Back in 2008, during his most earnest run at the presidency, Ron Paul posed a threat to my household. He didn’t come in with one of his many crime-preventing guns to stop me from implementing my communist ideals. My oldest daughter had already benefited from Title IX in the form of a scholarship for college by then, so dismantling programs like that weren’t my concern. I wasn’t in the auto industry, so the vote from “Dr. No” against the bailout that saved it didn’t faze me in the least.
It was his effect on my daughter’s boyfriend at the time. I really liked the kid, which is weird to even type now, because she’s married now (to a much cooler guy), and doesn’t 2008 seem like about a century ago? But boy, did we argue about Ron Paul.
More specifically, it was that, among young, politically active, generally informed voting-age kids, Ron Paul was inexplicably appealing. I guess I shouldn’t say inexplicably; he was against war and for weed, and that’s enough for some kids. But he seemed almost progressive in some areas, like a libertarian Bernie Sanders in a time when kids hadn’t yet heard of Bernie. In fact, he even teamed up with the esteemed socialist from Vermont to force an audit of the Federal Reserve, a poke in the eye for the establishment of both parties. Still, Ron Paul could not escape the trappings of his fundamentally Republican beliefs that conflicted enough with his do-what-you-want followers to make him an also-ran that year (and the following election year, too).
Now his son, named Randal but fond of “Rand” for its conjuring of the objectivist icon of the same name, is following in dad’s footsteps.
Mandatory minimum sentences have unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated a generation of minorities…I’m the author of a bipartisan bill with Senator Leahy to change the law on this matter…[M]ake no mistake, the lives of many drug offenders are ruined the day they receive that long sentence the attorney general wants them to have.
Holy cow! From a Republican? Nope. Again, that’s his libertarian side. Tea Party darling and Republican Rand Paul voted to confirm Sessions as AG, and blamed the Democrats for making him do it:
In some ways, the Democrats made it much more certain that I would vote for him, by trying to destroy his character…They chose to go after him, and try to destroy a man’s character.
What’s the character that the Democrats were “trying to destroy”? I’m pretty sure none of you have forgotten Elizabeth Warren’s speech on the Senate floor that got her silenced by Mitch McConnell. Jeff Sessions has always been a racist, or at least too racist to be a judge when he was up for a position.
Rand Paul, like all Republicans, is in the business of advancing conservative ideals. If that means voting to confirm a horrible person to lead the Department of Justice, so be it. But like all Republicans, Senator Paul is also a hypocrite — now that he’s publicly thumbed his nose at the opposition, he wants to complain about the very policies he voted for in confirming Sessions.
I have a lot of faith in millennials. I suppose I’m just nervous. Talking to my son before writing this piece, he assured me that his generation was far more politically engaged than to be fooled by the likes of Rand Paul. He cast his first vote ever for Bernie last year, and he’s right — the young people I speak to know a lot more than I did when I cast my first vote for Bill Clinton.
But we knew more than those who cast their first vote for Jimmy Carter, who knew more than Johnson voters…
Just be careful, is all I ask.
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty