There appears to be a consensus on the Right that former Congressman Ron Paul (RINO-TX) is a leftist libertarian nut, a fruitcake, and a man totally unfit for public office. That consensus cost him three presidential elections in which he failed to win a single state (thus losing in all 50 states 3 times each): in 1988, 2008, and 2012.
However, many of my fellow right-wingers, including some of my good friends, are for some reason infatuated with his son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and are open to voting for him if he runs for President. They have been fooled by him and the pseudoconservative media, and delude themselves, that Rand Paul is more reasonable, saner, and less extremist in his libertarian beliefs than his father.
This is the result of careful media efforts by Rand Paul himself and his staffers. Rand Paul, who apparently wants to be elected President someday, understood early on that to win, he’d need to get the votes of conservatives, and to receive them, he’d have to moderate his image.
But he also understood that he would not have to change the substance of his views and the policies he supports – merely the way he advocates them. In other words, he would have to soften only his style, not the substance. Only the rhetoric, not the policies themselves.
Compared to his loathsome father, he has changed only the style, not the substance.
The only difference is the STYLE, not the SUBSTANCE. His father was a wolf in wolf’s clothing; Rand is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Let’s look at what he has actually done and said.
Rand Paul, the defense weakling
Rand Paul, like his father, supports massive defense cuts. The difference between him and his father is that he pretends to support a strong defense – while supporting deep budgetary cuts.
He claims he’s for a strong defense, but he supports sequestration and possibly even deeper defense cuts. Sequestration, as I have already documented, means cutting $46 bn from the base defense budget in FY2013 alone, and $55 bn in every successive FY through FY2022. It means cutting the base defense budget from $525 bn pre-sequestration to $469 bn in FY2013 post-sequestration (while the OCO/war budget is also being cut significantly) and keeping it down for the remainder of the sequestration decade (if not longer). By FY2022, a decade from now, the defense budget will still be at a low, pathetic $493 bn – $32 bn LOWER than two weeks ago (before sequestration).
And under sequestration, the DOD has NO latitude whatsoever about to where to make the cuts. The House and the Senate originally planned to give the DOD that latitude, but the Senate has now backtracked on that plan.
But Rand Paul doesn’t merely support the sequester. He thinks that not only should the sequester be kept, but that defense spending should be cut even further.
Simoultaneously, Paul has been spreading utterly false garbage propaganda from leftist libertarians (such as Veronique de Rugy and CATO Institute propagandists) claiming that sequestration would be a mere cut in the rate of growth of defense spending and not a real defense spending cut. But, as I have proven above, and many times on my blog, sequestration is not a mere cut in the rate of growth of defense spending; it is a REAL, DEEP, IMMEDIATE, and PERMANENT cut in defense spending.
He has also falsely claimed that defense spending has increased by 137% (when it has actually increased only by 67% since FY2001, has declined since its peak in FY2010, and that includes GWOT spending) and made other false claims about defense spending.
So not only does he support deep defense cuts, in concert with his CATO Institute buddies, he also spreads utterly false propaganda about US defense spending, thus misleading the public. A liar cannot and must not be entrusted with public office.
Rand preaches the Constitution, but doesn’t respect it himself
Rand Paul likes to lecture others about the need to respect the Constitution and says that “the Constitution should be our guide.” But he doesn’t respect it himself. Like all other politicians in Washington, DC, he has his pet issues and is willing to set his principles and the Constitution aside for the sake of these pet issues.
For example, he supports the National Right to Work bill, which, if passed, would overturn all state laws on the subject of employment and unionization (or the lack thereof) and mandate the right to work by federal statute. This would not only violate the 10th Amendment and state laws on the matter, it would also take away a key competitive advantage of conservative states (like Texas, Virginia, and Florida) away from them.
He also supports a federal ban on abortion, again disrespecting the Constitution, which reserves this issue (and millions of other issues) to the states. Don’t get me wrong: I’m firmly pro-life. But I believe in the Constitution first and foremost. And the Constitution reserves all issues not explicitly assigned to the federal government to the states. The federal government has no power to ban abortion, just like it doesn’t have any power to legalize it. The issue is up to the states to decide.
The problem with Roe v. Wade is not so much that it legalized abortion as that it took away the states’ right to settle this issue. The genius of the Constitution is that it reserves virtually all contentious issues (other than questions of war and peace) to state and local governments, thus allowing each state and each city/town to decide how to settle this issue in line with the wishes of their respective citizens. Thus, all states and their citizens can live in peace, because each state can settle an issue in line with what its citizens want, regardless of what other states or the federal government think.
Before Roe, there were 50 different state laws. The US still has 50 different state laws on issues such as marriage, road safety, drivers’ licensing, employment, construction, etc. And that is as it’s supposed to be.
Yet, Rand Paul wants to take away states’ rights to settle issues reserved to them as they see fit. He wants to set the federal government up as a policeman over the states. This is the last thing the Founding Fathers wanted.
Rand Paul and the Balanced Budget Amendment
But even that affront to the Constitution, to states’ rights, and to the people’s right to settle issues as they see fit is dwarfed by Sen. Paul’s (and all other GOP Senators’) endorsement of the Balanced Budget Amendment, which, if ratified (God forbid), would forever end the Constitutional limitations on the federal government.
As my fellow conservative blogger Publius Huldah has documented, the Constitution currently authorizes only a federal government of very limited, strictly enumerated powers. Accordingly, most annual federal spending (75% according to my analysis) is unconstitutional and therefore illegal.
But, as PH also documents, the BBA would transform the federal government into one of general, unlimited powers. It would legalize the current, illegal federal Leviathan forever. It would authorize the feds to spend money on anything they want – as long as their annual spending doesn’t exceed 20% of America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
And what is GDP? It’s a computation produced by the Department of Commerce, an agency controlled by the President. In other words, the President would determine the basis on which to assess whether federal spending exceeds the BBA’s limit of 20% of GDP. (Under the BBA, the President would also write the budget, including determining both taxes and spending – powers reserved strictly to the Congress. Goodbye, Congressional power of the purse.)
So the BBA would change the Constitution beyond recognition – from one authorizing a limited government of enumerated powers to one authorizing an unlimited federal Leviathan of unlimited, general powers, and from one reserving the power of the purse (i.e. authority on taxes and spending) STRICTLY to the Congress to one delegating that authority to the President – the figure about whose accumulation of power Sen. Paul pretends to be concerned about. He thinks it’s wrong for the President to kill you with a drone or to detain you indefinitely, but it’s OK to give the President the power to tax you to death and to spend your money as he sees fit.
This is the scam that Sen. Paul supports – as do all other GOP Senators.
“Containing” a nuclear Iran
Sen. Paul also supports a policy of “containment” towards a nuclear Iran and adamantly opposes any notion of a preemptive strike on Iran, any talk about it, and even voted against a resolution merely stating the sense of Congress that a nuclear Iran would be unacceptable, falsely claiming that it was a blank check for war with Iran and an endorsement of the concept of preemptive war.
His claim is utterly false – the Senate was merely disapproving the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran – and voting for it was not an endorsement of war with Iran (preemptive or otherwise), let alone of the concept of preemptive war in general. Moreover, a nuclear-armed Iran, if it were to become a reality, could not be “contained” – it would spark a regional nuclear arms race in the Middle East, as other countries in that region – especially in the Gulf, where ballistic missile flight times are measured in single minutes – would race to develop their own nuclear arsenals. CENTCOM commander, Gen. James Mattis, has recently confirmed in a Congressional testimony that at least one Middle Eastern country has indicated to him that it would develop its own nuclear weapons if Iran goes nuclear.
In general, Rand Paul is hopelessly naive: he talks about “containing” Radical Islam, which, being Islam, cannot be contained: its goal is the conquest of the whole world. Islam divides the world into “Dar al-Islam” (“the House of Islam”), where Sharia already reigns supreme, and “Dar al-Harb” (“The House of War”), where Islam does not yet prevail, and commands its followers to wage a holy war (“jihad”) upon the “House of War” until it is subjugated to Islam.
Any person claiming that Radical Islam, or a nuclear-armed Iran, could be “contained” is hopelessly naive, if not worse.
A change in style, not in substance
It is surprising and astonishing how many conservatives Rand Paul has managed to fool. Make no mistake, he professes the SAME libertarian, anti-American, pro-weak-defense views as his father Ron Paul. The only thing that’s changed in comparison is the style, not the substance.
Ron Paul was a wolf in wolf’s clothing. Rand Paul is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Conservatives must not be fooled by this pseudoconservative imposter. The GOP’s future depends on it.
And in general, conservatives must beware this libertarian tactic of trying to gain conservatives’ trust by agreeing with us on 95% of the issues so that we’ll overlook the other 5%. The 5% that counts most.
I, Zbigniew Mazurak, like everyone else, have some personal flaws. But all of them can be overlooked with just a little good will. But if I were to sell drugs to schoolchildren, that could NOT be overlooked. That would be a friendship breaker.
Similarly, Rand Paul’s and other libertarians’ advocacy of deep defense cuts, isolationism, a federal policeman over the states, and of the Balanced Budget Amendment cannot be overlooked. It MUST be a disqualifier.
No one should be fooled by Rand Paul.
Postscript: Libertarians, of course, wish for Rand Paul to win the 2016 GOP presidential nomination and the White House, a goal that his father never even came close to accomplishing. But while Rand Paul may win the nomination, he will certainly fail to win the White House. There is NO Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton in 2016 (or 2020). (Although part of me would like to see Rand Paul be nominated and then crushed by Hillary so that he and his libertarian fans would at least be taught a lesson.)