October 9, 2014 – As the 2016 presidential race begins to come into focus, Rand Paul, the junior Senator from Kentucky and the son of former Congressman Ron Paul, is a likely favorite among self-identified liberty activists. However, there are a number of lingering concerns given that Senator Paul has adopted some positions, especially concerning foreign policy, that stand in stark contrast to his father’s.
Back in 2007, I met a fellow named Don Rasmussen while I was in South Carolina as we were both working for the 2008 Ron Paul Presidential Campaign. Along with several other staffers, including the state director, we crafted the campaign strategy for South Carolina as a team. Since the campaign, I have had very few, if any, interactions with Mr. Rasmussen. Nevertheless, I was shocked when, earlier today, I read a piece by the very same Don Rasmussen on The Daily Caller entitled, “The Ron Problem: Rand Paul Must Publicly Denounce His Father to Win the GOP Nomination”.
Although you can read the article for yourself, the author makes a number of disturbing statements. First, he draws a comparison between Ron Paul and the Ron Paul Revolution to Jean-Marie Le Pen and France’s Front National. This idea is particular worrisome; while Paul advocates liberty and reducing the size and scope of government, Le Pen and his followers are exceedingly nationalistic and prefer xenophobia and economic protectionism. In addition, in a recent poll, 91% of French people stated they have a negative opinion of Mr. Le Pen. I have not seen such an American poll taken about the elder Dr. Paul but cannot believe such a large percentage of the population would have that low of an opinion of him.
I must profess that I do not follow French politics closely, but Rasmussen goes on to write that when Marine Le Pen took control of France’s Front National party from her father, she “set about purging the party of its worst elements – holocaust deniers, racists and cranks. Unfortunately for family dinners in the Le Pen home, her father and political mentor, Jean-Marie, was one of them.” In order to secure the Republican nomination in 2016, as the title of his piece tells us, Don Rasmussen suggests that “when it comes to his father, Rand Paul should look to France” and thus publicly denounce Dr. Paul. Certainly many of Dr. Paul’s supporters would find such advice loathsome.
I won’t say that there were elements of the Paul campaign that I thought were worrisome during my time in his employ. Yes, you had the 9/11 “truthers” whom the Ron Paul 2012 campaign worked hard to purge from the movement. In fact, the 2012 employment questionnaire specifically asked each potential staffer what he or she thought on the matter. And there were racists and even a small contingent that believed Ron Paul could very well be a plant from the government. At a parade in what I think was Aiken, SC, one of them offered to me to “take Ron Paul out” should he turn on the movement. However, although vocal, let me assure you through my own experience that these radical groups were such a small part of the overall effort. And under no circumstances should a candidate be condemned or held responsible for everything that his or her supporters say or do.
I understand that the lure of higher political office is extremely powerful and that many pundits and consultants suggest an “ends justify the means” approach to achieve your goals. In addition, no one is without flaws and if, for some reason, Dr. Ron Paul takes a radical turn, standing apart from him is not a bad idea. But as far as I can tell, that has not happened.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, I have had my prickling doubts about the younger Paul given some of his surprising position statements.
Nevertheless, if Rand Paul throws Ron Paul under the bus and denounces him simply for political expediency and to win the 2016 GOP nod, as my fellow Ron Paul staffer Don Rasmussen advises, I’m hopeful that the majority of the liberty movement will look elsewhere for our champion.