In 2010, Rand Paul, a self-described Constitutional conservative with Libertarian leanings, was elected to the U.S. Senate to represent the state of Kentucky. As a supporter of the then-emerging Tea Party movement — he wrote a book entitled The Tea Party Goes to Washington — Paul ran on a platform advocating for a balanced budget amendment, term limits, and privacy reform.
During his first term, Paul became known for his strong defense of liberty. For example, in 2013 he heroically opposed Obama and the GOP establishment when he led a 13 hour filibuster of the confirmation of John Brennan as CIA Director in order to bring attention to the growing belief in Washington that Americans must surrender their liberty for the sake of safety. Paul was also a frequent defender of gun rights. In 2016, he joined Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee to oppose attempts by the Obama administration to use Social Security information on seniors to disarm them.
Throughout his first term, however, there were early indications that Paul was beginning to get really comfortable with the Swamp.
Though he opposed Mitt Romney’s run for president in 2012 due to his positions on the Middle East, military spending, and government-run healthcare, Paul gave the Massachusetts liberal his full endorsement — a controversial move on his part because his father, Ron Paul, was running for the GOP nomination. However, since he was rumored to be possible running mate on the Romney ticket, not to mention his desire to improve his name recognition in preparation for a presidential run of his own in 2016, Paul endorsed the Republican-establishment candidate.
Two years later, when Mitch McConnell’s 2014 re-election was in trouble, Paul cemented his loyalty to the GOP leader by endorsing him over a possible Tea Party challenger. McConnell returned the favor by endorsing Paul’s 2016 run for president and later, his re-election to the Senate after Paul ended his presidential campaign.
In the Age of Trump, Rand Paul’s embrace of the Swamp has been turned up a notch since 2016. For example, only days after Trump publicly attacked him for opposing the Graham/Cassidy fake repeal of Obamacare in September 2017, Paul caved on the healthcare issue. In a display of obvious capitulation, Paul announced he had counseled Trump to play the Barack Obama card and use his pen and phone to “reform” the healthcare plan he and the GOP had promised to repeal.
In January 2019, Paul caved on his Tea Party-inspired promise to rein in government spending when he joined Sens. Mike Lee and Joni Ernst to introduce the Government Shutdown Prevention Act. This government spending scheme would have permanently eliminated government shutdowns by guaranteeing endless financing to the government, even if Congress fails to do its job to pass a spending bill. FYI… Trump and the GOP have added $3 trillion to the national debt in less than three years.
Paul’s most troubling betrayal of Constitutional conservative values has been his recent unconditional defense of Trump against his upcoming impeachment. At a recent Trump 2020 campaign rally held in Kentucky, Paul declared that Trump “has great courage” and that he “faces down the fake media every day.” He then challenged the media to break the law by exposing the whistleblower who revealed Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky.
How is this betrayal? Before Trump, Paul was a defender of whistleblowers. In 2014, he told the audience at a Campaign for Liberty conference that he wanted to expand whistleblower protections to include government contractors because “they should be able to report [something wrong] without repercussions.”
By the way, late yesterday evening Paul said in an interview on FOX News (where else, right?) that he will probably release the name of the whistleblower because “there’s no law” preventing him from doing so. When asked why he hadn’t disclosed the name under those circumstances, Paul stressed that he was convinced he knew the individual’s identity but that he had so far refrained from saying the name because he wanted to keep the focus on the process.
So, follow along with me here. Paul claims he’s keeping the focus on the process instead of the whistleblower, and he’s doing that by focusing on the whistleblower instead of the process.
For betraying the Tea Party values that got him elected, and for his enthusiastic and near perpetual support of all things Trump, we enshrine Rand Paul in the Gutless On Principles Hall of Shame.
Disclaimer: The GOP establishment does not endorse the G.O.P. Hall of Shame award. My opinions are my own, and I’ve got lots of them. All opinions expressed are 100% “right” and any similarity to actual opinions, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative.
His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.