‘Wackobird’ Rand Paul Is An Equal Opportunity Hater

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Republican National Convention in Tampa

There is a reason that Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and the handful of lawmakers who agree with him are constantly demonized on both sides of the legislative aisle and in mainstream media reports: He criticizes the political establishment, spending equal time bashing big-government Republicans and Obama-worshipping Democrats.

On CNN’s “The Situation Room” this week, Paul delivered a fiery rebuke of the George W. Bush Administration’s “really, really bad” pre-9/11 security protocols and the abrogation of Constitutional rights the White House deemed acceptable following the attacks.

“Really, someone should have been removed from office for that, and they should have said this is never going to happen again,” Rand said of the “really, really bad intelligence” and “really bad police work” that left the government unprepared for the attacks.

Paul said that instead of realizing and moving to correct failures in a Constitutional manner, the government took advantage of a shaken populace to double down on the unConstitutional initiatives that Americans live with today.

“Instead they said, ‘oh, we need to look at the records of all the innocent Americans’ phone calls every day.’ And I think you need to have a respect for the Bill of Rights, a respect for privacy and particularly a respect for the fourth amendment,” he said.

Paul’s tirade was in response to questions over criticism he received from former Vice President Dick Cheney for speaking out about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

Early in the week, Cheney appeared on FOX News and defended still-standing Bush Administration intelligence efforts.

“Congress, in fact, authorized the president to use military force to deal with that crisis,” Cheney said during the interview. “And that put you over into the category of being able to use all of your military assets, your intelligence assets, and so forth, in order to protect the country against another attack.”

Paul, with his penchant for civil libertarianism, appears to stand apart from many of his Congressional peers in the GOP, as well as Democrats, with regard to the NSA scandal. Stepping out of line with the leadership among both parties, Paul has referred to NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden as a “civil disobedient,” whereas his legislative seniors have much preferred “traitor.”

“On deciding when you decide to become a civil disobedient — we’ve had famous ones in our career, but some of them only had to serve, like [Henry David] Thoreau only had to serve one day in jail, Martin Luther King served 30 days in jail,” Paul told FOX’s Sean Hannity this week. “[Snowden] may be looking at life in prison. … People are saying, ‘Oh, he ought to just come home.’ But I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad idea if he’s facing life in prison.”

For his troubles pushing an idea of a more libertarian-leaning future for mainstream American politics, the media pulls a familiar stunt in covering Paul. It’s a shtick that his own father, former Representative Ron Paul, is certainly familiar with: Make him look as loony and dangerous as possible (which certainly must be getting increasingly difficult while establishment politicians are making themselves look wrongheaded without any help).

As The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf points out in a recent critique of a piece by The New York Times, however, the mainstream will stop at nothing to deride anti-establishment politicians.

The Times piece painted Paul as an anti-democracy Ayn Rand fanatic with a political philosophy akin to “a kind of inverted Marxism.”

But, Friedersdorf notes:

In the political press, it happens again and again: libertarian leaning folks are portrayed as if they’re radical, extremist ideologues, even when they’re expressing ideas that are widely held by Americans across the political spectrum.

After enduring the political misguidance of the past decade and a half, it seems it would be impossible to imagine that trying out some of the proposals of anti-establishment political thinkers could yield any less-appealing legislative results.

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

  • satelliter

    I think the “political establishment” in Washington is afraid that if a Libertarian politician was actually allowed to take part in the political elections process, people might just see the light and realize that the Dems and Repubs are just two different sides if the same coin, and things will never change as long as we only have a choice of the two major parties for casting our votes. The government in office at any time will attack Libertarians with the media, to scare people away from listening to what they say. From where I’m sitting it looks like most voters cry and complain about how our government is running things, then go to the polls and vote them right back in again. (as with Obama). Perhaps it’s time to take a look at other options including Libertarians.

    • Jeff

      People have been “looking” at the Libertarians for a long time. They don’t vote for them because they don’t like their ideas. Sure, in a vacuum, most people will adopt a live-and-let-live attitude and describe themselves as somewhat Libertarian. Almost everyone can find something to like in a purely libertarian approach. “Keep the government out of my business.” Sure, sounds great.

      Then you get to the details. Traditionally, conservatives have wanted the government to keep control of “those” people by monitoring what drugs they take, what they do in the bedroom, and what kind of books/movies they read/watch. They only like Libertarian ideas that argue for taking the government out of commerce. Conservatives are rarely sympatico with Courts upholding 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendment rights for “obvious” criminals and they generally haven’t been too troubled by the Government’s snooping on anti-war protesters. After all, if they’re against war, they’re somehow anti-American.

      Liberals generally support Libertarian views when it comes to personal freedoms but are not in accord with removing government from commerce. We had that all through the 19th Century and it resulted in a few rich people with most poor. People had no rights vs their employers; minorities had no rights, particularly in the South, and Banks and Big Business could run roughshod over everyone. The 20th Century was about regulating business so everyone had a chance to benefit from capitalism. Without government regulation, businesses would avoid worker safety and we wouldn’t have the kind of middle class we do (or did).

      So, why do people not vote for Libertarians? If you are against the Civil Rights Act (as Goldwater was), does it matter that he was not personally a bigot? If the government allows bigotry, what’s the difference if the President is or is not one? Similarly, if there are no regulations limiting the activities of Banks (e.g. Glass Steagall) and Investment Houses (e.g. insider trading), does it really matter who the President is? If the government is neutered, we’ll be “governed” by Exxon, Big Banks, Big Insurance, and Big Polluters, Inc.

      • Ibn Insha

        Majority of the people are hypocrites. They all have sacred cows whole Rand Paul does not have any. This man has principles and he stands by them while rest of the politicians change their principles with the political winds. If that was not the case then why do we keep voting into office the people we disagree with?

        • Jeff

          Was your post supposed to be a response to mine?

  • DonnaAngelStar

    The Dr,s’ Paul have more integrity in their Little toes than the majority of what passes for American politicians today.

  • ONTIME

    Paul is pointing out that elitism in both parties has been in control and are literally joined at the hip in order to suppress and control any opposition to their comfortable arrangement to collude….
    A long look at the immigration fiasco is as good a example as any, WTP in majority want that border secured, we did not say leak proof but what has again been proposed is a perfect exmple of Elitism in action, confuse obsfucate and lie as to method, intent and action to stop the excessive flow of illegals and come to grips with the 20 million or more illegals that are here causing havoc with our institutions and economy. These elites are representative of why government is not allowed to be functionable, the money they use to keep this fray in peril is just to good and if they can siphon off more they will.
    It is now commonplace to use this tactic of chaos to destroy and retard every decent piece of litigation that is proposed because the money and the power is worth the effort to undermine this Republic…

  • Michael Shreve

    No, I don’t ALWAYS agree with Rand Paul OR believe that ALL his vies are strictly Libertarian, BUT he DOES get it right MOST of the time, AND he is NOT a HATER.

  • mari

    +I am grateful that he always is honest and consistent. I appreciated when he stood for our freedoms. I don’t see anyone else with this kind of veracity. He is totally without guile. I don’t need to agree with him on everything because he is all about the constitution, and the constitution is on my side.

  • John Streak

    When the pendulum has already swung so far in on direction, it’s only natural for it to swing back as far in the other. That’s what Rand Paul represents. Maybe the country needs that much counter-balance before it can return eventually to a comfortable middle.