Will tribble-topped presidential aspirant Rand Paul be able to use libertarian themes like police demilitarization at home and a non-interference policy abroad to attract minority voters and liberals who are sick of an AIPAC-driven approach to foreign affairs? Nope.
To pull off that sort of political ju-jitsu, Paul would have to be able to count on the GOP base to refrain from screeching like a scalded stoat when he makes appeals outside the tent, and he can’t. Here’s the reaction of the PowerTools gang to Baby Doc’s recent remarks on Ferguson:
Paul sees the opportunity to score libertarian points while showing sympathy for the black community, to which he has been pandering for some time. Let’s start with the race pandering.
Paul uses the occasion of the Brown tragedy to say that “given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.” But Paul makes no attempt to show that the disparities in question — presumably pertaining to conviction rates — are the result of “government targeting,” as opposed to disparities in the commission of crimes. Blacks may feel targeted, but U.S. Senators shouldn’t lend credibility to that feeling by disparaging our justice system unless they provide meaningful analysis to back it up.
Remember, the PowerTools represent the civilized segment of the base, the portion one imagines has reliable access to pants and even shoes, the sector who are frequently quoted by wingnut columnists and politicians. Imagine how Paul’s pandering will be received by their less evolved brethren.
Ditto foreign policy. Paul’s wingnut opponents in the primary will use fear of the other as a cudgel to beat Baby Doc, just as they walloped his old man like a rented mule on foreign policy in every one of his quixotic quests for the nomination.
Like clocks gone Galt, libertarians are occasionally right on two issues: 1) the balance of government power and individual liberty, and 2) empire-building is a con job. Unfortunately for them, the party with which they’re most closely associated comprises scads of avid fascists who are eager to break heads at home and bounce rubble abroad. They’ll kneecap Paul without our help.