Almost every time I see Bill Maher, I sigh, “Really, Bill?!” Now he’s upset with Rand Paul because the Senator has turned his back on everything he once stood for. That’s just silly. The only thing that Rand Paul ever stood for is the idea that Rand Paul should be president. Hell, I was calling his father a libertarian pretender in 1988! And Rand Paul doesn’t even swim in the same ideological pond as his father. Do I have to repeat the smoking gun? Rand Paul is (grudgingly) in favor of legalizing cannabis. That is not a libertarian position. That is a paternalistic one, “You can have the one currently illegal drug that I think is acceptable.” And that’s about as close as Rand Paul has ever gotten to libertarianism.
Can Bill Maher really be so deluded as to think that Rand Paul was ever a different kind of Republican? Maybe, because Maher has shown himself to be a singularly limited and facile thinker. What both of the Pauls stand for is not libertarianism but neo-confederatism. They just want local control and it doesn’t take King Solomon to figure out what they want that control for — and even more what their supporters do. And let’s be clear: no one is a serious libertarian who thinks that a zygote deserves full citizenship rights. That’s either someone who is silly or hates women. Again: it don’t take Solomon to figure that one out.
But Maher doesn’t even blame Rand Paul. To him, it is all about the Republican Party. He said, “It’s all just proof that, to be competitive, Republican candidates must say to their base, to paraphrase Bill Clinton, ‘I feel your crazy.'” But nothing is making Rand Paul call for more military spending or turn against same sex marriage or demagogue Jade Helm 15. It’s all what I wrote last year in, Why Republicans Will Nominate Rand Paul in 2016. Rand Paul is the ultimate postmodern president: he doesn’t believe in anything.
I’ve come to wonder over the years why it is that the libertarians find they fit so nicely into the Republican Party. The truth is that I have a lot of libertarian beliefs and after years of being a libertarian, I came to the conclusion that it was the Democrats who more pushed in the proper direction. As I always say: vote for a libertarian, get conservative policy. The libertarians will provide tax cuts for the rich, an end to environmental regulation, and the decimation of the social safety net. But what about the other side of libertarianism: destroying government oppression of the poor, ending drug laws, stopping wars and cutting the military, getting the government out of our bedrooms? Let’s just say that even under the best of circumstances, these are not the priorities of libertarian politicians. So libertarians fit in perfectly in the Republican Party.
But Rand Paul? The only reason he even tries to brand himself a libertarian is so that he can build on his father’s base. And now he is trying to broaden it by dropping all the non-conservative libertarian ideas while still talking the talk. And this seems to work, because I see libertarians everywhere who love him. They just apologize for him, “Well, he has to say that to get elected!” Really?! It is ridiculous to think that once he was elected he would suddenly become a dove and end the war on drugs. He will be just another Republican president, cutting taxes for the rich and destroying necessary regulations.
I suppose we should be grateful that Bill Maher has figured out that Rand Paul will not be his “Republican option.” But he should have always known that.