Rand Paul Has Changed

The libertarian right’s messiah isn’t all that libertarian any more

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 12: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks with reporters as he leaves the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES – FEBRUARY 12: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks with reporters as he leaves the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

I am writing this article whilst watching Rand Paul’s ‘filibuster’ against the extension of the Patriot Act (I use inverted commas because it’s not really a filibuster), and the essence of the Republican Presidential hopeful’s ideology is coming to surface. We see him berating the apparent flouting of due process clauses scattered throughout the U.S constitution (I admire him for this) and also the supposed disconnect between the legislative houses and the American public (although some fact-checking is in order to verify the 70% figure that was referenced as evidence for the U.S public’s disapproval of the provisions in the aforementioned Patriot Act).

One doesn’t have to agree with Rand Paul on these issues to admire the conviction it takes up to stand up against the majority of his own Republican party on this issue – especially considering the flak from several of the more ‘hawkish’ individuals within his party last time he took a stand on a civil liberties issue (most notably Chris Christie). However, in the last few weeks, I have found the chap to be slightly less admirable than he previously was.

It was inevitable that this was going to happen – there is no way that an essentially libertarian candidate was going to win the Republican Party’s nomination (considering that the voter turnout for primary elections is disproportionately of the Christian Right of the party). But I thought that Rand would be slightly more principled in his chase for the White House, like his father was 3-4 years previously. He appears to have flip-flopped on almost every single issue that made him different from the majority of the Republican Party – in 2011, he memorably proposed a budget in which the foreign aid budget to Israel would be eliminated, yet, in 2015, we hear this from an interview with Yahoo News:

‘I haven’t really proposed that in the past. We’ve never had a legislative proposal to do that. You can mistake my position, but then I’ll answer the question. That has not been a position — a legislative position — we have introduced to phase out or get rid of Israel’s aid.’

This pandering to the traditional Republican base was also seen slightly less explicitly when asked about same-sex marriage. Despite, in the past, Rand opposing a state role in protecting ‘traditional marriage’ – implicitly dismissing it as an illegitimate government overreach of power (‘I’m in favor of the concept’, he stated), he has now offered his support for a constitutional amendment essentially banning the practice of anything that is considered ‘non-traditional’ marriage.

These are just two flip-flops from Rand Paul (there are many more – on foreign policy for instance), and I acknowledge the fact that these are necessary considering the social-conservative bias in the Republican primary electorate. However, he is limiting his appeal to prospective swing voters by shuffling slowly toward the Rick Santorum-wing of the party.


4 thoughts on “Rand Paul Has Changed

  1. You will find for yourself later that the whole ‘political’ thing is a sham, a front—no more, no less.

    The so-called ‘democracy’ systems are a facade, regardless of which the behind-the-scenes permanent government quietly gets on with it. Prime ministers, presidents, even kings and queens, certainly political parties come and go, and in the long run make not a whit of difference. Some last longer than others while the pendulum swings with an occasional sop to We, The People; but nothing changes.

    You are young. Get out there, chase girls, jump from high places, take selfies and post ’em, get sozzled at the Oktoberfest … but don’t think that you can make a meaningful change. Not without knowing the secret handshakes and passwords, and they too are legion. But you have to be in effect ‘to the manner born’.

    Democracy? How did Lincoln so superbly (but inaccurately) put it in his Gettysburg Address—

    Government of the people, by the people, for the people

    —who could possibly gainsay that? Me, for a start … I say that what we have (possible exception Switzerland) (for now) is more accurately—

    Government of the people, by the party, for the party

    —and invite rebuttal. (I’ve done that frequently over the last many years and am still awaiting.)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. As a study it’s the second-best provider of insights to human nature.

        And ‘representative democracy’ … isn’t. If you want wisdom keep asking questions but always evaluate the answers you’re getting against what you actually know. And always always always the very best question to keep in mind is “What’s in it for him?” (or her, or it …).

        Best advice in retrospect from an old dog? Don’t study life … live it~!


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