Beware Rand Paul’s Bait-And-Switch

Rand Paul is running on the platform that he is not a typical Republican...except that he is with the exception of drugs, drones and spying. And that’s something all Americans, especially all progressives, need to remember heading into 2016.

Here’s why.

As veteran Democratic strategist Ed Kilgore points out today in a piece for Talking Points Memo, Rand Paul won’t try to win a presidential election the way Ted Cruz will try to win one. He won’t just rely on the same old conservative base to boost his popularity; he’ll try to attract new voters to the conservative cause, and he’ll do this by emphasizing how different he is from other Republicans on key issues like NSA spying, drones, and the drug war.

At the same time, though, Rand Paul will stick to his far-right roots on economic issues. By doing this, Kilgore writes, “Paul offers limited-government conservatives an interesting bargain: They can take America right back to the economic and social policies of the Coolidge Administration—if they give up spying on, imprisoning and sending off to war young people and minorities.”

In other words, Rand Paul is going to give Republicans everything they’ve ever wanted on economic issues as long as they make a few concessions on national security, foreign policy, and criminal justice.

But here’s the thing: Paul isn’t just offering this bargain to conservatives – he’s also offering it to the entire country.

By calling himself a “different kind of Republican,” and highlighting his supposedly bold stances on drones, drugs, and spying, he’s trying to trick everyday Americans into supporting his crazy right-wing economic policies.’ And when I say Rand Paul supports some crazy right-wing economic policies, I mean really crazy.

Not only does he want to do away with Medicare and Social Security, he also supports going back to the “Lochner era,” when the Supreme Court banned child labor laws and basically made life a living hell for the American worker.

So ultimately, Rand Paul is giving the American a people a choice, even if they don’t know they’re being offered one.

If they let President Paul bring back the Lochner era and turn America into a testing ground for the craziest libertarian ideas around, he’ll bring the troops home, stop the government from spying on innocent civilians, and maybe, just maybe he’ll decriminalize pot as well. Of course, we probably won’t hear a lot about the Lochner era during Senator Paul’s upcoming trips to New Hampshire and Iowa. And that’s the really the big issue here.

Because Rand Paul has spoken out so publicly against NSA spying, drones, and the War on Drugs, he’s gained a following of sorts on the left. There are probably even some progressives who would vote for him over Hillary Clinton. But that would be a huge mistake.

Progressives have every right to be angry at the Obama administration for doubling down on the worst parts of Bush’s War on Terror, but the solution is not a President Rand Paul.

The solution is for the Democratic Party to go back to its progressive roots. Real Democrats like Dennis Kucinich have been calling out the security state for decades. All progressives need to do to put their party on the right track again is to embrace people like Dennis Kucinich and the principles they stand for.

While a Rand Paul presidency might see, say, an end to metadata collection, the bad would far outweigh the good, and we might just see an end to the New Deal. So by all means, support Senator Rand Paul’s work in the senate to reform the security state and the criminal justice system.

But be careful about the bargain he’s offering as part of his presidential campaign, because it’s not so much a bargain as it a good old-fashioned bait-and-switch.


KCRuger's picture
KCRuger 9 years 10 weeks ago

I have a login here because I read Thom's book "The Crash Of 2016". It is without question the finest literature on current economics I have seen. This is the policy that needs to be placed #1 on everybody's list; unless we get out of the path of destruction known as Reaganomics, the U.S. will one day become a 3rd-world country for the vast majority of its citizens, and all those social issues you think are important will become as naught. The mean household income has gone from $58K in 1999 to $52K in 2013, not adjusted for inflation, yet supply-side still gets about 45% of the popular vote; while voters whine about liberal economic policies that don't even exist anymore! They continue to defend the wealthy as over-taxed when income taxes only make up about 37% of taxes collected as a whole. They lie about the fact lowering taxes on the wealthy does not create jobs in America because there is no incentive to invest domestically. Sure, they will die off at some point, & younger voters are more self-aware of these issues, but currrently the train is still full of steam, to the detriment of our country.

oneworldatpeace's picture
oneworldatpeace 9 years 10 weeks ago

Thoms right and it might just work because most of the Democrats are DEMO-RATS! They are afraid of EVERYTHING especially people forming UNIONS because when THEY WERE THE MAJORITY THEY DIDN'T DO ANYTHING FOR LABOR!

All the way back to TRUMAN! and now they are worse! So I don't think they're smart enough to realize where they are at is because their bought and paid for status won't allow them to even ACT like they care about working families let alone do enough to convince people to get off their ass up to vote like it makes a difference.

The TEA-CRACKERS would never had happened if StatusQuOBAMA had moved against the Banks and BAILED OUT OUR MORTGAGES (Like FDR!) intead of the Banks and Wall Street.

REPEAL TAFT-HARTLEY !! Or you're making believe about INEQUALITY!

liz banker 9 years 10 weeks ago

Thom, which would be "worse" a President Rand Paul that takes the country back to the 1929 economic policies; or a Madame President; Hillary Clinton willing to let either Israel or American foreign policy (aka Empire) drop the nuclear bomb on Iran? Ron and his son, Rand Paul, may have their "kooky" ideas but I would take those crazies over the cynical and phony-on-principles Hillary Clinton any day, Hillary would actually be more dangerous since she is also actually a lot smarter than the average joe, learning quickly how to triangulate on the issues Progressive say they care about in order keep them in her political camp; otherwise, her thinking is about as elitist as the best of them in Congress.

Both sides will be sharing opposition dirt on each other: magazine/story/2015/04/clinton-white-house-the-residence-excerpt-116706.html?ml=po#.VSW5lJez2iF . “Some on the staff have said that Hillary knew about Lewinsky long before it came out, and that what really upset her was not the affair itself but its discovery and the media feeding frenzy that followed.” ….. kind of sums up the “real” Hillary, I would think.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 10 weeks ago

liz banker ~ Undoing the New Deal, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Education and Labor are far more than a few "kooky" ideas. I don't know about you; but, some of us have been forking over 10-25% of our income our entire lives for these programs. The future of our elderly, our children, their children, and their children's children depend upon them. Our way of life--at least what is left of it--depends upon them.

I agree with Thom that Rand's policies on drugs, drones, and spying are spot on. However, the rest of them are bat crap crazy. I refuse to accept an election that would make us chose between those extremes of evil when much greater progressive solutions to these problems exist. I don't want Mrs. 'Artillery' Clinton in office anymore that you do, for even more reasons than you mentioned; however, I would cast my vote for her in a second if needed to keep Paul out of office. There's no way I'm gonna forfeit 25% of my income, my future, and the future of our children out of fear of another potential war in the middle east. The USA has already done so much harm and created so many enemies in that region that I doubt anyone is going to keep this country 100% safe in the future.

That being said... let's do everything we can so that we don't have to make such an ugly choice.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 10 weeks ago

If you're for continued concentration of wealth, more deregulation for the super rich, global warming, government shutdowns costing billions......if you stand against the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act...then by all means vote for Rand Paul.....Mr urbane citizen who like his Daddy fancies himself a leader of men.

I wish I could view Paul's obsession with power as just laughable and innocuous, but I see a dark side.....a crazed cult leader out of touch with all manner of foreign policy and economic reality.

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 9 years 10 weeks ago

I would like to have the opportunity to vote for Kucinich but the Progressive wing of the Democrat Party remains subdued by the party's Neoliberal leadership. It appears that many of these Progressive groups remain frozen at the state level possibly fearing retribution from the national leadership. This could be a good thing if they are working together to build a consensus at the state level that would let them introduce their chosen candidate at the national convention in the summer of 2016. Both Clinton's have the disadvantage of accumulating a national record that is less than stellar and continues to take hits on a regular basis. No doubt that the Right can take some responsibility for this but there's a growing segment on the Left that have looked back at Bill's record that includes blowing a chance to pass a single payer healthcare plan, signing off on NAFTA, and eliminating a vital portion of the welfare system that provided child support for working single mothers in his first term. Bringing Wall Street Big Whig Robert Rubin into his administration just added to the public's perception that the Neoliberal Democrat Leadership had moved further to the Right than the GOP ! Then he completed his two terms as president by signing off on the elimination of the 80 year old Glass-Steagall Act that opened a door to a major collapse of the economy just seven years later. In general, voters tend to look at Hillary as the Apple that doesn't fall far from the Slick Willy Tree !

rosie95 9 years 10 weeks ago

Rand Paul is another not funny joke from the repugnants. He is a real politician and says what his audience wants to hear. Anybody who is considering him as a candidate needs to look at his voting record. He's a straight up teabagger. Walk the walk, Rand, and stop talking the talk. You are taking advantage of the ignorance of the American voter just like the rest of your partyl I still don't understand why he and his father fail to run on the Libertarian ticket instead of the repugnants. That in itself speaks volumes.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

Ditto what Marc said. We need somebody smart in the White House, we don't need kooky. Paul's kookiness isn't harmless and Hillary's smart enough to know that she has to at least please us a little. She's no great friend of labor and she'll no doubt push TPP as hard as anybody but we'll just have to call her on it and she'll know when she's caught.
Paul is only peeling away upper class yuppie brats who imagine themselves rebels but really want anything but an upset of the existing order. He may, if elected, stop collection of metadata - for a while - but not for very long. His main priorities are serving the oligarchy.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

Bill and Hillary's sexual morality is irrelevant to me.

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