Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 15, 2010

RAND PAUL, NOT EXACTLY 'FORTHRIGHT'.... Kentucky's Senate hopeful, right-wing ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R), used to be quite candid about his radical political beliefs. Social Security? It's a Ponzi scheme. Medicare? Obviously socialism. The Civil Right Act and Fair Housing Act? Both are examples of abusive government intervention.

But as the Senate election draws closer, Paul's extremism has been muted. Talking to National Review, the Republican candidate effectively conceded he's trying to keep the truth from the public in order to get votes.

"No one [in the Republican Party] is forcing me to do anything. I do exactly what I want, but I am also realistic about what it takes to run a campaign and get elected."

For instance, instead of calling for the elimination of many federal departments -- as his father, Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican congressman and former presidential candidate, regularly does -- Paul says he is trying to "nibble around the edges," to "not be the person who says he will eliminate every department in the federal government. My dad freely will say that, that he would eliminate at least half of the departments, but he is just more forthright."

As a rule, candidates for statewide office don't admit to being less forthright, but Rand Paul is special. He could talk about his actual beliefs during the campaign, and try to persuade the public that he's correct, but the far-right Kentuckian has decided it's much easier to hide his principles to win votes.

Of course, Rand Paul wasn't always a Senate candidate. Back in the 1990s, he appeared on several episodes of "Kentucky Tonight," a state-based public affairs show, and "talked about the elderly dying at the hands of Medicare rationing; the need to privatize Social Security, which he called 'a Ponzi scheme;' and the rights of the government to invest in racist companies." In one episode, he even equated Medicare with the Soviet Union.

Voters won't hear much about this during the election -- Paul just isn't "forthright" enough.

On a related note, Paul also insisted recently that he's running to help Kentucky get a better return on its federal tax dollars. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, "When tax money flows to the nation's capitol, half stays there, half is wasted and half of it goes to political cronyism, Paul said."

Putting aside the fact that a dollar can't have three halves, Alan Pyke reminds the right-wing candidate, "When Kentucky sends a tax dollar to Washington, it does miraculously turn into three-halves of a dollar. Kentucky gets at least $1.51 back from the federal government for every $1.00 that it contributes to the nation, placing it near the top of state rankings. Paul is in effect saying that if he is Kentucky's next Senator, he will work to reduce his state's share of federal spending, thus hurting his own constituents."

Steve Benen 9:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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Paul just isn't "forthright" enough

Sure he is! "I'll say anything to get elected" is about as forthright as any candidate can be!

LOL at the "three-halves of a dollar" business.

Posted by: Grumpy on July 15, 2010 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

The idea that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme" is one of the long held canards of the Right. (I need a bad alter-ego of "venerable", anyone got a suggestion?) But no, SS is just another plan where you levy taxes and pay them out on something - no different in economic principle than collecting taxes and using them on road repair. Of course if something causes more road damage, you need more money in real time. In Social Security we're just paying people directly instead of spending it "on something" but the principle is essentially the same.

The fact that the payout in SS is predicated on promising people now, that they'll get money later; has nothing to do with the economic principle. We'll just have to collect more SS then just like we would have to raise taxes to pay for more upkeep of anything, if that got more expensive in the future.

But a real Ponzi scheme is based on members of a group all trying to in effect profit off each other, and of course if more and more people try to net additional cash that runs into a contradiction eventually. But again, SS doesn't work like that: money is collected, and paid out. Sometimes it goes back to the same person and sometimes not, but there is no pretense of everyone knowing they can end up with more money on average.

Asking if Social Security is a Ponzi scheme is a good way to test if someone is honest and/or competent. A "yes" answer (as given by Rand Paul, pseudoeconomist Walter Williams, most of the TEA Party, etc.) rules out at least one of the latter traits.

BTW Steve, let's see more of the debunking of the claims that Holder's Justice blew off charges against the NBPP. As Serwer and others uncovered, the criminal charges were dropped while Bush people were still in charge, and although Holder dropped the civil charge there was an injunction issues and the NBPP leader said they wouldn't do that anymore. The claims by the former Justice official (what's his background anyway?) of Holder saying to go easy on blacks, have no backing AFAICT.


Posted by: Neil B on July 15, 2010 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Voters won't hear much about this during the election -- Paul just isn't "forthright" enough.

And, of course, the so-called "liberal media" won't do much to call attention to the extremist positions Paul would prefer to conceal, even though the fact he wants to conceal them is a story.

Posted by: Gregory on July 15, 2010 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Americans will be in shock if they indeed, in some blind and ignorant manner, go to the polls this November and vote Republican!

I can honestly imagine a high probability that if left in charge of national policy, the Republican party is fully capable of beginning the new urban policy seemingly being implemented by the Chinese government - gating and locking lower-class communities up to "control" poverty! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on July 15, 2010 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

well, duh. It is all part of a pattern of "dis information", a la the story regarding his "board certification". WHile this storey seems to have dropped from the landscape, it is a very telling thing. he opted out of the standard board certification process. Ok. drs. can do that. In his case, he created an alternate "board" of his own dong, and then lists himself as "board certified". It is clever dishonest manipulation of language that Dr. Eyeball uses to decieve his customer/patients. 99.99% of his customers wouldn't be able to differentiate between the nationally recognized board, and his phony board. Thus, he gets to call himself "board certified" without the hard work that other docs do, and he captures a bit more customer base. In essence, he lies by clever use of language and tactics to get his way.

in sum, a perfect 2010 Republican.

Posted by: bigtuna on July 15, 2010 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Paul is in effect saying that if he is Kentucky's next Senator, he will work to reduce his state's share of federal spending, thus hurting his own constituents."

No. Paul is saying that he can get a better return than a buck fifty-one on Kentuckian's dollar. Who knows, maybe the libertarian can turn the state "near the top of the list" into the welfare capitol of the country.

Posted by: Oh my on July 15, 2010 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't we always describe him as self-certified ophthalmologist Rand Paul, seeing as how his current board certification is from the National Board of Ophthalmology, operated out of a PO Box, of which he is the founder, president and owner, with his wife as its vice president and his father-in-law its secretary?

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on July 15, 2010 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Past opinions are often a indicator of future action. Greenspan, the Ayn Rand follower, tried to apply Randian faith in business to economic regulation, the result was disaster. We ignored Justice Roberts' radical right past and the result was disaster.

Justice Marshall's move to the left was the exception rather than the rule. And he changed over time.

Once my.social studies teacher said, and this seems to be a commom experience, politicians no matter what party govern from the middle.

This may have been true from 1900 to 1978. But since then...

Bush lied about his radical opinions to get into office. The result was disaster.

Once in Ron Paul et al will support and propose radical right philosophies and legislation. Seriously, has Clarence Thomas moderated one iota?

Electing Rand Paul who holds radical right opinions will n

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on July 15, 2010 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

... Electing Ron Paul who holds radical right opinions will not benefit Kentucky or America as he sees no benefit derived from community action, despite having benefited enormously from it. Does he really think that a well-educated public is nit beneficial to society?

Would he prefer to see people starving rarher than recieve unemployment?

Does he think that having a average life span lower than that of Cuba, Chilie, Soutb Korea, snd the EU indicates a serious problem witn our country?

after all, if you are dead everything else is irrelevant.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on July 15, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Indeed, today's Teapublicans do not want to govern from the middle! Any of you out there who have pretensions of staying home or voting for Quixotes better get it straight, that the time to work for better candidates is long before the ballots get printed up! Letting the Repubs win would be disastrous and no way to teach Democrats a lesson or that there's no essential difference.

Posted by: neil b on July 15, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

bigtuna said,
"In his case, he created an alternate "board" of his own dong, and then lists himself as "board certified".

Y'know, that's probably a spelling mistake, but then again, it isn't.

Posted by: bassface127 on July 15, 2010 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Are any white Kentuckians afraid that Paul will cut their share of the loot? Should they be? Nah. If Paul can manage to target a reduction in benefits to non-whites, he probably will.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on July 15, 2010 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

It's not complex, you know: the message is "Ron Paul Lies".

The proof is "he won't tell you what he will do."

Stick to that message. No matter what the question is in the Kentucky Senate race, that's the answer.

Posted by: theAmericanist on July 15, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie Dog:
"I'm 50 percent Pointer - dere it is, dere it is, dere it is;
50 percent Boxer;
50 percent Setter (Irish Setter);
50 percent Spitz;
50 percent Pinscher (ouch!);
But mostly I'm all Labrador Retriever."

Porky Pig:
"Oh, you are NOT a Labrador Retriever!"

Charlie Dog:
"Oh yeah?!? Well, get me a labrador and I'll retrieve it for ya!"

- Looney Tunes, Often an Orphan, 1949

Posted by: PonB on July 15, 2010 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

"the rights of the government to invest in racist companies"?

What kind of Tea Partier is Rand Paul? Hasn't he learned yet that there's no such thing as racism?

Posted by: Chris S. on July 15, 2010 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Dax on November 30, 2010 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK
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