I’m going to say this as simply as possible: Rand Paul is the best member of the Senate and the most libertarian leaning senator in over half a century, comparable to Robert Taft, who was the Senate Majority Leader in the early 1950s. Rand Paul was this man who in 2009 I remember seeing announce a bid for the Senate and felt it was kind of a long shot. He went up against a popular statewide-elected Republican in a primary, and via small online donations, a realistic take on libertarianism that fits the demographics of Kentucky, and a ton of work from volunteers, he won both the primary and general elections in landslide wins. He was elected to the Senate and for the last six years proposed countless bills on criminal justice reform, economic reform, the best foreign policy the post-9/11 Senate can offer.
But, libertarians now are just being hostile to him like they had been to Bill Weld, Gary Johnson and anyone wanting to expand the base so it isn’t just a club on the Internet, and it freaking sucks.
First off, Rand Paul isn’t perfect. He’s human, he has a tough job and is trying to be many things to many people, which is how mistakes happen. One of those mistakes was the abortion known as his 2016 campaign. It was the Land of Boring where he just acted like a regular Republican, had horrible media content, a detached staff, lack of ability to fundraise and focused on C level issues people don’t care about, such as Planned Parenthood and the NSA, which proved to be yawn topics. The campaign peaked with a CPAC, and the Flat and Fair tax plan, which was a pretty awesome proposal, but fell flat with a campaign focused on making useless phone calls to talk about how Rand was your ordinary anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-abortion and anti-legalization Republican. I was 100% aware the campaign was not a success.
I wanted a Rand Paul who’d just come out and say gay marriage should be legal and not half-ass it with, “We should have nameless civil unions nationally!”
I wanted a Rand Paul who would say “Immigration is a free market and I’m proud I’ve introduced amendments to make it simpler!”
I wanted a Rand Paul who would go up on the debate stage and say “Let me make something clear. Black Lives Matter and that’s why I’ve proposed all my criminal justice reform laws!”
I wanted a Rand Paul who’d be like Donald Trump was in the debates, looking Jeb Bush in the eye and saying “Your legacy and your team is the team who screwed America on Iraq.”
I wanted a Rand Paul who would actually have more clear solutions on energy, education and health care, similar to what he had on taxes.
I wanted a Rand Paul which bragged about how he’s had bills co-sponsored with everyone from Ted Cruz to Barbara Boxer and he’s the most bipartisan senator.
But, here’s what I like about Rand Paul:
Rand Paul is awesome on fiscal issues. He’s by far the most fiscally conservative member of the Senate and has time after time proposed balanced and simple budgets.
Rand Paul is basically the lone fighter in the Senate on the NSA and poor data collection.
Rand Paul works with everyone and has co-sponsored bills with Cory Booker, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Barbara Boxer, Pat Leahy and others.
Rand Paul is America’s Black Lives Matter senator. He wrote a chapter in his book praising the movement for bringing up valid issues in America, had the guts to go out and take a meeting with Al Sharpton, and talks about criminal justice issues, admitting our legal system is rigged against the poor and minorities; middle class white people do drugs and other crimes just as much, but never get the same searches or penalties as poor minorities.
Rand Paul’s foreign policy proposals, while not perfect, is the best option we have.
I like everything he’s done in the Senate and don’t think it was a bad idea he voted for Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos. I hated them and I’m pretty sure deep down he did also. However, when he’s trying to repeal and replace Obamacare, cut spending, cut regulation and not go to war, him being blacklisted by the new administration for voting against Sessions and DeVos would have sidelined his voice and advocacy.
But, there are so many libertarians that hate Rand Paul, and to them I say: shut the hell up! If you’re so much better than Rand, Bill or Gary, go elect your own little purist to office and see how many reforms can get done. However, until that point, realize managing a state or an office in the US Senate is a lot different than talking about Murray Rothbard on some podcast!
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