(Disclaimer from Elementary Politics Staff. These articles were compiled in April. There has not been a single debate. We fully admit that it is too early for any rational person to settle on any one candidate. A dark horse that we now think has no chance may rise, someone who looks great may find their inner Todd Akin and blow it. The most we can do is look at the limited information we have at present and look for glaring red flags on which to completely dismiss a candidate at this early stage. But at this point no clear endorsement is being made by Elementary Politics…although we do believe several of them have some glaring red flags).
He has name recognition. He has been around and has a family legacy. He takes strong stances on issues important to him (drones, etc.). It shows guts, something the current President does not have. He’s not simply a good ol’ boy from Kentucky. He does philanthropic work with medicine around the world, which shows compassion and that he has a career outside of politics. He is Social media savvy. Rand Paul appears to be a breath of fresh air much needed in D.C. He speaks plainly, but with passion and clarity.
So, yes, there are some surface positives, but when you really dig into the details there are some serious issues raised.
Since he first came on the stage the questions has been is he the sane version of his father or is he just a different kind of crazy. The sad answer is that it depends on the tides. Some days he tries to portray himself as the a reasoned statesman, the next he’s channeling the wacky rantings of father. But for this real life Harvey Dent it’s not just that he’s a two-faced politician, it’s that both faces are kind of crazy. One minute he’s portraying himself as the populist Tea Party candidate who will stand against the mythical “establishment” the next he is sucking up for Mitch McConnell’s endorsement and praising John McCain (let’s be honest here, the term RINO gets thrown around too often, but if it applies to only one person it applies to John McCain who never met a Republican principle he wouldn’t stab in the back for five minutes of good press).
Pick a side Rand because these two positions are so diametrically opposed they cannot be reconciled in any way that conforms to reason.
The rest of his policies show as much consistency. The only thing consistent about him is the devotion of his followers.
Now you would think that economic policies would be where a Paul would shine. However a review of his legislative history shows that, well, , he doesn’t really get economics. The closest thing you come to good economics is his bill for economic free zones. Let’s ignore the fact that this changes the rule for some people and not for others, because why should equality under the law matter. Obama picked his winners and losers and Rand should be allowed to pick his. Or in Rand’s own words: “Can you imagine what a billion-dollar stimulus could do for Detroit or for Appalachia?” To hell with the government playing favorites being one of the problems we need to get rid of. Let’s deal with two more pressing parts. One is the fact that he envisions this in places like Detroit. Now either he’s only reducing federal taxes in this area which doesn’t get at the root problem of it was the state and local government taxes and regulations that caused the real problem…or he’s going to deal with the state and local issues through federal power, thus ignoring the 10th Amendment and all of federalism. Cool. I can’t wait for a third Obama term but with a distinctly right tilt but an equal regard for the rule of law. Finally there is the problem that these zones are not permanent, they are temporary by nature, and temporary reform does not solves problems—like the Bush tax cuts which everyone knew were ending or welfare recipients who know if they work just a little harder they’ll be thrown off the voter roll…no one will do well enough to ensure that the economic breaks will end, thus it will never lead to recovery. Economic reform doesn’t work if it comes with an end date. And evidence does show that this kind of reform doesn’t work.
Other than that, Rand certainly hates the Fed and has said he hates government intervention and wants the free market…but a specific action to accomplish this I cannot find. And granted it’s early in the election cycle so I really shouldn’t expect a detailed plan…but, something, anything, would be nice.
Now, in addition to wanting to audit the Fed, Rand Paul also wants to audit the Pentagon. Okay, there is a lot of waste in the Pentagon, and possibly a really good audit could find ways to cut down on the fact that we have a larger ratio of support to active duty personal than any other country on Earth for no reason that anyone can explain to me. Any and every conservative should be for cutting the fat out of the Pentagon…and every other department. Rand Paul has only submitted bills for auditing the Fed and the Pentagon. Not HHS (Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare), the Department of Agriculture (possibly the most useless of all branches of government), the IRS, State (what did they spend money on rather than security at Benghazi?). Nope none of that. Just the Fed (which we know he hates) and the DOD (which we’re supposed to believe he doesn’t hate, but which he treats like the thing he thinks is the work of the devil).
On voter rights Rand Paul thinks that Voter ID is dumb but that we should give the right to vote back to felons. All of that just is sure to improve the electorate.
He endorses the lies of the anti-vax movement saying that there are cases where it has caused mental disabilities.
He is against judicial restraint, what is usually viewed as one of the few things holding the growth of government back.
On social policy Paul has been challenging Democrats on abortion. In fact he seems to be talking about abortion more than economics lately. It is an odd choice for a libertarian candidate and screams of pandering to social conservatives. But don’t worry last year his views were slightly different, so we’re sure he’ll come back to those eventually, and the switch again when it’s politically convenient.
And then, of course, you have foreign policy.
What Paul seems to do a lot it hesitate more than offer any form of answer. If you are uncomfortable with your lack of information you say
“Based on what I know now, which may change I would do _______” not “well it all depends on what I know.” If I refuse to make a choice based on the information you have, how do I know you will ever be satisfied with the amount of information you have. Leadership often requires making logical choices based on limited information. A leader shows they can do this, Rand not so much. Also I have serious problems with his statement that “containment was a great policy.” I have an idea let’s ask all the Soviets who would have been liberated if we followed Patton’s idea to just keep marching through Eastern Europe and Russia until we hit a demoralized, foodless, gas less, bulletless army in the middle of Russia and destroyed them before Russia ever had a bomb. Let’s ask the people in Hungary who revolted against Soviet control expecting that we would back them. Let’s ask the monks in Tibet who were left on their own because we believed in containment rather than interference with Maoist China. Let’s ask the people in North Korea who were left to the rule of the Kim’s in the 1950’s because we chose to contain communism. Let’s ask the people who risked their lives for democracy in South Vietnam but were left to fend for themselves when we left. Let’s ask the legitimate government of Afghanistan that was successfully westernizing the nation in the 1970’s. Let’s ask all these people how great an idea containment was. Oh, wait, we can’t…because they were mercilessly butchered.
And in 2014 “I am not for containment in Iran.” But you know, now he’s not so much for letting Obama get rid of containment.
Rand Paul is staunchly against intervention. Except when he isn’t. But he respects John McCain, the only person all parts of the Republican party can admit is not a conservative…and let’s be honest here John McCain wanted to intervene WITH ISIS and Al-Qaeda. But he may clarify when he is for intervention by pointing out that he isn’t for it. One minute he is against intervening in Ukraine, the next he is supporting their defense against Russia. Quite frankly I’m not sure exactly where Rand Paul is on foreign issues, he’s held such contradictory opinions in such a short space of time and changes for no reason, it says a lot about his followers that he doesn’t get shot down for being a flip-flopper.
The one thing is that he is definitely against is neo-cons.
He refuses to tell us who he considers a neo-con, but they’re in favor of getting involved in every foreign issue in the world. He points to all the neo-cons who wanted to give Obama the authority to bomb Libya as proof of the fact that neo-conservatives are dangerous (in the Republican controlled House, only 10 Republicans voted to give Obama authority in Libya, not one of them could be called a Neo-con by any reasonable understanding of the term) so I’m not sure who he means. But those Neo-cons, like “the Establishment”, the boogeyman, and possibly the Illuminati, they’re up to no good even if Rand can’t actually give us specifics. Oh but understand that ISIS’s threat is only conjecture according to Paul. And he sided with the Obama administration on helping the Castro regime in Cuba by opening the country up again.
But he also supports Israel, while as seen above doing nothing to stop anyone who might pose a threat to Israel.
But he praises Reagan’s foreign policy and says containment worked.
But these problems could be cause because he’s not always using his own words as he has been caught plagiarizing before.
But you know what, Rand is cool. And we know how effective cool is in the oval office. Rand also relies on the time honored policy of never have specifics but phrasing things in such a way as to let people listening fill in the blanks with what they want to hear rather what he said–just like the last cool president. So we should all hope that he will change things in Washington.