Something occurred to me when I looked at Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s recent comments following his near weeklong feud with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
He has become the next Mitt Romney.
Not in the way of wealth, but in his ability to seemingly contradict himself from one day to the next. And how he’s used his father’s name to propel himself to political success.
If Mitt Romney did one thing remarkable, it was that he brought President Obama and Republicans together on one issue. They both agreed Mitt Romney would change his mind, or position, on any number of issues to simply pander to whoever he was speaking with.
After all, this is a man who built a health care plan that’s nearly identical to “Obamacare” — then said on camera it should be the model for the nation to follow. Then while running for President last year he essentially stood against his own health care plan — while denying that he ever said it should be the model for our nation.
Even though there was plenty of indisputable evidence of him saying so.
And don’t even get me started on his “47%” comments which he now says were taken out of context. Even now, Romney lacks the ability to just be honest. Basically, he’s now denying that he said 47% of Americans will never take responsibility for themselves — even though (once again) he was caught on video saying exactly that.
Now Rand Paul seems to be stuck trying to attract the Libertarian support his father enjoyed, while appealing to the more conservative radicals within the Republican party — while simultaneously trying to appeal to the younger, often more liberal voters which usually vote for Democrats.
While these groups of people are in agreement on some issues, they are completely different on most. And that presents a problem.
Let’s take his 13-hour filibuster a few months ago. He stood there for hours basically claiming the Obama administration hadn’t given him a clear answer on their stance behind using drones to kill Americans on American soil. For this article we’ll ignore the fact that this is clearly defined in our Constitution.
He was obviously trying to appeal to Libertarians who are extremely paranoid of the government, the younger vote which is often anti-war and the right-wing conservatives who want to paint Obama as some tyrant who uses drones as his own personal killing tool — because they just know he would use them to target Americans on American soil.
But then he comes out and says he would support the use of drones to kill Americans on American soil – in certain instances. His example was of an armed person robbing a liquor store of $50, and a drone being used to kill the suspect upon existing the store. He claimed it made no difference to him if a police officer killed the armed robber or a drone did.
This, of course, is his weak attempt to seem “tough.” And while many Republicans enjoyed it (because many of them tend to love the idea of killing who they perceive as criminals), it angered his Libertarian support and many young people. Which makes sense. Because somehow the man who filibustered for hours supposedly in opposition to the potential killing of Americans on American soil without due process — suddenly supported an example of killing an American on American soil (using a drone) without due process.
He, of course, then backtracked on his comments, implying that they were being taken out of context. His exact words were:
“Armed drones should not be used in normal crime situations. They may only be considered in extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat.”
Except this is the example he used the day before:
“Here’s the distinction: I have never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an act of crime going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”
He clearly, and with great detail, stated that a person coming out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash is someone he would support killing with a drone.
Then he claims that he only meant drones are to be used in “extraordinary lethal situations.” So, which is it? Because, I’m sorry, someone coming out of a liquor store they just robbed of $50 doesn’t seem to warrant “extraordinary lethal situations.”
Though Rand Paul seems to think so.
Then there’s his stance on being “fiscally responsible.” Except he recently attacked the funding our government gave to Hurricane Sandy victims, claiming that type of spending is why our defense budget suffers.
His words on this matter:
“They’re precisely the same people who are unwilling to cut the spending, and their ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme—give me all my Sandy money now.’ Those are the people who are bankrupting the government and not letting enough money be left over for national defense.”
Wait, what? Is Paul claiming that helping Americans whose lives had been destroyed was the reason why our defense budget lacks adequate funding?
Yup, that’s exactly what he said.
Of course, this is his attempt to pander to right-wing Republicans who seem to think that aiding Americans who are in need of help bankrupts our government. But the hundreds of billions of dollars we spend on our national defense each year has apparently nothing to do with it. A defense budget, I will remind you, that’s larger than the next 13 nations combined.
In fact, our defense spending makes up 19% of our total budget.
So, I can only ask, is Paul a “fiscal conservative” who tries to toe the line his father did as it relates to war and our defense? Or is he a typical Republican who has no problem fattening the pockets of big defense companies with extremely bloated defense contracts?
Well I guess all we have to do is look at Paul’s words. Clearly he feels our defense budget isn’t properly funded, even though our defense budget totaled $689 billion in 2012.
It seems Paul thinks we should spend more.
Then while Paul tries to perpetuate this idea that he’s a “small government conservative,” insinuating that the Civil Rights Act is unconstitutional and openly opposing the Americans with Disabilities Act — he feels it’s the “government’s responsibility to protect life.” This is the argument he uses to support his anti-abortion stance.
Nothing quite like saying a business should have the right to deny access to Americans with disabilities, or be racially segregated if they so choose, but he’ll be damned if he supports giving women control over their own body.
According to Rand Paul, that’s the government’s job.
Oh, and while he thinks civil rights are unconstitutional because businesses can do what they want, he apparently believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman. So while he believes a business owner can do whatever they want with their business, if that same business owner wanted to married their same-sex partner — that’s a freedom he strongly opposes. Who needs the First Amendment, right? You know, the whole “freedom of religion” part.
Of course Paul takes this stance to pander to the religious right which he needs if he stands any chance at a being the Republican candidate for President in 2016.
Watching Paul reminds me of watching Romney during the 2012 election. Both men will sit there and state their political stance on an issue to one group, then turn around the very next day and contradict what they had just said. Then they have the audacity to claim their words were simply “taken out of context.”
This is what happens when spineless politicians have big aspirations. While there are plenty of politicians I usually disagree with (especially Republicans), I can at least respect the ones who aren’t afraid to say what they’re thinking and stick to that.
Rand Paul, however, is clearly showing that he’s trying to shoot up the political ladder of success by saying whatever he thinks will get him the most votes, riding his fathers coattails and name — all while pandering to the worst, and most radical, parts of the Republican party so he will get their support in hopes of securing the Republican party nomination.
Just like Mitt Romney.