By now everyone knows about Rand Paul’s thirteen-hour filibuster on the Senate floor. He succeeded in his short-term goal, as Attorney General Holder finally produced a memo affirming that the President has no right to murder American citizens who are not engaged in hostilities against the U.S. Senator Paul drew more support from colleagues than I would have expected, including Senator Minority Leader McConnell and Democratic Senator Wyden of Oregon.
But it’s not just his short-term success that has me excited. This might just be the start of a couple of very favorable longer-term outcomes.
First is the prospect that RP may run for President in 2016. He has dropped hints to that effect. He is an attractive candidate for libertarians because of his generally solid stands for economic liberty, civil liberties and non-interventionism. OK, maybe he’s a bit more conservative than some of us would like, and he endorsed Romney last year. And by traditional standards, he’s young and inexperienced.
Yet he just might be electable. He should be able to draw on the army of Ron Paul supporters who are mostly young and energetic. By 2016 the Obama administration will be in shambles and the Democratic candidate will have to distance himself from Obama. A minority party could emerge and siphon off Democratic votes. People will be looking for a fresh face, and Rand Paul does have a boyish, fresh face which doesn’t hurt. And he’s a bit less caustic and perhaps a bit more articulate than his dad.
Best of all, he could be the catalyst for a realignment of politics in this country. One side would be centered on the libertarian principles just mentioned: economic freedom, civil liberties, international peace. The first principle would attract some fellow travelers from the right and the other two would attract some from the left. On the other side would be statists of various stripes including “progressives,” who should be classified as fascists, as well as bloodthirsty warmongers like Senator McCain.
The political realignment just outlined will be familiar to anyone acquainted with the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, formerly called the Nolan chart. Millions of people have taken the quiz, and it has gained considerable respect (“The Quiz has gained respect as a valid measure of a person’s political leanings,” says the Washington Post.)
A lot can happen between now and then. RP’s rising start could fade. He could get co-opted by the Republican establishment. We’ve been disappointed before and it could happen again. But the idea does give one hope. Rand Paul for President, Gary Johnson for Vice President?
(Footnote for anyone shocked by the f-word: There are two aspects to fascism. The economic aspect leaves ownership of the means of production under nominal private ownership but with the government calling all the shots. That describes the program of the “progressives” to a tee. The other aspect is racism or nationalism, echoes of which are seen these days in the forms of affirmative action, multiculturalism, and “diversity” programs.)