Sen. Rand Paul recently announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination and as would be expected social media was deluged with various renditions of “I Stand With Rand” from his supporters. Obviously Sen. Paul has spent a great deal of time building his grassroots organization in preparation for this announcement, as any serious candidate for the office should do.
As with any candidate who seeks public office, especially that of President, a responsible voter will go beyond their initial impressions and take the time to get to know exactly where a candidate stands on important issues. Fortunately for voters and unfortunately for some candidates, the internet makes this process much easier. A public figure, especially a politician, will soon learn that they cannot utter a word that is not recorded for easy reference.
Those who are think they might want to “Stand With Rand” should first take the time to find out for what Rand stands. While there are plenty of places to research his positions, I will address a few of the most important issues, as they relate to Sen. Paul.
On many issues Rand takes a similar stand as most other Republicans, but as always the devil is in the details. On his campaign website you will find a page that lists his position on most issues, and as would be expected there are no real surprises there. This list is intended to be a plain vanilla version with no reason to be controversial. To find any objectionable positions, you have to go back and look at things he has said recently, and perhaps over the past few years.
For instance, on the subject of immigration his website states that he opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants and touts the need for verifiable border security, something that most of us would agree on. Despite his assurance that he opposes amnesty, Sen. Paul said something entirely different in an interview with WNDtv, as reported my Mediaite, where he said “Let’s get them work visas, let’s normalize them, let’s make them taxpayers,” he said, speaking of illegal immigrants. “They’re not going home,” he added as he criticized those who oppose amnesty. “Are they for sending these people home? Do they want us to put them in concentration camps, on buses, and send them back home?”
Another position he has taken that is not addressed on his website that many voters might be interested in is that of voter ID laws. While a majority of Americans agree that voter ID laws are necessary, Sen. Paul told the New York Times “Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Mr. Paul said in an interview. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”
Sen. Paul has in the past been criticized for his apparent lukewarm attitude toward Israel, so predictably his webpage says “I stand with Israel”. It is worth noting that Barack Obama also claims to stand with Israel, so we need to look a bit deeper into the issue. The reason people doubt his commitment to our strongest ally in the Middle East is that he has advocated cutting off all foreign aid to the country. To be fair, he also favors cutting off all aid to the Palestinians as well, but that would not negate the negative repercussions of abandoning Israel. It is a very Libertarian idea to cut off all foreign aid, but in some cases there are very good reasons why that aid is in place, and unless there is a plan in place to alleviate the need it would be dangerous to simply cut it off. So far I have heard no plan from Sen. Paul to address those needs.
Obviously this is just a partial look at some of the issues where Sen. Paul’s stated positions differ from his previous statements, but it should illustrate the need to dig a little deeper before making a decision.