Rand Paul

Rand Paul Unveils Loud and Scary New Ad Attacking Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Refugees

As campaign falters, the Kentucky senator "sounds the alarm."


Rand Paul's loud and scary new ad attempts to give Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz the Willie Horton treatment, although instead of using weekend furloughs for convicted murderers to paint his opponents as soft on crime, the 90-second clip uses two men convicted of providing material support to Al-Qaeda while in the US as Iraqi refugees as a means to paint Cruz and Rubio as squishy open borders advocates.

Though none of the three Republican presidential candidates were in the Senate when Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and Waad Ramadan Alwan were arrested in 2009 (which led to a six-month moritorium on the Iraqi refugee program in 2011), Paul's struggling campaign uses them as an example to "sound the alarm" about the supposedly existential threat of terrorists entering the US through the Syrian refugee program. To drive this point home, the ad intersperses clips of Cruz and Rubio speaking favorably about allowing refugees into the country prior to last month's terror attacks in Paris, while a baritone-throated narrator intones over a dire action-movie score about Paul's intent to "protect Americans first."

It's pretty clear that Paul has decided to tack as hard as he can to the nativist right

Make America Scared Again.

on the issue of refugees while attacking the two most viable non-Trump candidates in the process. As my colleague Brian Doherty has noted, it is simply absurd to characterize Rubio as being for open borders and Ted Cruz's extensive immigration plan calls for, among other things, "building a wall that works," tripling the number of border agents, and placing stringent new limits on visas. 

Reason's Shikha Dalmia has frequently highlighted the fact that Paul would never be mistaken for a pro-immigration activist, but Doherty also recently pointed out that today's Rand Paul is decidedly "weaker" than Rubio when it comes to cracking down on immigration:

Even Paul has admitted in the past that actually detaining or tossing the already-present illegal immigrants is impossible. And in terms of "toughness," Paul has enough libertarianism in his bones that he is weaker than Rubio on actual toughness-on-immigrants in rejecting the nightmare of E-Verify, even though it's a logical conclusion if you think that it's a serious problem having people coming here to work without the proper government issues paperwork.

Paul's campaign was given a life raft by CNN today, when the network announced that it will include him on the main stage of tomorrow's GOP presidential debate, despite the fact that he failed to meet the required polling of "3.5% in approved nationwide surveys or 4% in Iowa or New Hampshire." A Fox News poll showing him at 5% in Iowa demonstrated a sufficient amount of "viability" for CNN to bend the rules in his favor. 

You may remember a Rand Paul who once vaguely resembled a libertarian back in June, when Reason Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch interviewed him about his principled opposition to the Patriot Act and his ambition to present a "new kind of Republican" to the electorate. Watch below.

NEXT: As Terrorism Tops Fear Chart, Record Low Trusts Gov't To Protect Them

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  1. Now that Rand is imploding, I can go change my voting registration to independent. Then the Republican robo-dialers will eventually wean me from their lists.

    1. No, they will never let you go. I still get donation solicitations from the GOP even though I quit the party in 1990 and haven’t given a nickel to a GOP candidate not surnamed Paul since then. The Democrats are just as bad. I started supporting FAMM and some anti-war groups about 15 years ago, and I get all their junk mail, too. I occasionally skim their mailings; it’s hard to say which is worse.

      1. I can filter out the donation requests. We are getting 2 or 3 “survey” calls every day, because I am registered and have been to the last two caucuses.

        1. Move to Pennsylvania. Nobody cares what we thinks because the primaries are pretty much decided by the time we get to vote.

      2. A few choice swear words got me off the GOP funding calls list…

    2. Registering independent is no good because then everyone calls you.

      I’ve heard that registering as Libertarian is the best way to stop the calls.

      1. I don’t get any calls. And I’ve never been called for jury duty.

        1. That’s because your area code is 666. Hasn’t it ever occurred to you that there’s a reason why people are constantly wrong-numbering you and asking for Asmodius and Belial?

          1. Are those face creams?

            1. Don’t play dumb! You are…playing, right?

            2. They are if you do it right.

          2. That’s ASSmodius!

      2. The local party does a really good job of keeping track of who attends the caucuses and who shows up to the county party meetings. This is who gets called over and over again in the run up to the caucuses and, to a lesser extent, the general election.

        I never got this kind of phone traffic in the prior 16 years as a registered independent.

    3. I registered as an independent at 18 and have never had any party affiliation. I have had half a dozen calls for donations to the GOP already today.

      Good luck kinnath.

    4. It’s cute that you think that. Once your number is on a political party list, it never goes away. NEVER. It’s sold/given to the national parties, legislative campaigns, etc. They’ll hit you up every couple years to donate. Since they’re exempt from the Do-Not-Call registry, there’s literally nobody you can complain to.

    5. Dream on. I gave the Republican’s a $50 donation in 2000 for the Bush vs. Gore ballot recounts. That’s the sole interaction I’ve ever had with the official Republican party. To this day I’m on their sucker list.

  2. Never go Full Retard Paul!

    1. Rand should go less Willie Horton and more Billy Bob Thorton. Slingblade version. Mmmmhm.

  3. It’s a shame that Rand is willing to flush his foreign policy bona fides and his goodwill reaching out to minorities on trying to out-retard Trump.

    1. He’s a politician, Hugh. What did you expect? Expecting anything but…this…is wishful thinking. People don’t get to the position Paul is in without being a politician, in every slimy disgusting sense of the word.

      1. Sorry, Epi, but the only person I have managed to achieve zero expectations of so far is you…and you still manage to find ways to disappoint me.

        1. I’m finally good at something! All right!!!

    2. Given the other article today about the non-screening of an actual terrorist immigrant, maybe Rand Paul’s bill to review the procedures while halting immigration temporarily wasn’t so bad after all.

  4. There’s a bear in the sand. For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others don’t see it at all.

    1. awesome

      One of the best political ads ever produced — even if I disagreed with it.

    2. You know, Rand should just go all-crazy on that theme.

      “There’s a scorpion in the sand. For some people it’s easy to see. Others don’t see it at all. But regardless, it is in scorpion’s nature to sting. Whatever its claims, whatever its interests. Don’t put scorpion on our backs.”

  5. Just fuck off at this point Rand.

    1. Over the course of her husband’s time as president, Michelle Obama has proved that she is, hands down, the dopest FLOTUS the country has ever seen. Not only does she want to make the world a better place, especially for the youth, but she’s willing to do whatever it takes to reach them.

      So, talk to me Robby Soave followers… is she reaching you?

      1. No.

    2. Well, some things never change. People are still apparently convinced that shitty rap songs are a good way to reach out to the youths.

      1. reaching out to the youth is just a terrible way to reach out to the youth.

  6. Rand Paul Unveils Loud and Scary New Ad…


    1. The incumbent in Kentucky’s 2016 senate election.

  7. He should pair with Carly. Both traded a well-established unique brand for a generic brand in the hopes of gaining market share, ignoring that once you step into the generic pool, it’s a race to the bottom with no scruples to guide you.

    Sorry, Rand. I would have changed my registration to vote for you in the primaries, but not now. You’re just another commodity politician, and not very good at it.

    1. You rang???

    2. You rang???

      1. The poster rings twice.

  8. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of Rand, Rubio, and Cruz speaking with the dramatic music, Michael Bay effects, and scolding voiceover.

  9. Well, clearly Gary Johnson has backed into earning my vote.

    1. Yeah, I’m pretty much dead-set on him at this point.

      1. That’s really stupid. Libertarians have better things to do than rush to throw out whatever influence they have on the LP losers.

        1. Or Canadians. Jesus christ, we have to make sure to keep out those fucking Canadians.

        2. What’s the alternative? We show our influence by voting for Rubio?

          I know we’re not supposed to abstain from voting, so what is it that we American libertarians must do to earn your praise?

          1. what is it that we American libertarians must do to earn your praise?

            Eat more poutine.

            1. I’m pretty meh on poutine.

              1. This is why we need a Northern Wall.

                1. Not fair!

          2. Right now, support Rand. If the GOP nominates someone half-decent like Cruz or Fiorina then support them. If Trump, support Hillary. If Rubio, then it’s time to throw your vote at the LP.

            I’m happy to explain this now, but I won’t always be here. You’ll have to think for yourselves someday.

        3. If it’s Trump vs. Hillary this is an excellent opportunity for a third party to get on the map. Independents despise them both.

    2. Johnson seems to be hostile to free association. I’m certainly more concerned about that then I am about the loss of Syrian immigrants.

    3. If it winds up being Trump vs. Clinton, it will be an incredible opportunity for a third party to make a splash. I hope the LP doesn’t waste it by nominating somebody who goes hiking while he’s supposed to be campaigning for president.

  10. I’m just curious who this was targeted to. Is there really anyone in America who could be successfully convinced that Ted Cruz is too damn liberal?

    Also, can we do the entire Republican debate tomorrow with that backing music?

    1. If he is, as others have accused him of being, an isolationist in term of non-interventionist foreign policy then restricting immigration is entirely consistent. I wonder that anyone would be surprised by that.

      1. So, it’s directed at the isolationist right, or the “Leave me the fuck alone” right, and, if my small group of family/friends is any measure, is a growing bunch.

        1. Whether or not he wins (he won’t) in the long term both of these policies will be implemented.

          As the next recession hits (in the next few quarters) the US will become more isolationist and more hostile to immigration. That’s my prediction anyways.

          1. I don’t know. The last recession seemed to quell anti-immigration nonsense for a while instead of intensifying it.

            Fact is, millennials for all their sins aren’t down with scapegoating minorities, so politicians that appear to do so don’t have much of a future in America.

            1. Yeah…

              Not being in favor of large scale immigration is different than scapegoating minorities. Stop being so simple minded. It’s not flattering.

              1. Banning immigration from Muslim countries or banning Muslim immigration in general is. That won’t fly.

    2. Ted Cruz is too damn liberal

      Yes there are people who believe this. The paleocons and Birchers get a whiff of “new world order” from Cruz’s support of the TPP and relation-by-marriage to Goldman Sachs.

      1. Cruz’s support of the TPP

        I generally kinda like Cruz, but this is a major black eye, IMO.

  11. Ron should have ran. Rand ruined his chances, and is only compounding it by stupid shit like this. Going after Cruz is not smart at all. Working with him, and bringing out the many weaknesses and anti liberty things these candidates espouse would have been better.

    Ron had far more support, and his chances would have been far better than Rand. What a dissapointment.

    1. Said no one with any political sense at all. The only thing Ron could win is a game of bridge at this point.

      1. Shut up you war mongering bitch.


        1. Brilliant reply. Really parsed my point so well. I can see you’re as mature and logical as 99% of other ancaps out there.

    2. Yeah, because what libertarianism needs are more gifs of him acting crazy

    3. On a spectrum of ‘libertarianism’, with Ron partly libertarian and Rand hardly at all, Ron was vastly more popular. You would think that that would encroach upon the campaign strategies of Rand or any other candidates, for that matter. When voters go to the polls next year, the only libertarian candidate will be the one from the Libertarian Party.

  12. Libertarians should still support Rand but I increasingly feel vindicated in my call a few months ago for Amash to step in and sub for Rand.

    1. Libertarians should still support Rand

      No. Not any more. No. He’s demonstrated that he’s more of the same.

      1. Bullshit. His inept campaign does not outweigh his voting record and the bills he’s voted for.

        This stupidity right here folks is part of why libertarianism is not doing as well as it should be. More interest in being “different” than in concrete steps to advance liberty.

        1. Enjoying Trudeau?

          1. No, but at least we’ll get legal MJ and lots of refugees.

            1. Whose paying to house these refugees?

              1. Not sure. Hope it’s not me.

      2. He won my heart when he one time referred to the public sector as non-productive. Compared to wisdom like that, which is incredibly rare in politics, being a hardass on immigrants doesn’t really bother me at all.

        1. Worst case scenario with Rand: America doesn’t let in many immigrants but people still want to come to America.

          Best case scenario with Hillary: Less restrictive immigration, but it doesn’t matter because no one wants in.

      3. No. Not any more. No. He’s demonstrated that he’s more of the same.

        That’s pretty much the epitaph of the entire libertarian movement.

  13. Sheesh, even when resorting to base fear-mongering, the Pauls are long-winded and rambling. That opening 40 second history lesson couldn’t be told more efficiently?

  14. Rand tried very hard to get his candidacy some establishment credibility.

    Looks like it worked.

    1. Are you sure he isn’t going for the Vdare/Takimag crowd now?

      1. I dunno. I think a majority of Americans are in rough agreement with him.


        1. “I certainly see it to be wise; that the US government should stop temporarily accepting any new Muslim immigrants (refugees and non refugees) into the United States,” Nidal Alsayyed said in a statement to local CBS affiliate KFDM Monday. “But my justification to that is based on the fact that we can hardly distinguish who is Muslim and who is not! Islam is not about an ID card or last name!”

      2. Why not? It seems to be a favored destination for plenty of former libertarians, once they realize favoring low taxes and small government doesn’t necessarily mean signing on to turning your country into a third-world hell-hole. Libertarians are the best recruitment organization the nationalists ever had.

  15. the supposedly existential threat of terrorists entering the US through the Syrian refugee program

    Is anyone saying that terrorists using the refugee program are a threat to the continued existence of the US? Rand Paul, in particular? I haven’t seen it, but I don’t pay that much attention to what Prez candidates say,

    To me, this reads like classic straw-man argument being made by Reason, and one which likely requires that words be put in Rand’s mouth that he has never said.

    Feel free to correct me (with, I hope, some sweet, sweet link action) if Rand has said that terrorist “refugees” are a threat to the existence of the US.

    1. It’s classic guilt by association.

      1. Some people who oppose bringing in refugees carte-blanche have said that Islamism is an existential threat.
      2. Rand Paul opposes bringing in refugees carte-blanche.
      3. Therefore, Rand Paul thinks that Islamism is an existential threat.

  16. Northeastern University Students Protest Decision to Arm Campus Police With Semi-Automatic Weapons

    Semi-Automatic weapons?!?!?!?!? Campus will be a WAR ZONE! Just like mine is, where the campus cops have carried SEMI-AUTOMATIC WEAPONS FOR YEARS!

    By all the dark gods, I hope Gawker is dragged into a literal hell.

    1. It looks like the objection is over rifles.

      Pistols are defensive weapons. Rifles are offensive weapons.

      Though I’d be happy if the cops still carried revolvers.

      1. Well they would be less likely to spray bullets if they knew they only had six

        1. They spray bullets because they know they can charge their target for their misses. They might not spray bullets all over the place if they were actually held accountable for their actions. But they’re not, and they never will be.

      2. Pistols are defensive weapons. Rifles are offensive weapons.

        Umm, no. A rifle is far better than a pistol for defending against attackers with rifles.

  17. Rand is stupid. He thinks people are scared so he’s saying “I’ll protect you.” In fact they are spoiling for a fight. Trump and Cruz know it. If he’s wondering why ads like this hurt him, now he knows. He’s done so many stupid things, I wonder if his ‘advisers’ are intentionally scuttling him.

    1. “…I wonder if his ‘advisers’ are intentionally scuttling him.”

      Same here.

    2. Once you look past the buzz and cult of personality, Ron’s campaigns were also bad. At best they were basically family nepotism fundraisers.

  18. Rand Paul calls for moratorium on issuing visas to citizens of countries with a ‘jihadist movement’
    By Daniel Strauss
    11/16/15 03:42 PM EST

    Current Events R Us

  19. Ted Cruz’s extensive immigration plan calls for, among other things, “building a wall that works,” tripling the number of border agents, and placing stringent new limits on visas.

    Tripling the number of border agents? Seriously? We’ve already doubled the size of the Border Patrol since 2004 and the ones we have now don’t seem to give a shit about our constitutional rights (for anybody… which should be a paramount concern when throwing money at any law enforcement agency). It’s amazing how Republicans can bitch and moan about how throwing government money at a problem won’t fix the problem… unless any of those “problems” happen to be related to “security”.

    1. Haven’t you heard? The border now extends approximately 300 miles into the US. Of course they need more agents to manage that.

      1. I’m sure it’ll soon extend to 300 miles of all “interstate waterways”… can’t have people swimming their way up the Mississippi to safety in Missouri!

  20. Rand will probably lose but not because he’s too open borders. Bringing in Middle East immigrants is wildly unpopular.

    1. Wildly unpopular with a hateful minority that isn’t worth reasoning with in the first place. Unfortunately these turds infest the GOP base.

      1. I think you misspelled majority

        1. No I didn’t. You can stop projecting your neurosis onto the American people anytime now.

      2. Good grief Cytotoxic. After last night I have decided you are nothing but a troll. I disagree with Francisco but I respect him. He argues in good faith. He is wrong, but he is intellectually honest. I can debate a guy like that all day and in the end when we still don’t agree buy him a beer and go fishing with him.

        You? Not so much.

        Last night you claimed that the Swedish rape epidemic is a fabrication. We gave you govt stats, comments by public officials, independent official body stats, personal accounts, and even interviews with immigrants that confirm not only the activity but the mentality behind it.

        You refuse to budge and make inflammatory claims.

        You are nothing but a troll.

        1. In fairness to Cytotoxic I’m pretty sure he has Aspergers in fact he kind of reminds me of the Botard.

        2. He is wrong, but he is intellectually honest.

          No he doesn’t.

          Last night you claimed that the Swedish rape epidemic is a fabrication. We gave you govt stats, comments by public officials, independent official body stats, personal accounts, and even interviews with immigrants that confirm not only the activity but the mentality behind it.

          MWG and I already explained why this is bullshit. I know getting called out on bullshit might make you angry, but it’s not ‘trolling’ I assure you.

        3. There’s really no good point in ever engaging The Canadian Commando.

          1. Lots of salty posts in this here comments section.

        4. You are nothing but a troll.

          He’s not a troll. He’s almost incredibly immature, a trait he shares with the vast majority of objectivists.

          Life is messy. Life involves nuance. Life involves gradations. Often, in life, we are confronted with questions where there is no ‘right’ answer.

          Children go through a phrase where they split the world into two categories; things that are good, and things that are bad.

          As they mature, they grow more sophisticated. IF they don’t mature, they maintain that classification system, and when they encounter a system that rigidly maintains not only that such a categorization is proper, but imposes a duty to act on such a categorization, they take to it like a toddler takes to chocolate ice cream. It becomes not merely one of many frameworks with which to analyze problems, but the only framework. In short it becomes a religion.

          I believe that he sincerely thinks a good policy cannot have drawbacks since bad consequences mean a policy must be bad.

          1. Truly you are sophistry incarnate, or at least capable of being so. Just because your ex went crazy and was an Objectivist or something does not make it Ayn Rand’s fault.

          2. Also, feel free to spare boring everyone to tears with your psychobabble about how I’m a jihadist or something.

    2. …and wildly unwise.

      Heard an interview a few days ago on the radio. A second generation muslim Jordanian-American woman. She explained that the ME immigrants historically have been educated people and people with money who wanted to build an American life because they love what America is. They assimilated because they want to be American.

      This current crop being debated now are “ignorant people who have never sat in a classroom, only mosques and madrassas where imams tell them nonsense. They are backward and uncivilized. They. Will. Not. Assimilate.”

      I tend to agree. By ‘tend’ I mean 100%.

      1. Yawn. Your ilk have tended to be wrong about these kind of things before. And by ‘tended’ I mean 100%. Every. Single. Time. No exceptions. Also no learning on your part.

        1. Are you seriously claiming that all immigrants assimilate?


  21. I told you so. I told you so. I told you ALL so!

    Phew, I just had to get that out.

    1. Feel better?

      1. A little, thanks.

        Unfortunately, I’m still not seeing a brighter future for the country.

  22. Republican presidential hopeful and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has called for scrapping the visa waiver programme for travellers from over 38 countries including France in the wake of the Paris attacks

    Newsflash! RP attacks refugees and the French!

    1. Well both those groups are unpopular.

      1. The French, oddly enough, do seem popular (or at least sympathetic to) these days…

        1. Bonjourrrr, ya cheese eatin’ surrender monkeys!

  23. The most Libertarian guy in the senate is running for president, and so naturally Reason and their commenters trash him. I suppose if a Libertarian actually won we wouldn’t have anything to bitch about anymore, and who would want that?

    1. Sure we will. We’ll bitch about how he’s going back on his promises… duh.

      1. When did he make a promise to let in anybody who comes from ISIS controlled areas?

        Rand Paul has never been an open borders supporter.

    2. Logical consistency is a B, ain’t it?

      1. That’s beside the point.

    3. Mathematical fallacy there, bub. “The most Libertarian guy in the senate” does not necessarily equal “A Libertarian”.

      1. You’d rather have a less libertarian candidate win than a more libertarian candidate win?

  24. My biggest fear if Rand wins is that Cruz will go to the middle east and teach them just enough Christianity that they can fool the immigration workers and then when they get off the plane Rubio will hook them up with food stamps and public housing. And then one of them crazy terrorists will launch and attack and everyone will blame Rand.

    1. Many mideastern Muslims already have some familiarity with their Christian neighbors (or ex-neighbors). Up to a few years back, the Muslims visited Christian holy sites and even (gasp!) had Christian friends.

      Why would they need some Texan to give them the rudiments of Christianity?

      1. Oh, and don’t forget the Internet, because the Islamic extremists sure haven’t.

      2. Oh Ted. You are always 2 steps ahead of everyone. Slow down, will ya?

  25. he could’ve been a contender….

  26. How unsurprising that the open border lovers at Reason lump together opposition to illegal immigration from Mexico and opposition to carte-blanche refugee acceptance from ISIS-controlled areas, despite opposition to each being based on completely different reasons. There is no reason to think one cannot be against one but not the other. The border fence has absolutely nothing to do with the refugee question.

  27. He is raising very valid question. How are americans supposed to know if the refugees respect American constitution ?

    1. Refugees? I think it would be swell if we could get more Americans to respect it. Many can’t seem to either comprehend it or apply it.

  28. Pander Paul is at it again!

  29. Pander Paul is at it again!

  30. Sometimes man you jsut have to slam dunk it thats all.


  31. Good for Rand!! Syrian refugees will all be getting welfare. Why are we importing people who become a burden on taxpayers like me?? Open border libertarians are proponents of big government. Response. Get rid of the welfare state. Won’t happen in my lifetime.

    Reason magazine is a joke. LewRockwell.com for serious libertarians.

  32. Why are reason writers/readers so upset at Rand? Yes, he’s an immigration restrictionest, but any more so than Ron Paul, and ya’ll seemed to like him. Ron even had a very similar bill back in 2003.

    It takes a lot of balls to stick up for things like encryption during terrorism scares, and he’s doing that. He’s running on his record and now is not the time to abandon him for doing something that GOP voter might actually respond to.

  33. Fair is fair. He is attacked for causing Paris and SanBer with his support for reduced domestic spying.
    Moreover, this article seems underlined with hell-fire preaching about a false libertarian principle.
    (arrange those last 3 words anyway that penetrates for you.)
    You can’t preserve rights without preserving borders.

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