Rand Paul’s unique mix of libertarianism and conservatism has been around for years, just waiting for an intrepid reporter like the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Andrew Wolfson to pore through it. After watching hours of old Paul footage — much of it from the archives of Kentucky’s public TV network — the Courier-Journal published the best nuggets in a massive piece.
What emerges from the story, which covers interviews beginning in 1998, is a picture of a candidate very different from either political party. In one interview he’s claiming he understands the reasoning behind suicide bomb attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq. In another he’s repeating his problems with civil rights law, claiming that “decisions concerning private property and associations should in a free society be unhindered.” In a third he’s calling for social security to be privatized.
First things first, to answer the obvious question:
“Whether Paul has changed his position on any of those issues — or would try to advance them in the U.S. Senate — isn’t clear,” the Courier-Journal reports. “He declined to be interviewed about his past public remarks, although his staff was provided a list of the appearances where the statements were made.”
Paul’s campaign didn’t return my calls today asking for comment either.
And now, from the massive article, Rand Paul on…
Church And State
• “Addressing President Bush’s program of channeling government money through religious-based charities, Paul said on KET’s Kentucky Tonight on June 30, 2008, that ‘churches do charity work, and that is wonderful, but they shouldn’t be corrupted with government money.’
“He also said the initiatives ‘obscure the church-state separation that there really ought to be,’” the paper reports.
The War In Iraq
• At a Jan. 31, 2008 presidential campaign rally in Montana for his father, Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R), Rand addressed the ongoing war in Iraq and the occupation of the country by U.S. forces.
“Some Republicans are not going to want to hear this,” Paul told the crowd at the rally, according to the Courier-Journal. “But I live near Fort Campbell, and there are 50,000 soldiers there. I tell people you have to truly imagine what your feelings would be if those soldiers were Chinese soldiers and they were occupying the United States. We wouldn’t have it. Republican and Democrat, we’d be blowing up the Chinese with roadside bombs as they were coming off the base. No country wants foreign soldiers on their land.”
• “In an interview on May 15, 2009, Paul told the host of Antiwar Radio that he would have voted against going to war in Iraq and that he opposes a long-term occupation of Iraq or Iran.”
“In the same interview, he said, ‘I think torture is always wrong’ and that ‘our country should have a higher ideal than that.’”
• “We need to get insurance out of the way and let the consumer interact with their doctor the way they did basically before World War II,” Paul said in an interview with Kentucky public TV on Dec. 2, 2002.
• “I think you don’t have a right to happiness — you have the right to the pursuit of happiness,” Paul, an ophthalmologist, said in a 2009 Kentucky town hall meeting. “[I]f you think you have the right to health care, you are saying basically that I am your slave. I provide health care. … My staff and technicians provide it. … If you have a right to health care, then you have a right to their labor.”
• “The fundamental reason why Medicare is failing is why the Soviet Union failed — socialism doesn’t work,” Paul said on Kentucky public TV on June 16, 1998. “You have … no price fluctuation.”
• “We have very little vestige left of laissez-faire capitalism,” Paul said in a speech at a Boston tea party rally in 2009. “We have a largely regulated economy, and we cannot let capitalism take the blame for this, or we will have less capitalism.”
“The other thing just infuriates me is that they blame greed,” Paul said at the rally. “Not that greed is a good thing to have. … But it is an indirect way of blaming capitalism. What is greed? Greed is an excess of self-interest, but what drives capitalism? Self-interest and profit. They are good things.”
• Paul has alternately advocated eliminating Social Security and just eliminating the program as it’s known today.
“I think the average American is smart enough to make their own investments,” he told Kentucky public TV in October 1998. “The more freedom the better … Reform is going to happen, and I hope it’s privatization.”
• In 1999, Paul told Kentucky public TV that some vestige of the current system should be maintained, calling for a “a baseline … that is sort of a security net” that allows for some social security money to remain in government hands while the rest is invested individually by future recipients.
Civil Rights Act
•Paul’s take on the 1964 Civil Rights Act kicked off the discussion of his overall views. As the Courier-Journal reports it, the infamous series of national interviews after Paul won the Republican Senate nomination was not the first time Paul had addressed the matter.
“Should it be prohibited for public, taxpayer-financed institutions such as schools to reject someone based on an individual’s beliefs or attributes? Most certainly,” Paul wrote in a May 2002 letter to the editor. “Should it be prohibited for private entities such as a church, bed-and-breakfast or retirement neighborhood that doesn’t want noisy children? Absolutely not. Decisions concerning private property and associations should in a free society be unhindered.”
Read the Courier-Journal’s full report here.
Check out their library of Paul’s quotes on video here.