Election 2016

3 Reasons Why Rand Paul Is Still the Most Interesting Person in Politics

From calling bullshit on Saudi Arabia and GOP convention rules to pushing for economic freedom zones, the libertarianish senator is fighting the good fight.

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Time

A year ago, it looked like libertarianish Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul just might be the Republican nominee for president, creating a Grand Old Party that would finally "look like America" and loosen up enough to include weirdos and squares alike: "We need to be white, we need to be brown, we need to be black, we need to be with tattoos, without tattoos, with pony tails, without pony tails, with beards, without."

Now back in the Senate, Paul is steaming ahead with the sorts of proposals and positions that made Time declare him "The Most Interesting Man in Politics" (yeah, yeah, ….:. Among his current initiatives:

  • Pushing "economic freedom zones" in places such as Detroit. As Rare's Kevin Boyd reports, "The legislation creates areas where personal and corporate income taxes would be lowered to 5 percent, payroll taxes would be cut by 2 percent, and numerous federal regulations would be waived. The bill would also create a school choice program and ease restrictions on highly skilled immigrants who want to move to these zones. Paul was able to attach his legislation to H.R. 2028, which deals with the budgets for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Energy Department, and other related agencies. The legislation is set to receive a vote in the Senate this week."
  • Calling attention to the lack of rules at the Republican National Convention. Recall that his delegates pledged to his father, Ron Paul, got screwed in 2012. On CNN's The Lead, Sen. Paul noted, "It kinda reminds me of when I play golf. I usually like to say we'll decide what the bet is after we decide what the scores are. When you say we're going to adhere to the rules, you realize the rules haven't been written yet. So what is extraordinary, and it is extraordinary, that people by the millions will have voted in a primary and then 110 people will decide how we're going to make the rules. You can't say we're going to obey the rules. The rules have yet to be written. The convention will abide by rules that are written in the first day or two by 110 people. So you could write that a plurality wins or you could write that a majority wins."

  • Reason

    Calling bullshit on business-as-usual with Saudi Arabia. Paul has co-sponsored (with Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut) legislation that would force our friends the Saud to, you know, act in some sort of humane fashion in Yemen, where its forces are simultaneously funding radicals and killing civilians with U.S. assistance in the "global war on terror." "For too long," says Paul, "the Obama administration has not been holding countries receiving U.S. military munitions accountable in the Middle East. It is no secret that Saudi Arabia's record on strictly targeting combatants and legitimate military targets in Yemen has been questionable."

Then there's his plan to allow all airline pilots to pack heat and provide due process for folks who fail gun background checks, investigations into waste, fraud, and abuse at FEMA and the Veterans Administration, and more. You don't have to fully agree with everything he's doing—I'd like all of the country to be an "economic freedom zone"—to recognize that he's picking up where he left off, which was bringing new ideas and fresh(er) thinking to a party he once rightly characterized as "stale and moss-covered."

Along with characters such as Mike Lee and Jeff Flake in the Senate and Justin Amash and Thomas Massie in the House, Paul is in fact presenting a different sense of what it might mean to be a Republican. Even for non-partisans, that's all to the good, especially since the odds are high that the GOP is going to have to radically alter its message and its constituency in the very near future. America is a system where two parties will always dominate and both the Reps and the Dems are flushing themselves down the toilet in different ways. It will be up to figures such as Paul, who blend unconventional yet consistent libertarian views on foreign policy, civil liberties, economic freedom, and government spending to reboot Washington, D.C. and develop a politics for the 21st century rather than us simply huffing along on the last vapors of 20th policies that are more played out and even less interesting than Kelly and Michael Live.

In 2014, Paul told Reason that Republicans "can only win if they become more live and let live." How's that working out for a party now whose two frontrunners are pledged to deport 12 million mostly Mexican illegal immigrants and their kids? Yeah, the GOP really dodged a bullet by picking Trump and Cruz over this guy.

Watch that interview now and read a transcript here.

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NEXT: A.M. Links: Trump Woos GOP Insiders, Bernie Out-Fundraises Hillary, U.S. Ranks 41st in World Press Freedom Index

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  1. It is over for this cycle. Let it go.

    1. You realize he’s still a senator, right?

      1. Yes, but as much I would prefer Paul to just about anyone still left, it is a very narrow group of people who consider him an interesting politician.

        1. Yeah, that’s likely because it’s a very narrow group of people who actually pay attention to legislative actions.

          1. It is a very narrow segment of the people who do pay attention to such things.

        2. Washington is not about “interesting”, it’s about “convenient.”

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  3. I wish we would just make the entire country a free economic zone.

    1. But that is impossible in today’s political environment. Creating a small zone that is successful could change voters’ minds about implementing those policies on a larger scale. It’s actually a savvy move.

      1. I’d be interested in how it would be constitutional to effectively lower or nullify federal taxes on very particular geographical area’s. I’m not saying it isn’t constitutional but ‘arbitrarily’ lowering taxes that the rest of the nation is forced to pay will doubtless be challenged. After all, you can’t have people paying less taxes. It means less of other people’s money to spend.

  4. “The convention will abide by rules that are written in the first day or two by 110 people. So you could write that a plurality wins or you could write that a majority wins.”

    If the GOP wants to be more inclusive, they should write that a minority wins.

    1. As long as it’s the largest minority most powerful enough to successfully argue they are the smallest, least powerful minority, the one the most people have heard claim nobody ever listens to them, the one most people will vote for as the group nobody will ever vote for.

    2. I see what you did there.

  5. The legislation creates areas where personal and corporate income taxes would be lowered to 5 percent, payroll taxes would be cut by 2 percent

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    1. Interesting that taxes aren’t mentioned in the second clause.

      1. Good point. I think that leans to the interpretation that taxes do not have to be uniform

    2. Yeah, that’s the part I was thinking of above. So, yeah, unconstitutional. Thanks!

  6. His filibusters have higher viewership numbers than some Superbowls.

    NSA agents ask *him* to wiretap *them*.

    He is… the most interesting man in politics.

    1. I LOLed. At work, too.

  7. Interesting

    You keep using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    1. In passive-aggressive Minnesota it means they don’t like it.

  8. OK, now who is paying for this?

    1. Likely those same cities who are producing very little now.

  9. I’m disturbed by the lack of discussion concerning bathroom etiquette.

    1. As am I! I say we divide bathrooms into Washes Hands and Nasty.

      1. I can see, maybe, skipping washing your hands if you’re just peeing, although I don’t really want to shake your hand that was just holding your penis. But it you take a dump and then don’t wash your hands? That it’s anti social, disgusting, and just mind blowing.
        Wash your damn hands, people! (I’m looking at you, Francisco)

    2. When I become rich I have a bus-stop urinal installed in my castle.

      1. With or without the homeless guy washing his hair in the sink?

        1. Don’t you mean urinal?

  10. Ah hell yeah, way better than Obama. It’s like basking in sunlight after a long hibernation indoors. Pushing plausible solutions..

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  12. Nothing better than Nick Gillespie calling a guy “libertarianish”.

    1. As antichoice republicans go both Randall and his dad have libertarianish voting records. The portion of the Republican party that can’t stand them has an actuarial life expectancy of less than four years, so it may be a turning point for God’s Own Party too. All major organized mysticism numbers are plummeting (except for the one religion that wants to fly airplanes into Congress).
      Future looks bright…

  13. If people delved just a tad deeper into the issues, Rand Paul would likely have been the nominee. However, our collective attention span all too brief and it seems we can only tolerate 10-second sound bytes filled with Pollyannaish Socialist who promise everything for free or delusional Rinos that prey on our fears of terror so we adopt a big middle finger approach to the world. My hopeful side sees a future with Rand Paul as our leader. For now, we’ll have to settle for the ceremonial but important vote for Gary Johnson.

    1. …ceremonial but important vote for Gary Johnson the Libertarian Party platform.
      Can anyone name the Prohibition Party candidates? The Socialist Party candidates? But the 16th and 18th Amendments sure as hell floated in on 2% of the votes cast, did they not?

  14. It kinda reminds me of when I play golf. I usually like to say we’ll decide what the bet is after we decide what the scores are.

    I hate getting stuck behind golfers who bet. They play, and especially putt, so much slower.

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  17. I say, of criminal aliens, “Live and let live – in your OWN fucking country.”

  18. Any reason to believe he might be considered in an open convention? He was one of the first to be hailed as being able to beat Hillary Clinton! His numbers were always better than Kasich’s! Time to end the suspended campaign and re-institute it!

  19. I don’t see Rand beung as much a Libertarian as his father (congressman Ron Paul), but I could certainly live with my few objections to his pragmatism if he had secured the nomination. Yes indeed, Dr. Ron Paul was screwed by the establishment (RINOs) by their co-opting his delegates and barring him from the nomination hall. The G(rand)O(ld) P(arty) no longer exists, having been taken over decades ago by big government, world domination traitors to the Constitution of our Republic.

    1. God’s Own Party was taken over by the Prohibition Party in 1928, then turned National Socialist after the 1930 Liberal Party taught the Dems how to beat them. Old newspapers teach a lot they leave out of subsidized classrooms.

  20. I feel that Rand Paul way is the way for Republicans to move forward if they want to stay relevant. With rest of democracies getting bigger and bigger governments the pressure on American political parties would be to engage in protectionism and other left wing BS that Trump or Bernie talk about.

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  23. Donald Trump turned out to be the ultimate party crasher. Without him in the race, the top two on the GOP side would have been Cruz and Rubio, and Rand would have competed with the lesser candidates for the third spot.

    Most (if not all) of the northeast went to Romney in 2012. Now they’re going all in on Donald Trump?

    My vote in California will not matter in the general election. I really don’t like Gary Johnson, who kinda strikes me as a douche bag. So I might consider writing in Rand Paul on the ballot.

    Can the LP nominate someone with a modicum of charisma and personality? There’s something whiter than whitebread, and it’s the LP. I’m not “throwing” my vote away to them until they demonstrate that they’re serious about winning and not merely lose with style.

  24. Reason #1: Politicians aren’t that interesting to start with. They’re only as interesting as typical predatory sociopaths are interesting.

  25. RE: 3 Reasons Why Rand Paul Is Still the Most Interesting Person in Politics

    Reason number four: He’s one of the few politicians that has any sense.

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