Rand Paul 2016: Why He's Not Libertarianism's Best Shot at the White House


Libertarians of all varieties, whether big “L”, little “l,” or any of their other variants, are in a bit of broody mood these days. Well most of them are ... some are already waxing prophetic about Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and proclaiming him to be the savior of the movement.

But do all libertarians really buy into that hype? Will they trust a Republican to actually push for libertarian values when the rubber hits the road. After all, we are talking about a man who endorsed Romney for president. Not that anyone expected him to endorse Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, but there were those that hoped he would have remained silent in 2012. The Libertarian Party was rather upset with him needless to say.

“But as Sherlock Holmes would note, it’s the dog that didn't bark that proves Rand Paul made a devil’s deal with Big Government Mitt Romney,” reads a statement from the Libertarian Party.

Rand Paul also fully embraces the social conservative elements of his father. He is certainly not libertarian in his attitude toward abortion or other “social” issues. He very much plays up his social conservative instincts that are reflective of the Republican Party in Kentucky. Will his votes in the next four years jibe well with libertarian wishes? Is he even libertarian at all, well certainly not according to his own words.

It would not be unfair to say that Rand Paul is being touted by some merely because of his lineage rather than because of what he does or stands for. But to some of his father’s supporters he does not cut the mustard.

“Now he has voted for the 2013 [National Defense Authorization Act], which not only allows the aforementioned indefinite detention, but also includes a federal sales tax on internet transactions,” reads an article in the Examiner.

It will be interesting to watch Rand dig his way out of voting for the NDAA and breaking his pledge not to vote for tax increases. Both subjects are serious concerns for libertarians and it is yet early days.

A cynic, of which I am one, would suggest caution before jumping on the Rand band-wagon. A period of clear political reflection would be far more useful for libertarians wishing profound change in 2016.