Rand Paul isn’t a libertarian: criminal justice edition

Rand Paul’s evolution from dyed-in-the-wool libertarian to generic Republican as he dives headfirst into primary season is not news. He has regressed to the mean on marriage, science and, depending on who he’s talking to, foreign policy.

But one of the few remaining areas that Paul could claim credit where his primary opponents couldn’t was on criminal justice. A vocal opponent of the War on Drugs, Paul is thought to be one of the few Republican candidates who can credibly challenge Hillary Clinton on issues that lie at the intersection of race, economics and justice.

Well, at least he was until yesterday. Discussing the recent protests over the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, Paul explained the protests in the context of a “lack of fathers” and a “lack of a moral code” before quipping that “I came through the train on (sic) Baltimore last night, I’m glad the train didn’t stop.” He ended his answer by saying that “there can be no excuse for the behavior” that protestors have engaged in, referring to the clashes with police, looting and rioting that has taken place in Baltimore over the last few days.

Here’s the audio, via Media Matters:

There are a host of explanations for why Baltimore is in a state of emergency right now, the first of which being that Freddie Gray’s death was an all-too-common case of the police exercising unnecessary force on a black man who posed no threat to their life — and then fudging their report. One could also look to, as Baltimore Orioles executive John Angelos did, the decades of economic neglect in Baltimore — and subsequent civil rights degradations — that have created dire, unstable conditions in the city. Furthermore, as President Obama noted today, the current round of violence came after non-violent protests were largely ignored by the nation and its media for over a week.

Finally, as Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic wrote yesterday, perhaps definitively, the residents of Baltimore have legitimately rejected the notion that calls for nonviolence by the authorities are being made in good faith:

Rand Paul, via Creative Commons

Rand Paul, via Creative Commons

When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.

If you can acknowledge all of those factors and still say that the uprising in Baltimore is, first and foremost, caused by black people misbehaving moral decay brought on by the breakdown of the nuclear family, then I’ve got a caucus in Iowa to sell you.

When Ferguson turned violent, Rand Paul was there calling for the demilitarization of the police. In response to the Freddie Gray protests, Rand Paul had a chance to seize the mantle he’s previously held to take a stand against police brutality in a similar fashion. Instead, he dog-whistled and joked about black people being immoral and violent.

His transformation into a mainstream Republican is complete.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • Doug Langley

    The rioters are adults. Is it OK for Rand to bash their fathers?

  • Doug Langley

    Um, do you really agree with Paul that the riots were caused by delinquent fathers? Seriously?

  • Robbie Rubin

    sgsgg

  • Brendan Christian

    americablog———-……. SEE MORE INFO <–

  • Sharon4562

    [>#

  • Is anyone really a Libertarian? I think that’s an ideal people can only approach in relation to some presumed prospect of government intervention. Take away the convenience of a single narrative and the effort to appear consistent falls apart.

  • Indigo

    LOL! Right! and what’s more, putting it that way puts him into a suitable context with another one of the right-wing crazies. Brilliant!

  • 2karmanot

    He can see Kansas from his house!

  • 2karmanot

    Wow, Rand bot

  • Nelson Kerr

    Now he prety much a run of the mill teabagger with anger issues

  • Nelson Kerr

    Onlyi if the Republican mange to find a same canidate who is smarter than a stump. So far it doesn’t look t like that is even possibles since the “Base’ requires candidates to be nutjobs and a bit stupid

  • The_Fixer

    I’m afraid that you missed a whole lot of what President Obama said aside from the fathers not being present issue.

    Additionally, you completely missed the point of what the President said. Your attempt to deflect was amateurish at best.

    Just as amateurish as your link spamming on behalf of a particular religious news site in many of your comments.

  • UncleBucky

    Hah.

  • UncleBucky

    I’ll properly bash Paul A. Rand if I want to. He can claim anything he wants, but as above, he is a christianIST masquerading as a Libertrian masquerading as a Republican.

  • Indigo

    Oh. Them.

  • Scopedog

    You wish.

  • Strepsi

    “He’s got nothing coherent going on beyond the realm of self-promotion.”

    I disagree — he’s a Christianist. Both Rand and his dad came out in favor of big government interference in the private lives (to keep gay people down), which is anathema to Libertarians. Because Jesus. They are not as extreme as Dominionists like Cruz and Santorum who overtly disregard Constitutional democracy in favor of “God’s Law”, but they are theocrats. There is not a single non-religious-extremist in the running in the GOP.

  • Indigo

    Not that this old Marxist is a Libertarian or anything but thanks for that.

    I’ve been aware all along that Rand Paul (not to be confused with Ru Paul) is not a dyed in the wool Libertarian, he’s just out cherry picking ideas where he finds them. Trouble is, all he ever does is spit out the pits. He’s got nothing coherent going on beyond the realm of self-promotion.

  • Kennon Gilson

    Thanks for the item. For more on what Libertarians are actually
    doing worldwide on these and other topics in every country, please see the
    Libertarian International Organization at http://www.LibertarianInternational.org

    CORRECTION: The article needs to improve its research. Rand Paul has made clear he was never a L/libertarian, let alone one dyed in wool.

  • iamlegion

    His son is currently 22. His previous 2 alcohol-related charges both involved underage consumption by a minor. It is _absolutely_ appropriate to bring the parents into this.

  • bedr1

    His son is an adult and has been with these problems with drinking. Once you hit adulthood you can’t keep blaming the parents.

  • bedr1

    So I guess President Obama was pandering because he needs the votes when he and Rand said the exact same thing?

    In communities where there are no fathers who can provide guidance to young men; communities where there’s no investment, and manufacturing has been stripped away; and drugs have flooded the community, and the drug industry ends up being the primary employer for a whole lot of folks — in those environments, if we think that we’re just going to send the police to do the dirty work of containing the problems that arise there without as a nation and as a society saying what can we do to change those communities, to help lift up those communities and give those kids opportunity, then we’re not going to solve this problem.

  • bedr1

    Hillary honestly is toast, her uranium to the Russians deal is going to bury her

  • bedr1

    Wow this blog just shows how people are so willing to bash Rand – shows politics comes before reality and research. While this blog happily bashes Rand about the “father comments” – it said absolutely nothing about President Obama that said the same exact comment on Tuesday about fathers. The research shows (if anybody cares to read it’s at the Washington Post) that Rand and Obama are correct about fatherless children.

    President Obama —

    “In communities where there are no fathers who can provide guidance to young men; communities where there’s no investment, and manufacturing has been stripped away; and drugs have flooded the community, and the drug industry ends up being the primary employer for a whole lot of folks — in those environments, if we think that we’re just going to send the police to do the dirty work of containing the problems that arise there without as a nation and as a society saying what can we do to change those communities, to help lift up those communities and give those kids opportunity, then we’re not going to solve this problem.”

  • bpollen

    Koch bRand Paul – the same old foul taste in new packaging. When you need a Paul, go with Koch bRand Paul!

  • Facebook User
  • Like most politicians — and Republicans especially — Rand Paul panders to whatever audience he thinks is listening to him at the time.

    He wants to be his party’s nominee. Therefore he will gladly spout whatever orthodoxy is required and either play down or completely disavow anywhere he’s strayed into heretical notions. (Also, his so-called ‘libertarianism’ has always been very tightly circumscribed and never consistent or free of hypocrisy.)

    This also happens among the Democratic would-be candidates, although it can’t be denied the GOPers are much, much more strict in their demands for complete adherence to hyper-conservative dogma.

  • DoverBill

    I met a man with seven lies…

  • Indigo

    Rand Paul doesn’t have a recognizable political affiliation, he’s just his own brand of maverick, out there shootin’ off his mouth.

  • iamlegion

    OK Rand… considering that _your_ son just got arrested forDUI (his _third_ alcohol-related arrest) and your _father_ is currently starring in an anti-semitic propaganda film that literally encourages armed rebellion against the lawfully elected government, maaaaaaaaybe you should consider shutting the hell up about parenting.

  • emjayay

    Oh, I’m sure there’s still much further for him to go in his pursuit. Just watch.

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