Rand Paul

Rand Paul, to Libertarians Critical of His Sessions Vote: 'I would suggest that maybe they spend some of their time on the other 99 less libertarian senators'

Libertarianish senator decries 'character assassination,' discusses his Obamacare replacement plan, and compares the anti-Trump left to the Tea Party

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Last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) rankled many libertarians with his vote to confirm unreconstructed drug warrior and criminal justice reform opponent Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Last night, the libertarian-leaning senator answered those critics and explained his vote on Fox Business Network's Kennedy program:

I think personal considerations; I've known him for a long time. I didn't like the way Democrats vilified and tried to create him into some sort of racist monster, which is not who he is. So the fact that they used character assassination, I didn't want to be associated with that.

But I can tell people, libertarians across the country, that there is no stronger voice in the U.S. Senate for opposing militarization of the police, opposing the drug war, opposing the surveillance state. And so if people want to apply a purity test to me they're more than welcome, but I would suggest that maybe they spend some of their time on the other 99 less libertarian senators.

You can watch the whole interview, which covers angry constituent townhalls, Paul's Obamacare-replacement bill, and whether the left is developing its own version of the Tea Party, below:

Paul's vote, you'll recall, was also couched in his ongoing opposition to President Trump appointing Elliott Abrams to the number-two slot at the State Department, an effort that at minimum coincided with success.

Paul's confirmation strategery has received praise from W. James Antle III and a sympathetic ear from his former co-author Jack Hunter, while prompting a BuzzFeed News piece titled "How Rand Paul Is Navigating The Trump Presidency."

Reason on Jeff Sessions here, on Rand Paul here.

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  1. Rand Paul 2020!

    1. With his middle fingers in the air!

    2. A Clear Vision for the Future

  2. Somehow I don’t trust criticism of Paul from Nick Gillespie who slavishly praises Ron Wyden as a ‘libertarian’.

    1. I don’t trust criticism from anybody who accuses Nick Gillespie of slavishly doing anything.

    2. Paul defeated two neoconservative picks that Trump was suggesting (Bolton and Abrams) can you name a single nominee or policy of the Obama administration that Wyden ever worked to defeat?

      1. I don’t see how he “defeated” them. Did Trump pass on them because Paul said they would be bad picks?

      2. In single-handed combat?

      3. In single-handed combat?

          1. The first comment is for Bolton, the second one is for Abrams.

    3. Ron Wyden is a left libertarian. How is that even a point of dispute?

      1. How so? People identify a policy that Wyden has advocated that would actually increase individual liberty. He briefly and begrudgingly supported Paul’s filibuster and that’s about it.

        1. identify a policy that Wyden has advocated that would actually increase individual liberty.

          Just off the top of my head, he was a critic of warrantless surveillance going to before the Snowden leaks, so there’s that. I think he’s also supported criminal justice reform, and marijuana legalization, so there’s that. On taxes, spending ,and the regulatory state though, he’s pretty much a standard issue progressive Dem.

        2. He’s a civil libertarian, just not an economic/financial one. IOW, he’s a modern liberal. An actual modern liberal, not really a progressive.

      2. Ron Wyden is a left libertarian. How is that even a point of dispute?

        I think some people might argue that putting “left AND libertarian” together as a term leaves you with neither one nor the other, and instead produces a gross and unrecognizable blend of contradictions.

        1. “Right” libertarian also makes no sense.

          1. kudos on being that guy

            1. What guy? The guy that knows that libertarianism isn’t right or left?

              1. That guy is a self-deluded idiot.

          2. Yet “right libertarian” is how I would describe a large majority of the commenters on here.

            1. They’re just conservatives.

              1. Well yes, push comes to shove. BUT they hold some libertarians views above regular conservatives, so they are in-betweeners.

                1. they are in-betweeners

                  nonsense! did you not listen to “That guy”? there are no in-betweeners.

            2. Hang on hang on. “Left libertarian” and “right libertarian”?? I thought based on the comments here that the correct terminology was “cosmotarian” and “yokeltarian”.

          3. Sure, right libertarian makes no sense. That’s why the only remotely libertarian politicians are on the right, like Rand Paul.

            1. Rand Paul being an R doesn’t make Rick Santorum more libertarian than Dennis kucinich.

        2. No one is a fiercer foe of the jackalope than I but I wouldn’t say a hypothetical political system or a world view couldn’t be “left-libertarian” it’s just that almost all of what is so describes as is not.

          1. Yeah, to be a “right libertarian” you’d have to be more in favor of small government than a typical Republican. But to be more small government than a typical Democrat, you could have the political sensibility of a kindergartner. It’s not that the Reps have such great principles so much as the fact that the Dems have no principles other than worshipping power. Who is more likely to become a marathon runner? Someone who goes for the occasional jog or someone in a wheelchair who is agoraphobic.

    4. Professional liars gonna lie.

  3. I’m with Rand Paul.

    So he’s not batting 1.000.

    He’s batting .999.

    And he’s a politician. It’s important to remember that if we ever get a libertarian into the White House, it won’t just be with libertarian votes. He’ll need non-libertarians to vote for him, too.

    We’ll need non-libertarians to vote for him, too.

    1. “he’s a politician”

      Exactly. Ideology only gets you so far in the adult world.

      1. .400 would make me happy.

        1. It would get him into the Hall of Fame.

      1. Well why don’t you marry him, then.

        1. I proposed, but ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’.

  4. Well, Senator, excuse the heck out of me for holding you to higher standards than the other 99.

    Allow me to adjust my expectations of you to the level of expectation I have for the other Senators…

    Well, Senator Paul, congratulations on not having sexual relations with domestic livestock within the past week!

    1. Wait, what do you know about the other 99 senators? Who’s having sex with farm animals? Are Rubio and Franken double teaming a donkey for the filthy wrongness of it? Did a bull promise Kamala Harris more power?

      It’s Cotton, isn’t it.

      1. I’m not saying the other Senators have sex with farm animals, just that I’d be pleasantly surprised if I learned they weren’t.

      2. That is an image I will never get out of my mind.

        1. Sugarfree’s missing so we need to compensate.

          1. Is he ok? Where is he? Hunting to resupply his stash of pancreases?

      3. I have it on good authority that Chuck Shumer can be found, on any given Saturday night, having carnal relations with a sheep in an alleyway behind the Senate office building.

        1. He can be regularly seen on TV fucking the sheep that voted for him.

  5. And so if people want to apply a purity test to me they’re more than welcome, but I would suggest that maybe they spend some of their time on the other 99 less libertarian senators.

    Libertarians hold people who identify as libertarians to a higher standard, news at 11.

    1. Isn’t this the same publication that defended Gary Johnson against attacks by labeling everyone else as ‘purists’?

      1. Libertarian (i.e. the people criticizing Paul) is a much broader field than “What an out-of-touch old man in a leather jacket thinks”.

      2. And this post is not condemning Paul for his vote. So what’s your point?

        Many commenters did criticize or reject Johnson because they are purists (at least in certain areas).

        1. I criticized Johnson for running a shitty campaign and having a VP who turned out to be a lying filthy whore.

          I held my nose and voted for Trump, but being from KY, I voted for Rand 3 times.

    2. He’s a politicians for goodness’ sake!

      And it’s not like his vote was going to make any difference anyway.

      This is like the Goldwater treatment with the CRA. The problem wasn’t just that Goldwater might have advanced the cause of liberty if he hadn’t discredited himself by opposing the CRA on principled grounds. The problem was also that his opposition ultimately meant nothing. The CRA passed anyway!

      If Pyrrhic victories should be avoided, what’s desirable about a Pyrrhic defeat?

      If only Rand Paul had voted no on Sesssions, . . . what would be different?

      1. What would be different if he’d voted for *anything* which passed with more than a one-vote margin?

        1. I suppose the question is about what the cost of the alternative would have been.

          I suspect he might have made himself an enemy of the Trump administration and the Justice department.

          And that’s because he would have been the only one. The only one! Did any other Republicans vote against Sessions?

          It might have cost him political points with Trump supporters in Kentucky.

          If you’re going to go against the rest of your party on something, it should probably matter more than this did.

          1. From the post, Rand wasn’t saying that the Sessions confirmation didn’t matter, but that he didn’t want to join in the Democratic lies against his colleague (because friendship and being attacked by Democrats outweigh support for civil asset forfeiture).

            When negotiating with people, Trump doesn’t ask if his negotiating partners are nice guys, but whether they can be dealt with and given things in exchange for other things.

            So if a Republican in a narrowly-divided Senate with Democrats who will vote against everything you do, says he has a problem with something, you negotiate with that Republican.

          2. I suspect he might have made himself an enemy of the Trump administration and the Justice department.

            It might have cost him political points with Trump supporters in Kentucky.

            I;ll grant that this is a reasonable defense of his vote. I suppose maybe he figured if he “bent the knee” on Sessions’ confirmation he might be able to better influence Trump and/ or Sessions himself when (not if, when) Sessions does some very un-liberty-advancing things as AG.

            While it would have been easier to admire Rand if he had voted no for clearly articulated principled reasons, I guess I can’t fault too much for compromising and playing politics. To paraphrase Robert The Bruce’s father from Braveheart: “Uncompromising men are easy to admire, but it is the ability to compromise that makes us politicians.”

            1. I’d suggest there’s a difference between uncompromising and petulant. If your stand does nothing to advance your goals and actually makes achieving other goals harder, it’s crossed into the latter.

          3. ^^THIS^^

            Not only would it have not stopped Sessions from winning the vote, it wouldn’t have done a goddamned thing to advance the reasons people are saying he should have opposed Sessions. Not a single fucking soul would be talking about the opposition to Jeff Sessions due to the fact that he had lousy positions on civil asset forfeiture, the surveillance state or federalism. The only narrative anyone would be hearing was how Sessions ran into trouble because RACISM!!!!

            Meanwhile, that would almost certainly start a war with a president who has signaled some willingness to move the ball down the field in our direction on at least some libertarian issues.

      2. If only Rand Paul had voted no on Sesssions, . . . what would be different?

        The next time he runs for president (assuming there is a next time), he could credibly say that he is a man of principle and not just another politician.

        Bernie Sanders gave Clinton a fight and arguably cost her the election by taking the wind out of her sails, and what did people most like about him? That he was/is sincere. People are desperate for politicians that they think are honest.

        1. Remember that time he filibustered the Patriot Act?

        2. “That he was/is seems sincere.” FTFY

          Although, I guess he was pretty sincere about wanting to rob you at gun point to pay for some douchenozzle’s college education.

          1. Fuck you squirlz, I closed the tags!!!!

            1. It wasn’t the squirrels.

              It was Aqua Buddha!

            2. Right. That’s what everybody says.

        3. And that principled stand would have done exactly dick to advance his principles.

          It wouldn’t have started a conversation about Sessions’ very real weaknesses. No one aside from libertarians was talking about them.

      3. I don’t think he gets to dodge his support of Sessions with ‘he’s a politician!’

        I’m not saying we should demand his membership card and cast him out, but he shouldn’t get off scot-free without criticism.

        1. I think we should understand that our politicians sometimes do political things for political reasons. To expect otherwise is probably unrealistic.

          In 2008, Barack Obama campaigned on the slogan “Marriage is between a man and a woman”.

          The gay rights lobby all supported him anyway. They raised money for him. They volunteered at call centers for him. They helped get him elected.

          If Barack Obama had to say that in order to get elected, that wasn’t okay with them–but they were willing to support him anyway. And they were smart to do so.

          Politicians winning often means doing political things for political reasons. We’ll be lucky if someday there’s a politician who says everything Trump said–that got him elected–but acts like Ron Paul once he’s in office.

          Wanting a principled libertarian to win a presidential election in a principled way and act completely in accordance with libertarian principles without compromise, even while he’s in the Senate? Even when he has to vote against the rest of the Republicans in his party? That’s a mighty tall order.

          Gotta understand–he’s a politician, and that means sometimes he has to make political calculations.

          1. And yet that still doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be criticized for it, nor his response. The idea that it’s fine to completely excuse unlibertarian positions by self-professed libertarians is how you get Johnson/Weld non-starters for eternity.

            1. By all means, yeah, let’s criticize Sessions.

              I just don’t think anything Sessions does will ever be Rand Paul’s fault, and Sessions being the AG isn’t Rand Paul’s fault either.

              FWIW, I think Rand Paul may have played a role in nipping the John Bolton nomination in the bud.

              http://www.politico.com/story/…..ump-231406

              1. And to be fair to Rand he raised issue with Session’s stands on these issues and explained why he still voted for him.

                The real full blown political answer would be to ignore/belittle the issues and tell everybody you did the right and virtuous thing.

            2. I would excuse him if he whispered in my ear “I had to vote for the bastard to stay in the king’s good graces do I can bail you out later.”

              The problem is, he can’t whisper in our ears, and if he said it out loud so the king could hear him it would defeat the purpose of it, and so all we can do is sit here and hope that’s what he was doing: surrendering the battle to win the war.

      4. It was 52-48. If that doesn’t count as “making a difference”, why vote in any election with 100 million other people?

  6. Those are terrible reasons to give for voting to confirm him.

    What he should have said is something like “it’s the president’s pick to make and the senate should approve it unless there is a compelling reason not to”. Or just not voted to confirm Sessions because he’s a piece of shit.

    1. The problem with that is that he’d then be justifiably accused of hypocrisy for threatening to filibuster Bolton or Richardson.

  7. Given that Democrats will lie about anyone Trump nominates, Paul now has a ready-made excuse to vote for any Trump nominee: “I wanted to protest against Democratic lies!”

    And it’s great that Senator Sessions is your friend, and you want to confirm him – what else would you do for your friends which is contrary to the public interest, dip into the Treasury to order them a free massage? That would be less dangerous to the public.

    1. Given the context of Democratic lies, even in some alternate universe where Paul’s vote would have made the difference between Sessions getting the vote or not, voting against Sessions would have done nothing to advance the actual reason to vote against him. Sessions wouldn’t have lost the vote because he had awful positions on individual liberty. He would have lost because RACISM!!

  8. That’s a terrible defense of freedom. “oh well, the other guys are worse”.

    1. sacrificing what little influence you have on a wasted effort is a “terrible defense” because it isn’t one at all.

      And he’s right = the other 99 are worse. and libertarians should be trying to elect more like-minded senators rather than bashing the few we have as impure

      1. How did he have little influence on the subject? He promised to filibuster Elliot Abrams nomination yet he couldn’t be bothered to filibuster an enemy of liberty of Sessions because They Lied About Him Being Racist? Please. His reasoning sounded petty at best and unprincipled at worst.

  9. I mean, he’s not wrong. I’ll take any libertarian influence where I can get it. Knowing his vote didn’t matter and therefore just giving a giant “fuck off” to the Democrats shamelessly playing the race card sounds pretty okay to me.

  10. ‘I would suggest that maybe they spend some of their time on the other 99 less libertarian senators’

    he has a point

      1. You’re right, we should be satisfied with just the one. because “symbolic” votes are so useful.

        1. How useful was his Yes vote?

          1. it didn’t hurt him with anyone except people like you, and people like you don’t matter very much.

            1. How the fuck would a no vote hurt him?

              1. see my comment below how “this shouldn’t need explaining”. I don’t have the time to do “how partisan politics works 101” for you. and i’m not sure it would stick either.

            2. And now we’re saying that it was just good old politics? If that’s what determines his votes, then what use is he at all to anyone except the trough feeders?

              1. on issues where he can split the difference and actually change things.

                which happens, occasionally. Or w/ the occasional issue where he has the majority of the public (and his own voters) on his side.

                see about the 101 thing above. this isn’t rocket science.

                1. on issues where he can split the difference and actually change things.

                  But he’s going to vote against his principles if it’s good politics for him to do so.

                2. Or w/ the occasional issue where he has the majority of the public (and his own voters) on his side.

                  Then what would his principles matter?

                  1. Then what would his principles matter?

                    they would be in line with the general public?

                    when everyone else in the senate is happy to pass surveillance bills, but he forces them to argue long and painfully for them, he uses the public’s distaste of that sort of thing against them. And when he fillibustered against drones, he knows that while congress is perfectly happy to wage perma-war with the world, the public is not, and he can use that to put pressure against bad policy.

                    you seem to think politics is some fucking beauty contest where you win prizes for having “pure-principles”

                    1. they would be in line with the general public?

                      Any turd can put his finger in the wind and vote along with Public Opinion. We don’t need to vote in “libertarians” to do that.

                    2. Any turd can put his finger in the wind and vote along with Public Opinion.

                      when things like Marijuana legalization are supported by the public, or NSA surveillance, etc are opposed by the public… and congress is (in general) doing the opposite? those are called opportunities. there are others.

                      No, you don’t need self-styled “libertarians” to do that. *(and you don’t think he even fits the bill, so who cares?)

                      But it helps that the public is also sorta-libertarianish on those issues, and he can potentially do something about them and not blow up his own career in the process.

                      You really don’t seem to understand the first thing about how politics works. Its about horse trading and compromise. You can’t be a politician without constantly sacrificing your “principles” in one are (where you’re guarateed to lose) in exchange for acting on them in areas where you at least have a fucking chance of making a slight difference – even if you lose. Sometimes you will go down in flames just to make a point because you know your own voters still have your back.

                      Paul is alone in the senate and doesn’t have a crew that he can rely on to back him up in small fights. So it means most of the stuff he can do is going to be limited to the issues where his 1 vote matters enormously. If you don’t grasp that, i can’t help you. i’m getting a fucking headache having to explain this.

                    3. Or you can take the Ron Paul route and vote for principle every time. No one was going to pass his bills anyway. That way you can make a clear point and be remembered in history.

                    4. Exactly.

              2. No, instead this was clearly a situation that absolutely required a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part!

            3. Except it is people like us that get excited enough to donate to his campaign, and now we are less likely to do so. Remember his dismal fundraising? It’s because he doesn’t excite people like his dad did. Milquetoast party line compromisers don’t fire people up.

              1. Except it is people like us that get excited enough to donate to his campaign, and now we are less likely to do so. Remember his dismal fundraising? It’s because he doesn’t excite people like his dad did. Milquetoast party line compromisers don’t fire people up.

                Maybe so. But he’s made pretty clear long ago he doesn’t give a flying fuck about pleasing the purity-demanding libertoids, so i think if you spent your money in exchange for a Principles-Based Beauty Contest, you spent your money stupidly.

                You should support him for what he is – one of the few people who will break in a libertarian direction when it comes down to crucial bits of politicking where he can afford to make a difference.

                those issues are few and the opportunities are rare, but they’ve popped up before and they’ll pop up again. If you’re too dull to grasp the value of that, well more’s the pity.

                1. Meh. A lone opposing voice sometimes has more power than a tie splitting vote on some shitty incremental improvement that would probably pass the next go around anyway. Tell me, when was Rand ever such a vote? The only time he was effective was when he was a dissenting and loud voice in the minority.

                  1. Tell me, when was Rand ever such a vote?

                    Tell me why i should keep humoring you.

                    1. I can’t make your decisions for you. If you don’t enjoy exchanging replies with someone that does not see any hope in the political means, then by all means ignore my comments.

                  2. A lone opposing voice sometimes has more power than a tie splitting vote on some shitty incremental improvement that would probably pass the next go around anyway.

                    I generally agree with you. The thing is this wasn’t one of those times. No one would have noted or remembered that Paul voted against Sessions because of things like civil asset forfeiture, federalism, or the surveillance state. The only thing people would have remembered was the “Jeff Sessions is a racist!” mantra.

      2. We shouldn’t spend more time with less libertarian senators?

  11. The other 99 aren’t about to become AG, you dolt. And I doubt too many of them are worse for freedom than Sessions. He was one of the worst ones.

    1. maybe your problem is you don’t actually understand what he said.

      He meant, “maybe libertarians should consider trying to get MORE libertarian senators rather than complain about the one we have being less-than-pure”

      When you’re the lone libertarian in congress, you occasionally need to play team sports in order to make progress on issues you can *actually* make progress in. Voting against Sessions would have accomplished nothing, Sessions would still have been confirmed, and yet he’d have blown lots of political capital with his congressional peers. For nothing.

      it really shouldn’t be necessary to explain this

      1. “Alright. Now guys, heres the 15th audit the FED bill. Maybe this one goes through?”

        1. I’d hope he spends his political capital on something other than libertarian pipe dreams, and instead something like “shooting down the next NSA surveillance bill” or preventing some godawful new legislation from passing.

          1. ideally. The audit is my pipe dream though. I would take NSA or police arming bills. or the WOD.

            1. I don’t think auditing the fed is worth it. The fed overpaid for a bunch of assets to prop up some banks and now owns them and isn’t exactly honest about their actual worth. We know the gist. And knowing more wouldn’t make it a more actionable situation. I wouldn’t waste precious political capital to find out precisely what the shape is of the shit the dog took in the bed.

      2. When you’re the lone libertarian in congress,

        He’s not a libertarian. He’s not even the most libertarian member of Congress.

          1. I would argue that Justin Amash is more libertarian than him.

            1. oh, ok = so 1 out of 99 is lame, but 1 out of 435 is cool as fuck and deserves a prize.

              Amash will surely get so much more accomplished.

              1. Honestly there’s one person that is unambiguously better on all the issues. I didn’t want to start a hairsplitting contest when I bring up people who are better than him on some issues and others who are better than him on other issues. Paul is vaguely libertarianish on most issues (not all), but it’s not like he’s “our guy” getting things done for “us”. And I don’t know why you think he’s some major mover and shaker. What’s he done that furthered the cause of liberty where he also wasn’t just going with the flow of public opinion? He’s not as important of influential as you seem to think.

                1. I don’t know why you think he’s some major mover and shaker. He’s not as important of influential as you seem to think.

                  I never even remotely suggested he was. I said he had a point that there are 99 shittier-than-him senators that need arm-twisting or replacing.

                  you don’t even seem to have grasped the one simple point i’ve been making repeatedly.

                  1. Well, I thought we moved past that point because it’s stupid. It was just a non-sequitur deflection on Paul’s part.

                    “Hey, you voted against your principles.”

                    “Uh, well…why don’t you worry about what all the other Senators are doing?”

      3. He meant, “maybe libertarians should consider trying to get MORE libertarian senators rather than complain about the one we have being less-than-pure”

        I’m entirely capable of complaining about both, thank you!

        1. Being an self-described Libertarian, in a modern political context, is really just an admission you enjoy complaining far more than making tangible political gains.

          1. Tangible political gains like Jeff Sessions for AG.

            1. as opposed to who? Jesus you’re thick.

                1. Thicker.

              1. As opposed to simply voting fucking no. No, it wouldn’t have changed anything, so why vote against your conscience?

                1. Go read Ken’s posts above. He explains things in small words. I’m tired of repeating myself.

                  1. You seem to think that by violating his principles Paul has gained (or not lost) some sort of, what was the word, influence, in the Senate. I guess he can keep gaining it if he keeps violating his principles and going along with the crowd? Is that the strategy?

                    1. politics is not about “principles”, you dolt. its about compromises. aka “the art of the possible”

                      see above.

                    2. Fuck compromises. Compromises are for slavers. I will not compromise liberty.

                    3. Then don’t do politics, stupid. Engage in theatrics and preserve your idealized, narcissistic worldview. Leave politics to the grownups.

                    4. I don’t do politics. Politics is for psychopaths and the naive.

                    5. I don’t do politics.

                      you certainly find time to complain about them as though you do.

                    6. I see a difference between the two. May be you don’t. When I said I don’t do politics, I meant that I don’t get involved. I don’t run for office, volunteer my time, or donate to campaigns. But I sure as hell reserve my right to bitch about the assholes in power.

                    7. Chipper Morning Wood|2.14.17 @ 3:42PM| block | mute | #

                      I don’t run for office, volunteer my time, or donate to campaigns.

                      Or bother to develop an intelligent opinion. I’m shocked politicians aren’t rushing to pander to you. Maybe you should consider becoming Transgender. You’ll at least get a toilet of your own.

                    8. also =

                      how do you square this

                      Chipper Morning Wood|2.14.17 @ 3:22PM| block | mute | #

                      Except it is people like us that get excited enough to donate to his campaign

                      with this

                      Chipper Morning Wood|2.14.17 @ 3:36PM| block | mute | #

                      I don’t do politics.

                      in one breath, you’re a campaign donor, and in the next breath, “You don’t do politics”?

                      If you’re a troll, you’re a horribly stupid one.

                    9. See above. I gave up on campaign donations after I saw a picture of Jesse Benton’s house.

                    10. I was talking about the libertarian bloc in general, not about myself specifically.

                    11. the libertarian bloc

                      yes, i’ve heard that well spoken of.

                    12. I had no problems with that naked fat dude dancing. It was funny and made me laugh.

                    13. Well, when people say “Libertarians are a joke” and not worth trying to appeal to, i guess they have a point.

                    14. Fuck compromises. Compromises are for slavers. I will not compromise liberty.

                      Then you’ll never have a libertarian republic, and I highly suggest you start looking at the benefits of constitutional monarchy.

          2. To be fair I think it’s par for the course for libertarians to be doctrinal and also know little/don’t care very much about political strategy/organization.

            1. And the last election showed that the people who are supposed to be the experts on political strategy/organization were actually clueless.

            2. What grand political strategy or goal was fulfilled with a yes vote?

              1. avoiding making himself an enemy of the president, the justice department, and his entire party over an issue he would have made zero actual impact on?

                1. Well, then abstain or vote present. Trump’s not going to listen to Paul any fucking way.

                  1. Trump’s not going to listen to Paul any fucking way.

                    when you’re the potential deciding votes on pieces of legislation, its not a matter of opinion.

                    you’re really cementing your reputation here. like, cement boots.

                  2. Trump’s not going to listen to Paul any fucking way.

                    Trump’s shown himself to be malleable on issues outside of immigration and trade. There’s definitely potential there.

                    1. Trump is also a petulant narcissist and those whispering Sessions’ name in his ear are happy to exploit these facts.

                      If Rand is the lone R voting against Trump’s AG pick for reasons in stark disagreement with his ‘tough on crime’ approach, and subsequently being galvanized among anti-Trumpers as the last good Republican, would Trump be petty enough to hold it against him at a later date?

                      Yeah, I think he would. It seems completely in in keeping with his character.

                2. ***DING!!DING!!DING!!DING!!*** WE HAVE A WINNNAAA!!!

            3. I think it’s par for the course for libertarians to be doctrinal and also know little/don’t care very much about political strategy/organization.

              I know.

              I’m sick of it.

  12. I’m not trying to apply a purity test. I know Paul isn’t a “pure” libertarian and I’m with that. It’s just that, if one of his signature issues is criminal justice reform, then the Sessions vote is pretty bad. I know a lot of people argue that he is trying to be strategic and maybe is doing some horse trading, and if he dissented it wouldn’t make a difference. I hear that. I don’t see a lot of evidence that someone’s going to throw Paul a bone on some other issue in exchange for this, but I guess we’ll see. But his vote does make a symbolic difference, and guess what? Symbolism matters to people. If Paul aspires to be more than a lonely voice in the Senate he’ll need people to believe in him as more than just a shrewd politician.

  13. But I can tell people, libertarians across the country, that there is no stronger voice in the U.S. Senate for opposing militarization of the police, opposing the drug war, opposing the surveillance state.

    Not with this vote. You just voted for all that stuff, you dolt. And if you’re just sticking to those things right there even Ron Wyden has you beat since he agrees with you on those things AND voted against Sessions who will be enforcing all those things.

  14. I hate purity tests but I also hate people who say they are going to oppose all this government overreach, only to lend the most helping hand to those who are doing just that. So with all due respect, talk is a bit cheap here.

    1. It’s not the AG’s job to change those laws but to faithfully and equally enforce them. Otherwise it’s just rule of man out there.

      *of course it’s already rule of man out there so it was still a shitty vote.

      1. Unconstitutional statutes aren’t laws at all, and many of these drug statutes are unconstitutional.

        Executive officials like to pass the buck to the Supreme Court – “if this is an unconstitutional law the Supreme Court should say so and stop forcing us to do this stuff!”

        In fact, every federal official, not just Supreme Court justices, promises to uphold the Constitution, not just those parts of the Constitution which Congress and the courts like.

        1. Fair enough.

  15. Isn’t Sessions a sitting Senator?

    If so, his confirmation opens up a seat that could hopefully go to a more libertarian….hahahahahaha, sorry, couldn’t finish that sentence.

    1. It’s pretty hard to go less libertarian than Sessions, though.

      1. Except for everyone else who was in the running?

        Christie? Giuliani? etc etc.

  16. The last time we heard complaints about purity tests was with Johnson and Weld. “Oh, they’re just being pragmatic, stop being so…wait, Weld vouched for *who*?”

    1. I mean when you’re already polling in single digits and can’t break 5% in any election, purity is all you’ve got. When that’s gone you’re just a joke.

      1. Purity and politics don’t go together. If you want purity you should seek it in religion or philosophy and leave politics well enough alone. A political party that languishes for decades without winning a single election of any import at any level is a joke regardless of any other thing they may do or believe that has merit. Politics is the struggle for power; it is a dirty business at which the uncompromising will fail. Clinging to a politician or party due to their purity would be like a pro baseball team retaining a player who couldn’t throw, catch, or bat but who was an honorable person: it misses the point of the game.

        Which is not to say you can’t criticize individual decisions or even decide that a multitude of bad decisions from an individual or group require that you part ways, just a reminder that you have to compromise if you don’t want to find yourself standing alone.

    2. I’m fine with pragmatism. I voted for Johnson and Weld and would do so again. I don’t live in Kentucky but if I did I’d vote for Paul, and I’d probably vote for him if he ever got the R nomination for president. I don’t need someone who is going to be pure. But criminal justice is one of Paul’s pet issues. It’s not that he failed some sort of libertarian purity test, but that he seems to have backed off something he genuinely cares about. OK, fine. That’s the way the game is played and I’m not going to crucify the guy for it. I’m still disappointed, though, and I hope it doesn’t come back to bite him down the line.

      1. I think the key is to complain so that Rand will have some counterpressures on him from his base rather than a base that just votes for him automatically.

        So far I’m still hoping he becomes President, but I’m not going to polish his every turd.

    3. Vouching for someone and confirming them to be in an incredible position are power are two completely different things.

  17. Rand, buddy, I love you, but you fucked the dog on this one.

    Being libertarian means sticking with your principles.

    …there is no stronger voice in the U.S. Senate for opposing militarization of the police, opposing the drug war, opposing the surveillance state.

    Then why would you vote to confirm someone who is diametrically opposed to those positions?

    A little too much time inside the Beltway, perhaps? Gut check.

    Disappointed!

  18. t(o ot) – Rand Paul flipping off the purists. The o’s denotes perfect vision.

  19. t(o ot) – this one is just for Hihn.

  20. Saying “I’m still better than the other 99 scumbags in the Senate” isn’t exactly a high bar to clear. The problem is that I think everyone pretty much expected the other 99 to vote strictly along partisan lines, but many of us thought that if anyone would cross party lines on the Sessions confirmation for 100% principled reasons it would have been Rand for Sessions’ drug warrior stances on MJ legalization and his opposition to criminal justice reform. That’s what was so disappointing about his yes vote.

    Also, now when Sessions does something that Rand disagrees with, for example ordering the DoJ to begin enforcing MJ laws in states that have legalized it, when Rand voices his disagreement, Sessions will now be able to say “Hey, you voted to confirm me, and you knew my position on The Devil’s Weed, so what’s your problem? You knew what you were getting,” and then proceed to ignore Rand’s criticisms (although I guess he would probably ignore him either way). It just seems like it would be better if Rand were on record as opposing Sessions for specific, valid reasons.

    1. (although I guess he would probably ignore him either way)

      Exactly. Trump and Sessions aren’t going to listen to Paul on anything just because he voted Yes.

  21. I didn’t like the way Democrats vilified and tried to create him into some sort of racist monster, which is not who he is. So the fact that they used character assassination, I didn’t want to be associated with that.

    Either he’s so racist that you can find him guilty of a crime (or at least a whiff of something worth investigating) or he’s fit for the position. He’s a racist monster who eats live kittens for breakfast (only the black ones) every morning. Fortunately for Sessions, there’s nothing in the Constitution preventing the AG from eating live kittens.

    Principles > Principals

  22. REKT!

    THUG LIFE!

  23. if people want to apply a purity test to me they’re more than welcome, but I would suggest that maybe they spend some of their time on the other 99 less libertarian senators

    Finally, the man is developing a thick(er) skin! A bit late, but at least it’s finally happening.

    Stand with Rand 2024???

  24. When in doubt, vote No.
    It worked for his dad.

  25. I think Rand might have Trump’s ear more than we realize right now. Remember: Trump apparently endorsed his repeal-and-replace idea by calling him directly, and unlike Cruz and Kasich he honored his pledge to support the Republican nominee no matter what. And he knows how to influence Trump: say that guys like Bolton directly contradict promises Trump himself made on the trail. He might be the one scuttling some of the other awful picks like Bolton in exchange for biting his tongue on Sessions. 52 is a pretty narrow majority

  26. Let me add an additional point that people don’t seem to be considering. In some alternate universe where Rands’s was the deciding vote and he voted against Sessions, who the hell do people think Trump was going to replace him with? Clint Bolick or Randy Barnett? Face facts, Trump’s a law-and-order guy. He’d pick someone like Fat Chrissy or Rudy Giuliani.

    Voting against Sessions simply would have done nothing to advance the cause of liberty.

  27. I’ve changed my mind a little bit on this. I generally agree that Trump would’ve likely picked someone just as bad as Sessions if the Senate voted him down and it is possible that this yes vote will allow Paul to keep communication between him and the white house open.

    I disagree that voting for Sessions gained him much more than that. The fact that he’s libertarian/libertarian-leaning is still going to block him from building up much political capital in the Senate or the Trump Administration. Rand Paul (and Mike Lee, and to a lesser extent Ted Cruz) will almost always fall in the minority or in the team red position on votes in the senate.

    There is no libertarian center, there are no “libertarian left” senators, there are very few civil libertarian liberals, and Paul is one of only 2 “libertarian right” Senators. So if libertarians want Paul to be more principled and if Paul wants to have more sway in Washington than we’re gonna need more libertarians to get elected to the Senate. Without changing the make up of the senate it doesn’t matter how prudent Paul acts politically or how much we demand him to be principled.

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