In February 2011, the rookie Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul (R) gave his first speech on the Senate floor. Standing on his principles, facing a fiscal crisis, he offered a great compromise. His compromise would offer the best idea on where to cut spending and by how much. Conservatives would understand that military spending needed to be cut and liberals would understand that domestic spending would be cut. Paul had the understanding that the country’s debt was the greatest threat America was facing and that everyone was going to have to tighten their belts. Spending for the Department of Defense had grown 137 percent since 2001 and “that kind of growth is not sustainable” according to Paul.
Now, the Senator is requesting an amendment that would add $76.5 billion to the Pentagon budget. He is also suggesting offsetting the Pentagon budget by making deep cuts into the climate change research, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the EPA, the Commerce Department as well as the Education Department. The GOP budget the Senate is offering, already involves deep domestic spending cuts. Now, liberals are supposed to absorb more cuts in domestic spending to enable more defense spending that is “not sustainable.”
Why the change in Paul? He wants to be president on the GOP ticket. All GOP’s propose a larger defense budget. American’s next president will be facing the Islamic State as well as the Iran negotiations. Foreign policy is the main focus of the 2016 presidential campaign. People such as Marco Rubio will be reminding the country that the Senator in question wanted to cut the defense budget in 2011.
What Paul is really compromising are his libertarian principles and this is becoming more of a reality as he gets closer to announcing his candidacy. He was the Republican who stood on principle and railed against the traditional Republican value system. Now his values have been diluted to the standard Republican values.
What made him an attractive candidate was that he was a “different” kind of Republican. He could maintain the conservative vote and simultaneously coax some liberal votes. Last August, one of his aides stated that the Senator “is the Republican who has the best chance of keeping and energizing the base while going into their constituencies.” Now, however, he has become the very thing, he cannot afford to be, an ordinary Republican.
Paul has not just changed his views on defense spending but same-sex marriage as well. Thursday, he announced that a ‘moral crisis’ is making people believe that same-sex marriage is acceptable. Paul said he is a supporter of traditional marriage. He is far from the libertarian-leaning Kentucky Republican. Paul only offered a shrug when asked if he would reconsider his opposition to same-sex marriage.
Paul told pastors that they have a role and that prayer is a part of government. According to Paul, “The First Amendment says keep government out of religion. It doesn’t say keep religion out of government.” He believes there is a need for tent revivals and reform. He is drawing in evangelicals early before other Republicans can pull them in. However, will he be able to hold his libertarian base while he continues to change his position?
Paul is losing the grassroots libertarian movement his father’s legacy left for him. For example, Drew Ivers was the chairman of Ron Paul’s 2012 Iowa campaign and he will not endorse Rand Paul for president. He will not be endorsing anyone for president. Ivers had dinner with Rand in August, and discovered he has clearly abandoned the values that made Ivers loyal to Ron Paul. Rand is trying to ride the fence instead of taking a stance in many cases. He is sending a risky, mixed message. Tuesday, three of Ron Paul’s Iowa Liberty movement members announced their support for Texas Senator, Ted Cruz. These include Senator Jason Shultz, as well as former Iowa Republican Party central committee members; Joel Kurtinitis and Chad Steenhoek.
Rand, in contrast to his father, has won statewide office his first try and had become a strong presidential candidate who had the ability to widen the liberty movement’s message. David Fischer, former Iowa GOP co-chairman and was Iowa co-chair of Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, is excited about Paul’s visit to Iowa April 10. He is expected to launch his presidential campaign from Iowa on April 10 and he is being backed by David Fischer who said that hundreds of people who supported Ron will also stand with Rand.
Last month a poll was conducted by Liberty Iowa of the 2012 Iowa Republican Convention of Ron Paul’s delegates showed that Rand is still preferred. However, he has less than 70 percent support in 2016. Ted Cruz is the second preferred candidate followed by Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Governor. More and more of Ron Paul’s supporters are opting to support Cruz.
By Jeanette Smith
Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore – Flickr License