Candidate Profile: Rand Paul
If it’s a presidential election and a Paul isn’t running, is it actually a presidential election? OG Ron Paul staged three bids for the nation’s highest job, and his son Rand (himself a U.S. Senator) is joining the family business in the 2016 election. Although Paul Jr.’s numbers are dipping as Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz form a top tier of candidates, The Washington Examiner points out that the numbers of Republicans supporting the senator are higher than those that ever supported Paul Sr. We can only hope that, if nominated by the GOP, Paul will pick Paul Ryan as his running mate (think about the ticket names). Who is Rand Paul?
Rand Paul is a physician and U.S. senator representing Kentucky. As a teenager, Paul interned at Ron’s Congressional Office and briefly helped his father with Ronald Reagan’s 1976 campaign. Despite dropping out of Baylor University without a degree, Paul garnered admission to Duke University School of Medicine and there received his M.D. After completing his residency, Paul worked in ophthalmology and won an award for establishing the South Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic to provide eye surgery and exams for those unable to pay. Paul worked on his father’s presidential campaign in 2008 before himself being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010. While not in D.C., Paul performs LASIK surgery at his clinic and lives with his wife, Kelley, and their three sons in Bowling Green, KY.
Fun fact: Despite the Paul family’s notorious libertarianism, Paul is not named after libertarian author Ayn Rand ("Rand" is actually short for "Randal").
What is this candidate's campaign slogan?
“Defeat the Washington machine. Unleash the American dream.”
While Paul originally said he would “keep an open mind” regarding a nuclear deal between the United States and Iran, he ultimately voted against the deal. At a September press conference, however, Paul remarked that he would keep the present agreement as president provided Iran complied with the terms and only used its facilities for peaceful purposes. “I think a lot of people have said they would chop it up, cut it up, do all this—I think really I would look to see whether Iran is complying,” he said. “The agreement itself...would actually be good.”
In May, Paul chastised GOP “hawks” for creating ISIS and other jihadist groups by “indiscriminately” arming Arab groups that later turned out to be terrorist cells. Paul also favored letting American allies in the Middle East lead the ground fight in lieu of putting U.S. boots on the ground, despite his call last November for a Declaration of War against the Islamic State that would effectively allow President Obama to deploy troops to Iraq and Syria. Following last week’s attacks in Paris, the senator also urged the Obama administration to stop funding nations (such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait) that finance terrorist groups.
Paul earned scorn from the right in February 2014 when he criticized those in the Republican party “that want to tweak Russia all the time” (which, he later added, was not “a good idea”). The comments came on the heels of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and appeared to defend president Vladimir Putin’s actions. Paul published an op-ed shortly thereafter declaring that “Putin must be punished,” although at the beginning of October he told FOX News there “isn’t a military solution” to Putin’s aggression towards the West and equipping of Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad.
Shortly after entering the senate in 2011, Paul proposed a federal budget bill that would have entirely eliminated foreign aid--including the $3 billion the United States gives to Israel in foreign military financing each year. Paul claimed the maneuver would “strengthen” Israel’s independence and economy. Since then, Paul has annually proposed the Stand with Israel Act, which would instead cut aid to the Palestinian Authority as long as it cooperated with Hamas. In October, the senator said to CNN’s Jake Tapper that while Israel has to “do what they do” to defend itself, the West Bank and Gaza would both benefit from more trade and autonomy.
Like a majority of the GOP field, Paul opposes President Obama’s amnesty policies and introduced the Senate bill to overturn the president’s 2013 executive order. Paul also proposed a 2011 Constitutional amendment that would end birthright citizenship and recently supported the use of national ID cards to more easily track immigrants. In the Paris aftermath and ensuing refugee crisis, Paul told NewsmaxTV that the government ought to stop all immigration from countries with “large jihadist movements.”
“Government interventions in health care have driven up the cost of coverage and decreased competition within the market,” Paul writes of Obamacare on his campaign website. When asked by FOX what would replace the Affordable Care Act, Paul said “freedom.” While the senator has offered no official alternative to Obamacare, he did tell interviewers he would “like to legalize inexpensive insurance policies, give more choice, let people choose their doctor, expand health savings accounts, help people save for their insurance.”
Rather than embracing a “flat tax” or “fair tax,” Paul has proposed the “Flat and Fair Tax,” which would set the income tax rate at 14.5 percent, eliminate the corporate tax and replace it with a 14.5 percent business transfer tax paid on wages and profits, allow full expensing of capital investments, and remove the payroll tax entirely. Paul and grassroots organization CitizensUnited also sponsor an online petition to abolish the Internal Revenue Service.
Like fellow candidate Mike Huckabee, Paul would abolish the Department of Education and reallocate the $100 billion spent on the department annually to state and local school systems. Similarly, Paul would rid schools of federal Common Core standards, which he warns will allow federal bureaucrats to “wield massive amounts of data” on American families. At the local level, Paul supports school vouchers and charters, citing a need for “competition” in the education system.
Paul, who calls himself “100 percent pro-life,” believes that life begins at conception and opposes federal funding of abortion. His views on how the procedure ought to be eliminated significantly diverge from party ideology, however; when asked during a campaign stop in Philadelphia last May whether the federal government ought to outlaw abortion, Paul responded that the states could best handle the issue.
In a 2012 op-ed for National Review, Paul warned of a “war on religion” perpetrated by the Obama administration in its requiring of Catholic schools, charities, and hospitals to cover employees’ sterilizations and contraception. “Religious freedom — which has been called “our first liberty” — is ingrained in the very fabric of our national culture,” he wrote. As a debate raged this summer over the rights of private businesses and members of the LGBT community, Paul defended the right of business owners to refuse service to customers based on religious beliefs.
“The climate's been changing since the beginning of time,” Paul told Glenn Beck in October. When asked whether these changes were premeditated by man, Paul responded, “[m]an might well have an influence on it, the unknown question is how much is man and how much is nature[?]” Whatever global warming’s causes, the senator condemns federal overregulation of the energy sector. At November’s debate, Paul promised his first action as President would be to repeal the Clean Power Plan before advocating for letting businesses “explore” and freely drill for oil.
Is he a controversial figure? Why?
As a libertarian, Paul has faced criticism from both the left and right for his third-party views (especially his hawklike condemnation of the NSA). Yet in recent months, even Paul’s base has grown disillusioned; libertarian publication Reason.com chastisted the senator for appearing more like “the sixth or seventh or 10th candidate in a crowded field to come along with a pretty-conservative take on an issue of the moment” and less like the libertarian revolutionary millennial fans envision him to be.
What’s one humorous or summarizing quote from this presidential hopeful?
“I want a government really really small. So small you can barely see it.” (Nov. 11 debate)
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