Rand Paul

Rand Paul: Mum on Khan, Trump > Clinton, and as for Gary Johnson—"I signed a document"

Former GOP candidate keeping a low profile in presidential commentary, but certainly understands why a limited-government voter may choose the Libertarian Party nominee

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Rand Paul shakes Gary Johnson's hand at FreedomFest 2016. ||| The Gary Johnson campaign
The Gary Johnson campaign

Day Five of the Trump vs. Khan saga just received a heavy oxygen blast, as President Barack Obama declared this morning that the GOP nominee is "unfit to serve as president," and reckoned that Republicans should be asking themselves, "if you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?"

One Republican still endorsing Donald Trump—and not condemning the Khan comments, as far as I can ascertain—is the libertarianish former presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). Paul, who skipped the Republican National Convention to perform pro bono surgeries curing the blind, has kept a low profile on Twitter aside from highlighting his re-election swing through the Bluegrass State, and had a spokesman respond to a Wall Street Journal query on Khan thusly: "Senator Rand Paul is focused solely on Kentucky and won't be weighing in on the presidential race at this time."

However, when asked last week about Trump by Louisville's WDRB, Paul said "it's clear" that the Republican nominee would be better than Hillary Clinton on manufacturing, taxes, and regulations, then characterized Trump's loose tongue like so: "Will people sometimes say things that are untoward or not what we wish them to say? Yes, that happens of every candidate….I always tell people the only perfect candidate is if you get to be the candidate or I get to be the candidate, then we agree with ourselves 100 percent of the time."

But Sen. Paul sounded some different and more Libertarian-friendly notes two weeks ago at FreedomFest, when asked by an audience member "What would you say to someone who says that voting for Gary Johnson is the same as voting for Hillary?" His answer, in full:

You know, (four second pause) they aren't the same. I mean, everybody has their decision to make on how they will vote. Some people are very practical minded, and they say "In all likelihood it's going to be Trump or Clinton. Which is the least bad?" And many will vote that way. And some will say, "No but I truly believe in limited government, the Constitution and a non-interventionist foreign policy, and I have a consistent philosophy. I want a candidate more of my liking." And they may well vote for, you know, a third party at that point.

So the debate has to be [with] each individual. All I can tell you is from my point of view, I've made my complaints about our nominee quite explicit. I continue to do so, but also don't see it as my job now—the thing is, is: I do think that my word is important. I signed a document, not under duress, but I signed a document saying I wouldn't run as a third party [candidate] and I will support the nominee. And I've supported nominees I haven't been perfectly happy with. I wasn't perfectly happy in 2012; I knew a guy that would have been a lot better in 2012.

After the jump, some other interesting tidbits about the presidential campaign and executive power from Rand Paul's FreedomFest speech.

Have you heard any of the candidates saying…that there is too much power that has gravitated to the presidency? I'm hearing the opposite. I'm hearing people say "Give me more power, and I'll fix it! We'll be great again if you can give me power! By the sheer might of my will we will make things better!"

But really there's a lesson of history that we don't want to forget. The lesson of history is that power corrupts, that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and we don't want to fool ourselves into thinking it just means we've got to give the power to our guy, or our girl.

In other Paul/Johnson news, Rand Paul's dad still hasn't decided which third-party candidate he'll vote for.

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73 responses to “Rand Paul: Mum on Khan, Trump > Clinton, and as for Gary Johnson—"I signed a document"

  1. Ron Paul clearly does not like Gary Johnson.

    1. Because Gary Johnson pretty much sucks.

      1. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week.
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      2. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week.
        I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do… http://www.trends88.com

    2. Because Ron Paul will sell his soul to help his baby boy.

  2. McConnell has his balls.

    1. Or maybe Paul just wants to be seen keeping his word, not pissing off his party, and sees no benefit in jumping to endorse a third party candidate who basically said religious freedom doesn’t exist.

      1. He doesn’t have to endorse anyone.

  3. “I gave my word” is a terrible reason to keep supporting a loony.

    If you promise to allow a homeless man to stay at your house whom you later learn is actually a serial killer, you don’t keep that promise.

    1. Trump is neither homeless nor a serial killer.

      If you want people to vote for you based on what you say, you keep your word.

      1. This.

        I’m glad he has enough honor to at least keep his word and a low profile. I know I’m old fashioned, but breaking a voluntary pledge isn’t something to be done lightly.

        1. If anything, this is an example of why previous generations of Americans didn’t give their word on much. There’s a lesson there.

      2. Every modern president has been a serial killer qua Commander in Chief.

    2. On the other hand, “I gave my word” isn’t much of an endorsement, either.

      1. “I campaigned for the other guy, but I voted for you” — Krusty the Klown

      2. Right. Seems to me like he’s doing the best thing he could be doing at this point. One of those asshats is gonna win, and there’s no point in preemptively pissing off the next president.

        1. Reason sure attracts lame pseudo-libertarians. For god’s sake don’t offend the next president!

  4. “I gave my word” is a terrible reason to keep supporting a loony.

    If you promise to allow a homeless man to stay at your house whom you later learn is actually a serial killer, you don’t keep that promise.

    1. Nobody can see which name he checks in the ballot box.

      I wonder who that guy who would have been a lot better in 2012 was.

    2. Trump is trying to throw the election to Hillary. Notice how potentially damaging stories about Clinton are overshadowed by the latest terrible thing Trump has said?

      1. Trump or the media. Because the media are the ones who decide what stories to flog and what stories to ignore. Like Trump responding to the Khans is far worse than the DNC rigging the primary election.

        1. Trump could handle his responses more gooder.

          What’s wrong with, “Thank you for your sacrifice and I honor your son’s heroic service. Unlike my opponent, I intend to destroy the evil monsters like the ones that killed your son.”

          1. True, but another explanation is that he can’t help himself. That he has a childish demeanor and is compelled to respond comprehensively to any criticism.

            1. Do you think the GOPe believes Trump can be controlled by themselves?

          2. Trump could have pointed out that Khan was wrong on what he was implying on the Constitution applying to potential immigrants – without being personal or insulting.

            I would have thought his new campaign manager would be filtering his Tweets by now.

        2. Trump would benefit by shutting up sometimes, but then he wouldn’t be Trump.
          This may be the most content-free election yet. It’s nothing more than he’s a jerk versus she’s a liar.
          I never would have thought that civility and honesty would be the litmus test for weeding out candidates.

    3. This. If Rand wants to support Trump because he thinks he’s better than Clinton, then leave it at that and be honest about it. Or give that as your false excuse if you just think it’s best for your political future.

      The pledge thing is just ridiculous. It’s not a legally binding contract and things can happen afterwards that are legitimate reasons for not honoring it. Is he saying that Trump could say or do anything and he wouldn’t change his mind because of a stupid political pledge he signed last fall?

      1. It’s not a legally binding contract and things can happen afterwards that are legitimate reasons for not honoring it.

        I think “legally binding contract” is a pretty damned low standard for integrity. And what’s really changed since the agreement was made? Did we all just find out a few weeks ago that Donald Trump is who he is?

        I read what he’s saying pretty clearly. He’s saying “I’m not going to break from the party. But, I’m not going to hold anyone else doing so against them”.

        1. And endorsing someone unfit for office just because you signed a stupid politically-motivated pledge almost a year ago is an even worse standard of integrity.

          Trump’s said and done a bunch of stuff since then, but you’re right that it was already clear who he was by then. At that time, though, most assumed he’d fade away.

          1. They are all unfit! Clinton really is a crook and a congenital liar. Gary Johnson is supposed to be a Libertarian but doesn’t believe in freedom of association. Who did the Constitutional Party nominate? If he isn’t too hung-up on creationism, maybe I’ll vote for him.

            1. Gary Johnson is supposed to be a Libertarian but doesn’t believe in freedom of association.

              His 2A stance comes across as genuine and honest as Michael Moore’s too.

              Not that I think he’d disembowel the 2nd Am. but that he’d say anything he thought would get him elected and be a true fair-weather friend when it cutting deals or facing disapproval/criticism as the result of a shooting (autoplay).

              When it comes to the 2nd Am. the only firm stance I get from Gary is that it should be open to debate which, IMO, only distinguishes him from Clinton with regard to intent.

              1. You know, if you ignore the fact that he stood up for gun rights for the entirety of his time as an elected official. Other than that, of course.

                1. You know, if you ignore the fact that he stood up for gun rights for the entirety of his time as an elected official.

                  Yeah, you know, like that one time during his governorship of New Mexico, which is the only elected office he’s held when he… uh… didn’t do jack shit because it was never an issue. He’s our champ!

      2. I’d like to know who he signed this document for and what was promised in return for signing it. You don’t make an agreement like that for nothing.

  5. I really wish Rand had won. I still like him, hopefully after this nightmare that will be the next 4 years the voters will like him and his policies too. (This comment will automatically be filed in the bullies for Rand Paul file in the Hihncave and sent to the Koch’s)

    1. This is nothing but a dumb gut feeling, but something in his demeanor the last few months of campaigning whispered to me that he was done with moving up the ladder, and he’ll just entrench himself in the Senate for a decade or two.

      Could be blindingly wrong, but that was just my read.

      1. I don’t think he lives for being a politician. Which is a good thing, of course, but not conducive to running for president.

        1. He really does seem like the only normal person to run for President in my memory. I can picture him living next door and not hating him like… well, all the others.

  6. [?] as President Barack Obama declared this morning that the GOP nominee is “unfit to serve as president,” and reckoned that Republicans should be asking themselves, “if you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?”

    Well then. It’s a good thing that Obama hasn’t had the moral decency to condemn anything Hillary has said or done as being “unacceptable.” Because those condemnations of Hillary might be used against him.

    Hell, he won’t even say her private email server was problematic. It must be nice not having any morals beyond “GO TEAM GO!!!”

  7. Avoiding the Khan kerfuffle seems like a good idea, now that people are digging into the guy. With our luck, Rand would firmly denounce Trump an hour before it comes out the Khan was involved in 9/11.

    1. What is interesting is that the DNC either didn’t get the guy properly, or he was the best example of heroic American Muslim they could find.

    2. Keeping his head down and powering through is the only smart play. Why get involved in all this nonsense? If his re-election looks to be a sure thing, just stay quiet until November and return to the Senate to do his thing.

      1. Which sounds brilliant unless he Paul loses his seat.

  8. I knew a guy that would have been a lot better in 2012.

    Gingrich?

  9. Rand Paul clearly has his eyes set on 2020.

    Nobody who publicly jumps ship from the GOP this year will have a chance of being nominated. Being a “good soldier” will be necessary if Rand Paul wants the nomination.

    And being the candidate opposed to Clinton when she is running for re-election in 2020 could be a cakewalk.

    1. ^This. 3D chess at it’s finest.

      1. I’m not clear on the rules to 3d chess, but it looks like Trump checkmated himself at least twice, now.

        1. Grade A euphemism? Or too obvious?

          1. Whatever rubs your dingle, Dude.

    2. Rand Paul clearly has his eyes set on 2020.

      Puns!

      “Vote Dr. Rand Paul 2020: He’s got the vision America needs!”

      1. You and Aresen both get applause for this.

    3. Not endorsing is not the same as jumping ship. Reagan never endorsed Ford in 1976, he became the candidate in the next cycle.

      Cruz’s public non-endorsement has made greater inroads with the base.

    4. I was thinking something similar, but it’s a fine line to walk. It’s not like the media is going to be kind to him in 2020 just because he didn’t *actively* support Trump. Even remaining silent is being treated like a great moral failing right now. At the same time, coming out hard against Trump potentially makes it harder in the next Republican primary.

      It’s remarkable because the GOP seemed to be a healthier party not that long ago — more up and coming stars, better farm system — but if Trump loses (and maybe even if he wins), it’s going to make it hard for the GOP in the long-term.

      1. It’s not that the media will be nicer to him.

        It is the fact that the GOP core will not forgive a defector.

  10. And some will say, “No but I truly believe in limited government, the Constitution and a non-interventionist foreign policy, and I have a consistent philosophy.”

    Which is something that Paul, himself, does not say.

  11. I wonder if the GOP leaders realize that, if Trump wins, this will continue for the next four years.

    1. Chris Christie might as well get fitted for slave chains.

      ?

      There’s probably a euphemism in there somewhere.

      1. At least that’s a solid 6 month contract for America’s steel industry.

    2. If so, would the GOP house have the balls to vote against him in the unlikely event that nobody gets to 270?

  12. Day Five of the Trump vs. Khan saga

    Yes, its notable that there have been 10X as many articles about this catty-flag-wrapped-bullshit than there has been any actual coverage of the DNC’s sabotage of the Sanders campaign.

    its possibly the dumbest fucking thing since “small hands”

    1. What I’ve learned is that I can apparently win every argument with a progressive by waving a copy of the constitution around, even if it has nothing to do with the constitution.

      “So about those gun rights…”

      1. Let’s see…”goodbye, cruel world…” by Jove, it *is* a suicide pact, it’s just that nobody bothered to read it before!

      2. Thanks for reminding me to bring my copy on my family vacation this week.

    2. There’s also the rich irony found in the same people who tut-tutted about how ghoulish having Patricia Smith at the RNC was are now falling all over themselves to talk about how glorious the Khans’ appearance at the DNC was. The merits of pimping a dead son for political purposes seems to be highly variable based on political party.

  13. PLEASE DONT LIGHT THE HIHN TORCH!!!!!!!

    (Drools)

    YOU FUCKING ANTI GUVMENT PAULISTAS DONT REALIZE THAT LIBERTARIANS ARE REJECTED BY LUBERTARIANS BECAUSE OF CATO!!!!!

    (Snorts)
    (Picks ass)
    (Sniffs fingers)
    (Licks fingers)

    BULLIES!!!!!!

    (Farts)

  14. I i get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 3 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless.

    Heres what I’ve been doing:==>==>==> http://www.CareerPlus90.com

  15. FACT
    Khan clearly implied in his DNC speech that Trump was somehow responsible for his son being killed by a Muslim in Iraq thus making himself fair game for being so cowardly to blame Trump for such an awful act. Shame on you progressives for supporting such acts of hate. Who’s the redneck again here?.
    I was going to vote for Hillary but Khan’s actions and my fellow progressive’s orgy of HATE has made me vote Trump now. Go Trump!

    1. That’s interesting, because I find an April post by one mememine69 to libcom.org which says the following:

      “As a progressive progressive I am obligated to always be open to new voices and new ideas for it is liberalism that is telling the world that all hope is lost and we are doomed to crash and burn. With that in mind and after listening to many of his speeches I am willing to vote Trump because even we are not offering solutions to our inevitable doom.”

      You were never going to vote for Hillary, and are very unlikely to be a “progressive.” But you are a shill. (Other revealing posts from the same screen name are found by google.)

  16. You know, Matt, your willingness to parse this Paul take on Trump is ridiculous. Here is what we have learned about Rand Paul this election cycle…he is a man devoid of courage.

    He should have forcefully stood up to Trump In the debates, and he was a milquetoast. He should have resigned from the GOP in protest, and he stayed. He should have stood on principle and run for the Libertarian Party nomination, and instead he endorsed Trump.

    And you keep making excuses. You would have skewered any Democrat acting similarly. Shameful…for both him and you.

  17. Rand Paul really is disgusting. I wouldn’t want him in my foxhole.

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