Rand Paul Reminds Us He's Not a LibertarianSubmitted by Marc Clair on Mon, 05/13/2013 - 14:51
In a Washington Post article titled “Sen. Rand Paul aggressively courting evangelicals to win over GOP establishment”, we are reminded once again that the Senator from Kentucky is not a libertarian. In fact, he says so himself. From the article:
For the past few months, though, Paul has aggressively courted evangelicals, not only with the CBN special but also with a trip to Israel, numerous events with pastors and a handful of appearances in Iowa this weekend.
Paul’s play for evangelical support is part of a broader effort by the rookie senator to court the Republican establishment — much of which views him with suspicion — and become a mainstream political player in a way his father never was. The younger Paul, for instance, does not call himself a libertarian, but rather a “libertarian Republican.”
A-ha! Not a “libertarian”, just a “libertarian Republican”! I’ve heard this phrased used quite a bit, and I’m curious as to what exactly it means. It seems on the surface that it is meant to mean different things to different audiences. To libertarians, it is meant to assure them that Paul is indeed libertarian, while to the establishment and evangelicals he is attempting to pander to it is meant to assuage them that the he is merely “libertarian-leaning” and still a good Republican at heart.
As we’ve pointed out before, as Rand Paul gears up to run for president in 2016, he attempts to mix libertarian and establishment rhetoric, which tends to confuse the issues and upset many of those he is attempting to please.
The article goes on to describe Rand’s attempts to “clarify” his position on drug legalization (emphasis mine):
In an interview a day before his Iowa trip, Paul, 50, also tried to make clear just what kind of politician he is. “To some, ‘libertarian’ scares people,” he said. “Some of them come up to me and they say, ‘I kind of like you, but I don’t like legalizing heroin.’ And I say, ‘Well, that’s not my position.’ ”
Paul said he believes in freedom and wants a “virtuous society” where people practice “self-restraint.” Yet he believes in laws and limits as well. Instead of advocating for legalized drugs, for example, he pushes for reduced penalties for many drug offenses.
“I’m not advocating everyone go out and run around with no clothes on and smoke pot,” he said. “I’m not a libertarian. I’m a libertarian Republican. I’m a constitutional conservative.”
Here Paul not only seems to support the concept of the war on drugs, but even goes out of his way to smear not only libertarians but those who use marijuana for medicinal purposes as well. Paul plays into the notion often espoused by those in favor of the War on Drugs that anyone who advocates that people be free to put what they choose into their bodies are clearly in favor of the drug use itself, along with any other activity that may or may not be associated with it.