Rand Paul

Big GOP donors keeping their 2016 powder dry

Featured image The Washington Post reports that, on the whole, wealthy Republican donors are unwilling so far to commit to a candidate for president. According to reporters Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger, the donor class is “wary of fueling the kind of costly and politically damaging battle that dominated the 2012 primaries.” More to the point, it’s unclear at this early juncture which potential candidate it makes the most sense to support. »

Ted Cruz votes to hamper U.S. anti-terrorism intelligence gathering

Featured image The Senate has failed to pass the “USA Freedom Act,” which would have hobbled our government’s efforts to conduct electronic surveillance of terrorists. Good. As Mitch McConnell argued, with ISIS and other blood thirsty terrorist groups on the rise, this is “the worst possible time to be tying our hands behind our back.” Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden have described the “USA »

Rand Paul and the Foreign Policy Delusions of Libertarianism

Featured image Rand Paul spoke today on the Senate floor, opposing the administration’s proposal to arm and train moderate Syrian elements. In recent months, Paul has tried to position himself in the mainstream on foreign policy, and has objected bitterly to being called an isolationist. Yet the very first words of his speech encapsulated the Libertarian delusion: that problems in the world are the result of American actions, and that by remaining »

Epstein on Paul

Featured image It is hard to top Richard Epstein when it comes to thinking through the strengths and weaknesses of classical liberalism (his preferred term to “libertarianism”), and his book last year, The Classical Liberal Constitution, is a treatise for the ages.  (But if you don’t have time for this long a book, get his very short and very excellent How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution.)  Actually, at the risk of offending a »

Rand Paul’s self-serving version of identity politics

Featured image Rand Paul was in Guatemala this week. Eliana Johnson reports that during his visit, Dr. Paul worked with a team of surgeons to perform eye surgeries at Salama’s Hospital de Ojos. Paul opined that doctors are superior to lawyers when it comes to serving in political office: I personally think that if we got rid of all the lawyers and replaced them with all the doctors our country would be »

Opportunism knocks in Missouri

Featured image Add Rand Paul’s name to the list of opportunists seeking to exploit for political purposes the tragic shooting of young Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The race-hustlers populate the list, of course. So does President Obama, who sees a topic in his supposed wheelhouse (but in reality a local matter) through which he can distract attention from his disastrous foreign policy. Writing in Time Magazine, Paul sees the opportunity to »

Rand Paul: To the left of Eric Holder on felon enfranchisement

Featured image I wrote here about Rand Paul’s unconstitutional plan to propose federal legislation that would enfranchise some felons. Now, Sen. Paul has addressed the constitutional issue posed by such legislation. He argues, in essence, that states decide who votes in state elections, but the federal government has the final say on who can vote in federal elections. Roger Clegg makes short work of Paul’s contention: The U.S. Constitution itself explicitly gives »

Rand Paul — faux constitutional conservative

Featured image Rand Paul is fond of invoking the Constitution to support his policy preferences. But is he really a “constitutional conservative”? Roger Clegg raises the question in light of Paul’s announced plan to introduce federal legislation to enfranchise some felons. This plan probably reflects Paul’s desire to increase his appeal to African-American voters. But is it constitutional? No, it is not. As Clegg explains: The Constitution gives the states the authority »

Rand Paul lets Obama off the hook in the Middle East

Featured image Rand Paul said today on Meet the Press that he does not blame President Obama for the instability in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East; instead he blames President Bush. Paul told an undoubtedly delighted David Gregory: What’s going on now I don’t blame on President Obama. Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution. But I do blame the Iraq war on the chaos that »

A long, hard fall for Rubio and Christie in New Hampshire

Featured image A new Granite State poll of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters is out. The poll was conducted for WMUR by the University of New Hampshire. The results can’t be taken too seriously because only 1 percent of those surveyed say they have definitely decided how they will vote. But the results are interesting, nonetheless. Rand Paul is the leader at 15 percent. He is followed by “favorite daughter” Kelly »

Is Paul Appealing–Or Appalling?

Featured image We’ve got a link in our “Picks” section this morning to Bret Stephens’s Wall Street Journal column mockingly titled “Rand Paul for President,” whose subhed suggests that perhaps the GOP, like Democrats in the 1980s, needs to suffer a landslide defeat to get its head on straight.  Stephens thinks Rand Paul’s “bark-at-the-moon lunacy” would be just the ticket. Paul’s partisans will discount Stephens as part of the neocon conspiracy.  But »

The 1970s are calling

Featured image Rand Paul says he will call for the creation of a bipartisan committee to probe and reform the intelligence community. Paul wants the committee to “watch the watchers,” along the lines of the post-Watergate Church Committee in the 1970s. This idea was well-received by Berkeley students, as you would expect. The Church Committee too was very popular in leftist circles. The Church Committee was a response to serious abuses of »

Rand Paul Does Berkeley

Featured image Rand Paul is one of a small number of Republicans–Marco Rubio is another–who have the potential to expand the playing field in 2016 and bring a mostly-conservative message to voters who aren’t used to pulling the GOP lever. He showed that again today when he visited the University of California at Berkeley: Nobody should be surprised that Rand Paul got so warm a welcome Wednesday, even in a city whose »

Rand Paul: Did an Old Prejudice Rear Its Head In His CPAC Speech?

Featured image I want to like Rand Paul. I really do. He is a very smart guy and in most respects a solid conservative. He has tried to distance himself from some of his father’s less savory positions, and has even described himself as a “social conservative,” although what he means by that is not at all clear. And Paul is indisputably an effective, even charismatic politician whose unique slant on the »

Will conservatives give Marco Rubio another look?

Featured image Politico reports that Marco Rubio is “seeking to rehabilitate his image with much of the GOP base” by falling back on “staunch conservative positions” such as a “more aggressive U.S. response to Russia in the Ukraine crisis.” I hope that denouncing passivity in response to aggression by our adversaries remains a staunch conservative position. Rubio explained that “many of my supporters maybe disagreed with me on immigration — and disagreed »

Poll has Clinton and Christie in a dead heat

Featured image For what it’s worth, and that may not be much, Chris Christie is in a statistical dead heat with Hillary Clinton in a poll by CNN/ORC International. The poll puts Christie at 48 percent and Clinton at 46 percent. Christie wins nearly six in ten votes among independents, and wins a majority of suburbanites and older voters. Clinton wins decisively among women. Unfortunately, Christie is the only Republican among those »

Ted Cruz trounces Rand Paul and Marco Rubio among “Value Voters”

Featured image Ted Cruz has won a straw poll at the Value Voters Summit. Cruz picked up an impressive 42 percent of the vote. His fiery rhetoric regarding the shutdown showdown, a topic avoided by other legislators who spoke to the group, must have helped. Rick Santorum and Dr. Benjamin Carson were next in the poll with 13 percent. Rand Paul finished fourth with 6 percent and Marco Rubio was fifth with »