In case you missed it, Rand Paul announced his Presidential candidacy yesterday, making official what we all knew was coming. I have been voting in Presidential elections since 1984 and in that time I voted for one Democrat (Mondale) and six Libertarians, but no Republicans. Why? Because as a young man I was convinced Reagan would get us in a war and I would end up slogging through a jungle with bullets whizzing by my head. After that I grew more aware of how teams Blue and Red conspire to screw us and stopped voting for members of either party. Ron Paul gave me hope that maybe the Republicans might stop being hypocrites and actually start being the party of limited government they claim they are, but I knew he’d never get nominated. Finally, with Rand, there is a Republican candidate who really seems to believe in the libertarian stands he espouses and could not only get nominated but actually win the election. This hasn’t happened since Warren Harding graciously keeled over putting Calvin Coolidge in charge.
By the way, don’t look for a similar candidate on the Democrat side. As far as I can tell Senator Ron Wyden (Oregon) is the only Democrat who doesn’t consider “freedom” and “liberty” to be dirty words.
Here is a list of issues and Rand Paul’s stance on them from his website http://randpaul.com/ . I’ve gone through and given each a Pass/Fail/I Don’t Care grade based on my view of what being a libertarian means. I will be amazed if any other candidate from the oligarchy parties comes anywhere close.
Spending and Debt – this one is a gimme because you know every candidate will say the same thing – we need to control spending and the debt (incredibly Obama is still saying this). He doesn’t give any concrete ways he will do this but I’ll give him a Pass … barely.
Term Limits – I’m on the fence about term limits. On the one hand the career of Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee shows we need to do something that will force the clinically retarded out of Congress. On the other hand term limits might prematurely end the career of a force for good, such as Ron Paul. To his credit, Rand has actually introduced term limit legislation in Congress, so he’s not just mindlessly blathering on this subject. But I’m still going to give it an I Don’t Care.
Lowering Taxes – He proposes the EZ Tax – a 17% flat tax – and exempting low and middle income workers from paying into Social Security, which is the most regressive tax we have. Ideally I’d prefer replacing income taxes with a national sales tax but that will never happen, so this is a good alternative. Pass.
Audit the Fed – He’s already introduced legislation to do this. The Federal Reserve Bank was set up to control economic downturns and inflation and has failed miserably. Hopefully auditing the Fed will be followed by getting rid of the Fed. Pass.
Defense – Rand says the usual crap about having a strong defense to appeal to warmongering Republicans. As a libertarian I want to hear him say he’ll end the constant warfare and bring the troops home. He gets a Fail on this one, but I’m sure every other candidate from the purple duopoly will also.
Obamacare – “As your President, one of my first acts would be to repeal the abomination that is Obamacare” Big Pass.
Energy Development – This is for the free market to take care of, not the government. Paul says some stuff about cutting regulations and subsidies but also says he’ll work to encourage alternative energy. Not the President’s job. Fail.
Immigration – It’s the usual Republican baloney about securing the border, no amnesty, and stopping illegal immigration. This is one of the Stupid Party’s dumber policies. Fail.
Cutting Regulation – Paul sponsored the REINS Act this winter that will require Congressional approval of any major (over $100 million impact) regulatory rule proposed by a regulatory agency. Right now Congress gets no say, so this would be a huge improvement. Now if he would just say he’ll gut regulatory agencies wholesale. Pass.
Criminal Justice Reform – Breaking with the Republican cavemen, excuse me I meant establishment, Rand has introduced legislation to lower federal drug penalties and stop the Blue Gang from stealing your stuff because a police dog peed on your car tire. If he’s elected, the drug war should end. Big Pass.
Defend your Constitutional Rights – Remember Rand’s filibuster over drones. Sure it was grandstanding but it drew attention to our overbearing federal Big Brother. I think he means it when he says, “We must fiercely guard our Bill of Rights.” Pass.
Education – Says we need to return education to local control. For the most part, it is locally controlled. He needs to say that he’ll get rid of the Department of Education because it does absolutely nothing. Fail.
Israel – Paul proposes the “Stand with Israel” Act to cut off US taxpayer money to Palestine. I have a better idea. How about the “Let’s get the hell out of the Middle East and mind our own business” Act. Fail.
Social Security – Paul would exempt lower income workers from paying in and means test recipients. In other words, young struggling workers would no longer be forced to pay country club fees for rich retirees in Florida. Pass.
Veterans – He says the stuff he has to say to make warmongering Republicans happy. This gets an I Don’t Care from me.
Abortion – Paul wants to stop federal courts from hearing abortion cases. Disagree. He wants to stop federal taxpayer funding of abortions. Agree. He wants to return abortion law control to the states. Agree. Pass … barely.
2nd and 4th Amendments – Rand is against federal gun control laws and wants to re-impose the 4th Amendment right of protection from unreasonable and illegal searches and seizures. Time to rein in the federal goons. Big Pass.
You may have noticed a glaring omission – what is Rand Paul’s stance on Gay marriage? He doesn’t say. You know why? Because it’s none of the government’s business! Hopefully that will always be his answer when one of the nattering nabobs springs what they think is the ultimate trap.
So overall Rand gets 10 Passes, 5 Fails, and 2 I Don’t Cares out of 17 issues. Yes he’s far from perfect and he’s certainly no Gary Johnson. But he can win. And hopefully will turn the country away from the Fascist Police State cliff it is headed toward.
Right now, he’s the best hope we have.
Wayne Middlesteadt is the author of “Five Ways to Beat the Market” and “The Golden Age of Distance Running”.