New York Times focuses on Rand Paul’s legacy as he makes a run at the White House
Sen. Rand Paul is in the spotlight in The New York Times today.
The long article by NYTimes star reporters Sam Tanenhaus and Jim Rutenberg connects the dots between Paul’s new embrace of the Republican establishment and his father’s maverick but potent independent presidential campaigns advocating quirky Libertarian beliefs.
It’s a delicate reporting job by that bastion of American liberalism: trying to profile fairly and dispassionately the most unconventional conservative to ever have a shot at the presidency of the United States.
From the post, “Rand Paul’s Mixed Inheritance”:
Since becoming a national figure, Mr. Paul has generally stayed on safer ground. His denunciations of government intrusion on Americans’ privacy have been joined by lawmakers in both parties and have resonated with the public — though no other member of Congress as yet has joined him in his planned class-action suit against the National Security Agency.
He has renounced many of the isolationist tenets central to libertarianism, backed away from his longstanding objections to parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and teamed with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in calling for an easing of drug-sentencing laws. He recently unveiled a plan for investment in distressed inner cities.
Much of that is in keeping with the left-right alliance Mr. Paul promotes, an alternative to what he dismisses as a “mushy middle.” Such partnerships, he says, “include people who firmly do believe in the same things, that happen to serve in different parties.”
If Rand Paul has an Achilles’ Heel, Tanenhaus and Rutenberg note, it’s the legacy of his Libertarian cult figure father, former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, (R-Texas).
Paul the Elder, who ran for president several times, brings the baggage of several extreme Libertarian elements, including the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Alabama. Mises Institute-related scholars have, among other things, mused aloud whether slavery was such a bad thing, one noting that slaves spent their days picking cotton and singing songs.
There you go ….
The Times story notes Paul the Younger also has consorted with notorious pro-Confederacy figures such as Jack Hunter, better known as the “Southern Avenger.”
Hunter, who celebrated Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, was Rand Paul’s aide until the publicity got too hot and Paul cut him loose last year.
Which, according to the Times, is why Paul Fils is so much more politically nimble than Paul Pere.
It ends with this: “Rand played the game to stay in the game.”