Sunday, April 19, 2015

Would the Real Rand Paul Please Stand Up?

In the pursuit of being our next President, Rand Paul has practically flipped on every issue he once held a position on. Considering his obvious ties to the Tea Party and Libertarians in the United States, this should come off as troubling. Mind you, I don't count myself in either one of those camps, but I find the mysterious case of Rand's willfulness to appease everyone in the Republican Party to be interesting to say the least. Whereas he once promoted a marginally isolationist agenda in the vein of his father Ron, Rand has seemingly adapted to the modern Republican party -- one that supports big business, money in politics, war and all-around global imperialism.

If anything, Rand is a wonderfully blatant example of bending to the ideals of a political party to keep yourself in power.

So what exactly has Rand flip-flopped on? Let's cover a few key points.
  • As recently as 2011, Rand wanted to completely sever all foreign aid to other countries. This included Israel, which has become a beacon of preservation for modern Christian conservatism. By 2014, Rand had gotten on the pro-Israel bandwagon and touted his unwavering support for them. It's amazing what a few years in Congress will do to a man's opinions. He's even gone as far as to explicitly enter bills into consideration that would specifically deny any aid to the Palestinians.
  • Only last summer, Rand was clear in his objections to the United States becoming involved in any combat scenarios with the Islamic State, or ISIS. He still held to his non-interventionist ideals, saying that destroying ISIS would be ultimately a moot point. What purpose would it serve the American people? Lo and behold, he suddenly became pro-interventionist as soon as he entered the 2016 Presidential race. Now Rand comes at the situation with fury, saying that ISIS must be completely obliterated. He's in full support of drone airstrikes to cripple and ultimately eradicate the Islamic extremists.
  • Rand's signature was on the letter recently drafted by Tom Cotton that was sent to Iran, in an effort to muddy the diplomatic efforts of the Obama administration to reach a nuclear anti-proliferation pact. He must have amnesia. In January, Rand was in full support of a diplomatic plan with Iran and wanted an open, non-partisan dialogue. I guess that message wasn't resonating well enough with the Republican base.
  • Two years ago, Rand wanted to see undocumented residents in the United States begin a massive push to obtain legal status. He wanted immigrants to start the documentation and naturalization process without fear of being deported. Now, Rand has come at the immigration debate completely from the other side of the pond -- he deems undocumented immigrants as a massive security threat, which in no way should be granted any form of "amnesty."
  • In just a span of twenty four hours in early February of this year, Rand flip-flopped on the vaccine debate. Between two interviews, he stated that vaccines have played a role in causing various debilitating conditions like Autism, only to follow it up with the notion that vaccines do not cause any conditions or disorders. I've heard of forgetful politicians, but to change your position in only a day? That's astoundingly dreadful.
  • Rand led a famous 13-hour filibuster in early 2013, of which one of the points he spoke about was the use of drones. He made it clear that drones should not be used on American citizens, stating "I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court." A month later, Rand had changed his tune. He said the following on the Fox Business Network: "I've never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him." It seems the importance of the Constitution and the right to due process was only temporary to Rand.
The peculiar case of Rand Paul is both disappointing and insightful. While I never agreed with his agenda, I at the very least initially appreciated Rand's ability to be an independent politician. Ultimately, like most other politicians, he ran up the white flag and surrendered to party politics. There's a clear difference between changing your mind as new information becomes available (which is important to making sound decisions) and blatantly pandering to the voting base. As far as I'm concerned, that makes Rand a poor candidate for any political position, much less one that involves leading the most powerful nation on the planet. On a much larger scale, it just goes to show that most politicians that participate in the Republican / Democrat charade are not to be trusted.

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