Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rand Paul: Congress Has a Duty to Preserve the 2nd Amendment

From his latest Washington Times column:

Restricting Americans' ability to purchase firearms readily and freely will do nothing to stop national tragedies such as those that happened in Newtown, Conn., and in Aurora, Colo. It will do much to give criminals and potential killers an unfair advantage by hampering law-abiding citizens' ability to defend themselves and their families.


Gun control itself is unreasonable.Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the entire country — and one of the worst gun-crime rates, with more than 500 homicides last year. Compare this to Virginia, where in the past six years, gun sales went up by 73 percent, while violent gun crime fell 24 percent. The types of firearms and clips the left is currently so intent on banning are used in fewer than 2 percent of gun crimes — and how many of those crimes involve registered weapons? Few to none.

For every national tragedy that happens, there are hundreds if not thousands of examples of Americans preventing similar killings from happening, thanks to the use of personal firearms. Last June, for example, a 14-year-old Phoenix boy shot an armed intruder who broke into his home while he was baby-sitting his three younger siblings. The children were home alone on a Saturday afternoon when an unrecognized woman rang their doorbell. After the 14-year-old boy refused to open the door, he heard a loud bang, which indicated that someone was trying to break into the house. The boy hurried his younger siblings upstairs and collected a handgun from his parents' room. When the boy rounded the top of the stairs, there was a man standing in the doorway with a gun pointed at him. The boy shot at the intruder and saved the lives of his three younger siblings.


I took an oath to uphold the First Amendment. I took an oath to uphold the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment reads: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It doesn't say "might be" infringed. Nor does it say "could be" infringed. It read "shall not" be infringed. The current gun-control legislation being proposed unquestionably infringes.For these reasons, I will work diligently to stop any such gun-control legislation. Our Constitution, individual liberty and personal safety depend on it.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Time: Rand is more artful than his father was

Rand continues to impress:

Like his father, Paul opposes foreign aid, a position that puts him at odds with the vast majority of his party. "I think the foreign aid doesn't work," he told the crowd. Eyebrows raised. But then Paul asked why the U.S. should send money to countries that burn American flags, and why we should allocate money for bridges in Egypt or Pakistan when bridges are crumbling stateside. Heads nodded; a woman in pearls murmured softly, "Amen." Later, a disabled Vietnam veteran expressed concerns about cutting the Pentagon budget, a measure Paul favors. "To take care of veterans who come home from war, you've going to have to cut waste at the Pentagon and audit the Pentagon," he said. That should include shuttering military bases, he said. "I'm not saying don't have any," he hastened, adding that maintaining a strong national defense was among the signal responsibilities of government. "I'm just saying maybe not 900. I mean, I'd rather have one at Fort Campbell and Fort Knox" — Kentucky installations that offer jobs in his state — "than one in Timbuktu."

Ron Paul might have answered this question with a screed about U.S. imperialism. Rand's lighter touch goes a long way. "Rand is more political" than his father, says an ally of both Pauls. "There were years when Ron spoke at CPAC and started in on foreign policy, and you could see the shades go down. Rand has an ability to speak that same audience and say the same thing, but do it in a way that they'll listen."

"When there are certain positions he has that aren't as popular," explains Trey Grayson, Paul's former Senate primary opponent and now the Director of Harvard's Institute of Politics, "he's adept at marketing it to sound less objectionable."

It's a talent that has lifted Paul's status in the Senate, and it is playing equally well back home. To cement his base of support within a Republican Party that still has misgivings about libertarian doctrine, Paul must continue to win over the kind of conservatives who shunned his father as fringey. People like Shirley Wiseman, a real-estate developer who worked as assistant secretary for housing in the Reagan Administration. "I am a centralist Republican conservative," she says. "I am not a Tea Partyer." Wiseman was a strong supporter of Mitt Romney. She thought Ron Paul was "too far right." But while she concedes that Ron and Rand Paul's beliefs are similar, "I know what good conservatives are in Washington," she says. "Rand Paul is one of those people."

Rand Paul on Hannity: We Will Filibuster All Gun Control Bills as None of Them Would Have Stopped Newtown

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Rand Paul Litmus Test

Matt Welch at Reason may be on to something:

Isn't Rand Paul a valuable litmus test? I'm not saying that disagreeing with any given politician proves one thing or another about a person, but if you look at the bipartisan list of people who have been screaming themselves purple about the junior senator from Kentucky–Bruni,John McCainLawrence O'DonnellWilliam KristolGarrett EppsMichael GersonJohn Yoo–you quickly detect one important trait in common: They are all reliable apologists for the government exercise of power. While the particular power being championed may vary, and the tenor of the argument will change depending on which political party is exercising it this season, the truism remains that Rand Paul poses a direct challenge to people who get irritated when there's any obstruction between their goals and government's ability to pursue them.

For that and other reasons, Paul is not only the most interesting man in the Senate, but I think the most interesting player in American politics today.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ilya Shapiro: Rand Paul Can Shape the Future of Conservatism

As Reagan famously put it "the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism", so conservatism is really just going back to its roots, where it probably should have been all along.  Anyway, here is Ilya Shapiro on Rand Paul and the future of conservatism:

After the election losses in 2012, some Republicans have advocated a need to change. In comes Rand Paul, who may well be on the leading edge of a new conservatism, which will focus on four areas:

1. Its social policy will focus primarily on protecting freedom of conscience in an increasingly pluralistic society, while undoing the excesses of the drug war and punitive sentencing for nonviolent crime. For example, as the country moves toward acceptance of same-sex marriage, some states have restricted the ability of Catholic charities to continue functioning without violating key religious tenets. People may disagree on moral issues, but a nation where religious charities can't operate is a far worse place.

2. This new conservatism will align with the ideas of governors such as Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who are fighting battles for domestic policy reform. At stake are the power of public-sector unions and the future of entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. The challenge is to fix our fiscal woes while protecting the vulnerable in society, as religious conservatives understand is required by their faith. Without fiscal temperance, as well as education reform and a better regulatory environment, there will neither be the opportunity for social mobility nor resources for a social safety net, public or private.

3. We also need to unwind our military engagements while maintaining flexibility in a rapidly changing world. Numbers don't lie, and our debt and deficits demand a reduction in military spending. Conservatives should aim to achieve the necessary reductions in a smart fashion that maintains readiness and doesn't endanger America's interests. This will be a challenging balancing act, but it should be driven by strategic concerns rather than arbitrary benchmarks.

4. Finally, conservatives should consider comprehensive immigration reform that would allow skilled and unskilled workers to seek their American dream while granting parole, not amnesty, to those hard-working migrants now here illegally.

This recipe may not be the "ideal" that conservative pundits would like to see, and it doesn't necessarily reflect our utmost individual preferences, but it reflects the practical realities of this age.

Rand Paul hasn't (yet) changed conservatism, but his views will shape the movement's future.

A Video Primer on the Rise of Rand Paul

From Business Insider:

Conor Friedersdorf Defends Rand Paul from an Attack from the New York Times

Conor Friedersdorf sees Frank Bruni's "confused" critique of Rand Paul as an example of a a problem many of Rand Paul's critics have:

What vexes me is seeing Paul constantly subject to reductio ad libertarium, even as critics like Bruni compare him unfavorably to Jeb Bush without ever delving into the latter man's support for the Iraq War or votes to impose mandatory minimums on drug offenders -- stands that Bruni would never dare call "loopy," though their costs compared to their benefits make them look that way to me. Paul "carped about the 'nanny state' in relation to seat-belt laws. Yes, seat-belt laws," Bruni scoffs. Is he even aware that Bush repealed Florida's mandatory motorcycle helmet law? And what possible justification is there for judging these men based on a seat belt or a helmet law anyway?

Disagree with their minor positions, sure.

But reading Bruni, you start to suspect he'd be more bothered by a presidential candidate opposed to seat belt laws than one who wants to keep nonviolent marijuana offenders in jail and wage war on Iran. Like so many journalists, Bruni has adopted heuristics about what positions render a politician "crazy" that don't stand up to even cursory scrutiny, causes him to attach outsized importance to relatively unimportant stances while ignoring consequential ones, and even leads to journalistic mistakes, as with his misleading characterization of Paul's PATRIOT Act efforts.

It's time to abandon this frame for good.

Video of Rand Paul's WND Interview

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Picture of Dr. Rand Paul about to perform pro bono Cataract Surgery

The Senator/Doctor tweeted this photo today with the text "Here is a photo of Dr. Bowers and me before preforming pro bono cataract surgery this afternoon in Kentucky". Trying to paint him as heartless will be tough with items like these:

Ann Coulter Bashes Rand Paul, Hannity Calls Her Annoying

Ann Coulter tries to make the argument that Rand Paul is not "our candidate" because of his views on immigration and marijuana but then promotes Chris Christie, someone who believes in gun control, global warming and probably agrees with Rand Paul on immigration.  He is "our" candidate?  No wonder Sean Hannity called her annoying on his show:

The Rand Paul-Mitch McConnell Relationship

An interesting piece in Time:

But each offers the other important benefits. "I see two people who kind of need one another," says Grayson, who is now the director of Harvard University's Institute of Politics. For Paul, McConnell is a valuable sherpa, steeping him in the Senate's peculiar rituals, helping him navigate a fractious caucus and teaching him to make his stands without alienating colleagues. With the chamber controlled by Democrats, Republicans are allowed a limited number of amendments on legislation. McConnell grants Paul his fair share or more, which in turn leads to earned media and exposure and the chance to score political points. For a political rookie with presidential ambitions, Paul's ability to win McConnell's imprimatur is a crucial step to convincing the GOP establishment that he is more than a wild-eyed radical. "Having the Republican leader, who openly fought you in your primary bid, now showing he can work with you is an important step," says Grayson.

Rand Paul and Lamar Alexander Team Up on School Vouchers

I think it is interesting that Rand Paul is looking to use federal dollars to fund vouchers for local schools (he isn't increasing spending though, he is using already appropriated funds).  A libertarian purist would probably stay away from any federal involvement in education but he seems to be willing to work within the system to help improve children's lives through school choice:

Paul, from Kentucky, co-sponsored an amendment to Senate budget legislation with Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee who was once secretary of education. The "school choice" amendment calls for using $14.5 billion in current Title 1 funds, which are targeted to students who attend high-poverty schools, to cover 11 million students, at $1,300 per child. The money would follow a student at any accredited public or private student a family chooses.

Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee May Filibuster Gun Control

At this point it sounds like a silent filibuster but another standing one would be pretty awesome:

Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are threatening to filibuster gun-control legislation, according to a letter they plan to hand-deliver to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office on Tuesday.

"We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions," the three conservatives wrote in a copy of the signed letter obtained by POLITICO.

Reid plans to bring up a gun-control measure that focuses on broadening background checks and cracking down on interstate gun-trafficking after the current Senate recess.

Conservatives are concerned that once that bill reaches the floor, amendments could stiffen restrictions on gun control.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Complete Video of Rand Paul's Fox News Sunday Interview

Rand Paul: The Last Two Presidents Could Have Been Put Away for their Drug Use

Rand Paul on Fox News Sunday responds to a question on his bill with Pat Leahy to allow leeway with federal mandatory minimums, especially with drug laws.  The best part is that Chris Wallace responds that it's probably more accurate to say the last three:

Rand Paul Seeks to De-Fund the United Nations

The folks at Think Progress are all up in arms over a Rand Paul sponsored amendment which seems to want to cut UN funding from the federal budget (it doesn't say so explicitly but it cuts the exact amount that the UN gets from us).  I really applaud the move, can someone please tell me what we get from the UN?  What tangible benefit do we see from giving billions every year to an anti-American organization that is run by African and Asian despots?  When it started, it was mostly populated by democracies but now, dictatorships and other banana republics hold sway so what's the point?  We should be giving them none of our funding or our sovereignty.

Friday, March 22, 2013

18 GOP Senators Vote for Rand Paul Budget, Rubio Votes with the Establishment Against It

It's interesting how Marco Rubio has gone from Tea Party insurgent to establishment lackey in just two years, voting with the likes of John McCain against Rand Paul.  Anyway, here is the full roll of the vote on Rand Paul's budget:

YEAs ---18
Barrasso (R-WY)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Enzi (R-WY)
Flake (R-AZ)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Johnson (R-WI)
Lee (R-UT)
McConnell (R-KY)
Moran (R-KS)
Paul (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Scott (R-SC)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Vitter (R-LA)
NAYs ---81
Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Baldwin (D-WI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Burr (R-NC)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Coons (D-DE)
Corker (R-TN)
Cowan (D-MA)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Heller (R-NV)
Hirono (D-HI)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Kirk (R-IL)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Portman (R-OH)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Thune (R-SD)
Toomey (R-PA)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wicker (R-MS)
Wyden (D-OR)
Not Voting - 1
Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Rand Paul > Paul Ryan

Rand Paul just released his 2014 Budget Plan and it really is nice to see a budget that you can be proud of.  It makes Paul Ryan look completely overrated and boring (though honestly I have thought that for a while).  Paul Ryan's budget doesn't touch Medicare until it is about to go bankrupt in 2024, doesn't touch Social Security at all and doesn't balance for 10 years (you think we can continue adding to our massive $16 trillion deficit pile for 10 years without a crisis?).  It's no wonder that FreedomWorks gave it a B-.  Conversely, Rand Paul's does a lot of things right (which is why it got an A+ from FreedomWorks):

1.  Achieves a $17 billion surplus in FY2018
2.  Remains in surplus after initial balance, pays off $1.8 trillion of our national debt in 10 yr. window
3.  Includes entitlement reform for Medicare and Social Security
4.  Block-grants Medicaid, SCHIP, foods stamps, and child nutrition
5.  Proposes Social Security reforms to fix trust fund
6. Preserves Medicare by giving all seniors the same health care plan as Members of Congress, starting in 2015
7.  Reduces most discretionary spending to FY2008 levels
8.  Defense: replenishes $126 billion over sequester levels
9.  Freezes foreign aid spending at $5 billion per year (buh-bye aid to Egypt!)
10.  Defunds duplicative or wasteful agencies and programs
11.  Sells off excess federal properties and land
12.  Eliminates the Davis-Bacon prevailing wages provisions
13.  Liquidates government ownership of "bailout" companies
14.  Eliminates the Department of Commerce
15.  Eliminates the Department of Education (preserves Pell grants)
16.  Eliminates the Department of Housing and Urban Development
17.  Eliminates the Department of Energy (transfers nuclear research and weapons to re-established Atomic Energy Commission)
18.  Privatizes the TSA

Obviously there is no chance of this being passed but it's nice to see someone who actually provides a blueprint of how things SHOULD be working.

HuffPo Live Video Discussion on Rand Paul and his Chances

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Liberals Should Love This, Rand Paul Introduces an Amendment to Fund Infrastructure Projects

Of course they might not like the fact that the money comes from foreign aid and Department of Energy loan guarantees (like the ones that were spent on Solyndra):

Video: Rand Paul has a Newsflash for Ann Coulter

Honestly, I don't think anyone should care what Ann Coulter thinks (remember when she said Mitt Romney was the most conservative person in the 2012 GOP primary?) but Fox did bring her up:

Rand Paul Op-Ed on Immigration

Rand Paul expands on the reasoning behind his immigration plan:

As a matter of both national security and immigration policy, it is absolutely essential that we both secure our border and modernize our visa system so we know who comes and who goes on travel, student and other temporary visas.

Right now, we basically have no idea: No idea who crosses our border; no idea who overstays a student visa; no idea whether or not a migrant worker leaves as scheduled. In fact, we don't even know how many migrant workers use the temporary guest worker program, because it is such a mess that very few actually even try.

If our party needs to be honest with ourselves — it is physically impossible and probably more than a little morally wrong to say you will deport 12 million people — then the other party must be honest with themselves too. It is just as wrong is to ask for those 12 million to be assimilated while allowing another 12 million or more to line up to cause the same problem over the next  few years. That's why I have some specific proposals that I believe must be met before conservatives can support immigration reforms.

First ensure operational control of our border. This will mean more boots on the ground, more surveillance and more equipment along our border. It need not mean a physical fence, but in some cases that works best, for instance near high population areas. In other areas a virtual or electronic "fence" may work best. In still others, electronic surveillance may be sufficient.


Border security is not the only measure necessary for successful implementation of reform. Along with border security, we must also prove we have the capacity to do background checks and issue and track visas. According to the State Department, in 2012 we issued 8.9 million non-immigrant visas and 482,000 immigrant visas from outside the United States, and we don't do it all that well. In order to process the 12 million people under consideration, we need to provably modernize the system and prove it can track the current workload for one year, then be scaled to the future workload. This also must be certified by Congress.

If we can't secure our border, and if we cannot prove we can modernize our system of issuing and tracking visas, we cannot take on the task of adding more people to the system.

Previously, those who took on immigration reform did so in good faith. They expected the border security they were promised but never received. They hoped for efficient systems to better handle the program.

They got neither. We cannot allow this to happen again.

I share the goal of a working immigration system, and a new approach to allowing those here in our country who want to work and stay out of trouble to stay here. But I will not repeat the mistakes of the past when vague promises were made and not kept.

Rand Paul Working with Pat Leahy on Reforming Mandatory Minimums

Unlike others who only pay lipservice to bipartisanship, Rand Paul actually practices it.  Heck, if he can work with Pat Leahy, he can work with anyone.  And this isn't a minor issue, the fact that someone can be sentenced to 55 years without possibility for parole for a little bit of pot and a gun on their ankle is ludicrous.  That is significantly higher than the amount of time that much more violent criminals serve in prison.  In Florida, for example, sex criminals get on average 7.8 years in prison and armed robbers get 10.1 years.  Aren't those crimes much more serious than someone who sells a plant to someone else?  Hell, even first degree murderers are only in prison for about 26 years on average, less than half of that 55 year mandatory minimum sentence!:

The federal prison system has only grown since 2008. Federal detention facilities are currently at 139 percent capacity, and, absent any reforms of federal mandatory minimum laws, are expected to grow indefinitely. Enter Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), and the "Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013," which was introduced today.

Here's why this bill is important: A guy--let's call him Weldon--sells pot to a government informant, who notices that Weldon has a gun strapped to his ankle. The next time the informant buys pot from Weldon, he notices a gun in Weldon's car. When police move in to arrest Weldon, they find guns in his house. Weldon has never fired these guns, never used them to coerce anyone. He has, however, sold pot while in possession of a firearm, so prosecutors charge Weldon with "multiple counts of possession of a gun during a drug trafficking offense." He is convicted. What do you think Weldon's sentence is? Ten years? Twenty years? Try 55 years. That's the mandatory minimum federal sentence for Weldon's charges, meaning the judge who sentenced him could not sentence him to less time--only more.  

Weldon Angelos is a real person, by the way, and the existence of a safety valve in 2004, the year he was sentenced, would've allowed the judge to sentence him to 18 years instead of 55 (that was the judge's preference). It would've meant Weldon, who was 24 at sentencing, would go free at age 42 instead of age 79. But because the federal system has mandatory minimums with no parole, Weldon will spend most of the rest of his life behind bars for selling several hundred dollars worth of pot while wearing a gun on his ankle.

It Doesn't Look Like Rand Paul's Immigration Proposal is Hurting His Support from the Tea Party

People actually like leaders who lead I guess:

Tea Partiers still love Rand Paul.

His new immigration proposal--which includes backing a pathway to citizenship--doesn't seem to have changed their opinion of him.

Instead, Tea Party faithful say it is an example of his forthrightness as well as their own openness to reform.

Sal Russo, founder of the Tea Party Express, called Paul a "favorite of the group," and despite the movement's focus on the national debt, spending and economic issues he praised Paul's "willingness to stand up and take a principled stand" on immigration.


Russo compared the Kentucky senator to Ronald Reagan.

"A lot of people voted for Reagan that didn't agree with him on everything, but he spoke boldly," Russo said. "That's what we are sort of applauding with Rand Paul…It's refreshing to have someone raise an issue in a clear and unambiguous way. We think it needs to happen on the fiscal issues."


Matt Kibbe, the president and CEO of Tea Party ally FreedomWorks, said he does not think Paul's immigration announcement hurt his potential 2016 presidential aspirations.

"I think he's sort of risen to the top of the GOP ladder simply by putting ideas back on the table," Kibbe said, referring to both the filibuster and his budget plan. "All of these ideas that most Republicans pay lip service to, he's putting specifics on the table. It's a calculated risk taking that puts him ahead of his other potential primary opponents for 2016."


Jenny Beth Martin, the head of the Tea Party Patriots, also noted that immigration is outside of their wheelhouse, but said they were "aligned" with Paul on the issue of border security, which is the first step in his own proposal he laid out Tuesday.

"The way we've approached immigration is the borders need to be secure," Martin said. "Real action needs to be taken to secure the border and then once that happens we will talk about other immigration policies."
Martin added that Paul has "championed our values and principals, for constitutionally limited government and for that he has gained the Tea Party's respect."

Paul will have an advantage over his potential primary opponents if he has the Tea Party's backing in 2016. On Tuesday, just hours after his immigration address, the Iowa GOP announced he would be headlining their Lincoln Day Dinner in May, another sign he's at least considering testing the waters.

Rand Paul: Soon They Will Be Blaming the Bubonic Plague on the Sequester

From his appearance on Neil Cavuto's show on Fox Business, where he also discusses his immigration plan:

Video of Rand Paul's Immigration Speech

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FreedomWorks Gives Rand Paul Budget A+!

Rand Paul's budget gets Freedomwork's highest grade because his budget is the only one that eliminates Federal agencies:

Nate Silver on Rand Paul's Chances in 2016

Nothing too revolutionary but still an interesting read.  I've excerpted it below but read the whole thing which talks a lot about the structure of the GOP.  And interestingly, he thinks Chris Christie will end up pulling a Jon Huntsman if he runs:

As for Rand Paul, he begins with one significant advantage: he is unlikely to be challenged for the loyalty of G.O.P.'s libertarian wing. This is not to say that there is nothing a libertarian might find fault with in Mr. Paul; hisposition on same-sex marriage, for instance, is unlikely to be deemed acceptable by left-leaning libertarians. But the types of libertarians who vote in the Republican primary are a more conservative group and are unlikely to find any better alternatives, particularly given that most politicians in both parties behave as though social issues, economic issues and foreign affairs all exist within a single ideological dimension.

What we may be witnessing, then, is an effort for Mr. Paul to expand his support into some of the other Republican constituencies. His recent call for immigration reform, for instance, while compatible with his libertarian principles, could also appeal to voters from the G.O.P.'s moderate wing. In contrast, it might be less helpful with the Tea Party voters, whose support he will hope to win.

Unlike some "insurgent" candidates of the past, Mr. Paul seems interested in participating in the "invisible primary," a process that is traditionally associated with establishment candidates. He will be the headline speaker at May's Lincoln Dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Iowa, for example, just the sort of thing that might help him to win some key endorsements there three years from now.

Mr. Paul is also sure to get his share of push-back from establishment Republicans; Mr. McCain, for example, criticized his recent filibuster.

But Mr. Paul at least seems to demonstrate the interest in expanding his support beyond libertarian conservatives, something his father rarely did, and he will have three years to experiment with how to find the right formula. That doesn't make him as likely a nominee as a more traditional candidate like Mr. Rubio, Jeb Bush or Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. But his odds look better than the 20-to-1 numbers that some bookmakers have placed against him.

The Political Strategy Behind Rand Paul's Immigration Plan

I know there are some conservatives who are upset with Rand Paul's immigration plan, calling him a sellout  just like they did after he voted "yes" on Chuck Hagel (despite the fact that he voted to continue the filibuster against him twice).  At the time, I thought then that there was probably something behind that, that he might have voted yes in order to increase the chances that he would get support from someone like Ron Wyden in his battle against Brennan, who was nominated for CIA, who was clearly his ultimate target.  Lo and behold, we get his historic 13 hour filibuster with Ron Wyden joining in and civil libertarian progressives lauding Rand Paul and damning Democrats for not being as supportive as Wyden was.  I know we aren't used to this but Rand Paul seems to be a politician who actually THINKS THINGS THROUGH.

So why did Rand Paul come out with his immigration plan, one that probably has little chance of actually being passed?  Two reasons.  First, if you haven't noticed, Rand Paul has been focusing on his beliefs that many on the left can agree with.  This has given him an enormous amount of positive press from many publications across the political spectrum.  This positive press will likely be the first impression that many voters have of him, and first impressions can be hard to shake.  People's first impressions of Mitt Romney were of an unprincipled stuffy out-of-touch rich guy and no amount of spin or stories of personal charity could change that. Conversely, Rand Paul will look like someone who is inclusive, who fights the establishment of both parties and is highly principled.   It will help him get a pass for some of his beliefs that are decidedly less attractive to the liberal media (i.e. his entire economic and fiscal platform).  Second, and this is probably more a tactic than a strategy, by proposing his own comprehensive immigration reform plan, he now has the cover to vote No on the gang of 8 plan which immediately grants amnesty without border security.  Without his own plan, Rand Paul would have been labelled anti-Latino and anti-immigrant by the MSM, that is much harder to do now, especially after his heart felt speech about growing up amongst immigrants in Texas.

In other words, please stop flipping out about every move that Rand Paul makes, there is a method to it, one that will reap huge benefits down the line.

Rand Paul's Iowa Advantage

The Chair and Co-Chair of the Iowa GOP were both involved with Ron Paul's campaigns:

While Ron Paul's early support came almost entirely from outside of the Republican Party machinery, Rand Paul already enjoys institutional GOP support in Washington and -- perhaps more valuably -- within the ranks of the Iowa GOP.

Not coy about his presidential ambitions, the first-term lawmaker will aim to build on his recent momentum when he delivers the headlining speech at the Iowa Republican Party's annual Lincoln Dinner in May.

It won't be Paul's first trip to the nation's first voting state, which appears fated to become his home away from home over the next several years. Before the 2012 GOP caucuses, he campaigned there alongside his father and returned to the state in May to deliver a keynote speech at an event hosted by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, an influential socially conservative group.

Paul, of course, is not the only potential White House hopeful eager to test the waters in the Hawkeye State. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio waited less than two weeks after Election Day before traveling to Altoona for a "wink-wink" celebration of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's birthday. And Rick Santorum, who is beginning to gear up a possible second presidential run of his own, is slated to return next month to the state that rewarded him with a surprise come-from-behind victory in the 2012 caucuses.

But Paul's ability to snag the Iowa GOP's marquee invitation indicates the leg up he enjoys over prospective opponents. The recently re-elected chairman of the state party, A.J. Spiker, and co-chairman David Fischer were key figures in Ron Paul's 2012 Iowa campaign and are ideologically aligned with his libertarian-leaning son.


Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Steve King -- a likely Republican front-runner to replace the retiring Sen. Tom Harkin -- will round out the undercard for May's Lincoln Dinner, heightening the visibility of Paul's appearance.
Shane Vander Hart, editor-in-chief and founder of the Iowa-based Christian conservative news and commentary site Caffeinated Thoughts, noted that Paul's support among Republicans in the state already extended beyond the network that his father had constructed.

"He has a great base of grassroots activists to build on, so I believe he will have an advantage coming into Iowa," Vander Hart said. "I believe he has the ability to build a bridge with social conservatives that his dad could not quite accomplish in 2008 or 2012."

Politico: 5 Reasons You Should Take Rand Paul Seriously

A pretty good list.  I think #1, #2 and #5 are most important:

He has a stronger organization than any other Republican

Paul starts with a built-in base of libertarians that comprises at least 10 percent of the GOP electorate, and his boosters have made tremendous inroads in state parties around the country.

They may be a minority, but they are a devoted one. Paul supporters will drive farther and work harder than any other 2016 contender's core backers. They also tend to be younger and engaged on social media and the blogosphere in ways that people who support someone of the older generation like, say, Jeb Bush are not.


He's perceived as principled

Grass-roots conservatives in the early states loathe career politicians as much as ever. There's a real appetite for someone who doesn't always do the politically prudent thing.

The filibuster was a seminal moment not because it changed the conversation on drones but because it showed that Paul cared so deeply about something that he was willing to not urinate for 13 hours. Even liberal critics, from Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison to Bill Maher, praised him for fighting to support what he believes in.


He's more cautious than voters realize

Paul often speaks carefully and gives nuanced answers. It's an acknowledgment of sorts that if he wants to be a mainstream leader of the party, he needs to be careful about offending large swaths of Republicans.
His immigration speech is a case in point. An early draft obtained by The Associated Press prompted the wire to report that he would endorse a "path to citizenship," but when Paul delivered his speech, he avoided that term. Afterward, he and his team offered conflicting explanations but stressed he doesn't support "amnesty."


He appears to have fewer skeletons than his father

Ron Paul faced attacks from the right over racist statements decades earlier in newsletters that bore his name, his criticism of Ronald Reagan in the '80s and suggesting that the CIA under President George H.W. Bush was involved in drug trafficking.


He can play the inside game in a way his dad never could

After introducing several bills during his first two years in the Senate that went nowhere, Paul has become a more savvy legislator.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the alliance he has formed with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who backed Paul's GOP primary opponent in 2010. Paul's campaign manager that year, Jesse Benton, is now running McConnell's 2014 reelection effort.

CNN's Gushing Report on Rand Paul

A profile and an interview with Wolf Blitzer:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rand Paul Extended Interview on Hannity Radio Show

Jennifer Rubin: Rand Paul is One of the Most Interesting Political Figures Around

Rand Paul seems to be running an interesting strategy which seems to be working.  He is highlighting his views that make him seem bipartisan and fair and that is helping get establishment support for him as well as making others look like kooks for criticizing him (Bill Kristol, John McCain and Lindsey Graham).  Let's hope he can continue to keep it up without selling out his and our principles.  Anyway here is the latest from Jennifer Rubin, who is usually no friend to conservatives (though she calls herself one):

Paul struggled valiantly to tell the media that haggling over terms like "path to citizenship" and "amnesty" gets the debate nowhere. "[The debate] is trapped in a couple of words — 'path to citizenship' and 'amnesty,' " he said. Taking a shot at the anti-immigration advocates, he said later in the call, "Everybody who doesn't want anything to move forward calls anything they don't like a 'path to citizenship' and 'amnesty.'" (He's got that one right.) Sounding a tad forlorn, he then asked, "Can't we just call it reform?"

He tried to keep his eye on the big picture, telling the media that it was a big deal because "I'm a conservative Republican who says we need to go forward."

He also clarified a number of other points. His plan differs from others circulating in requiring a yearly congressional vote to certify border security. But once that is obtained, he would ease the way "to normalize the people here." In response to my question on fines, back taxes and other penalties, he said, "I'm not as a big a stickler" on those items. He noted that at the work visa stage many people are of modest means and such requirements could mean "you'd never be able to do it."


In confounding both the right and the left on issue after issue, Paul continues to be one of the most interesting political figures around. Whether his brand of legislation makes it into law or he runs for the presidency is in the future. For now, however, he is shaking things up on everything from immigration to marriage to drone warfare.

Dr. Ben Carson is Very Impressed by Rand Paul

The great doctor, who himself stood up to Obama when he was just a few feet away, is very impressed with our favorite Senator:

SEAN HANNITY: Who do you like, when you look at the different people out there, that potentially could run. Who impresses you?

DR. BENJAMIN CARSON: I certainly like the individual you just had on, Rand Paul. And it's not just because he's a doctor, like I am. He thinks quite logically, and, you know, he has courage. He's willing to take positions that some other people won't. And part of the problem that we're having right now is that a lot of people who lack courage, who always want everybody to adore them, and they just are not willing to take stands based on real convictions, and when I see that, I'm very impressed with it.

Rand Paul's Common Sense Immigration Reform Proposal

As an immigrant myself (who is also married to another immigrant), I'm obviously naturally pro-immigration.  But, I've never really liked the idea of allowing the hordes of people who are coming over the border to just get amnesty, citizenship and hence welfare payments just for showing up.  I'm also well aware that every time we grant amnesty, it doesn't solve the problem at all as it just incentivizes more to come over the border as we refuse to secure it (making many border states quite dangerous I might add).  The gang of 8 proposal, as Byron York points out, focuses on immediate legalization for illegals already here and only then deals with border security.  Rand Paul's, conversely, deals with border security first and only then allows legalization in a measured manner.  Therefore, if the border starts getting porous again, no more visas for illegals.  I think this is a great compromise that should garner the support of most conservatives.  All our families were immigrants to this country at one point or another after all.  

Here are some key excerpts from Rand Paul's great speech on immigration.  I only focus on the policy portions here, be sure to read the whole thing, it is clear he is speaking from the heart and from his own personal experience.  I also like how he is linking education reform with all this as well.  School choice is something that anyone who has children trapped in failing schools will want:

The first part of my plan – border security – must be certified by Border Patrol and an Investigator General and then voted on by Congress to ensure it has been accomplished.

This is what I call, Trust but Verify.

With this in place, I believe conservatives will accept what needs to come next, an issue that must be addressed: what becomes of the 12 million undocumented workers in the United States?

My plan is very simple and will include work visas for those who are here, who are willing to come forward and work.

A bipartisan panel would determine number of visas per year. High tech visas would also be expanded and have a priority. Special entrepreneurial visas would also be issued.

Fairness is key in any meaningful immigration reform, but this fairness would cut both ways:

The modernization of our visa system and border security would allow us to accurately track immigration.

It would also enable us to let more people in and allow us to admit we are not going to deport the millions of people who are currently here illegally.

This is where prudence, compassion and thrift all point us toward the same goal: bringing these workers out of the shadows and into being taxpaying members of society.

Imagine 12 million people who are already here coming out of the shadows to become new taxpayers.12 million more people assimilating into society. 12 million more people being productive contributors.

Conservatives, myself included, are wary of amnesty. My plan will not grant amnesty or move anyone to the front of the line.

But what we have now is de facto amnesty.

The solution doesn't have to be amnesty or deportation-a middle ground might be called probation where those who came illegally become legal through a probationary period.

My plan will not impose a national ID card or mandatory E-Verify, forcing businesses to become policemen.

We should not be unfair to those who came to our country legally. Nor should we force business owners to become immigration inspectors-making them do the job the federal government has failed to do.

After an Inspector General has verified that the border is secure after year one, the report must come back and be approved by Congress.

In year two, we could begin expanding probationary work visas to immigrants who are willing to work. I would have Congress vote each year for five years whether to approve or not approve a report on whether or not we are securing the border.

We should be proud that so many want to come to America, that it is still seen as the land of opportunity.

Let's make it a land of legal work, not black market jobs. Let's make it a land of work not welfare. Our land should be one of assimilation, not hiding in the shadows.

On immigration, common sense and decency have been neglected for far too long. Let's secure our borders, welcome our new neighbors, and practice the values of freedom and family for all to see.

Some say to generalize about any ethnic group is be a racist.  There is a hilarious Seinfeld episode where Jerry admits that he loves Asian women but he frets and worries,  "Is it racist to like a certain race?"

So it is with trepidation that I express my admiration for the romance of the latin culture.  I am a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

In Love in the Time of Cholera, Marquez gives some advice that Republicans might consider,

". . . human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, . . . life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves."

Likewise, Republicans need to give birth to a new attitude toward immigrants, an attitude that sees immigrants as assets not liabilities.

Monday, March 18, 2013

W. James Antle on Rand Paul and the Rise of Libertarian Politics

A nice read in the Guardian:

This latest libertarian surge on the American right began with Kentucky Senator Paul's 13-hour filibuster over domestic drones. Paul posed a simple question to the Obama administration: Do they believe the president has the legal authority to kill a US citizen on American soil with a drone?

In what originally appeared to be a quixotic crusade, Paul won the support of the top two Senate Republican leaders, many of his GOP colleagues, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and grassroots conservatives all over social media, who began tweeting "#standwithrand". He also got the Obama administration to cry uncle on the question of domestic drone killings, though some mysteries remain.

For Republicans who had never particularly cared about drones or extrajudicial killings before, the Paul filibuster was great fun. It allowed them to hit liberal hypocrisy on civil liberties, seldom in shortly supply when Democrats are in power. It gave them the opportunity to engage in a messaging war with the White House and actually win. And for the first time in quite a while, the GOP was able to rally the conservative base without irritating anyone else.

Almost anyone, that is. The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol said that Paulwas leading the "Code Pink faction of the Republican party." John McCain groused about "wacko birds" and libertarian kids sitting in their dorm rooms.

In the not-too-distant past, jibes like these might have been devastating. Not this time. Tea Party rising star Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz wore the "wacko birds" sobriquet like a badge of honor. Kristol's Code Pink-baiting was mostly ignored.

The tough on defense hawks appeared to have the upper hand as recently as the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearings. Now Paul was getting conservative Republicans to question something more fundamental than drone strikes: whether a permanent war without geographic or temporal limits – that is, the neoconservative framing of the war on terror – is really compatible with limited government.

Paul pointed out that if the American homeland is considered part of the battlefield, then the Bill of Rights goes out the window. And if the president can commit troops to whatever country he wants based on the authorization of force most Americans understood as pertaining to Afghanistan, congressional war powers are the next part of the Constitution that must be jettisoned. When put that way, that's further than many Republicans want to go, especially when there is a democratic president.

Paul isn't alone. Not only does he have allies in the Senate like Cruz of Texas and Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, another Tea Party darling, but there is now a cadre of libertarian-leaning Republicans in the House of Representatives: Justin Amash (Michigan), Kerry Bentivolio (Michigan), Thomas Massie (Kentucky), Raúl Labrador (Idaho), and Tom McClintock (California) to name a few.

There are now thousands of libertarian activists working within the Republican Party, especially through organizations spawned by Rand Paul's father, Ron, who ran for president in 1988, 2008 and 2012.Campaign for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty are the largest. The Pauls' message is even starting to gain traction among members of more established fiscal conservative groups, like FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth.

Bill Kristol Attacks Rand Paul, Promotes Constant US War

In the latest Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol attacks Rand Paul and points out how war weariness is a bad reason to alter our foreign policy:

Are the American people war weary? Yes, to some degree. Could there be a worse prescription for American foreign policy than giving in to popular war weariness? No.

It was (well-deserved) war weariness after World War II that led to a precipitous drawdown in Europe that in turn helped make possible Stalin's subjugation of Eastern Europe. It was understandable war weariness after Vietnam that produced the shameful abandonment of Vietnam and Cambodia and the subsequent disastrous weakness of the Carter administration. It was (somewhat inexplicable) war weariness after the Cold War that led to a conviction in the 1990s, as Haley Barbour put it just last week, trying to accommodate the Paulistas, that "We're not the policeman of the world."

And thus we had the failure to finish the job in Iraq in 1991, the retreat under fire from Somalia in late 1993, inaction in Rwanda in 1994, years of dithering before confronting Milosevic in the Balkans, passivity in the face of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, and weak responses to al Qaeda's attacks on U.S. embassies in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000. That decade of not policing the world ended with 9/11.

I'm sorry, how is Rwanda a failure of American foreign policy?  What vital interest did we have there that required our risking of American lives?  Or how about Somalia?  Or anything in the Balkans?  I realize we got involved with both but I certainly don't think we should have been even more involved.  Imagine nation building in Somalia? Are we supposed to be invading every country where there is a problem?  Would he have suggested that we intervene in Eastern Europe after World War II to stop the Stalinization of Poland and Czechoslovakia?  I'm from the Soviet Union and I hate the Communists but don't think that such a move would have been a good idea.  How many millions would have died in such a conflagration?  I think someone should ask Bill Kristol "in what cases do you not think American force should be used."  I'm not sure he would be able to think of any.  If we had followed Bill Kristol's advice, our nation would be far poorer, far weaker and thousands or even millions of Americans would have lost their lives needlessly.  Reagan showed that you don't actually have to use American might to get what you want.  In 8 years, he only got us involved in a limited operation in Grenada, a one day bombing of Libya and a peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.  Of all three, the only one that was a disaster was Lebanon, which is exactly the type of operation that Kristol favors.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rand Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll


Sen. Rand Paul won the 2013 Washington Times-CPAC presidential preference straw poll Saturday, and Sen. Marco Rubio was a close second, easily outdistancing the rest of the field and signaling the rise of a new generation of conservative leaders who will take the Republican Party into the 2016 election.

Mr. Paul won 25 percent of the vote, and Mr. Rubio collected 23 percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum was third with just 8 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — who was not invited to speak at the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference — was next with 7 percent, and Rep. Paul D. Ryan, the GOP's vice presidential nominee last year, was fifth with 6 percent.

In one surprising result, political newcomer Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon whose speech at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year has become a conservative rallying point, came in seventh in the poll with 4 percent — tied with Sen. Ted Cruz.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker collected 5 percent of the vote — good for sixth place.

The poll offered 23 names of potential presidential candidates, and let voters write in a name if their choice wasn't listed.

Several high-profile conservative lawmakers didn't crack the top 10, including a slate of sitting governors, led by Virginia Gov. Bob MCDonnell, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Hayley.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was in ninth place with 3 percent of the vote, tied with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Last year, Mitt Romney won the straw poll, which came in the middle of a bruising GOP primary. Mr. Santorum took second place.

Looks like at this point it is a Rand Paul vs. Marco Rubio battle for the heart of the conservative movement.  The rest don't even come close.

Morgan Brittany on Rand Paul and our Road to Salvation

Yes, Morgan Brittany is cheering on Rand Paul!:

FINALLY!  Someone in Congress actually had the wherewithal to stand up and defend the Constitution of this country!  I am ecstatic about the filibuster on the floor where Senator Rand Paul spoke out for thirteen hours against the nomination of John Brennan and demanded an answer from the President about drone attacks against American citizens.

This is what we have been yearning for.  This is what we Americans have been waiting for someone to do.  Without hesitation the Senator called out the Attorney General and the President and demanded answers.  Why has it taken so long?  Why has no one stepped forward and done this before?  If they had, maybe our country wouldn't be hanging over a cliff by our fingernails.


The tiny hole in the dam was suddenly bursting wide open and the brave new world of the Republican Party was beginning.  For the first time they weren't rolling over and caving, they were standing up and demanding answers.  For once it wasn't the same old political rhetoric that we are all so sick of, it was new and bold.

It didn't take long however for the old guard to try and shoot the messenger.  Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham who were having a lovely dinner with our illustrious President came out pompous and angry.  McCain slammed Paul calling the filibuster "ridiculous".  He found it absurd that the President would even "think" of taking out Jane Fonda with a drone.  Really?  You better wake up Senator McCain, you have been in Washington way too long.  Why are you not asking questions like this or asking why Homeland Security needs billions of bullets and tanks on American soil?  McCain and Graham just bury their heads in the sand and assume that everyone in Washington will "play fair".  Graham should know better, he is trying to get answers on Benghazi.


I think this might be the road to our salvation.  Perhaps there was divine intervention keeping Senator Paul on his feet for so long the other night.

Andrew McCarthy on Rand Paul's Superiority to John McCain and Lindsey Graham

Andrew McCarthy calls out the Republican establishment for being weak on defense while pretending to be strong:

You won't ever hear Paul echoing McCain's assertion that the way to get foreign policy "back on track" would be to put John Kerry and Joe Biden in charge of it. You won't find Paul, like McCain and Graham, toasting Qaddafi one minute, then in the next calling for his head; or condemning the Muslim Brotherhood's sharia totalitarianism one minute, then in the next calling for Americans to work with and subsidize the Brothers. You won't find Paul, in vertiginous McCain fashion, blathering about democracy-promotion and global stability while championing the secession from Serbia of a Muslim state — Kosovo, which now stands as a breakaway inspiration to Islamic-supremacist insurgents the world over. You won't find Paul lamenting, à la Graham, that "free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war"; to the contrary, Paul appears to grasp that if you are prepared to subordinate the First Amendment to a desire not to pull the hair-trigger savagery of your enemies, then you have already lost the war.

In this sense, Dr. Paul perfectly diagnoses the GOP's sorry condition after years on the McCain/Graham regimen: "When you saw the debate between President Obama and Romney on foreign policy, they sounded pretty similar. In the vice-presidential debate, Biden was more assertive, but Ryan didn't disagree with most of his positions."

Bingo: It has been a while since Republicans were led by a Reagan — by someone who looks totalitarianism in the eye and calls it what it is. You don't hear today's GOP saying of the Muslim Brotherhood and its sharia-supremacist allies, "We win, they lose." Today's GOP is more likely to tell the Muslim Brotherhood, "We're here to partner with you." Today's GOP looks at ideologues who promise to conquer the West and sees not an "evil empire" but a "Religion of Peace." Yes, it was Obama who opted to arm and fund the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt — where a new sharia constitution has been imposed, women are thus reduced to a lower caste, and minority Christians are systematically persecuted. But it was Republicans who voted decisively to approve these measures.

To his great credit, Senator Paul tried to stop our government's transfer of F-16 aircraft and Abrams tanks to Egypt. He certainly has that half of the equation right. At Heritage, he observed that while "the war is not with Islam but with a radical element of Islam — the problem is that this element is no small minority but a vibrant, often mainstream, vocal and numerous minority."

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rand Paul Introduces "Life at Conception Act"

Senator Rand Paul seems to be trying to do a balancing act here.  Right after saying wants to get government out of the marriage business (which could offend some social conservatives who are vehemently opposed to gay marriage), he sponsors a bill to declare that life begins at conception, which social conservatives would surely like.  Let's hope the strategy works though it is difficult to be all things to all people.  You just can't please all of the people all of the time:

On Thursday, Sen. Paul introduced S.583, a bill that would implement equal protection under the 14th Amendment for the right to life of each born and unborn human. This legislation does not amend or interpret the Constitution, but simply relies on the 14th Amendment, which specifically authorizes Congress to enforce its provisions.

From Section 1 of the 14th Amendment:

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the  United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;
nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

"The Life at Conception Act legislatively declares what most Americans believe and what science has long known- that human life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore is entitled to legal protection from that point forward," Sen. Paul said. "The right to life is guaranteed to all Americans in the Declaration of Independence and ensuring this is upheld is the Constitutional duty of all Members of Congress."

Salon: Rand Paul Won Round 1

Anyone watching CPAC has to agree with this.  Plus, I thought I was the only one getting sick of Rubio's water schtick:

The warm reception for Paul's anti-interventionist foreign policy ideas is a stark contrast to the CPACs of years past, when neoconservatives ruled the day, like when Dick Cheney had a keynote spot just two years ago. Supporters of Ron Paul heckled the former vice president from the audience, but now one of their own is on the stage and getting only love from the crowd.

Paul also drew contrasts with Sen. Marco Rubio, who spoke immediately before Paul. Both men are rumored to be considering a White House bid in 2016. In their speeches, both leaned heavily on the gimmicks that made them famous in recent weeks, but Rubio's incessant jokes about drinking water during his State of the Union response felt petty and cheesy compared to the substance of Paul's filibuster.

And unlike Rubio, who spoke about the fundamental goodness of the GOP, Paul offered a plea for a revamp. "The Republican Party has to change," Paul said. It especially needs to appeal to young people by expanding its conception of limited government beyond taxes and regulation to things like drug policy, technology, and civil liberties, he explained, because the "Facebook generation" is the "core of the 'leave me alone' coalition."

At the end, in a nod to his fans in the crowd, Paul concluded, "I will ask anyone who values liberty to stand with me."

And with that, he won the day.

Stacking Rubio and Paul back-to-back, whether intentional or not, begs for comparison, especially in a media environment keen to find any hints of 2016 ambitions or bold visions for reinvention of the party. And while Rubio was busy making corny jokes about his water gaffe, Paul looked like the leader of a nascent and growing "stand with Rand" movement that has big ambitions to remake a party reluctant to be dragged into 2013.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Brian Doherty on Rand Paul's Challenges

The great Brian Doherty has a very insightful piece in Reason on Rand Paul's major challenges.  As the author of Radicals for Capitalism (a book I highly recommend) he is well aware of the ups and downs of the movement for greater freedom in the United States.  He is worth listening to:

Superficial respect for the concerns of the ACLU is part of an elite Democratic zeitgeist. But when most Democrats and progressives think of Rand Paul, it won't involve the Fifth Amendment or endless wars at home and abroad. They will think about abortion, a refusal to raise taxes on the rich, and neglecting what they see as government's duty to take care of people. Opposing crony capitalism is nice enough, but disaffected Democrats see the GOP as the “party of the wealthy” because of its refusal to raise taxes on rich people. The libertarian educational project needs to make more progress before many independent-leaning voters will stop believing that that the government must penalize the rich to help the less-well-off. If and when Paul switches from a refreshing outlier or libertarian maverick to becoming the GOP standard-bearer, any progressive support will likely disappear. 
Paul is doing the best he can to appeal beyond a core libertarian or Republican base. Yet it seems unlikely that any amount of civil liberties, peace, or opposition to crony capitalism will satisfy most independents or Democrats over the longer haul. Their visions of government’s purpose are just too antithetical to Paul’s. 
Once the mass Republican audience—especially Mitt Romney voters—really thinks about the implications of Rand Paul and his ideas, the post-filibuster love may sour. Paul’s chief of staff Doug Stafford told Business Insider, "Rand is one of the only people who can speak to libertarians, social conservatives, as well as your average mainstream Republican voter." In theory, yes. 
But even in areas where Paul’s libertarianism shouldn’t be too controversial—like his five-year path to a balanced budget—hardly any of his political colleagues are willing to play along, and there's no mass constituency forcing them to. It’s not likely the rest of his party - whether rank-and-file voter or office-seeking politician - will get enthusiastic about his attempts to curb the federal drug war either. 
While the filibuster was important, there’s no evidence yet it made Rand Paul a lasting household name. Or that people who are vaguely aware a senator talked for hours about something or other (“drones on… and on…” as CNN witlessly put it) could adequately explain what he was concerned with and why. Even if they access their news online or via smart phone, most Americans still get their news the semi-old-fashioned way, from legacy print or TV institutions. 
Which isn't to scant the effect of Paul's filibuster. Rand Paul is a contender for the 2016 presidential race. Common wisdom has it that the Republican presidential nomination goes towhoever is next in line. Based on the popular vote from the 2012 primary season, that would mean Rick Santorum (and good luck with that, GOP). But in the real currency of nomination, delegate votes on the floor of the RNC, the runner-up in 2012 was Ron Paul. Perhaps his son can be heir to that position, if he can just navigate three small problems with the same aplomb he exhibited on filibuster day.

Glen Greenwald on the Progressive Mind

Glen Greenwald tries to make sense of what is going on in the minds of some hyper-partisan progressives:

The Progressive Mind (in some hyper-partisan precients): 
(1) Rand Paul holds numerous horrendous positions. Therefore, it is impermissible ever to agree with or support him on any one specific issue. The minute one agrees with him on any one issue, one is infected with all his other views, no matter how much one disagrees with those other views. 
(2) Barack Obama not only holds numerous horrendous positions, but actually does numerous heinous things (eg,,,, Nonetheless, it is not only permissible - but mandatory - to support him not just on an issue-by-issue basis but for his general empowerment. One is free to support him and cheer for him without being infected by any of his heinous views and actions with which one disagrees.
I would give a big prize to anyone who can come close to reconciling those lines of reasoning.

Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz Propose Defunding Obamacare

Rand Paul's Strategy for Expanding the GOP

Robert Costa's interview of Rand Paul in the National Review is a must read.  Here are some key excerpts:

Paul says foreign policy is an instrumental way to expand the GOP, but it's not the only way. Social issues are another area where he thinks Republicans can make a better argument to independents and centrists without departing from their principles. Gay marriage, for instance, is one issue on which Paul would like to shake up the Republican position. "I'm an old-fashioned traditionalist. I believe in the historic and religious definition of marriage," he says. "That being said, I'm not for eliminating contracts between adults. I think there are ways to make the tax code more neutral, so it doesn't mention marriage. Then we don't have to redefine what marriage is; we just don't have marriage in the tax code."


Across the board, Paul says, Republicans need to be open to accepting new ideas, or at the very least, willing to listen to new voices. On fiscal policy, he admires Paul Ryan's push to balance the budget in a decade, but would prefer to see the budget balanced in five years. While Paul knows that his five-year plan is probably never going to get passed, he wants to be the Republican who is shaping the terms of every debate, so that tea-party perspectives or libertarian themes are included. "[Ryan's] coming in the right direction," he says. "He was at 28 years [to balance the budget] last year, and he's come to ten. I think by having our plan out there at five, we have a lot of people coming in our direction."

But it's foreign policy that remains Paul's chief focus. Before Paul can reshape the party's program on national security, he knows he needs to spend time on the Senate floor, making his arguments colleague to colleague. "Five or six" Democrats, he says, have expressed their admiration for his determination to bring controversial topics to the fore. To him, those comments are a sign that there is room for future talks about passing legislation regarding national-security and personal liberty.


Paul's filibuster has also stirred talk of a White House run in 2016. He says he's open to the possibility. But for now, his campaign is within the marble halls of the Capitol, not in the Iowa cornfields. "You know, I just went to the floor," he says, recalling how his famous filibuster started. "All of sudden, it just sort of happened." You can say the same about the rapid ascent of Rand Paul.

It will certainly be a difficult balancing act to try to get people into the tent without offending social conservatives so much that they leave.  I can already see a red-faced Rick Santorum referring to Paul as a godless libertarian heathen.  If Rand Paul can make his point as eloquently as he made his point about drones, he just might have a chance at success.

Rand Paul makes an Appeal to Young Voters

Senator Rand Paul wrote an op-ed for the Millennial oriented PolicyMIc titled "I Filibustered to Defend Millennials":

Most Americans, and especially young people, worry about our country's $16 trillion debt. This deficit is a burden that is guaranteed to grow more as time passes, and as Washington continues with its reckless spending. The number one contributor to our debt — entitlements — is something most young people simply don't expect to see. We need to have serious reform to save Social Security and Medicare so that those who've paid into these systems all their lives can receive their benefits. But for young Americans, they need a way to opt out or at least something very different.

Most young people will tell you the same, if those in Washington would only listen.

I believe a Republican Party that is more tolerant and dedicated to keeping the government out of people's lives as much as possible would be more appealing to the rising generation. We have a nation of 300 million people who all harbor very different opinions on various policies. We have a Constitution that allows, even requires, many of these decisions to be made at the state and local level, which could accommodate the diversity of opinion in this country. Most young people I encounter simply have no desire to tell other people what to do or how to live.

Another part of our debt woes is the trillions of dollars we spend fighting decade-long wars and sending foreign aid all over the world. America must always maintain a strong national defense, but young people can imagine a world in which the United States doesn't have to be involved in every part of it. We can't continue borrowing money from China or spending ourselves into debt to protect the entire globe. We simply cannot afford it. It is not what's best for our country. It makes us less secure, not more.

There are blue parts of the country where Republicans haven't fared well, and yes, a more libertarian-Republican might be able to start winning in those areas. The youth vote could play an integral part in this.

Young Americans — conservative, libertarian, independent — are as fed up with big government as their parents and grandparents. A Republican Party willing to address their unique concerns could build a new majority that might finally turn this country around.

Peter Schiff Interview of Rand Paul

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Glen Beck Compares John McCain's Attacks on Rand Paul to That of the Slaveholder Caning the Anti-Slavery Senator on the Senate Floor in 1856

Rand Paul Leading Conservative Poll for 2016!

Rand Paul is a emerging as the leader, not just of the libertarian wing, but of the conservative wing of the Republican Party:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is leading an online poll being conducted by Contract From America as the conservative pick for president in 2016.

With 190,000 votes cast as of Monday morning, Paul leads, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio rounding out the top three. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are running in last place, ranked 32 and 31 respectively.


Hecker said that in 2012, the CFA poll had then-Rep. Ron Paul running in the lower third of the Republican primary field, which, while generally accurate with primary results, was "atypical for online polls" that usually gave Paul landslide victories.

Hecker said that Rand Paul was the clear favorite from day one of the poll, even before the senator's dramatic filibuster last week, but "given Rand Paul's passionate performance … it's understandable that the base is so supportive of him."

"What that says to me is that Rand Paul has a much higher ceiling [of support] than his father did," Hecker said.

The Right Way and the Establishment Way

Anneke Green at US News points out that Rand Paul did things the right way while the establishment did things the wrong way:

These two approaches to negotiating with the Obama administration produced two different results. Paul demanded an answer from the White House for nearly 13 hours. He held up the administration's agenda and drew the nation's attention to a serious constitutional question. He stood up to the president and triumphed. As Paul told me Thursday, "Getting a response from the White House is pretty good."

Graham gladly provided Obama with access to members of the Republican Party apart from what the president considers a recalcitrant Republican leadership. As a result, Obama won headlines the next day for his bipartisan magnanimity. Graham and McCain kicked off a skirmish inside the party, distracting from the overwhelmingly positive attention generated by Paul's filibuster. Thursday McCain called fellow GOP Sens. Paul and Ted Cruz of Texas "wacko birds." petulantly changed his vote on Brennan to one of support. Leaders like former Speaker Newt Gingrich are picking sides in what didn't need to be an intraparty conflict.

Paul's filibuster shows there may be life in the Grand Old Party yet. Millions of Americans now have a reason to take a second look at the Republican Party. Though he's not a member of Senate leadership, Paul showed that he has the stuff it takes to lead. Fourteen senators supported his filibuster along with 15 to 20 House members who came to sit along the back wall of the Senate in solidarity. Three of the 14 were freshmen senators who delivered their maiden speeches on the Senate floor—a landmark occasion for newbie legislators—in support of Mr. Paul.

He started his filibuster having given no warning to the leadership of his party. Paul did it because he thought it was right, and explained his position using opinion pieces and the Constitution. His stand was clearly seen by McCain and Graham as presumption by a junior senator who needs to know his place. Yet in speaking out, Paul offered a champion to young Republicans who want real discussions on policy. He gave a voice to grassroots conservatives who have been disgusted with a Republican leadership they view as too establishment—too willing to compromise principles to score a deal with Mr. Obama. Paul stuck to his guns, something the McCains and Grahams of Washington consider naivete. Consider the irony of the fact that Graham had threatened his own filibuster if the administration didn't give more information about the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi. Subsequently changing his vote to then support Brennan is the epitome of Washington insiderism that the base detests.

The Senate was as empty as it normally is during Graham and McCain's old-man-bully tantrums on the Senate floor Thursday morning. If they truly cared about the future of the party and what is good for America, they'd have recognized Paul scored a win and kept their egos under wraps.

Rush Limbaugh Sides with Rand Paul over McCain and Graham

I don't usually pay attention to Rush Limbaugh but this rant seems to have been pretty good.  Conor Friedersdorf from the Atlantic has certainly taken notice.  Here are some key excerpts from Rush:

{Rand Paul}'s now a national figure. He wasn't wild-eyed and screaming and pounding. He was very rational and very reasonable. He was asking a very simple, easily explained and understood question... So it was easily understood. It was a very simple question he was posing, and all this was going on while our guys are out dining with Obama, dining with the architect of this current nationwide mess. Rand Paul was standing up opposing this while these guys were out yukking it up with the architect of it all. You know it was a great example of the ruling class and the country class, and the ruling class not liking what this country class senator was doing. It's no more complicated than that, but a lot of people are ticked off about this, too.


But he has the nation captivated. It's caused a real reversal. Not a reversal, but the whole structure of things has now been upset, and it's got a lot of people concerned, and it has legs. It does have legs. So I think it's fascinating to behold, and once again it illustrates that these guys going to dinner with Obama, they were not challenging him.

They were not. People think this country is falling apart. People think that this country's on its last legs as they know it, as it was founded. People in this country are really scared. There is a despondency among the population, a majority of the population. This isn't just politics-as-usual. As far as the population the country's concerned, the opposition party still doesn't get it to the point that they're not even the opposition party! Well, Rand Paul appeared to be the opposition, and he had the guts and the courage to stand up and demand that they explain something to him. And not only is he alive to tell about it, he's not being called names.

He's a hero to people.

And here is some interesting analysis from Conor Friedersdorf:

In the Spring of 2011, I wrote a widely ignored article arguing that the Republican Party's presidential nominee would be hard pressed to successfully run to President Obama's right on national security, given his aggressive approach to counterterrorism and the country's war weariness, but that pushing back against Obama's War on Terror excesses would be good politics and policy: "Imagine a nominee who a) issued a biting, accurate take-down of security theater, and inflamed voter passions by becoming a demagogue on naked airport scanners and intrusive pat-downs; b) Insisted that Libya was an imprudent, unaffordable war that had nothing to do with American interests, and was illegally launched; c) Tore into Obama for asserting the power to assassinate American citizens in secret, hammering on the obvious imprudence and frightening potential for abuse; d) pointed out that we'd be a lot safer if we redirected money now spent on nation-building in Afghanistan to almost any halfway effective, achievable counter-terrorism measure); e) picked one or two of the most egregious civil liberties abuses going on and pinned them on Obama."

What I described sure resembles the approach that Rand Paul has taken. Amazingly, several Tea Party aligned senators now seem to be playing along. And most surprising of all? Rush Limbaugh, the demagogue most attuned to the rank-and-file, is now celebrating Senator Paul's approach