Election 2016

Rand Paul Claims He's Rightful Heir to 'Liberty Vote' in GOP Debate

Paul bashes Cruz on criminal justice reform, says the liberty vote will "stay in the family."

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Gage Skidmore/Flickr

As Peter wrote earlier today, with Donald Trump out of tonight's Republican presidential debate, "the candidates have an opportunity, however brief, to show what they're like in his absence, to demonstrate, if only for a few hours, the kinds of campaigns they wanted to run." Apparently, the kind of campaign Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul wants to run (finally?) is as the rightful heir to the "liberty vote." 

The liberty vote wouldn't go for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Paul said early in Thursday night's debate, blasting Cruz for skipping the Audit the Fed vote and rejecting Cruz's claim that he could attract libertarian support.

Paul asserted that the liberty vote will "stay in the family." 

Paul went on to criticize bulk National Security Agency (NSA) metadata collection, saying that "the bulk collection of your phone data and the invasion of your privacy did not stop one terrorist attack. If we want to collect the records of terrorists, let's do it the old-fashioned way," by using the fourth amendment. And he criticized the war on drugs—which has "disproportionately affected our African American community"—overcriminalization, and overpolicing. "I've been a believer in Congress about trying to bring about criminal justice reform," he said. 

As Reason's Matt Welch and Jacob Sullum have both pointed out recently, Cruz has completely flip-flopped on criminal justice reform.

Cruz, "once a leading Republican advocate of sentencing reform, has re-positioned himself as an opponent, warning that letting federal prisoners out early will lead to an increase in crime," noted Sullum. "This reversal is especially startling because the bill that Cruz opposes as dangerously soft on crime is less ambitious than the one he proudly cosponsored last spring." 

In a press call earlier this week, Sen. Paul touched on why "Cruz is a crummy liberty candidate," as Brian Doherty put it. Paul also dinged Marco Rubio for wanting NSA to collect "100 percent of our cell phone data—most in the liberty movement are not interested in government collecting any cell phone data much less 100 percent." 

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  1. Well that’s at least 5 votes locked up….

    1. In different primaries I am sure.

      Short of an absolute fucking miracle, Rand Paul has NO CHANCE at winning the nomination. ZERO. This article accordingly is a joke.

      1. Well, there’s a mistranslation convincing the superstitious that virgin birth happened millenia ago, and the Rapture might claim the rest of God’s Own Prohibitionists and young Rand Paul be Left Behind. These things happen all the time, if you believe hard enough.

    2. Yeah nothing screams liberty like a monarchical argument over the rightful heir to the throne

  2. It’s like Bulworth, in that he’s decided he may as well go out and say what he really thinks, but unlike Bulworth, what he thinks is actually worth something.

    1. And I tried to think of a Halle Berry joke that wasn’t offensive in this context, but I couldn’t.

      1. Don’t be niggardly with the jokes.

      2. “Say, that Catwoman movie sure was terrible, wasn’t it?”

        1. It could have redeemed itself by being a hardcore adult film, but no, they chickened out.

  3. Too bad he’s a pro-lifer and therefore hates women. /progtard

      1. He’s an insane nihilist anarchist Corporate Stooge that wants poor people to starve in the streets and for corporations to poison the water and kill blacks and gays and destroy the economy and civilization itself!

        1. *AND* for the government to have enough power to wage war on women’s health!

          1. Yep. I’m voting for Ram Johnson: Life begins at Erection!

        2. He’s an insane nihilist anarchist Corporate Stooge that wants poor people to starve in the streets and for corporations to poison the water and kill blacks and gays and destroy the economy and civilization itself!

          HOW CAN I VOTE TWICE!?

          1. Vote Democrat

            1. At least in Chicago…

              1. Or northwest indiana…

        3. You’re gonna have to work in “flooding the streets with ass-hault weapons – curb-to-curb!” if you want to sound authentic.

        4. What are you on, and where did you get it??? I want some of that!

      1. You’re just jealous.

    1. Hates individual rights, at any rate… Didn’t his own antichoice father endorse Ted Cruz instead of his own offspring?

  4. Yeah, nothing says “corporate stooge” quite like being a nihilist anarchist. Those are incredibly in demans “soft skills” in today’s world of business. My phone blew up with interview requests and job offers when I added those two key words to my resum

    1. I’ve never seen a corporate stooge stick his neck out like that

    2. I know, right? I couldn’t sort through all the offers myself, when I did likewise.

      /sarc off

      Actually, I am lucky enough to work with a libertarian-leaning independent boss. We get on very well.

  5. How did GILMORE get in the debate?

  6. “Owen Wilson level relaxed”. I like that.

    1. As relaxed as when he slit his wrists?

      1. It’s only art when you bleed.

      2. Hopefully not that relaxed.

  7. And he criticized the war on drugs

    It’s good to have Rand Paul back in the debate. He’s almost Owen Wilson level relaxed.

    I see what you’re saying there…

  8. Was pleased by Rand’s showing and the fact that, for the most part, the Republican field as a whole didn’t collectively come off as a bunch of douchebags this time. Some said “libertarianish” things, some not so much but at least it felt like those who did were treated with respect rather than being denounced by the field/audience (a good sign for the future?) Anyway it was at the very least a proper debate without Supreme Douchnozzle Donaldo Berlesconi sucking up all the available oxygen. If the winner of the nomination was on the stage tonight, I feel much more confident that the Hildabeast and Komrade Bernard will get a figurative mudhole stomped in em during the general election.

    It’s getting close, people: light em if you’ve got em.

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  11. Old please Rand, don’t even hint at dynastic bullshit. Kennedy Clinton Bush are already sickening enough.

    I’ve been tending toward constitutional monarchy lately, in the belief that giving people figurehead royalty is the only way to keep that impulse out of politics proper

  12. Our choose-one plurality voting system turns candidates who should be natural allies into bickering enemies, to the disappointment of us, the faction that they are fighting over. The simplest solution is Approval Voting, enabling voters to vote for more than one candidate. This would change the zero-sum game into a cooperative one, so that candidates of a faction would focus any negativity on their ideological enemies instead of their friends.

    New Hampshire currently has two Approval Voting bills in the works:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-ECuue6fS8

  13. Fuck Rubio, that weasel from Florida, I don’t think any other candidate gets on my nerves more than him with the possible exception of that fat ass from New Jersey but then again who cares because tub-of-lard won’t get the nomination anyways.

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  15. No longer necessary to earn one’s leadership status?

  16. So what if Rand Paul wants men with guns to force pregnant women to reproduce against their will or die of sepsis? Let’s just rename that libertarianism, and while we’re at it, rename Christian National Socialism “libertarianism” too. After all, according to Soviet sources, both parties are “right-wing”…

  17. Rand Paul has tried hard to be a “good” Republican while maintaining his libertarian perspective. Clearly, in his case, that has serious limitations. The Donald has hijacked the Republican party precisely because he isn’t a “dyed in the wool” Republican. Perhaps this election cycle will open the door for new ideas in the party giving libertarians a chance to participate. That would be nice, but I it would be no surprise if it didn’t happen. Politics is a criminal enterprise. It is, unfortunately, mostly about the money. Trump has his own money and so is immune from many of the “rules” that both parties impose. Libertarians have been mostly shut out of the process because even at the local level it is difficult to dislodge the “ruling class”. If Rand were to be more like his Dad and just stay focused on libertarian ideals, the movement, such as it is, would be well served.

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