With Rand Paul, tea party movement continues to defy common sense

Tuesday’s primaries in several states are being dubbed a mini-Super Tuesday, with not only Democratic mid-term prospects on the line but also the ballot-box strength of the tea party movement getting a major test. Among the more fascinating primaries is the GOP Senate contest in Kentucky, where it seems that tea party favorite Rand Paul, son of GOP congressman Ron Paul, will easily win over conventional Republican Trey Grayson.
If Paul wins the primary, he will serve as fuel for the GOP’s continuing self-immolation. If he wins the election in Nov., he will serve as proof that Kentucky voters don’t take their politics all that seriously.
Paul has run a campaign in which he has tried to distance himself from some of his father’s nuttier views, but he still occupies a space far outside the mainstream. He has said, for example, that a nuclear-armed Iran poses no threat to our national security. (See video below.)

Some of his views fit comfortably inside the borders of the GOP right wing. From the WaPo:

Paul’s campaign stops are feisty affairs at which supporters hoot and cheer as he weaves his personal biography and a list of grievances with Washington into a populist call to arms. The founder of the antitax organization Kentucky Taxpayers United, Paul rails against what he describes as Washington’s unsustainable spending, crippling debt, career politicians with no term limits, a “socialist” health-care law and a failure to close the nation’s borders to illegal immigrants.
He has become a national hero of the tea party movement by opposing new taxes and deficit spending and supporting such ideas as the abolition of the Department of Education and amending the Constitution so that children born in the United States to illegal immigrants would no longer become citizens automatically. A victory for him on Tuesday would further energize a movement already pumped up by the defeat of Sen. Robert F. Bennett in Utah’s Republican primary last weekend.

“Greece is defaulting right now on their debt,” he told the breakfast group. “One of the next things you’ll see is chaos on the streets. You’ll see violence. . . . And it can happen even in America if we’re not careful.”

But other views of his do not:

But Paul’s libertarian streak could lead to breaks with conservatives on some issues. He opposed the war in Iraq. He has spoken in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. A pro-Grayson advocacy group, trying to portray Paul as out of step with mainstream Republicans, is running a television ad featuring a chiming cuckoo clock.

Paul has reversed his stance on closing Guantanamo Bay, now declaring that he it should be kept open. But he was on the record as recently as last year saying that it should be shut down and that it had damaged America’s reputation abroad. (I think closing Gitmo is a fine idea, but most GOP voters do not.)
As former Bush speechwriter David Frum puts it:

While Rand Paul has delicately edged away from his father’s most provocative statements, he still makes regular appeals to his father’s extremist voting base. Rand Paul gives interviews to 9/11 conspiracy monger Alex Jones and solicits Jones’ fans for money. Jones in turn praises Rand Paul as the “real McCoy.”

Rand Paul’s last-minute conversion to tough-on-terrorism is not very credible. He has been caught on videotape denying the threat to U.S. national security posed by an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Rand Paul makes common cause with left-wing antiwar protesters. He has repeated his father’s view that 9/11 was some kind of logical response to U.S. foreign policy.

Ultimately, Rand Paul is a walking target for Democratic negative ads in a closely divided state with a culture of commitment to national security. But right now running the country – or even winning elections – is not a top-of-mind concern for many Republicans. They are voting to send a message, and it’s no time to be fussy about the background, competence, associations, and inner convictions of the messengers.

119 comments Add your comment

Catch Up

May 17th, 2010
1:06 pm

May 17th, 2010
12:55 pm

The same can be said for your generalizations when making your arguments. “No Big Government” or “No Distortion of the Constitution.”

I cite specifics, and you resort to the “elite leftist liberal nanny government” name calling. Start citing examples and solutions instead of repeating your conservative talk show talking points.


May 17th, 2010
1:07 pm

@Catch Up and blutto

Selective outrage is a conservative idiom…..they are outraged if a Democrat focuses on the needs of the nation by insuring that ALL people have the opportunity for prosperity whereas when a Republican ficuses on the needs of the few by insuring the wealthy continue to receive tax breaks, there is silence!

When a Republican takes war-spending off the books and shifts spending to states via unfunded mandates, conservatives are quiet…but when A Democrat HAS to spend to correct the failures of the Republican, the cacaphony speaks volumes!!

The question I’ve continued to ask…but no conservative has answered to my satisfaction: Where was this volume of dissent from the right when the nation was getting BUSHwhacked??


May 17th, 2010
1:24 pm

Catch Up: “I cite specifics”

Yes but generally incorrect. If you need specific examples to illustrate that government is grown too large and far beyond the limits placed upon it by the Constitution and that courts in legislating from the bench have exceeded their constitutional authority and that individual freedom is being dismantled bit by bit and that spending is out of control; then you will not be helped by a few examples spoon fed to you.


May 17th, 2010
1:30 pm

HDB@ 1:07.

Sometimes I think that you really believe that stuff you spout. But as I believe in the ability of knowledge to make men free, I will hold out hope for you.

Catch Up

May 17th, 2010
1:32 pm

More fantastic generalizations and assumptions….


May 17th, 2010
1:42 pm

blutto May 17th, 2010
1:30 pm

I know that knowledge is power…..and experience is a great teacher!! I’m always grasping for more/new knowledge….but experience has shown me what is truth and what is theory!! Our experiences will differ….our truths will be likewise!!

C’est la vie!!

Tommy Maddox

May 17th, 2010
2:29 pm

November’s coming. Therefore, this article.

Liberals are not the only ones that are going to be gobbled up by angry Repblicans.


May 17th, 2010
2:59 pm

You also probably defy intelligence greater than your cheesy blogspot and subscribe to the idea that money grows on trees, right? My one disagreement with Ron Paul is the Fed. I only say that because I think the Fed is so far up *blank* creek with a turd for a paddle and can’t fathom what is on their balance sheet. Which I’m sure is why they still want to remain very independent.


May 17th, 2010
4:51 pm

“common sense” wow, used to read this op-ed for a while had to stop though. Funny to come back and see this op-ed. Common sense is why i had to stop reading what the left thought….From our Prez all the way down to CT, these progressives just do not GET IT…but soon they will, WE DO NOT WANT YOUR PROGRESSIVE AGENDA. We are the USA not the EU…spoken by an indy voter…cannot stand the left or the right, we need something in the middle


May 17th, 2010
5:05 pm

We are all in trouble when the principles of fiscal restraint and limited government no longer register as common sense.


May 17th, 2010
8:43 pm

I’m STILL laughing at the “vast majority” remark. Yeah, there is a vast majority and they are young voters (18-34) who are coming of age. According to most studies and research, they are progressive and will likely continue to shift the political system away from regressive policy making and politicians. In other words, this is like watching a ship sink with the way some majority white, rapidly aging, conservative voters act as if this election season is going to be a “takeover”. Oh well, that’s just the rantings of an independent voter that see this as amusement and chuckle-worthy.


May 17th, 2010
11:48 pm

Ron Paul has never been thought of as “nutty” by his constituiency and Texans alike. Ron Paul will go down as a one of the greatest true statesmen in this generation.

Rand’s dad has served soundly in D.C. since the 70’s. If Rand Paul gets 1/100th of what made his dad serve faithfully according to the Constitution then Kentucky will be proud.

I would give anything to have Ron Paul as President of the United States right now than the central planners we have. Rand has learned about sound economics and money. That’s what concerns Americans.

Stop spending D.C. and pay the bills — quit picking our pockets. I hope Ron and Rand take the Tea Party back from the Neo-cons Palin, Fox News and Gingrich.


May 19th, 2010
1:57 am

Cynthia is what she disputes. A conspiracy theorist. At least she gets paid to be a weirdo. You can’t beat that with a ball bat.

[...] Paul has some interesting ideas, and is much more of a real libertarian than many others jumping on the tea party [...]

Sarcasm 101

May 19th, 2010
9:58 am

Hey maybe his daddy will run on the Tea-Party ticket for prez next year and save America. America needs saving from the liberal marxist socialist communist orthodontist pianists!

Sarcasm 101

May 19th, 2010
10:03 am

It is okay for Republican leaders to bankrupt the country. Excuse me: WHITE, Republican politicians. Burn all others at the stake.


May 19th, 2010
2:48 pm

Cynthia still operates in a world where America has money and nobody knows social security is insolvent or medicare. What will the older Cynthia leave us the younger people in America, tons of debt. Our standard of living will be less than what it is now. She’ll be long gone. It shows you there is that older generation selfishness that isn’t far from the teenager entitlement chip on the shoulder. Rand Paul made a great point, what is extreme is “two trillion dollar deficits”. You know Barry Goldwater is smiling in his grave right now.

Tod G.

May 19th, 2010
2:52 pm

Nuttier views? How about views you don’t agree with. The sooner we stop intolerance for other peoples’ views, the better. And the pigeon-holing of people in this country into two distinct boxes, “conservative” and “liberal” is deliberate and a time-tested way to divide and distract them from what is critical at this time. Like that we have over $50T in public and private debt in the US, so much so that servicing it costs so much that the GDP is negatively impacted by it.

What caused this? Interest charged on money created that is never created to pay it back. Not having enough money to pay all debts means more must be created to pay those debts, incurring more debt. This is the world’s largest Ponzi scheme, and its blowing up now. In fact, for the cost of the average goods you buy, about 50% of that cost is because of interest incurred in the creation of those goods. Yes, prices double because of interest, and there is permanent scarcity of money.

Look around you and realize this is the cause of the economic hardship, why both family members must work to get by, why taxes are increasing and services cut. More money does not stimulate the economy, it collapses it.

We had a sound monetary system in the Colonial days called scrip, the best of which was in Pennsylvania. No inflation and prosperity for over 50 years. The British ruined this system because there was no inflation here and that ruined their supply of cheap goods. They banned it and put in place the “British System”, similar to what we have today, and the result was poverty and unemployment. And a revolution. Yes, not because of tea tax, that was just a symptom. Ben Franklin said this, no less.


May 19th, 2010
11:04 pm

Talk about missing the mark Cynthia,

Tucker echoes the same things leftists said in 1980 about Ronald Reagan.

Carter and the democrats were “overjoyed” that Republicans were “shooting themselves in the foot” by nominating an “extremist.”

The most radical thing I have witnessed in the last 40-50 years of following the Republican Party is neoconservative foreign policy — which is neither conservative or liberal — simply nonsense. And one of the people Tucker quotes, David Frum, is one of their number one cheerleaders — a man with no credibility.

And the “self-immolation” of the Republican Party Tucker talks about was caused by George W. Bush — not by anything Rand Paul espouses.