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Frank Rich: It’s Hard to Hate Rand Paul

The junior senator from Kentucky would be an appalling right-wing president, and yet he is a valuable politician: a man of conviction, and a visitation from a post-Obama political future.

By Frank Rich
Published Sep 22, 2013

In the Labor Day weekend scramble set off by President Obama’s zero-hour about-face on Syria, the only visible politician in Washington who knew just what he wanted to say and said it was the junior senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul. Appearing after John Kerry on *Meet the Press that Sunday, Paul reminded viewers of Kerry’s famous Vietnam-era locution, then said he would like to ask him a question of his own: “How can you ask a man to be the first one to die for a mistake?”

There were no surprises in Paul’s adamant opposition to a military strike. But after a chaotic week of White House feints and fumbles accompanied by vamping and vacillation among leaders in both parties, the odd duck from Kentucky emerged as an anchor of principle, the signal amid the noise. Paul’s constancy was particularly conspicuous in contrast to his presumed Republican presidential rivals in 2016, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and Ted Cruz. Though each of them had waxed hawkish about Syria in the past—in Rubio’s case, just the week before—they held their fire over Labor Day weekend, stuck their fingers to the pollsters’ wind, and then more or less fell in with Paul’s noninterventionist bottom line once they emerged. It’s not the first time that Paul had proved the leader of the pack in which he was thought to be the joker.

This has been quite a year for Paul. Not long ago, he was mainly known as the son of the (now retired) gadfly Texas congressman Ron Paul, the perennial presidential loser who often seemed to have wandered into GOP-primary debates directly from an SNL sketch. Like his father, Rand Paul has been dismissed by most Democrats as a tea-party kook and by many grandees in his own party as a libertarian kook; the Republican Establishment in his own state branded him “too kooky for Kentucky” in his first bid for public office. Now BuzzFeed has anointed him “the de facto foreign policy spokesman for the GOP”—a stature confirmed when he followed Obama’s prime-time speech on the Syrian standoff with a televised mini-address of his own.

But even before an international crisis thrust him center stage, Paul had become this year’s most compelling and prescient political actor. His ascent began in earnest in March with the Twitter-certified #standwithrand sensation of his Ayn Rand and Gabriel García Márquez. He has, in the words of Rich Lowry of National Review, “that quality that can’t be learned or bought: He’s interesting.” In that sense, he’s kind of a Eugene McCarthy of the right, destined to shake things up without necessarily reaping the rewards for himself.


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Would anyone write an article like this about someone that wasn't at the top of his party and DEFINITELY in the running for the presidency?? Ha. This is propaganda 101, only written to attack Rand because he's an obvious threat. Pretty cool really.

RON was the "Eugene McCarthy

RON was the "Eugene McCarthy of the right". And they stole the nomination from him, just as the Democratic Party's machine stole Gene's nomination from him, and the massive anti-war youth movement that backed him, in '68. (About the only difference was that Miami didn't sick the police and army onto the crowd and turn it into a riot, like Daily did in Chicago.)

Rand is something else: A more polished politician, but with similar integrity and ideas.

Ron was a statesman - and about the only one we had for decades. It's a little early to call, but Rand sure looks like one as well.

= = = =
"Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job."

That means: For each job "created or saved" about five were destroyed.


are delusional. Truly.

'Peace is a powerful message.' Ron Paul

Rand Paul: The voice of reason...

rising above the 'room noise'.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

You're really PUSHING IT down

You're really PUSHING IT down our throats aren't you?

It's an ongoing process, and

It's an ongoing process, and Rich's article is one more indication that we're making steady headway.

It's the power of our principles that is winning. Rand is doing a bang up job and deserves credit, but it is what is behind Rand that is making the difference.

For decades our ideas have been ignored, dismissed by the MSM as kooky, not because the majority of Americans agreed that they were, but because the elite holders of power in this country were able to hold that power largely by suppressing libertarian ideas via their control of the MSM.

The web changed everything. They've lost their grip. Now, our ideas can spread. The comments sections of any political web article is a place where activists can plant seeds. Social media provides us with our own platforms from which we can influence friends and family. Like bees, libertarians are pollinating the flowers of liberty, and they are just beginning to bear fruit.

Frank Rich, you ain't seen nothin' yet!

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

metalhed19's picture

I would like to follow this

I would like to follow this up with a slice of personal experience. On Saturday I attended a "Restoring the Republic: Wisconsin, State's Rights and Nullification" Event, and it was mentioned by a speaker,( I belive Tom Woods) that just by changing the debate nationally, getting off the accepted 3x5 card of what is considered public debate, helps our cause enormously. The 2nd Speaker was a former State Senator from Oklahoma, he had successfully engineered a state nullification of the REAL ID act and the NAFTA Superhighway. He said "Probably everyone in this room knows more than the average state legislator about nullification." It took him 18 months to convince his colleagues, but it can be done. My point is, I think we are way ahead of the curve on this, and it's such a simple concept. These State legislatures nationwide for the most part are status quo and old boy's clubs. They might listen to stay re-elected, or maybe they have never heard and aren't online. We need to keep talking to people that anyone thinks is a fence sitter, not your typical Neo-cons or Progressives, I mean people who know something's wrong but can't quite put their finger on it. Ron was alone in the House for years, we can keep talking here and there through a mid-term. Tom Woods mentioned at the beginning of his speech(not verbatim) "I'm preaching to the choir at this event, but even the choir needs a sermon now and then to keep up spirits, No one ever heard of a preacher saying "Go have a cigarette break guys and girls, I'm going to preach to myself" In other words, Keep the Faith all, It's our Country at stake....

*Wisconsin Constitution* Article I, Section 25 "The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security,defense,hunting,recreation or any other law-abiding purpose"


but what happens when the Internet is legally stifled and any editorial postings have to be approved by the Government's "Ministry of Truth."

was a good article on Rand

despite the few just mean statements with no backing. Basically it showed how much influence he already has over the Republican party. And it also showed how much the electorate is changing on both sides. Change is in the air....just how fast it comes remains to be seen.

ConstitutionHugger's picture

painful to read

it's oozing with hatred. One good thing is I looked up what gadfly means: a person who persistently annoys or provokes others with criticism, schemes, ideas, demands, requests, etc.
That's one a the terms he used to describe Ron Paul.

Gadfly - Socrates

To understand the reference, you have to read Plato's "the Apology". Socrates described himself as a Gadfly in that with his questioning of those in Athens, he kept everyone sharp/on their toes. The only negative of the reference is that Socrates ended up being sentenced to death; it wasn't for "being a Gadfly", but instead of "corrupting the youth". This was obviously a bogus charge, but those in power really wanted to get rid of Socrates as his exposition of the truth became a real pain in the side of those in power. Let us hope that neither Ron nor Rand suffer this fate for getting people to think a little bit harder about the issues facing this country. Maybe if the public gets educated enough, instead of a death sentence, we might even elect such a thinker to the Presidency!

ConstitutionHugger's picture

We're all gadflies to the corrupt status quo

the liberty movement keeps making a buzz and we won't go away.