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Rand Paul’s Libertarian Vision On Display: Lighten Up On Pot, Get Tough On Federal Budget

March 26, 2013 by  

Rand Paul’s Libertarian Vision On Display: Lighten Up On Pot, Get Tough On Federal Budget
UPI
In an interview, Senator Rand Paul said that current marijuana laws are burdening American society with a Federal one-size-fits-all legal view of drug offenses.

In the eyes of many people, the left-right political paradigm has served little purpose beyond saturating political debate with conversations about moral issues, over which legislation has little affirmative power. If Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) gets his way, these conversations may become a thing of the past.

The message that Paul is very publicly pushing is not a new one. Libertarians have been saying the same things for years: Laws that seek to infringe on liberties that come with mostly personal consequences in the short term are unpopular and, often, unenforceable. Thus, the result of moral legislation often is more societal harm than good.

And Paul’s position on Federal marijuana prohibition — while, perhaps, at odds with traditional GOP positions — makes a great deal of sense for a fiscal conservative. According to NORML, the United States’ law enforcement agencies spend $10 billion and arrest 750,000 individuals each year as a result of Federal marijuana laws. This is despite the fact that more than 30 percent of the U.S. population currently lives under some form or another of marijuana decriminalization, including people living in States like Washington and Colorado where full legalization of the drug has been allowed.

In an interview on FOX News over the weekend, Paul — who has previously been an outspoken advocate for legalizing hemp (a non-psychedelic plant in the cannabis family with industrial viability) production — said that current marijuana laws are burdening American society with a Federal one-size-fits-all legal view of drug offenses.

“I don’t want to promote that but I also don’t want to put people in jail who make a mistake,” Paul explained. “There are a lot of young people who do this and then later on in their twenties they grow up and get married and they quit doing things like this. I don’t want to put them in jail and ruin their lives.”

Paul went on to note the publicly acknowledged youthful drug use of President Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

“Look, the last two Presidents could conceivably have been put in jail for their drug use, and I really think, you know, look what would have happened, it would have ruined their lives,” Paul added. “They got lucky, but a lot of poor kids, particularly in the inner city, don’t get lucky. They don’t have good attorneys, and they go to jail for these things and I think it’s a big mistake.”

With regard to youthful drug offenders whose futures can be forever tarnished by a small possession charge, marijuana advocacy groups have expressed a view similar to Paul’s. According to NORML’s statistics, in recent years more than 30 percent of all Americans arrested for marijuana-related offenses were 19 years old or younger.

Paul’s marijuana position is not surprising given his continued call for the GOP to embrace candidates who are fiscally conservative, but capable of appealing to a broader base on social issues. The Senator isn’t just talking the talk, either.

On Friday, Paul presented a budget plan that was considered harshly conservative by many Americans and criticized as “out of the mainstream” by pundits. For a fiscally conservative Tea Party voter, however, the Paul plan — roundly rejected by the Senate — was the stuff of dreams.

Echoing the ideas of his father, Paul proposed eliminating the deficit in five years by doing away with the Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, while also privatizing the Transportation Security Authority. The Senator’s proposal also called for raising the age for Social Security eligibility, a privatized Medicare system and the annihilation of Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

On top of the spending cuts, Paul proposed that the capital gains tax should be eliminated and a 17 percent flat tax be put into place.

Though his plan was rejected, it did receive a “yea” vote from Paul and 18 other members of the legislative body:  Republican Senators John Barrasso (Wyo.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Cornyn (Texas), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mike Lee (Utah), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Jerry Moran (Kansas), James Risch (Idaho), Tim Scott (S.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), and David Vitter (La.).

There is widespread speculation that Paul is working to position himself for a 2016 Presidential bid. And while it is yet to be seen whether the junior Senator will be embraced by the GOP as it works to rebrand itself, most analysts say there is no doubt that Paul has the power to bring a broader base of support to the Party. The biggest question, it seems, is how much moral conservatism are traditional Republicans willing to forgo in return for real fiscal conservatism.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Michelle Kienlen

    Way to Go Rand Paul! This is the man I would vote for! I hope that the republicans are smart enough to run him for president they sabotoged his Dad at every turn and Ron Paul is a great statesman like his Son! The apple never falls far from the tree

  • http://www.facebook.com/russ.hinds.3 Russ Hinds

    Rand is right about “pot” crimes. Limit the fed government to its constitution, and the budget would not be a problem. Then the states and cities can put pot smokers in jail if they want…

  • http://PLD FRENCHIE

    AND ONCE AGAIN, JUST LIKE HIS DAD, RAND NAILS IT HEAD-ON. I’M GONNA BE REALLY PI$$ED IF HE DOESN’T RUN IN 2016 & I THINK HIS PERFECT RUNNING MATE WOULD BE NONE OTHER THAN ALLEN WEST. THE COLONEL’S A BIT LACKING ON THE LIBERTARIAN END OF THINGS, BUT IS A TRUE CONSERVATIVE NONE-THE-LESS. BESIDES, THERE’D BE YOUR NEW FACE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN ONE NICE NEAT LITTLE PACKAGE. IF THE PARTY FEELS IT NEEDS A FACELIFT, THERE YA GO……THEN, THERE’S THIS ALMOST FORGOTTEN LITTLE GEM – “THE HEART OF CONSERVATISM, IS LIBERTARIANISM” – RONALD REAGAN. I PROUDLY SUPPORTED RON PAUL (STILL DO !!!), EVEN THOUGH I VOTED FOR ROMNEY IN THE END BECAUSE, LET’S FACE IT, THEY’D NEVER HAVE LET RON PAUL WIN, REGARDLESS OF HOW THE NUMBERS FELL. BUT I’LL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO SUPPORT & VOTE FOR HIS SON, GIVEN THE CHANCE. I JUST HOPE COLONEL WEST DOESN’T END UP RUNNING AGAINST HIM IN THE PRIMARIES – TALK ABOUT CONFUSION, I WOULDN’T KNOW WHICH TO SUPPORT AT THAT POINT IN THE GAME….GIVES ME A HEADACHE JUST THINKING ABOUT IT. GUESS WE’LL FIND OUT HOW IT’S GONNA PLAY OUT IN 2016, HUH ???

    • http://aol CommonSense4America

      Maybe Col. West SHOULD run against Rand Paul. It would be like splitting your cards and doubling your chances. The one that won the GOP nomination could then chose the other for VP. Just a thought.

      • STEVE E.

        Sounds reasonable.

  • Warrior

    Rand is absolutely correct. Will “douching” progressivism actually work? Well, we already know “progressivism” is rotting us away so, let’s take Dr. Paul’s presciption and “flush” the “bad stuff” starting in 2014.

  • RAND PAUL & BEN CARSON IN 2016

    ONLY MAN ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH FOR THE JOB IN 2016!!!!!!!!!!!

  • STEVE E.

    Rand Paul should run for President. He will be demonized by the Repub Establishment if he runs for the repub primaries, however, he will make himself known, and after the Repubs nominate another RINO (for which they will), Paul could run as an independent and have a good chance of winning. I think we all know that the Repub candidate will loose the election anyway. The Repbub Establishment will never back down in their feeble efforts. They just need to be repeatedly defeated out of existence. Let’s all help to do that.

  • Richard

    As for the pot business, a medical doctor once told me “the worst thing about pot is getting caught with it”. Let’s not forget PROHiBITION. Rand Paul is the only political figure I have seen yet that proposes any means of recovery from cultural decay and a rush to oppressive government tyranny.

  • RV

    Rand Paul for President in ’16; Dr. Carson for his VP!!!

  • Leroy

    What Rand Paul stands for and against are a far better plan for this country as a whole than anything else you see being done or proposed at this point in history. If you honestly stop and think about it, almost 100% of anything that the federal government gets involved in, things get worse for America and her citizens rather than better.

  • http://Dennisardell@msn.com Dennis

    Rand for President,lets dump the Neo- cons, once and forever!

  • Steve

    “I don’t want to promote that but I also don’t want to put people in jail who make a mistake,”

    I voted for his daddy & would vote for him. I just dont get the “mistake” part of his comment. The “mistake” is that the govt has outlawed a wonderful plant given to us by our creator God for our use and enjoyment.

    Hemp oil can cure cancer, can power the oil driven equipment in this country, is a great high protein source in the seed, for human and animal feed, it makes wonderful paper (can you say Gutenberg bible and USA constitution), makes great toilet paper for your bum, is woven into super durable and soft fabric. All of this and it does NOT require pesticides or herbicides for viable production.

    So YOU average american do this: Count the ways this amazing plant would put a strangle on the current industries who are poised to lose a huge market share if this plant was allowed to be grown for agricultural, petroleum, paper production, etc.
    Always comes down to “follow the money” and which politician sold out the people via the large corporate bribes..er I mean “contributions”.

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