stance will kill him, oops, not that. Well then, his comment on McCain will be his down fall, oops, not that. His comments on Kelly will kill him off, oops, wrong again. Trump is saying what a lot of people want to hear on immigration and he doesn’t apologize for it. Like it or not, he’s not going away. The problem I have with a lot of my fellow libertarians is a problematic view that we can have an open door policy concerning immigration in a welfare state. Even Milton Friedman, speaking out against the welfare state voice the same concern. There is a difference between past immigration policies and expectations than there is now.

        1. “Like it or not, he’s not going away”

          Like it or not, he is. The negatives are too high for him to win.

          If you support Trump, you’re not a libertarian. If you think that immigration will somehow worsen the welfare state, then you are just ignorant.

          1. I don’t support trump. I do like how he is embarrassing the republican party. I have absolutely no respect for the republican party. As far as I’m concerned they are just as bad as the democrats. The other half of the same coin. Libertarian ideals cannot thrive in a close minded, pro big gov’t/military/war/interventionist/anti-liberty party like the republican party. Libertarians have a better chance if they were democrats, but that doesn’t solve anything. We need our own party and if it has to come out of the ashes of one of the parties, so be it.

        2. He’s definitely saying what a lot of people want to hear on immigration. It’s just that a lot of people want to hear a bunch of ignorant bullshit.

          1. “Well they’re just stupid doody heads anyways!” doesn’t really change the fact that people are responding to Trump. He’s not going to get the nomination, but by the time he finally does himself in all of the predictions of his demise will have a certain “stopped clock is right twice a day” quality to them.

  12. I thought his old man proved that those being polled today don’t decide the candidate much less the President.

    My governor is fucking Jay Inslee! (He makes Jerry Moonbeam Brown look reasonable.)

    1. I don’t think it’s clear though whether polls are underestimating of overestimating Rand. His father was an ‘extreme’ and for that reason he got overestimated; cooler (or more moderate or conventional) heads prevail in elections. But though unusual in his libertarianness, he also is sane and conventional next to lunatics like Trump and Carson, who obviously won’t get in the election anywhere near what their polling.

      1. Ron Paul was in the wrong party. If he were a democrat he would have done better. A lot of young people are indoctrinated into thinking, republican bad, democrat good. The appeal of the Paul’s fits better into the democrat “ideology,” libertarians will always be hated and opposed by the established republicans. Case in point, rubio’s comments last night, christie’s comments in an earlier debate.

        1. ” The appeal of the Paul’s fits better into the democrat “ideology,””

          LOL. This is Tulpa-grade political advice.

        2. I think you may actually be right on the matter of being a Republican. Being the weird cooky libertarian Democrat is probably more hip than bbeing the weird cooky libertarian Republican; in terms of winning young voters, the R is indeed a huge handicap.

          But I think you’re backwards in terms of the parties; a lot more Republican voters will welcome a libertarian-leaning candidate than Democratic voters. The GOP is after all, as progressives love to note, a party who’s bulwark constituency is the well-off, educated, white male, and well-off, educated, white males are the most libertarian demographic in the country; economically “conservative” and socially liberal.; that may be complicated by the party’s alliance with poor/working class socially conservative populists, but the Democratic Party’s most reliable demographics are also more populist than progressive (poor uneducated blacks and latinos). They tolerate the occasional social liberalism of the elites for the sake of the ‘progressive’ economic policies. In the end, the economy is what’s most important, which is why Bernie Sanders is doing so well despite being an old white ‘anti-gun control’ cishet male.

  13. Damn right, he’s back! Let Rubio, Bush, Kasich, Fiorina and Christie fight for that diminished mushy middle vote. It’s going to come down to Ted Cruz and Rand Paul for the conservative vote, which will carry the day, in the end this time. I really believe that and the good news, if that’s true is, that they are both true conservatives. I would love to think that whoever winds up on top will chose the other as his running mate. My preference would be Rand Paul as the nominee. He would demolish Hillary in those debates. Rand Paul 2016! The worm is turning.

    1. Republican conservatism means, pro intervention, anti immigration, pro militarization of police, pro NSA, pro military spending. Are you saying paul is a conservative? He’s more a classic liberal than conservative, which is a good thing. He cannot and will not get the nomination in a republican party. Dare I say it, he would do much better if he were in the democrat party. Just as a lot of people will not vote democrat because the person is a democrat, people will not vote for him because he is in the republican party. We need a third party, one that will eventually cause the republican party to go by way of the whigs.

      1. “he would do much better if he were in the democrat party.”

        I think you’d do much better in a room with padded walls. Almost everything on your starting list also describes the Dems #1 choice for nominee right now.

        1. You made my ultimate point. Libertarianism in both the republican party and democrat party is a dead issue but for a few. There has to be a third party. But, continue to enjoy whatever republican that may get in office, the last one worked out so well for us.

      2. As long as state election policies are essentially Democrat/Republican handjobs, and as long as the big donor money continues to be funneled to the Big Two, I don’t see a serious third-party conquest happening.

  14. Rand’s my guy, I hope he wins.
    It’s too late, he can’t win.
    I hope I’m wrong.

    1. As long as he has an R next to his name they will not let him win.

      1. I was reading a comment thread at National Review and it was surprisingly positive towards Paul. Maybe he can win, or at least do well enough to be able to influence the electorate and other candidates with his views. It’s an extreme long shot but, what the Hell, stranger things have happened right?

        1. I think pronomian is entirely ass backwards here. In the midwestern middle class at least, most conservatives in my experience are mainly interested in combating government intervention in the economy. All the crap about gay marriage and pot and Israel and other stuff is a bunch of side shows, and they may have feelings about them but they’re not that important one way or the other. One can hope that especially after the debacle of the last Bush administration that most Republican voters won’t be won over by Rubio’s interventionism (and perhaps may even be deterred by it?), so I think Paul, if he gets enough advertisement, would have some pretty strong support among the voting public on that side.

          1. Paul was impressive the last debate and would make a very good president. When he is able to voice what he stands for there is no other on stage that compares. Those coming against him, rubio, fiorino, in particular on the main stage, christie on the loser’s stage is what the republican party stands for. Two sides of the same coin, both are big gov’t though they want to grow gov’t in different ways. The last budget “deal” is proof, more military spending with more social spending. More welfare state, more war. We need a Rand Paul for president.

  15. Wow man that makes a lot of sens edude.


  16. Saying Rand Paul is *back* implies that he was gone.

    He never left.

    1. And even if he did, he was always in our hearts. “Near, far, wherever you are…”

  17. Is he “back”? What makes you think he went anywhere? You guy are looking microscopically.

  18. Forget the dog and pony show. The last president elected by popular vote was JFK. Your next president will be Capo Jeb Bush of the Bush Mafia, INSTALLED by the NWO elites that own and run everything in the District of Corruption. Capo Jeb is one of the PNAC neocon jackals who called for a “new Pearl Harbor” and most likely engineered (9/11) to start the Oil and Poppy Wars, good for banksters, Big Oil, apartheid Israel, and the MIC/CIA.

    Do you still believe the lame government conspiracy theory that 19 muslims with box cutters knocked down 7 WTC buildings with two “airliners,” vaporized another into a 20 feet-deep hole in Shenksville, PA, and put an 18 feet-wide hole in the Pentagon with a disappearing “airliner”? Watch “War is Always by Deception” on YouTube. WAKE UP, SHEEPLE! WE’VE BEEN BUSH-WHACKED! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoB80Yk9NYg

    1. How can fire melt steel?

    2. Wait, the conspiracy theory is the story that’s actually true? Goddamn, you fucking morons are tiresome, unless this bullshit is satire. If so, good job. If not, fuck off.

    3. I think they stole the TV remote and raided my fridge too, the bastards.

    4. Wait, did you just use ‘sheeple’ unironically?


  19. If anyone in this field can eat up votes from Rand, they aren’t libertarians in the first place. They were at best anti-establishment. Reason continues to beat this drum after every debate. Constantly saying go more libertarian.

    Rubio was cheered when he attacked Rand. Reason points to…Vox, the Washington Times, Vanity Fair, and the LA Times to show how well he did. The shit sounds great to us. It doesn’t sell to die hard Republicans.

    And when Democrats are complimentary to Rand, it means they think he has no choice. Just like when they praise Huckabee for his conservative ‘populism.’ It’s bullshit they use to attack the other Republicans with. The ones they consider viable threats.

    1. Poorly phrased first sentence. Should be – if voters are moving towards these other candidates, let alone Trump, they weren’t libertarian to begin with. The libertarian message doesn’t matter to them.

      1. You know, life isn’t a zero-sum proposition to most people. And while a lot of conservatives respect and appreciate libertarian values and ideals, many just don’t feel they’re altogether practical.

        A libertarian view of taxation and regulation is definitely something most conservatives embrace, and to me that’s the core of libertarianism; economic freedom and small government.

        What I disagree with is the idea that we can swing open our borders without negative consequence, cut the military, and conduct a foreign policy solely with diplomacy and ‘minding our own business’. Sorry, but that’s just how I feel. And a lot of others as well.

        Does this not make me a libertarian? Well if not, the ‘real’ libertarians are going to have to decide if they want to make cause with people who agree with them 65% or if they want to elect a socialist.

        1. Except most libertarians don’t want to cut the military, they want to reduce the amount of spending. Or at least not add an on an extra trillion without paying for it. Which was Rand Paul’s point. Most libertarians would probably be comfortable with a foreign policy along the lines of Bush 41, James Baker, and Brent Scowcroft. The problem is JEB!, Rubio, and Christie oppose any foreign policy similar to the old school realism espoused by those men.

          On immigration reform many libertarians, including Rand Paul, disagree with open borders and many of them are to the right of pro-immigration reform candidates like Marco Rubio and JEB!

          “Does this not make me a libertarian? Well if not, the ‘real’ libertarians are going to have to decide if they want to make cause with people who agree with them 65% or if they want to elect a socialist.”

          If you’re a civil libertarian (reform/roll back the surveillance state, End the War on Drugs, Oppose Gun Control, etc.), and a economic libertarian (pro-Free and Open Market, Fiscally Conservative, anti-Crony Capitalism) then you’re a Libertarian. You can certainly be a foreign policy Hawk (within reason, e.g. Ted Cruz) and support securing the borders (e.g. Milton Friedman, the Pauls, etc.) and still be a libertarian. And the 65% candidate is Rand Paul, and maybe Ted Cruz there is no one else running that even meets the 50% mark.

  20. Salon is commending Rand for introducing novel ideas into the economy debate. Where was Salon for the past 3 decades when his father was saying the same things?

    1. The same place they are now: in a small room with their heads up their asses.

  21. Don’t believe Rand has a chance but wish we had more principled politicians like him in office

  22. This debate confirmed that it will come down to Rubio (neocon/establishment), Cruz (conservative) and Paul (libertarianish), with Trump/Carson quarantining the stupid vote.

  23. I live in Australia, so I don’t have a ‘dog in the fight’ so to speak. I’m Libertarian in my views so I’ve been pretty p*ssed off with the growth of the surveillance (police) states. Including, in the core nations who have traditionally defended freedom in this world.
    All these bankers wars all around the place are all necessary, we are told, because of the ‘terrorist threat’. The globalists want these wars to fill the coffers of the Military Industrial Complex and to frighten us all into giving up our individual rights and freedoms for a promise of safety from ‘terrorists’. These terrorists are the proxy armies of the ‘globalist elite’.
    From the outside looking in, on the Republican nomination race, they all appear to be puppets of the criminal cabal that rules the US from the Council for Foreign Relations. There might be one exception and that is Rand Paul. Paul looks like a good man to me. He is possibly the one true Libertarian/Conservative in the field. As for the rest? There is no difference between them and the Democratic candidates. Including Trump. He has been placed in the pool, by the corporate cabal, to take votes from Rand Paul. That much is obvious.
    I’m guessing that Rand Paul will be getting very little TV exposure in the US, while the phony anti-corporatist guy (who IS a corporatist) Trump, is all over the media. Correct? If so, that’s a sure sign that the man to vote for is Rand Paul.
    Good Luck. We are all going to need it, in the years ahead.

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  25. Rand Paul greatly understand the meaning of this Dwight Eisenhower’s quote, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Rand Paul truly is the only Republican candidate for POTUS who would not act superior to the U.S. Constitution and let his whim’s, schemes and agenda’s trample on his sacred oath and contract to honor, defend and uphold this nation’s ONLY Supreme Rule of Law.

  26. DeezNutz2016 or we riot!

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