Some Questions for Rand Paul

RandPaul The AP reports:  Rand Paul breaks silence with talk show interview.

The piece notes a few excerpts from his talk with Walter Williams (sitting in on the Rush Limbaugh Show) which raised some questions/issues as I read.

First:

“And unfortunately,” he said, “that’s what the policy makers in Washington say: ‘In the long run we’ll be dead, but I win the next election by bringing you home the bacon.'”

On balance, I don’t disagree with the notion that politicians have short time-horizons.  However, the question that arises here to me is:  who, do you blame?  The statement (and indeed, much of the Tea Party sentiment that is helping fuel Paul’s campaign) places the blame on Washington (as if it is a living entity).  Surely the fundamental blame belongs to the voters who send the politicians to Congress (and the White House)?

Second:

“But I would do it only through cutting spending,” he said. “I think our taxes are already plenty high enough.”

All well and good.  However, the issues is whether a) it is possible to fix our fiscal imbalances by cutting spending alone, and b) whether such a course of action is anywhere close to politically viable (see the above question).

Third:

Benton had said last week that Paul is being more selective about interview requests, saying he would give “priority to people who are going to give a fair story and not practice a ‘gotcha journalism’ that can be so destructive.

I suppose this can work for a while, although it is rather tough to claim that one ought to be a US Senator and hide in the safe waters of conservative venues.  This is doubly (if not triply) true if one claims that one can go to Washington and champion balanced budgets and slashed spending (again, see the above).

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, US Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. spinnikerca says:

    Liberal venues that would stick to current issues not resurrect long settled law passed before he entered elementary school would likely be fine.  Raising small government issues in the context of the unique circumstances of the civil rights act served no purpose EXCEPT to raise the specter of racism where none exists.

  2. Mike L, NYC says:

    When you blame people for re-electing bad politicians, don’t forget to blame the politicians for their failures to stop the flow of money that corrupts our system and for failing to elevate education to the level of priority it deserves so that Americans are smart enough to elect better politicians (or at least  throw some out of office as a reaction, when necessary).

  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    Spinnick:
    Actually as you may recall, Pand Paul said Rachel Maddow’s interview was fair.
     
    His problem is very simple:  Americans are not Libertarians.  Americans are liberals who like Libertarian rhetoric.

  4. His problem is very simple:  Americans are not Libertarians.  Americans are liberals who like Libertarian rhetoric.
    There is a great deal of truth to that statement.

  5. TangoMan says:

    <i>However, the issues is whether a) it is possible to fix our fiscal imbalances by cutting spending alone, and b) whether such a course of action is anywhere close to politically viable (see the above question).</i>
    Every policy option comes with its own unique set of intended and unintended consequences. Raising taxes, especially employment-related taxes, will kill jobs. The primary benefit of tax increases is that they usually don’t fall on a very committed constituency. So, the balancing act between cutting spending and raising taxes really becomes a battle between what is best for the nation and what is best for a diverse group of constituencies who benefit from government transfers.
    The battle against committed constituencies needs to really stress the fact that to appease them means a slow stranglehold on job creation for everyone and a pretty moribund economy. The template for this battle may well be laid with the forthcoming skirmishes with the public sector unions. If the interests of the public prevail then that same model can be deployed against pensioners, academics, environmentalists, educators, etc.

  6. TangoMan says:

    When are html commands going to be re-enabled?

  7. @TangoMan:  I am not in charge of the site tweaks, but will pass your concern along to James.  I think things are a work in progress at the moment and now the comment boxes are WYSIWYG.

  8. LowOnProzac says:

    “it is possible to fix our fiscal imbalances by cutting spending alone” – Our? Speak for yourself, please.

  9. Herb says:

    “priority to people who are going to give a fair story and not practice a ‘gotcha journalism’ that can be so destructive.”
     
    Destructive to who?  Fringey outside-the-mainstream political campaigns?  The public at large?

    Likewise, fair to who?  Paul seems to think the definition of a “fair story” is the one in which he comes out looking like roses.  No, like a fair trial, a fair story is one where you get to state your case and it goes to the jury.  Guaranteed outcomes make the result decidedly less fair.