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The One Question Conservative Rand Paul Supporters Need to Answer

Posted on June 19 2010 4:00 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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We talk too much in politics. We compose long essays and in-depth articles that obscure what really matters. I’m going to start doing this more: just breaking things down to the root, and forcing a single question. That’s the benefit of politics in the age of 140 character tweets. We can actually get to the heart of the issue.

The newest issue of The New Republic has a great piece highlighting Rand Paul’s ideological origins:

The third of Paul’s five children, Rand had been an avid student of his father’s political teachings. “As a young lad, he sat at his father’s knee and learned all he could,” says longtime Ron Paul campaign aide Jean McIver. By the time he got to Baylor University, Rand was a font of small-government dogma, conversant on the evils of the Federal Reserve and a floating currency. “Rand was pretty much a carbon copy of his dad,” recalls John Green, who belonged to a Baylor secret society called the NoZe Brotherhood with Rand. “He started drinking the Kool-Aid at an early age.” So, in 1984, when Ron Paul was called back to Washington for a House vote and had to miss a scheduled joint appearance with Gramm, he turned to his 21-year-old son to fill in for him. In front of 300 people, Rand Paul gave his first political speech. “I listened to him pretty closely,” says Gramm, “and I remember the young man did quite well.”

But his devotion to his father—and to his father’s politics—never waned. Over the years, he continued to pitch in on his father’s campaigns, none more so than Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential bid, for which Rand traveled to ten states and appeared on hundreds of radio shows on his father’s behalf.

Ron Paul has served as a “distinguished counselor” at the von Mises Institute, which has published his books. And, while Rand Paul has never had any formal associations with the organization, it’s clear that its leaders have played a key role in his intellectual development. “I tell people when they ask me if I know Lew Rockwell that I used to ride to work with Lew Rockwell and Ron Paul back in the late 1970s, maybe early 1980s,” Rand told Rockwell in a radio interview last year, “and I got to hear all kinds of great conversations on the way to work about philosophy, politics, religion, you name it, and I guess I was always very, very interested in that.” Similarly, in a videocast Paul did lamenting the fact that he never met Ayn Rand, he said, “One of the ones I was lucky enough to meet through the years was Murray Rothbard, and, when he came to speak to interns in the early 1980s in Washington, I was privileged enough to drive him back to the airport and got to talk to him about things.”

None of this should be surprising. Having learned his politics at his father’s knee, Paul has had no opportunities since those early days to unlearn them. While Paul’s professional life as an ophthalmologist has presumably exposed him to many things, his political life—dedicated as it has been, until now, to his father’s career—has been spent entirely inside his father’s suffocatingly cramped paleolibertarian universe. “He lives in an information bubble,” says Chip Berlet, who studies right-wing movements for Political Research Associates.

I have one question that a conservative who supports Rand Paul and claims to take the war against Islamic Nazism seriously needs to answer: at what point between the end of campaigning for his father’s 2008 presidential run and now did Rand Paul realize that the foreign policy views he’d believed and fought for his entire life were dead wrong?

Wake up: Rand is every bit as radical as his father and is thus worse on Israel and the War on Islamofascism than Barack Obama. Just as the Alinskyite-In-Chief never truly broke from his hard Left origins, Rand still holds onto his fringe paleolibertarianism. And also just like the Community Organizer President, Rand will lie about what values he actually holds in order to get the mainstream to put him into office. Anyone care to disagree?

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