Rand Paul: The Progressive Republican

Official PortraitRand Paul just announced his presidency.  He is the first to officially declare that I think has a chance to win the nomination. (Sorry Ted Cruz)  I also have to admit that I kind of like him.  Watching his speech I was more “Hell yeah!” than “What the Hell?”   I think progressives and Liberals should be thankful for such a candidate on the Republican ticket.

I will break down is stances on issues that his campaign presents on his website and why we all should embrace this Progressive Republican’s voice.  (Yes I called him progressive on purpose) What follows are the issues that Rand Paul lays out on his campaign page in order and my analysis of them.

On the issues

Spending and Debt

He wants to balance the budget.  Huzzah!  Who is really against this but past Republican presidents and defense contractors?  He wants to cut spending everywhere and move some responsibility to the states. This will be addressed more as we go along.

Term Limits

He is for term limits for congress.  Huzzah again!  End career politicians!  Get fresh blood in there. Other than the politicians themselves who is against this?

Taxes

Rand Paul proposes a fair and flat tax plan he calls “EZ Tax.”  17% flat tax for all individuals and businesses.  While I am not a fan of a flat tax I can support closing ALL loopholes.  If it includes investment income and a reasonable floor for low income people I could negotiate from that starting point a better tax system.  Business will actually pay taxes.

Audit the Fed

If you have done any real looking into the Federal Reserve Bank of America… Oh wait we can’t because it’s the biggest privately owned non-profit company that we give the right to make money decisions for the world and yet we can’t look at their books.  Audit the fucking Fed.

Foreign Policy and Defense

Only Congress declares war, no more of this “It was approved 15 years ago after 9/11.” Doves of all flavors should support this.  He did mention in his speech that he would engage Iran like Ronald Reagan did.  Three words to Rand Paul, Iran-Contra Affair.

Health Care

Complete disagreement.  He want a free market healthcare.  I believe in some type of single payer healthcare.  Fist big strike against him

Energy

Another area that we have differences.  He wants to “get out of the way” of companies to innovate.  And does not mention climate change or the environment.  Strike two

Immigration

No amnesty, better border security.  I’m a bit disappointed by his position here.  I always pictured a libertarian society as a welcoming one for all who show up and want to work.  I believe this is something that could be worked with if he was president but still is a strike against him for progressives.

Regulation

Cut regulations!  No surprise in that.  In his video on the regulations page he says he wants to cut two regulations for every new regulation.  An interesting idea, the code is way too complex and condensing regulations is a good idea.  He also said “Government does have a role in protecting the environment.”  That is more than you’ll get from most Republicans.  Still a strike though.

Criminal Justice Reforms

Seriously he is on the right track here, more on track than I hear from most Democrats.  He talks of his support for the REDEEM act, Justice Safety Valve Act, Civil Rights Voting Restoration Act, RESET act, and the FAIR act.  This page is longer and more detailed than any other on his site.  Seriously take a look at it.

Civil Liberties

When during his speech he held up his phone and declared that your phone records are yours not the government.  I cheered.  The government should not be spying on average citizens and Rand Paul is stronger on this than any other presidential candidate. (I hope another candidate makes me eat my words here.)

Education

Local control, no common core, and end federal involvement in education.  He does not understand that common core is a state proposal not a federal one.  He is for school choice as an answer to failing inner city schools and that education is the great equalizer.  I personally have mixed feelings on his education views but it has to be listed as a strike against him from a progressive standpoint.

Israel

Strong Israeli defender and cut off aid to Palestinian Authority.  Not my view but it’s more about ending foreign aid for Rand Paul.

Social Security

“Keep the Promise” not what I was expecting to hear.  He wants to preserve the system for seniors and make reforms to save it for younger people.  He doesn’t say how he’d reform it so I can’t put up a strike against him for it.

Veterans

Help veterans. Huzzah! Nothing of substance here.

Sanctity of Life

Strong Pro-Life. Enough said.

Second Amendment

“I will not support any proposed gun control law.”  That’s his position.  I am not a strong gun control advocate but progressives will have a big issue with this.  Another strike.

Progressive change in Republican attitudes

My score card put him about even in terms for and against progressive values.  Liberals will not agree with him on everything.  But you will agree with him more than you would any other contender for the Republican nomination.  We should embrace the similarities.  The NSA spying and criminal justice reforms would never be discussed in Republican national coverage if it was not for Rand Paul.  There would be no discussion of defense policy that was not just drums beating toward war.

And best of all, when you bring up an issue like the justice system and you are dismissed as a “*%^! liberal” you can say “Rand Paul has the same position I do” and stand in glory over your republican friend’s mind imploding.

Toby Sterling

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