Is Rand Paul on his way to becoming the next Mitt Romney?

randpaul-mittromneySomething occurred to me when I looked at Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s recent comments following his near weeklong feud with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

He has become the next Mitt Romney.

Not in the way of wealth, but in his ability to seemingly contradict himself from one day to the next.  And how he’s used his father’s name to propel himself to political success.

If Mitt Romney did one thing remarkable, it was that he brought President Obama and Republicans together on one issue.  They both agreed Mitt Romney would change his mind, or position, on any number of issues to simply pander to whoever he was speaking with.

After all, this is a man who built a health care plan that’s nearly identical to “Obamacare” — then said on camera it should be the model for the nation to follow.  Then while running for President last year he essentially stood against his own health care plan — while denying that he ever said it should be the model for our nation.

Even though there was plenty of indisputable evidence of him saying so.

And don’t even get me started on his “47%” comments which he now says were taken out of context.  Even now, Romney lacks the ability to just be honest.  Basically, he’s now denying that he said 47% of Americans will never take responsibility for themselves — even though (once again) he was caught on video saying exactly that.

Now Rand Paul seems to be stuck trying to attract the Libertarian support his father enjoyed, while appealing to the more conservative radicals within the Republican party — while simultaneously trying to appeal to the younger, often more liberal voters which usually vote for Democrats.

While these groups of people are in agreement on some issues, they are completely different on most.  And that presents a problem.

Let’s take his 13-hour filibuster a few months ago.  He stood there for hours basically claiming the Obama administration hadn’t given him a clear answer on their stance behind using drones to kill Americans on American soil.  For this article we’ll ignore the fact that this is clearly defined in our Constitution.

He was obviously trying to appeal to Libertarians who are extremely paranoid of the government, the younger vote which is often anti-war and the right-wing conservatives who want to paint Obama as some tyrant who uses drones as his own personal killing tool — because they just know he would use them to target Americans on American soil.

But then he comes out and says he would support the use of drones to kill Americans on American soil — in certain instances.  His example was of an armed person robbing a liquor store of $50, and a drone being used to kill the suspect upon existing the store.  He claimed it made no difference to him if a police officer killed the armed robber or a drone did.

This, of course, is his weak attempt to seem “tough.”  And while many Republicans enjoyed it (because many of them tend to love the idea of killing who they perceive as criminals), it angered his Libertarian support and many young people.  Which makes sense.  Because somehow the man who filibustered for hours supposedly in opposition to the potential killing of Americans on American soil without due process — suddenly supported an example of killing an American on American soil (using a drone) without due process.

He, of course, then backtracked on his comments, implying that they were being taken out of context.  His exact words were:

“Armed drones should not be used in normal crime situations. They may only be considered in extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat.”

Except this is the example he used the day before:

“Here’s the distinction: I have never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an act of crime going on.  If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”

He clearly, and with great detail, stated that a person coming out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash is someone he would support killing with a drone.

Then he claims that he only meant drones are to be used in “extraordinary lethal situations.”  So, which is it?  Because, I’m sorry, someone coming out of a liquor store they just robbed of $50 doesn’t seem to warrant “extraordinary lethal situations.”

Though Rand Paul seems to think so.

Then there’s his stance on being “fiscally responsible.”  Except he recently attacked the funding our government gave to Hurricane Sandy victims, claiming that type of spending is why our defense budget suffers.

His words on this matter:

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

Wait, what?  Is Paul claiming that helping Americans whose lives had been destroyed was the reason why our defense budget lacks adequate funding?

Yup, that’s exactly what he said.

Of course, this is his attempt to pander to right-wing Republicans who seem to think that aiding Americans who are in need of help bankrupts our government.  But the hundreds of billions of dollars we spend on our national defense each year has apparently nothing to do with it.  A defense budget, I will remind you, that’s larger than the next 13 nations combined.  

In fact, our defense spending makes up 19% of our total budget.

So, I can only ask, is Paul a “fiscal conservative” who tries to toe the line his father did as it relates to war and our defense?  Or is he a typical Republican who has no problem fattening the pockets of big defense companies with extremely bloated defense contracts?

Well I guess all we have to do is look at Paul’s words.  Clearly he feels our defense budget isn’t properly funded, even though our defense budget totaled $689 billion in 2012. 

It seems Paul thinks we should spend more.

Then while Paul tries to perpetuate this idea that he’s a “small government conservative,” insinuating that the Civil Rights Act is unconstitutional and openly opposing the Americans with Disabilities Act — he feels it’s the “government’s responsibility to protect life.”  This is the argument he uses to support his anti-abortion stance.

Nothing quite like saying a business should have the right to deny access to Americans with disabilities, or be racially segregated if they so choose, but he’ll be damned if he supports giving women control over their own body.

According to Rand Paul, that’s the government’s job.

Oh, and while he thinks civil rights are unconstitutional because businesses can do what they want, he apparently believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman.  So while he believes a business owner can do whatever they want with their business, if that same business owner wanted to married their same-sex partner — that’s a freedom he strongly opposes.  Who needs the First Amendment, right?  You know, the whole “freedom of religion” part.

Of course Paul takes this stance to pander to the religious right which he needs if he stands any chance at a being the Republican candidate for President in 2016.

Watching Paul reminds me of watching Romney during the 2012 election.  Both men will sit there and state their political stance on an issue to one group, then turn around the very next day and contradict what they had just said.  Then they have the audacity to claim their words were simply “taken out of context.”

This is what happens when spineless politicians have big aspirations.  While there are plenty of politicians I usually disagree with (especially Republicans), I can at least respect the ones who aren’t afraid to say what they’re thinking and stick to that.

Rand Paul,  however, is clearly showing that he’s trying to shoot up the political ladder of success by saying whatever he thinks will get him the most votes, riding his fathers coattails and name — all while pandering to the worst, and most radical, parts of the Republican party so he will get their support in hopes of securing the Republican party nomination.

Just like Mitt Romney.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Duncan McNeil

    This article is perfect.

  • Guest

    Last week Romney denied having even MADE the 47% comments…

    • Pipercat

      Then subsequently denied making those denials…

    • disqus_6AeSbMRBY2

      “Who ya gonna believe? Me or your lyin’ ears?”

  • whome?

    Romney once contradicted himself in the same sentence while campaigning….

    • Twelve Mountains

      Yup. He did it in the debates too.

  • It’s just Pat

    He’s killing his chances of ever getting anywhere already with his stupid remarks. Hmmmm, sounds like a typical right winger to me! 🙂

  • Pamela

    and if he runs he will lose … just like Mitt Romney!

  • Brett Anderson

    If you know anything about Ron Paul’s stance in regards to the Defense and Military budget, you would know that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Ron Paul’s stance is that the Military encompasses both offense and defensive Military might, whereas Defense is primarily home-based bases. It’s little bit of lingo jujitsu, but it makes sense when you look at it.

    So in that context Rand Paul can be right that the Military costs too much, but the DEFENSE budget is not given enough money.

    Please don’t mistake for a defense of Rand Paul though. I don’t like the guy for all of his other hypocrtical stances. I would have really like for Rand Paul to say that Kentucky has to have the welfare they do from the Feds because of the two bases they have, and then watch as Christi slapped him down with NJ having 8 bases, yet are able to give more than they get.

  • James Daley

    Can someone tell me what makes this guy a front runner in 2016? He don’t have any new ideas to help move this country forward. He has a bunch of talking points but no solid policy ideas. He says the stupidest things, has zero appeal to minority voters, and just doesn’t seem that bright. I get it GOP voters don’t have a very high bar for candidates so what makes this guy above that bar?…..nothing!!!

    • Twelve Mountains

      James: The problem with most ‘Libertarians’ is that they’re ‘Libertarians’ because they need a place to fit in, somewhere where their ‘ideals’ work… They become ‘Libertarian’ because they believe that complete de-regulation is an awesome idea because it will allow a new system that might cater to what they think they want… therefor it’s EXTREMELY easy to pander to them, and with the last name of PAUL… we… you know how that story unfolds.

      • strayaway

        Libertarianism is the opposite of authoritarianism. We all have our comfort zones. However, libertarians, like authoritarians, come in different stripes. You describe anarchists (“complete deregulation”) whom are 100% libertarians. Most libertarians are not so pure cooperating within various regulations. Constitutional libertarians, for instance, are libertarian only within the rules and regulations found in the Constitution. Some libertarians seek open borders, other libertarians prefer liberty as found within the space of a border but respect borders.

      • Matthew Reece

        It is not easy to pander to anarchist libertarians, because many if not most anarchist libertarians do not vote at all for moral reasons (not consenting to be governed by the violent sociopaths who wield state power, for example).

        Also, there is no such thing as complete deregulation. Regulation will always be present; the question is whether that regulation should arise spontaneously in the free market or be imposed by agents of the state.

    • strayaway

      As opposed to Romney, Obama, and H. Clinton, Rand Paul opposes foreign interventionism, drone attacks in Pakistan, giving billions to the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt or weapons to Al-Queda rebels in Syria, opposed the bombing of Mali, opposes NSA, the TSA, and other 4th Amendment civil rights violators. He isn’t Dennis Kucinich but on many issues, Rand Paul is closer to Dennis Kucinich than he is to Bush and Obama. Rand Paul supports Snowden. Where is Hillary on that issue? Be careful or we could have a dynastic battle between the Clinton and Bush families in 2016. If that happens, the 1% win. Elizabeth Warren vs. Rand Paul might be a better choice.

  • Twelve Mountains

    Seems to me that a lot of people are liking Christie over Rand Paul… I’d be okay with that race… so long as we can get Christie on the side of unions.

  • mister_g43

    I don’t see this guy making it past the Republican primaries. His fellow Repubs, if they have any sort of intelligence, would tear him to shreads in a debate. Christie tore him a new one this week, to which poor Rand didn’t have any retort but to start calling him names, which only works in a schoolyard. While I’m no fan of Christie (he is, after all, a Republican who has spouted some whoppers of his own), I would love to see him on stage with Rand and watch him beat him to a pulp, metaphorically speaking.

  • Matthew Reece

    The Ron Paul crowd will not be behind Rand Paul at the rate he is going.

  • mike trottier

    Mitt Romney is still,….The Worst Republican On The Planet…….but, damn,
    Rand Paul is right up there with him
    It’s going to be a very long time before I ever even think of voting for a republican again

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