FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Rand Paul Sells Out

Senator Rand Paul is widening the difference between his father, the long-time former Congressman from Texas whose “no” votes on principle, whether you agree or not, have shaped his place in history. See his lengthy farewell address upon retiring from the House of Representatives Ron Paul has just established the non-profit Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

The differences between father and son are ones of personality, policy and opportunism. Since Rand Paul is intent on running for president in 2016, his drift toward the corporatist Republicans is noteworthy.

Senator Rand Paul appears sterner. He is also far less likely to return calls than his father. When he was running for the Kentucky Senate Seat in 2010, I made several calls to ask whether he intended to support the bills his father was proposing in the House, including the legalization of growing industrial hemp in the U.S. for food, energy, clothing, paper lubricants and many other uses. He never responded, even though he was called by the Louisville Courier Journal on this subject. (Senator Paul has now sponsored legalization of industrial hemp cultivation.)

Soon I realized that others had difficulty in reaching him both during his campaign and since then. In 2010, his campaign director did tell me that when Rand Paul becomes Senator, he would go after the overblown military budget.

Remembering that assurance, I was more than surprised to learn how far Rand Paul has moved from his libertarian/conservative base. Here are two recent statements of his that received little coverage.

Last month, the Associated Press reported Senator Paul saying:

“They’re precisely the same people who are unwilling to cut the spending and their “Gimme, gimme, gimme—give me all the Sandy [Hurricane Sandy] money now,’ those are the people who are bankrupting the government and not letting enough money be left over for national defense.”

A few days later on August 6, Senator Paul was at Fort Campbell in Kentucky where he said: “If we were to cut somewhere else in the budget, I would try to restore some money to the military.”

Well, well, the corporatists and crony capitalists may have a new recruit—Rand Paul—who is not heeding President Dwight Eisenhower’s  famous caveat about the military industrial complex in his 1961 farewell address to the American people.

Kentucky has numerous military installations and military contractors who must be quite pleased with how Rand Paul has dropped his fathers’ notable opposition to the bloated military budget and the imperial consequences of empire building. Meanwhile,  Senator Paul has little trouble on another spending front—namely that Kentucky gets $1.51 back for every tax dollar it sends to Washington D.C.

Newt Gingrich—a military empire builder if there ever was one—is now praising Rand Paul in the Washington Times.

Libertarians do not like sovereignty-shredding authoritarian trade agreements such as NAFTA and the GATT. Rand Paul not only declines to challenge the autocratic systems of transnational governance created by these agreements that drive ‘corporate managed trade,’ but he votes for more drastic bilateral extensions with South Korea and Colombia.

Senator Paul received much deserved publicity in March when he spoke for 13 hours on the Senate floor against drone warfare and the extent of the President’s right to commit homicide. That led some commentators to say he positioned himself ahead of the pack for 2016. The Senator has discovered showhorsing—get all the publicity but hold back from continuing to seriously workhorse the issue.

Mr. Paul did the same last year when he voted against the National Defense Authorization Act which contained a provision that many argue authorizes the president to arrest anyone suspected of terrorist support or activity and jail them without charges. Rand Paul turned down pleas from some of his outside political advisors to put “a hold” on the bill that would have intensified his opposition and aroused the public. That signaled Senator Paul had complied with the demand of the Senate Republican leadership club.

Senator Paul refers often to the Constitution and its preamble that starts with “we the people.” But his votes seem to reflect that he supports big business, including big oil, gaining more power over the people or at the expense of the people. Surely he knows that nowhere in the U.S Constitution do the words “corporation” or “company” appear.

Perhaps political ambition also has deterred physician (ophthalmologist) Rand Paul from applying the Hippocratic Oath (never do harm) in the Senate. He voted with 46 Senators who wished to rollback violent toxic emissions (including mercury) from electric power plants.

There was a time when the corporate state in Washington, D.C. was anxious about candidate Rand Paul. They thought he would defiantly oppose their many corporate welfare benefits, instead of just pitching words. They sensed that he would be the hairshirt and watchdog over the lucrative, wasteful military budget and militarism abroad. The anxiety is gone. The word around the world of corporate lobbying inside the Beltway is that Rand Paul is becoming “bankable.”

So much for his fellow Kentuckians back home who don’t have Inc. after their names. For these people, Rand Paul will continue to voice unlimited free market rhetoric. None of that will help hardworking folks earn a decent livelihood with life-saving full Medicare and free choice of doctors and hospitals—or safer environments. Those are visions that Ophthalmologist Rand Paul did not learn much about in medical school.

On the matters of corporatism, Empire, militarism, the big Wall Street banks, crony capitalism and the unlawful, repressive national security bureaucracy, Rand Paul is being pulled from his father’s positions by the pressure of Republicans who thrive off the corporate state. His libertarian base will have to weigh in before the tipping point of political ambition confronts his first supporters.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.

More articles by:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
April 07, 2020
Joel McCleary – Mark Medish
Paradigm Shift by Pandemic
Matt Smith
Amazon Retaliation: Workers Striking Back
Kenneth Surin
What The President Said (About The Plague)
Patrick Cockburn
The Chaotic Government Response to COVID-19 Resembles the Failures of 1914
Marshall Auerback
The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Opened the Curtains on the World’s Next Economic Model
Vijay Prashad, Paola Estrada, Ana Maldonado, and Zoe PC
Trump Sends Gun Boats to Venezuela While the World Partners to Fight a Deadly Pandemic
Jeremy Lent
Coronavirus Spells the End of the Neoliberal Era. What’s Next?
Dean Baker
The Big Hit: Covid-19 and the Economy
Nino Pagliccia
A Simple Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela: End All “Sanctions”
Colin Todhunter
Locked Down and Locking in the New Global Order
Robert Fisk
Biden Says He ‘Doesn’t Have Enough Information’ on Iran to Have a Vew. How Odd, He Negotiated the Nuclear Deal
Wim Laven
GOP’s Achievement is Now on Display
Binoy Kampmark
Boastful Pay Cuts: the Coronavirus Incentive
Dave Lindorff
It’s Spring and I’ve Turned 71 in a Pandemic-Induced Recession
Steve Brown
FLASH! Trump Just Endorsed Bernie’s Medicare-For-All Health Plan
Marc Haggerty
Class and COVID-19: Those Who Can and Those Who Can’t
Manuel García, Jr.
A Reply to Jeffrey St. Clair’s “Strange Things Happening Every Day”
George Wuerthner
How Fuel Breaks Fuel Fires
Marshall Sahlins
Election 2020
April 06, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
COVID-19 and the Failures of Capitalism
W. T. Whitney
Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die
Cesar Chelala
Cuba’s Promising Approach to Cancer
David A. Schultz
Camus and Kübler-Ross in a Time of COVID-19 and Trump
Nomi Prins 
Wall Street Wins, Again: Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus
Dean Baker
Getting to Medicare-for-All, Eventually
Dave Lindorff
Neither Pandemic Nor Economic Collapse is Going to Be a Short-Lived Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
Capitalism in America Has Dropped the Mask: Its Face is Cruel and Selfish
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 7 Pro-Contagion Reversals Increase the Coronavirus Toll
David Swanson
A Department of Actual Defense in a Time of Coronavirus
Ellen Brown
Was the Fed Just Nationalized?
Jeff Birkenstein
Postcards From Trump
Nick Licata
Authoritarian Leaders Rejected the Danger of a COVID-19 Pandemic Because It Challenged Their Image
Kathy Kelly
“He’s Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else”
Graham Peebles
Change Love and the Need for Unity
Kim C. Domenico
Can We Transform Fear to Strength In A Time of Pandemic?
Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies Files Lawsuit to Stop Logging and Burning Project in Rocky Mountain Front Inventoried Roadless Area
Stephen Cooper
“The Soul Syndicate members dem, dem are all icons”: an Interview with Tony Chin
Weekend Edition
April 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Omar Shaban
Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19
Rob Urie
Work, Crisis and Pandemic
John Whitlow
Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day
Jonathan Cook
The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus
Paul Street
Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Control of Nature
Louis Proyect
COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail