Rand Paul, Brings The Message Of Liberty to America

Tom Donelson
February 7, 2013 Posted by Tom Donelson tomdonelson@aol.com

Rand Paul, Ron Paul

Senator Rand Paul and his father Ron Paul

Rand Paul has shown himself  to be a serious politician who understands the political landscape.  He is attempting to do what his dad could not and what other libertarians have failed at, and that is to bring libertarian viewpoints into the mainstream.

A friend of mine once observed that if you have a million listeners a day, you have a hit radio show but if you have million voters; you have the libertarian Party.  As a party, Libertarians never have garner more than a million votes for the Presidency and in most state races; Libertarians are lucky to collect 1 or 2% of the vote.  This is not to say that Libertarians are wrong, just that they have never established the political organization to be a factor.

Ron Paul‘s biggest influence never came when he was a Libertarian candidate, but when he ran in the Republican primary over the past two elections.  I would suspect  he garnered more votes as a Republican than he ever did or could as a Libertarian.   Ron Paul’s influence is starting to be felt as many of his supporters have gone back to grass roots politics with the idea of controlling the local party machines.  The leadership of the Iowa political machine is dominated by Ron Paul supporters who took over after the Iowa caucus.  Paul’s machine is learning that to win in the long term means having access to a major Party apparatus.  The  Libertarian movement as a separate political identity has reached its limit but their ideas are now having an impact.

Rand Paul advantages lies with several factors.  The first is that his father has shown that there are enough Republicans ready for Libertarian ideas; many of them younger voters who are willing to listen to the message.  Rand Paul is a better retail politician than his father ever could hope to be.  Ron Paul’s political base was a heavily Republican congressional district in Texas but Rand Paul has won a state wide seat in Kentucky.  While Kentucky is a red state, it is also a state that a Democrat can win and Paul showed political skills in overcoming the Republican establishment and then managing to unite the Party in the general election to win an easy victory by 11 points.   Ron Paul left the impression that he didn’t care if he won or lost an election, it was about the principle.  Whereas his son understands that a little politics is needed to push an agenda.Rand Paul, LIbertarian

This could be seen in how they promote their non-interventionist policy.  Ron Paul’s critique of American foreign policy has been consistent regardless of who was President.  But his critique often resembled the left; it is America’s fault.  For many years, many isolationists viewed that American interventionist policy would lead to the world contaminating America and an expansion of governmental powers.  Paul accepted the leftist view that it is America who is the major problem in the world.

One glimpse into into both Paul’s worldview was shown in his cross examination of John Kerry’s nomination when Rand Paul asked Kerry why was it evil for America to bomb Cambodia in the 70s but it is okay to bomb Libya in 2012?  This question summed up both Ron and Rand’s own view on consistency and a small government approach to foreign affairs.

Rand Paul’s critique is similar to the old right view that American interventionist policy leads to an expansion of government at home and world instability, but he never publicly viewed America as the source of evil.  His unabashed support of Israel stands in stark contrast to others in the non-interventionist movement.  He also doesn’t support an activist America policy in the region.  There is a difference between standing with Israel and intervening in Libya or Syria.  His support of Israel is a signal to many evangelical Christians that he is on their side.

The two biggest challenges to Rand Paul will be his relations with the social conservatives and mainstream Republicans.  When it comes to foreign policy, Paul will continue the non-interventionist policy of his dad even it means a change in the nuance of how that policy is stated.   The second is his position on many social issues.  He is pro-life and like many pro-life libertarian, he views the right to be born as part of the Jefferson written trifecta of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  He views the issue through a prism, not as a right of woman to choose, but that both the unborn and the mother are entitled to the right of life.Rand Paul

On the issues of drugs and same sex marriage, his position has more nuances.  While he does not approve of same sex marriage personally and certainly, one doesn’t expect Rand Paul to smoke joints on a daily basis, he views that the issues should be decided by the people themselves.  As for the drug war, Paul shares libertarian skepticism toward the drug war and its efficacy.  Paul’s view is that those items not mentioned in the constitution like same-sex marriage or the drug war are best left to the people and localities.  These are the areas where Paul will push for the limited government, particularly the federal government, in our lives.

Paul’s point to social conservatives is that there are issues best left to the people and while he may not believe in a constitutional right for gays to be married; he is perfectly willing to allow individuals to make decisions themselves.

This brings us to the key aspect of his challenge; bringing Libertarian’s into the mainstream which means Libertarian ideas must be part of a major Political Party platform.  While many younger conservatives find Paul’s libertarian views appealing; many of their parents do no.  The final challenge to Paul’s political aspirations is that while many Americans find his social libertarian views appealing, they have yet accept his economic vision of smaller government.  If they did, Obama would not have won.

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4 Responses to Rand Paul, Brings The Message Of Liberty to America

  1. David Burris on February 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Tom – I can’t resist commenting on this post. Rand Paul is no more a libertarian than I am. I assume your definition of libertarian involves someone who believes in a government with a greatly reduced role that maximizes personal liberty. Just because someone believes in reducing the power of the federal government because it tends to provide “liberal” protections and transferring that power to state or local governments so that they can deprive certain people of “liberal” protections hardly makes them a libertarian. I find the term “pro-life libertarian” to be an oxymoron of the nth degree. To deny a woman the right to control her most intimate personal medical decisions and leave it up to a majority vote of her neighbors state by state as to what liberty she is allowed to have is about as anti-libertarian as it gets. To leave the rights of gay Americans up to a majority vote in the states rather than rely on a federal government that appears to be on the verge of granting them the same liberty and rights as the rest of us is definitely not libertarian. Maximum personal liberty resulting in restaurants, hotels, and other private businesses with signs at the door banning African-Americans, or hispanics, or Jews from entering or being served, which is something Rand Paul does believe in allowing, is not a country I would like to see. I remember those days as a child and they were not pretty. I am all for rule by the majority with protection of the minority. Rand Paul is not a libertarian. Rand Paul is an anti-federal government conservative who wants to impose his ultra-conservative views on others by way of state and local government intrusion into the personal lives of individuals and by destroying equal protection for members of minority groups by shifting power from a level of government he disagrees with to a level of government he believes will impose his views on others. – Dave Burris

  2. Tom Donelson on February 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Being a pro-choice libertarian is more than oxymoron tha the other way around. Problems with pro-choice advocates is that somehow the unborn child is forgotten and as I pointed out in a previous column, the problem with abortion is that you have two human life occupying the same geography. If the unborn is indeed life and that is biological fact that it is, the real debate is where do we protect the mother as the expense of the baby and vice a versa. The mother does not have complete authority over the life of the baby but there is no doubt that most Americans including many in the pro-life are perfectly willing to allow exception that protects the mother just as life of the mother or rape and incest. I have yet to hear where pro-choice states where abortion should not be allowed to protect the unborn.

    When you decide that the unborn child has some right to life libery and pursuit of happiness; then you will have to admit that the pro-choice has become the the true extremist but I won’t my breath on that. There is better case for pro-life libertarian than pro-choice.

    As for gay rights, Paul has been supportive of gays right to get married but the problem with progressives is that they are not willing to adopt any standards. Do we allow polgamy or bigamy, do we lower the age of consent? So you tell me who makes the decision on what is defination of marriage. It is not as simple as one protrays it. I will add that the movement for bigamy and polgamy has begun and there is a movement to lower the age of consent. So when does society have a right to determine those matters of defining family?

    As usual you can have the last word since I know you rarely get it home with all those lovely women in your life as you once mention.

    • David Burris on February 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm

      What we have in place now, the Roe trimester/viability framework, balances a woman’s rights and the rights of the unborn. Yet, quite a few states are perfectly willing to violate “the law of the land” and try to pass laws that violate the Supreme Court’s ruling every chance they get. We don’t have unlimited abortion…and we don’t have a ban on all abortion…we have a compromise. Rand Paul would like to see a fertilized zygote smaller than . have more rights than an adult woman. On marriage, because the definition could be difficult, you would deprive millions of people who are born gay to liberty and the pursuit of happiness? My last word? I believe that women should be able to make their own health choices, everyone should be treated equally, all drugs should be legal, we should only go to war as the last option and every citizen should get to vote. I wonder why liberal and libertarian sound so much alike?

  3. Tim Ross on February 19, 2013 at 7:27 am

    He’s better described as a “Republitarian”

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