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Posts tagged ‘Ron Paul’

Ron Paul: Putin ‘Has Some Law on His Side’ in Crimea.

Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul says the United States is partially to blame for the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Speaking on the Fox Business Channel program The Independents, Paul accused the U.S. and the West of helping to overthrow Ukraine’s government under President Viktor Yanukovich. He went on to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose military has invaded the Crimean peninsula portion of Ukraine, has “some law on his side” for his actions.

“This whole thing that Putin is the big cause of the trouble is pretty good evidence that the Europeans as well as the American government have contrived to have the overthrow of a government that most people say had been elected,” Paul said.

“And they say everything that Putin does is illegal. He’s no angel, but actually he has some law on his side. They have contracts and agreements and treaties for a naval base there and the permission to go about that area.”

Story continues below video.

Paul compared the situation to the Americans’ presence at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, where the U.S. has a suspected terrorists. and a detention facility for suspected terrorists.

Host Matt Welsh asked Paul about Russia’s actions, which have included stacking its army along the border and taking over a Ukraine base in Crimea.

“I don’t think we should do all that threatening,” Paul said.

Welch interjected, saying he was referring to the Russians in his question.

“I know but we’re there,” Paul said. I know you were talking about the Russians. You listen to [Sens. Lindsey] Graham and [John] McCain, [they say] ‘Oh, now we can build our missiles in Russia’s backyard.’ No, I don’t think so.

“If you believe in limited government, everybody should have the right to minimize their government. There should be a right of secession. We loved secession when we seceded from Great Britain, and we loved secession when the Soviet Union broke up. So why not have the break up of these countries?”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Jason Devaney

Greenwald: NSA Creates Blackmail Risk for Women Who Get Abortions.

Image: Greenwald: NSA Creates Blackmail Risk for Women Who Get Abortions

By William Chedsey

Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who introduced the world to National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and his classified revelations, testified to the European Union’s parliament that NSA metadata collection is ideally suited for identifying women who’ve had abortions and using that information against them.

Collecting metadata “is the supreme priority of the agency precisely because it enables the NSA to invade people’s privacy more effectively than the interception of content,” Greenwald said in his remote video testimony Wednesday to a committee of parliament conducting an inquiry on electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens.

Greenwald said he finds that “sometimes it’s difficult to understand that in the abstract, but it’s easy to understand it when concrete examples are used.”

Imagine, he said, “a woman who decides that she wants to get an abortion. If you’re listening in on her phone call, what you will hear is her calling a clinic. The clinic will answer with a generic-sounding name like ‘East Side Clinic’ or something like that.

“You will hear the woman who you decided to target for surveillance ask for an appointment Tuesday at two o’clock … and you’ll have no idea why she called, or even what kind of clinic she called, or what the purpose was.”

By contrast, Greenwald testified, “if you’re collecting her metadata, you will see the phone number that she called. You will then be able to identify it as an abortion clinic. You will know how many times she called that clinic. And you will have exactly the information you wouldn’t get if you were simply listening to her phone call.”

Greenwald said that it would be “the same with somebody who calls a suicide hotline, or a drug addiction clinic, or somebody who is speaking with someone who is not their spouse late at night, or any number of other types of intimate activities that human beings engage in that you probably wouldn’t be able to apprehend if you’re reading their e-mails or listening to their telephone calls, but that you will instantly be able to understand by collecting their metadata.”

Someone with HIV who “calls a doctor specializing in HIV once every three months, as HIV patients often do; if you’re listening to their phone calls you’ll have no idea what kind of doctor they’re calling, but if you’re collecting their metadata you’ll know everything about their medical condition.”

The political angle to Greenwald’s testimony likely played well to the left-leaning European parliament‘s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

Those on the left in both America and Europe who revile national security overreach by the U.S. government often strongly support the wide availability of legal abortion, gay rights, and oppose stigmas against drug use and marital infidelity.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Greenwald found himself on the receiving end from some of his friends on the left for his kind words about Ron Paul, an opponent of abortion.

“I find Glenn Greenwald’s defense of Ron Paul’s anti-abortion record deeply bizarre,” Ezra Klein complained in the American Prospect, accusing Greenwald of failing to respond “to concerns that, in a Ron Paul world, tens of millions of women will be forced to use their bodies to bear children against their will.”

Greenwald responded by saying, “Not a word of what I wrote or have ever written had anything to do with ‘defending’ Paul’s position on abortion, nor did I state or imply that abortion rights were unimportant.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Ron Paul: America Brought 9/11 Attacks Upon Itself.

Former Texas congressman and presidential aspirant Ron Paul took to Twitter and Facebook on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist strikes to declare that America brought the attacks upon itself.

“We’re supposed to believe that the perpetrators of 9/11 hated us for our freedom and goodness,” Paul posted.

“In fact, that crime was blowback for decades of US intervention in the Middle East. And the last thing we needed was the government’s response: more wars, a stepped-up police and surveillance state, and drones.”

By Wednesday night, the Facebook post had more than 27,000 “likes.”

Attached to the post was a picture of an American flag at half mast with the words “Never Forget. September 11, 2001.”

On his Twitter account, Paul similarly noted:

The posting had 1,226 “retweets.”

Paul is known for his libertarian ideology and opposition to U.S. military action abroad, saying last week it would be “historic” if Congress voted against President Obama’s plan for military strikes in SyriaPolitico reported.

His son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, has also been a vocal opponent of U.S. action in Syria following the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Cathy Burke

Ron Paul: Assange ‘Fighting for the Cause of Liberty’.

Former Rep. Ron Paul on Thursday thanked Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for “fighting to increase transparency in our government” and fighting “for the cause of liberty.”

Paul’s praise came during the third and final installment of an interview with Assange on the Ron Paul Channel —— the subscription-based Internet channel launched last month by the Texas Republican.

Urgent: Should U.S. Strike Syria? Vote Here 

Paul concluded the interview with Assange – confined in the Ecuadorean embassy in London — by directing viewers to the WikiLeaks site where they could donate to Assange’s cause.

The day after Assange told Paul in the second part of the interview that the United States was taking advantage of the humanitarian crisis in Syria to justify a military strike, Paul took a more personal approach in the final installment, asking about Assange’s personal philosophy.

The Australian described his political philosophy as a blend of “California libertarianism,” Greek political theory, along with thoughts from the Federalist Paper and some naturalist views.

“I freely admit to borrowing from parts of my political education from different schools of thought and one of those is, roughly speaking, Californian libertarianism and from your Federalist Papers,” Assange said.

His political and philosophical diversity is reflected in the political party he founded this year and on whose platform he is campaigning in this weekend’s Australian elections.

The WikiLeaks party “is already the fourth most popular party in Australia and we have a wide variety of people from what are classically known as the right and the left within the party. There are tensions about that and I have to try and resolve those tensions and explain the commonality,” Assange said.

Born in Australia to a mother who was the daughter of academics and a father who was the son of engineers, Assange says political philosophy was not something which his parents imposed on him.

“My mother was the daughter of academics. My grandfather left school at age 14 and worked his way up through the Christian education system and to become a very young military intelligence officer in World War II, but my mother was very careful not to bias me,” he told Paul. He acknowledged that his family environment was influential, including the divorce of his parents when he was 9.

According to Assange, he developed his feelings about the world during a “burst of maturity in adolescence” and by exposing himself to a myriad of political philosophies.

Assange said he is hesitant to assign a concrete definition to his beliefs.

“I have been very careful not to define my political philosophy because those terms tend to trap you into one camp and then opponents of that particular camp try to use it against you,” he said.

As a consequence of the recent NSA disclosures by Edward Snowden and during the Bradley Manning trial, Assange said that a unique political phenomenon is developing.

Assange sees an “extreme center” emerging in the establishment from both sides of the political spectrum that is comprised of people “more concerned about self-promotion, political networking, and creating political dynasties, doing favors for mates” than the issues.

“They are just working the system,” Assange said. “They don’t really have any ideas they believe in. The extreme center, which is pushing forward aggressively in a particular direction to promote itself, has led to others feeling like that is not what they want to be involved in. There is now a magnetic force between those on the right and those on the left,” Assange said.

What unites the two sides is the sense of injustice, he said, adding that the libertarian right views injustice in terms of a lack of freedom.

“Your liberty can’t be deprived from you unless someone else has more power, so there is a commonality between these two sides,” Assange said.

The WikiLeaks Party was registered in 2013 and is running in three of the five states in Australia. Their political chances in Saturday’s election are difficult to quantify due to the complicated nature of Australia’s electoral system, but Assange believes the party will garner between 2 percent and 6 percent of the vote. Australians will have 1,717 candidates and more than 50 parties to choose from when they vote on Saturday.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Jennifer G. Hickey

Assange Tells Ron Paul: US Using Syrian WMD Claim.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Wednesday the United States was taking advantage of a humanitarian crisis in order to engage in military action in Syria.

“They really felt what they needed was for there to be some humanitarian outrage in Syria and once they had it, that would legitimize going in with a big air strike,” Assange said on the Ron Paul Channel — — the subscription-based Internet channel launched last month by the former Texas Republican congressman.

Assange, confined in a room in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for more than 1,000 days, clarified that he did not believe the chemical weapons attack was “a fabrication,” but said “it is still possible that the rebels did it.”

“Most of all, for a bigger involvement, they needed a bigger humanitarian outrage to hook it all onto. We have seen that. To be sure it is being taken advantage of,” Assange said. “They did not give a damn about Syrians” until recently.

In the first two installments of a three-part interview with former presidential candidate Ron Paul, Assange addressed a variety of topics from the close ties between Google and the State Department to his philosophical beliefs.

Paul began the interview with Assange about the most controversial issue — whether intelligence is being used improperly to justify action in Syria.

“Haven’t you touched on this subject, of somebody looking for an incident with Syria that would justify all of the countries to come in and the United States government to come in and the British government to come in and do something in Syria?” Paul asked Assange.

Assange has charged that information gathered from 5 million emails WikiLeaks obtained from Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence firm, indicates military action in Syria may have been planned before the recent chemical attacks.

One email from December 2011 involved a report from “one of their agents meeting with the U.S. Air Force, representatives from the French and British military” on the “game-plan” in Syria.

Assange also views the close relationship between the U.S. government and business and tech contracting firms, such as Google, as a deep concern.

“I’ve been watching Google since it was four computers at Stanford. Google started out as — coming out of that culture, the grad-school culture — pretty humane, a bit naive, and it got bigger and bigger and interfacing with the world. And what happened?” asks Assange.

Because Google needed the State Department to intervene when it had problems or concerns with foreign countries, he says, “As time went by they got closer and closer together.”

Assange says he releases classified documents despite the criticism and potential prosecution he faces because he wants the truth to come out.

“Personally, I don’t like lies. In the Australian context, we would say, ‘It is time to make the bastards honest,'” he says, adding that he likes “a good fight.”

Asked about the philosophy behind WikiLeaks, Assange says it derives from a “philosophical view that every law, every regulation, every constitution — in fact, every decision that we take, even as human individual beings — comes about as a result of what we know and what communications we have.

“So we can only be as good as what we know.”

Assange says that no single one of his disclosures has been the most shocking. “The biggest surprise is the panorama, the scope, that it is done en masse and in so many places,” he said. And that is why he believes his group is so important.

“The way for people to be free and the way for people to seek justice is for there to be more knowledge and more truth about how institutions behave,” says Assange.

Rather than one “Henry Kissinger-esque figure directing geo-political strategy” being a threat, it is the “out-of-control bureaucracy involving state and corporations, [the] National Security Agency,” that is to fear, he says.

“There are some people working in an unthinking, unreasoned process and all the secrecy means is that there is not the proper oversight of what is going on. That to me is what is most concerning,” says Assange.

Responding to charges that the classified information he disclosed has resulted in harm to innocent citizens or to members of the military and intelligence communities, Assange says: “Either the published activity that we engage in gets people killed or it does not. It is a factual question. Well, we have seven years of publishing history and never has one person come to personal harm.”

No one at the State or Defense Department has ever cited a single person who has been hurt as a result of WikiLeaks actions, he said. Assange believes government authorities frequently cite potential harm as a means to distract attention from the truth of the WikiLeaks documents.

“Our facts are indisputable and we have the world’s best record for having never gotten it wrong. We have never released a document that has been misdescribed by us … They couldn’t argue on the grounds that what we say is false.”

Assange is still fighting extradition to Sweden regarding questions in two sexual assault cases there.

Despite his confinement at the Ecuadorean embassy, Assange has been busy, filing a formal complaint to request the Swedish authorities investigate U.S. intelligence activities in Europe.

He also is seeking a seat in the Australian senate, a campaign which this week drew a rebuke from Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa.

Responding to a video Assange produced that made fun of his opponents, Correa sent a letter informing him he could campaign, “but without making fun of Australian politicians.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Jennifer G. Hickey

Ron Paul Slams Rumsfeld Over Syria Comments.

Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, appearing on Fox Business Network‘s “Cavuto” on Wednesday, criticized former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld about his thoughts on Syria‘s use of poison gas on civilians.

“Hardly should he be considered an expert on the region,” Paul told host Neil Cavuto.

Earlier on “Cavuto,” Rumsfeld, who last served under President George W. Bush, had criticized the Obama administration for telegraphing American intentions to strike Syria with missiles. 

Editor’s Note22 Hidden Taxes and Fees Set to Hit You With Obamacare. Read the Guide to Protect Yourself. 

Rumsfeld also said the White House has not yet made clear what America’s national interest is in the ongoing civil war.

Paul, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, has always opposed American intervention abroad, so it isn’t surprising to hear him criticize U.S. military action against Syria.

Paul accused Rumsfeld of being “buddies” with Saddam Hussein when he was president of Iraq, and said “Saddam Hussein was actually using poison gases, and look at where Iraq is today.” 

Iraq is a “disaster,” Paul said, with the country more aligned with Iran and the death toll growing. “We hear about the death — so hardly would he be able to give us advice on what to do in Afghanistan.”

The interview with Ron Paul airs on Fox Business Network’s “Cavuto” at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Rand Paul on Fox: Christie Made ‘Big Mistake’ Attacking Libertarians.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made a “big mistake” suggesting the GOP had no room for libertarian-leaning Republicans.

“Look, the party in the Northeast is shrinking almost down to nothing, they need to be looking to people with new and different ideas who will attract young, independent, even Democrats to our party,” Paul said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Saying there’s no room for us was a big mistake on [Christie’s] part,” Paul said.

The spat between the potential presidential contenders started last month after Christie called Paul’s libertarian foreign policy “dangerous,” and Paul fired back accusing Christie of being a big-spending Republican.

The quarrel appeared to re-escalated last week during a Republican National Committee meeting when former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, Rand Paul’s father, said that Christie “offers nothing” to the party.

Asked about this father’s comments, Rand Paul said “The party’s big enough for both of us.”

Paul continued, “I would say there’s room for people who believe in bigger government in our party, and I think that some of the things that [Christie] seems to have promoted make us believe that he thinks there’s a lot more spending that could go on.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Audrey Hudson

Ron Paul to Malzberg: US ‘Stirring the Pot’ in Egypt for Years.

Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul said on Thursday that the United States had been “stirring the pot” in Egypt “for a long time.”

“Just think of how many years we’ve propped up [Hosni] Mubarak, a military dictatorship, and gave him all of those weapons — and he was our guy as long as he did what we told him,” Paul, the former Texas congressman, told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below video.

“But then, when he lost popularity, then we supported the rebels — and, lo and behold, the rebels turned out to be the [Muslim] Brotherhood. They got in power, and then we said: ‘Well, you’ve got to be good Democrats. You have to have an election.’

“So they have an election and they elect Morsi — and we don’t like him because he’s too authoritarian, so then we organize and support the coup. So we go back and forth. We’re all over the place.

“And, now, our president tells us that we should be staying out of this fight,” Paul added. “Yeah, about 50 years ago. That’s when we should have stayed out. We should have never gotten involved. It’s wrong.

“But that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be a problem there — but it would be a civil problem, internal, and we’re not supposed to be involved in the internal affairs of these nations.

“So, yes, we bear a lot of responsibility,” Paul concluded. “We have a couple of choices we give them: If you’re our favorite dictatorship and dictator, we’ll give you a lot of money and we’ll support you. But if you don’t support us, we’re going to bomb you and kill you.”

He added that former National Security Agency subcontractor Edward Snowden did “us all a service” by disclosing information on the agency’s widespread surveillance programs targeting Americans’ telephone and Internet use.

“What has happened is that when government gets too big and too powerful, they want secrecy — and the thing that they fear most is transparency,” Paul told Malzberg. “They talk about transparency, but that’s what they fear the most.

“So when you have people come forth and tell us about what’s really going on, and telling us the truth about our own government, there’s a lot of resentment from that.

“So much of what we do overseas is based on lies, so they resent this — so the truth is what we should be looking for whether we agree with the policy or not,” Paul added. “We shouldn’t be deceiving the people and getting people to endorse certain policies that aren’t good for us.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Todd Beamon

What I’m Thinking This Summer.

Christopher Ruddy‘s Perspective: I’m just back from Europe and feel somewhat unsettled.
Here in the United States, June’s job numbers — nonfarm pay rolls increased by 195,000 — suggest the U.S. economy is in recovery. But across Europe, most of the continent remains in recession or near recession.
Each week The Economist magazine publishes the economic indicators of important economies around the globe. The latest “Euro Area” summary shows GDP growth at about negative 1.1 percent.
Worse, countries showing even anemic growth have high unemployment, especially among the young. Spain has about 50 percent unemployment for its population under 30. The numbers in France, Italy, Greece, and Britain are only slightly better.
It is a recipe for crisis and revolt.
A friend of mine, a Frenchman who works for a major bank in Geneva, told me he thinks the stage is set for “revolution” across Europe. He didn’t say it loudly, and his wife told him to stop being negative.
Shortly after I spoke with him, I read in The Wall Street Journal’s Europe edition Francis Fukuyama’s article “The Middle Class Revolution.”
The events we have seen in the Arab Spring, and now in countries like Turkey and Brazil, are not isolated, but part of a new movement of revolt by rising middle classes around the world.
Fukuyama concluded: “The U.S. and Europe are experiencing sluggish growth and persistently high unemployment, which for young people in countries like Spain reaches 50 percent. In the rich world, the older generation also has failed the young by bequeathing them crushing debts. No politician in the U.S. or Europe should look down complacently on the events unfolding in the streets of Istanbul and São Paulo. It would be a grave mistake to think, ‘It can’t happen here.’”
I am writing more about the American economic crisis in the next edition of the Financial Intelligence Report, the monthly investment newsletter published by Newsmax.
Summer Book
Along these lines, if investors and others concerned about the American economy want to grasp the big picture of understanding, they should read the book I traveled with this summer, “Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets,” by investment guru Jim Rogers.
Jim is neither a contrarian nor an iconoclast. I believe he is simply a man who looks at reality head-on. Time and again he has predicted the major crashes, notably the 1987 stock market crash, the tech bubble of the late 1990s, and the housing crisis of 2008-2009.
He argues that the deleveraging of global debt won’t happen anytime soon, and he paints a picture of perhaps two decades of economic struggle ahead.
The politicians have turned over the hard decisions to the Federal Reserve, which, in turn, is too political to take tough measures that could set the stage for full recovery. The Fed, led by Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, has exacerbated the crisis.
In early July, I woke to find London’s Telegraph at my door with a roaring headline: The top government minister in Britain was predicting that the economic crisis would last 20 years.
All of this does sound a bit negative.
But from negatives a thinking person can find the silver linings, as Rogers outlines in his extremely compelling book.
A Coup in Egypt?
The recent military overthrow in Egypt can hardly be described as a coup d’état.
It must be remembered that the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was duly elected, and soon thereafter tried to upend the constitution and abolish many of its provisions, making him an authoritarian ruler.
Only an outcry from both in and outside Egypt prevented him from obtaining dictatorship. However, he clearly revealed his cards and his intentions.
As president he has done some outrageous things, including releasing numerous terrorists from Egyptian prisons, including the killers of Anwar Sadat.
Democracy implies an acceptance of constitutional rules. Those who seek to destroy the constitutional rules have no claim, in my mind, to constitutional protection.
Abraham Lincoln took upon himself powers not granted him in the Constitution in an effort to preserve and save the Constitution and the Union itself. No serious historian would argue that he was engaging in a coup.
Rise of Rand Paul
Most political observers on both sides of the political aisle viewed freshman Sen. Rand Paul as a clone of his libertarian leaning dad, Ron Paul, the former congressman and presidential candidate.
Ron Paul is indeed an honest and good man, but his views can be quirky and extreme, such as calling for the abolishment of the Federal Reserve and a foreign policy based on dangerous isolationism.
But time is moving on, and we are getting a much better picture of son Rand Paul. He is showing that he is no extremist, no clone of his father, with sensible positions on economic and foreign policy matters, along with the gravitas necessary for leadership.
Another freshman senator showing remarkable leadership skills is Marco Rubio of Florida.
He has led the charge in the Senate for sensible immigration reform. He stuck his neck out, and some folks are not happy about his positions.
There was not much personal political gain for Rubio to lead the charge here. He had high popularity among the Republican base, and we all know that immigration is a controversial issue, especially among conservatives.
Rubio offered a reasonable plan to deal with our illegal immigrant problem, requiring illegals to pay restitution and begin paying taxes. Even after 10 years they still did not receive citizenship under his plan. My own view is that after such a long period illegals should be eligible for citizenship.
Being open to immigrants is good for the Republican Party, but vitally important for the United States. The demographic trends in the United States are not good, with increasingly aging population moving into a period of retirement and making more demands on entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.
We need more people of working age to keep the economy moving.
We need more leaders like Rubio to keep us moving forward as a nation.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Christopher Ruddy

Rich Lowry: Rand Paul Seizes the Moment.

Image: Rich Lowry: Rand Paul Seizes the Moment

You won’t find him on any Federal Election Commission disclosure forms, but Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is the biggest in-kind donor to the incipient Rand Paul for president campaign.

Whatever its merits, the National Security Agency meta-data program couldn’t be better fashioned to play into fears of the government. Is it vast? Yes. Secret? Check. Raise profound questions about privacy? Uh-huh.
This is the kind of issue Rand Paul was born and (literally) raised to raise holy hell over. The NSA leak came on the heels of revelations that the Internal Revenue Service was singling out tea-party groups for extra scrutiny, and on the heels of the Associated Press and James Rosen investigations.
Add in the gun-control fight earlier this year and Paul is nearly 4-for-4 in fights sticking up, in his view, for the first four amendments of the Bill of Rights. The only thing missing is the third, because no one has proposed quartering of troops in our homes — yet.
It is a Rand Paul moment in the GOP not just because the headlines reinforce his core critique of leviathan as too big, too unaccountable and too threatening, but because he is smart and imaginative enough to capitalize on those headlines.
Paul has that quality that can’t be learned or bought: He’s interesting. How many potential Republican presidential candidates have helped shepherd a new verb into the English language. The hoopla around Paul’s filibuster gave us “to drone,” in the sense of “don’t drone me, bro.”
Paul taps into an American tradition of dissent not usually invoked by Republicans. At the Time magazine gala this year honoring the 100 most influential people in the world (he was one), he raised a glass to Henry David Thoreau. In his inaugural Senate address, he contrasted his Kentucky hero, the irascible abolitionist Cassius Clay, with the more conventional Kentucky political legend, the Great Compromiser, Henry Clay.
His cultural affect is different, too, a little more Utne Reader than National Review. At a packed event at the Reagan Library, he explained: “I’m a libertarian conservative who spends most of my free time outdoors. I bike and hike and kayak, and I compost.” It might be the first positive reference to composting in the history of that fine institution.
Not too long ago, Paul’s foreign-policy views would have been an insuperable obstacle to a serious presidential run. No more. The evolution in the party’s foreign policy is captured in the story of the Pauls. In 2008, Ron Paul‘s noninterventionism made him a punching bag in the Republican primary debates. In 2012, it got a respectful hearing. In 2016, his son’s (less toxic) version of the same policy will be much closer to the party’s mainstream.
At least for some stretch of 2015, Rand Paul could well be the Republican front-runner, tapping into grass-roots enthusiasm on the model of Howard Dean in 2003. And it’s not inconceivable that he could go further than that famous representative of “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.”
Paul has a built-in online and grass-roots network of the sort it takes years to build. In fact, it did. His father built it, and now he’s working to expand it in his extensive travels. During those years, his father welcomed into his fold cranks and haters, and one of Rand Paul’s quiet messages is that he has his father’s core convictions, without the loathsome baggage.
I’m far from a Rand Paul-ite. I don’t think there was ever any threat of Americans being droned sitting at cafes, nor do I think drones are the scariest invention in the history of flight. I’m not where Paul is on foreign or national-security policy, and I doubt his libertarianism has as much crossover appeal in blue states as he hopes.
But libertarianism is a significant strand on the right. It should be represented, and represented well. By and large, Rand Paul does that. Underestimate him at your peril.
Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and a variety of other publications. Read more reports from Rich Lowry — Click Here Now.

© King Features Syndicate


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