Tag: Rand Paul

When Doves Cry: The Decline and Fall of the New Isolationists


shutterstock_259520312Like the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, American foreign policy isolationists have tinkered with a number of name changes over the years. Prince tried calling himself TAFKAP, The Artist, and “unpronounceable Love Symbol,” before finally resettling on “Prince.” Foreign policy isolationists – that is to say, those who favor dismantling U.S. strategic commitments worldwide – have tried calling themselves non-interventionist, anti-interventionist, and now, most improbably, “realist.” But none of it seems to be working.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Following years of U.S. warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, some leading venues on the right — including the Cato Institute, The American Conservative, and Reason magazine — made the case for a new U.S. policy of strict military disengagement overseas. As popular opposition to those wars grew, the argument seemed superficially plausible. Most Americans came to view the war in Iraq as a mistake. But this was never the sum of the New Isolationist position.

What many of the New Isolationists argued, quite explicitly, was not only that George W. Bush had erred in Iraq, but that the whole edifice of international U.S. alliance commitments built up since the 1940s needed to be brought down. (See for example the 2008/09 Cato Handbook for Policymakers, pages 201, 507, and 561.)

The Libertarian Podcast: Epstein on the NSA Ruling


On this week’s installment of The Libertarian podcast, we’re diving into the Second Circuit’s recent ruling on NSA Metadata collection. Was the court right to hold that the program exceeds the authority given by the Patriot Act? Should Americans be concerned about an intrusive intelligence apparatus? Is Edward Snowden a hero? And what does Richard think of Rand Paul’s views on the tradeoff between security and liberty? Listen in below (or by subscribing through iTunes or your favorite podcast player) to find out.

Time for a GOP Purge?


A small business?

Sorry to sound like Robespierre, but the disgraceful goings-on described in this National Review article deserve to be investigated and the responsible parties exposed. Simply put, Congress was exempted from Obamacare on the basis of a fraudulent application to the District of Columbia’s health exchange that described the Hill — which employs thousands — as a small business eligible for taxpayer subsidies under the ACA:

Handicapping the Republican Presidential Hopefuls


shutterstock_121492783The biggest issue with the current crop of Republican presidential candidates rests in the one characteristic they all share: that they are all politicians. Okay, so Dr. Carson is no politician, but he’s not a viable candidate, either. Let’s start with Jeb Bush. He used to be the most conservative of the Bushes, but he traded that in for what I’m sure he believes is practicality. It’s not. It’s not even compromise. It’s weakness. The media senses it, and they cheer for him. DocJay is right: Jeb is Hillary’s mark and nothing smacks more of politics than the Bush Dynasty.

Scott Walker is a fighter, no doubt, but his hands are still stained permanently with the ink of taxpayer dollars. In his short life, he’s been a politician… and nothing else. Chris Christie was a prosecutor before he immersed himself in politics. If there’s one thing nearly as disqualifying of politicians as politics, it’s the practice of law and — worse yet — the practice of law on the government payroll. Private practice is narrowly qualifying, but double-damn on those who cash a government check. And while Christie never had my vote, he earned my contempt when he wrapped his beefy arm around our President, seeking favor after disaster.

Rand Paul is an MD, an Ophthalmologist. So far, so good. His experience in politics is limited to the Senate but — in spite of his sometimes surly demeanor — his pedigree makes him yet another politician, yet another political legacy. And with this legacy comes the scent of his father’s kookiness. Ted Cruz is yet another lawyer, the former Solicitor General for the state of Texas, though he spent several years in private practice. As with Rand Paul, his first elected office is the US Senate.

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One thing I’ve noticed about Hillary is the measured way that she has responded to controversial issues like vaccinations and others. She lets others go first and stir up controversy, risking a loss of popularity, then comes out with a reasonably sounding statement. Rand Paul, by contrast, recently threatened legal action against some media outfit […]

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The Poverty Trifecta: Despair, Dependency, Drugs


I’ll admit that our justice system is discriminatory: it favors those who can afford a viable defense and it disfavors the defiant. I’m no sociologist, but I guarantee that defendants represented by private counsel are more apt to receive leniency than those represented by public defenders. Defendants invested in private counsel are more likely to take the advice of counsel seriously and conduct themselves with humility and contrition throughout the judicial process. This garners leniency. These observations are intuitive and cannot likely be proven or reasonably measured; nonetheless, I’m confident they are true and profound.

Consider the state of the poor communities in urban America. Crime rates in these urban areas are legion, but this is not just an African-American problem. The problems of gangs and drugs go hand-in-hand with welfare dependency and persistent single parenthood, and it’s not hard to find pockets of white or Hispanic citizens where these problems persist. In fact, this is not even an urban problem. These problems are epidemic in many small rural towns (especially in California), on the reservation, and in rural Appalachia. That they are most acute in urban black communities does not mean the issue is fundamentally about race.

Dear GOP Candidates: Beat the Press


shutterstock_120719548This new generation of GOP hopefuls understands what only Newt Gingrich knew in 2012. If you want a chance at the White House, you need to beat the other candidates and you need to beat the press.

Mitt Romney, decent fellow that he is, tacitly accepted the press’ claims of objectivity, even if he didn’t believe it in his heart. Romney grinned and nodded at reporters from CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC, even though their initials could have been DNC.

Right-leaning partisans watched moderator George Stephanopoulos concoct the fictional “War on Women” and moderator Candy Crowley actively support Obama during live debates. Many of us spent 2012 yelling at our TVs and laptop screens, “the press isn’t neutral. They’re on the other side!”

Rand Currency?


635640152486121192-RAND02-SAMAnd then there were two announced presidential candidates (well, more like 195 if you dig a little deeper through the FEC’s files), now that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has officially tossed his hat in the ring (here’s the video). About the announcement: it wasn’t No Child Left Behind. More like No Box Left Unchecked.

Before an enthusiastic Louisville crowd, Paul was (in addition to being an incumbent U.S. senator offering himself as an enemy of the “Washington machine”): (a) an advocate of limited government and a supporter of a big investment in infrastructure; (b) a former arguer in favor of defense cuts, who now wants to invest more in the military; (c) a tough guy on national security who also wants to pull back from countries that don’t like us; (d)his father’s son as both a physician and a libertarian practitioner (Ron Paul was in attendance for the kick-off, but not on the front stage), with at least one big notable difference; (e) a candidate for the GOP nomination who believes the party needs a kinder, gentler approach to non-traditonal constituencies — all the while telling his announcement crowd that it’s time to “take our country back”.

Some factors to weigh as Paul embarks on the road to . . . Iowa and New Hampshire.

Please Stop the Pandering, Senator Paul


shutterstock_180495284You may count me among those unenthused by the prospect of a Rand Paul presidency. To understand why, look at the speech he gave in announcing his candidacy on Tuesday. Using an old and stale a rhetorical device, Senator Paul proclaimed his visions of an America he assures us would exist under his stewardship. Among these visions was this: “I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed.”

Senator Paul cannot possibly be so uninformed as to think that crime is committed in equal proportions across all ethnic lines. The only explanation for including that little nugget in the speech is that he is pandering to those who cling to the discredited belief that the criminal justice system is rigged against racial minorities.

The myth of the racially biased criminal justice system has been thoroughly debunked, in my opinion most effectively by my friend Heather Mac Donald (see here, for example). But, like “Hands up, Don’t Shoot,” it is a myth that refuses to die. And though this myth persists, it is nonetheless disappointing to see politicians propagating it, most especially a Republican aspiring to be president.

Skepticism, Yes. Cynicism, No.


Senators Call For Passage Of Military Justice Improvement Act   “Leave no tired cliche untouched..is this all there is?”
“Do young people like all these catch phrases?”
“Anyone who thinks college liberals will warm to an anti govt tirade or conservs will buy empty platitudes on def? Get real”

When Rand Paul announced his candidacy this morning, I had one eye on his speech and the other on the Twitter reaction. About a quarter of the tweets were positive to neutral reactions while the rest mocked the candidate, denigrated his fans, and ridiculed his chances in the primary. All the above comments were from a single Beltway GOP voice, but the jaded tone dominated my feed. These weren’t snarky reporters and Democrats, but Republicans who claim to want victory in 2016.

In the rapid-fire world of social media, negative voices dominate, whether fomenting the outrage du jour or sniping at the story of the moment. I get that and, all too often, engage in it myself. But I don’t understand negativity as an aspiration, especially among allegedly savvy Republicans.

Rand’s Reforms: The Ricochet Survey


RandHere’s a protip for the approaching presidential campaign season: when the candidates take to the stump, always read the transcript rather than watching the speech. I adopted this technique during the 2008 presidential campaign, when it simply became too arduous to sit through 75 minutes of mass hysteria (and at least one audience member fainting) to get through 15 minutes worth of Barack Obama’s cotton candy remarks.

The transcripts are clarifying. You’re not distracted by the delivery or the audience dynamics. You’re essentially alone with the candidate and his thoughts. And, nine times out of ten, you’re going to be disappointed — because the vast majority of these guys don’t have much to say.

Now, I don’t especially blame them for this. Running for the presidency in the modern era often dictates hiding the ball (the 2008 Obama campaign is a textbook example of this). But it does make mining the transcripts an interesting exercise. You’ll often discover that dozens of paragraphs worth of rhetoric only yield two or three concrete proposals.

Senator Rand Paul Formally Announces Candidacy


shutterstock_180495377From the Washington Post, Senator Ted Cruz now has some official competition:

Sen. Rand Paul, the maverick first-term senator who rode a tea party wave from a Kentucky ophthalmology practice to Congress, on Tuesday formally announced a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

“I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government,” Paul wrote on his official campaign Web site, hours ahead of an official campaign launch in Louisville.

The GOP’s Fight Club


621_356_fight_club1Sometimes, late-night television writers have to scrounge for material. Other times, comedy falls right in their laps. For example: news reports that a 68-year-old Mitt Romney plans to climb into the ring with former boxing champ Evander Holyfield.

It’s part of a May 15 card in Salt Lake City. And before you think Romney’s lost his mind (or suffered damage from too many political campaigns), rest assured that (a) his heart’s in the right place (it’s a fundraising event for Charity Vision, a humanitarian organization founded by retired Salt Lake physician Bill Jackson) and (b) the former GOP nominee hasn’t lost his sense of humor (“It will either be a very short fight, or I will be knocked unconscious,” he told reporters. “It won’t be much of a fight. We’ll both suit up and get in the ring and spar around a little bit.”).

We’ll see how Romney’s boxing skills measure up with those of another Utah legend: Donny Osmond.

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Is it Rich Lowry only?  NR’s YouTube feed often uploads interesting newsclips  — they love Charles Krauthammer, for example — but yesterday someone saw fit to upload a fifteen second clip of Bibi’s speech that was titled “Rand Paul’s Reaction to Netanyahu.”‘ It shows the PM waving to the chamber, and then thunderous applause, during […]

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Andy Ferguson Narrows the Field


In all the hoo-hah about them over the last 10 or so days, one of the things I found most annoying was that Brian Williams and Jon Stewart kept being described as journalists. Performers, yes, but journalists? Either of them? Not even close.

That was my reaction, anyway, but then I got to wondering: Does journalism, real journalism, even exist anymore? Original research and reporting, good, accessible writing, all presented with freshness and energy and intelligence? Is it still around? Or has journalism become so debased that we might as well concede the collapse of another corner of what used to be called Western Civilization and go ahead and grant that, by current standards, Williams and Stewart really sort of were journalists?

The Fed’s Hawk Tells Rand to Back Off


The Federal Reserve normally stays out of political fights but when it comes to its own independence, it seems, it has no problem throwing down.

Richard Fisher, the soon-retiring president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and arguably the most inflation-hawkish member of the Fed, had some choice words on Fox Business this afternoon about Rand Paul’s Audit the Fed bill.

The Vaccine Question


Update: At this hour Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, and George Pataki (with a great response by the way) have spoken out in favor of vaccination, full stop. No responses yet from Bush, Huckabee, and Santorum.

If you followed me on Twitter today, you saw my largely unbounded anger at Chris Christie for giving exactly the wrong answer on the question of childhood vaccinations, and for opening up an issue harmful not just to the GOP, but to society as a whole.

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Is this the deepiest GOP bench evah, OR WHAT!?!1??!? In all previous presidential elections, I’ve known years in advance whom I would support in the GOP primaries. Even in 2012, although technically I did cast a vote for Santorum, that was merely a “message” and I (reluctantly) supported Romney. But this year, I find myself […]

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Rand is Wrong on War Powers


Senator Rand Paul published an editorial in the Daily Beast claiming that the war on ISIS is unconstitutional. He accuses Republicans of hypocrisy or of supporting the view that Article II of the Constitution gives the President unlimited powers. He singles me out as a defender among Republicans of presidential war powers. I’m flattered.

The op-ed shows why Senator Paul should stay right where he is — in the Senate. We should never put someone in the Oval Office who thinks that the United States can only use force when it is actually attacked, as he argues. That is the mindset that led the United States to ignore events in Europe as they spiraled out of control 100 years ago and to withdraw from the continent in the interwar years, leaving it to fascists who ultimately drew the U.S. back into another destructive war. It is a point of view that would have led to defeat in the Cold War and would handcuff the United States from protecting its security by intervening against security threats before they arrive on our shores. It is a point of view that no serious candidate for President should hold and that no great President in our history has ever held.