If we are in for a historic pendulum shift this November, I'm pretty sure Rand Paul is going to be smack in the center of it. Man, if I had set out to create a libertarian blue blood from whole cloth and came up with a guy like this, no one would believe it. But here's a case where Reality not only sees Fiction, but raises the bet. Shoot Steve, this dude is not only the son of the most prominent, in your face libertarian to come down the pike in many years, but is even named after the gal with the biggest statue in the Libertarian Hall of Hero's. Throw in a successful career in private practice, community involvement, Christian background, a stable family and not a single molecule tainted by past political activism, and pretty much all the guy has to do to get elected is show up with a pulse.
I'm not kidding Steve. This guy is the Real Deal, The Original Formula, Smooth as the Fuzz on a Baby's Behind and comes At An Affordable Price - Accept No Substitutes! I wouldn't even be surprised if Rand's opponent decides to vote for Rand instead of himself. Five midgets from Malawi have a better chance of beating the Dream Team than Democrats have of stopping this juggernaut.
Anywho, as you might expect, I like Rand Paul's politics about as much as Rikki-Tikki-Tavi liked Nagaina. But in all of this I do see a silver lining - and you know what? - its a pretty lining at that. Let me explain.
You may recall back during the Republican presidential debates in South Carolina in May of '07, Ron Paul dropped a huge bomb on the audience. Concerning 9/11, he said:
"Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years..."
The conservative crowd literally went nuts. Rudy Giuliani got up on his pulpit and demanded an apology - which by most accounts won him the debate - and Ron Paul's nascent campaign slowly began to ease into a death spiral. Next day, the Hannity's, Malkin's and Limbaugh's were outraged, and began to describe Paul as some sort of dope smoking peace-nik. Still later, in June at another debate in Washington, Ron Paul pretty much summed things up:
"We in the past have always declared war in the defense of our liberties or go to aid of somebody," he said. "But now we have accepted the principle of preemptive war - we have rejected the Just War theory of Christianity. We have to come to our senses about this issue of war and preemption and go back to traditions and our constitution and defend our liberties and defend our rights..."
Fast forward to now and take a gander at The Cato Institute's list of ten steps to cut Federal spending by 10%. Its pretty impressive. These steps cut a whopping 380 billion from the Federal budget - pretty much by eliminating a host of subsidies and social programs. Now Steve, 380 bil ain't exactly chump change, and my gut tells me Rand Paul would probably agree with most, if not all of these steps. However there's one category which is stunningly absent from this list.
Once you add up everything we spend on National Defense, the total comes to around a trillion dollars. Now I'll lay even money that if you took the time to break this number down, we spend at least half of this - if not more - not to defend ourselves, but to be the World's Policeman.
I'm absolutely certain Ron Paul would would add an 11th step to this list by drastically reducing the U.S. Military's overseas footprint and reining in defense spending by at least half a trillion dollars. Sound crazy? I hardly think so. Go back and read what Ayn Rand, the very person Ron Paul named his son after, and see what she had to say about our participation in World Wars I and II, not to mention Viet Nam. She sums it up in "The Roots of War":
“Observe the link between statism and militarism in the intellectual history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Just as the destruction of capitalism and the rise of the totalitarian state were not caused by business or labor or any economic interests, but by the dominant statist ideology of the intellectuals – so the resurgence of the doctrine of military conquest and armed crusades for political ‘ideals’ were the product of the same intellectuals’ belief that ‘the good’ is to be achieved by force.”
Let's cut to the chase. Ron Paul adheres to the time worn libertarian ideal of non-interventionism which has been completely abandoned in the vapid stew of modern day, neocon ideology. But Liberals are hardly above reproach on this issue. What we have in government today is the ultimate Mexican standoff. The first guy in government who dares to suggest rational cuts in military spending - and a return to the pre-WWII ideal of non-interventionism - is going to get tarred and feathered as a yellow bellied pacifist.
And as for Rand Paul? Steve, I don't think this apple fell far from the tree. Imagine a virtually bullet proof man like this, riding into Washington on a ground swell of public distrust of government... The mind reels. This to me is probably the only kind of man who could take a shot at military spending without getting his head blown off in the process. And who knows where that might lead?
Will he do it?