With Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) the first out of the gate to run for GOP president, the field has expanded to two with another senator, Rand Paul from Kentucky. Sounding like a weak imitation of Cruz, Paul began his launch with the statement, “We have come to take our country back!” Exactly how, no one knows because he has a history of flip-flopping, mostly about his libertarian beliefs. Since he appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show during his senatorial candidacy, he changed his opposition to the Civil Rights Act that requires businesses to accept everyone except LGBT people. Within two years, he declared that he had never said such a thing!
According to their platform, libertarians are socially liberal but fiscally conservative. Elizabeth Parker writes that Rand Paul wants a government so small that “it will fit in a woman’s uterus.” When he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, he fit better into this category. Lust for the presidency has turned him “fuzzy” about his beliefs in order to satisfy every camp in the Republican party.
Abortion: Paul is so opposed to pro-choice rights that he sponsored The Life at Conception Act, promoting personhood so radical that it states “human life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore is entitled to legal protection from that point forward.” He talked about his bill at length in a fundraising video for the National Pro-Life Alliance and received a perfect rating from the National Right to Life Counsel. Planned Parenthood gave him a zero.
Marriage Equality: Paul finds same-sex marriage to be “offensive” and warned the GOP against shifting its position on this issue. He warned that any deviation from “traditional” marriage might lead to people marrying animals. Even anti-gay activist Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) found Paul’s joke about President Obama’s decision to support marriage to be out of bounds when Paul said, “Call me cynical, but I wasn’t sure his views on marriage could get any gayer.” RNC Chair Reince Priebus refused to defend Paul and said, “I don’t know what he meant by that.” When Paul wants marriage equality left to the states, he thinks it’s the best way to eliminate same-sex marriage out of most states. Paul received a 100 percent rating from the Family Research Council.
Defense Spending: Paul wants a huge increase in military spending—16 percent–after supporting cuts earlier in his federal career. Time called Paul’s switch a “stunning reversal.”
Military Force: Paul told the Conservative Political Action Conference in February that his priority would be “a national defense unparalleled, undefeated and unencumbered by nation-building.” He was one of the 47 GOP senators sending an open letter to Iran’s leaders, telling them that any nuclear deal would not be binding past the end of the Obama presidency if it were not agreed to by Congress. He described Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as “an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism,” Paul tweeted.
Drones: Paul wants drones used everywhere except for “a targeted killing ordered against a U.S. citizen on American soil” without a warrant. Targeted killings overseas and drones used as border security are fine with him.
Foreign Aid: Although proposing an end to all foreign aid, including to Israel, Paul now claims that he never tried to end any aid to Israel.
Voting Rights: Rand told the conservative Newsmax that he opposes the Voting Rights Act to replace voting rights after the Supreme Court gutted the 50-year-old law. That was before he told the Urban League that he supports the Voting Rights Act. After telling a group of black pastors that the GOP should stop their restrictive voter ID laws, he told Sean Hannity that the voter ID laws are fine with him but regrets their negative attention.
Marijuana: Rand thinks that marijuana should not be legalized because smoking marijuana is “a bad thing to do” but advocates reduced penalties for drug use and possession. The libertarian magazine, Reason, didn’t approve: “He wants to keep everything illegal, but institute gentler penalties. That’s not remotely libertarian.”
Free Speech: Paul suggested that people should be put into prison for listening to “radical political speeches.” He told Sean Hannity that he opposed some racial profiling but supported the profiling, deportation, and even imprisonment of people if the government determined they were listening to “radical political speeches.”
NSA: Paul claimed he opposes the domestic surveillance apparatus and the PATRIOT Act but voted against a NSA reform act because he claimed that the bill didn’t go far enough. Again, libertarians criticized Paul’s lack of their support.
Inequality Protecting the Wealthy: Rand’s flat tax plan would give a huge tax break to the rich, and conservatives agree that it would raise taxes on the poor. His tax reform plan also cuts more taxes for the rich by repealing the estate tax and the capital gains tax.
Federal Reserve: Paul’s new bill to audit the auditors of the Federal Reserve would create another secret layer of government. Paul’s audit would be issued in secret to some congressional members with no open documentation. It also doesn’t designate what would be audited, leaving the opportunity to scrutinize the auditors’ personal lives, and orders the comptroller to break international treaties by striking a provision of code which is required to keep the Federal Reserve in compliance for discussions with members of Congress and foreign ambassadors. The bill would replace the section authorizing current audits of Federal Reserve Credit Facilities, meaning that no audits would be available for public review and allowing Congress to directly manipulate the monetary markets. Congress can authorize loans to various private interest groups without a full accounting in the public domain. At this time, an independent, outside firm audits the Federal Reserve.
“Religious Liberty”: Although he stayed silent in the recent Indiana law about allowing discrimination, he told a group of pastors at a private breakfast that “the First Amendment says keep government out of religion. It doesn’t say keep religion out of government.” Of course, he’s wrong because the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits government’s favoring one religion over another or giving preferential treatment to either religion or non-religion. The pastors, however, were happy.
Nick Gillespie, editor in chief of the libertarian magazine Reason, said about Paul:
“To the extent he sounds more like every conservative Republican, he sounds less interesting to libertarians. I don’t see what he picks up by being a version of Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.”
Rand Paul comes to the candidacy with a lot of negative baggage. When CNBC host Kelly Evans challenged Paul’s claim that vaccines can cause mental disorders in children, Paul’s friend and former professional associate Alex Jones attacked Evans:
“You realize you’re signing on to a system of murder, you little piece of trash, tramp, filth, scum woman. You arrogant piece of garbage! I’m sick of all you people up there lecturing us. She’s the type of woman that wants Super Bowl ads to say, ‘Sorry you had a boy.’ All a bunch of pinhead cult members.”
Paul wasn’t much better in his interview with Evans. When she asked him for specifics about a bill granting companies a “holiday corporate tax rate” to bring assets back to the United States, he said, “Hey, hey, Kelly? Calm down a bit here, Kelly.” Then he shushed her.
For this past Valentine’s Day, Paul, or someone in his office, set of a fake Hillary Clinton Pinterest that attempted to show she was only interested in how the White House was furnished with suggestions of how to make the Oval Office more “chic.” Another image showed Clinton surrounded by hearts and saying, “I’m Benghazing at you.” The month before, he tweeted a satirical “secret phone call” between former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, lampooning the relationships between their two clans. In December he ridiculed Rick Santorum’s sweater vests.
These are just his recent peccadilloes. In the past, he led the 2013 government shutdown that cost the U.S. $24 billion. He opposes giving unwed women any aid in getting birth control but wants to cut off their benefits if they have more children. He opposes self-government by voting against measures passed by Washington, D.C. regarding guns, abortion, and unions. He said, “We don’t have [authority] over the states but we do for DC.”
Caught plagiarizing his speeches and books, Paul accused critics of being “haters.” He couldn’t even stream his campaign announcement because he failed to get copyright permission for the music, John Rich’s “Shuttin’ Detroit Down”: YouTube blocked the video of Paul’s speech.
As a libertarian, Rand Paul is a fraud as he castigates the establishment GOP as he becomes a part of it. As a president, he would be a disaster.