Rand Paul: Endorsing a Candidate, not a Philosophy

A lot of people have asked me about Rand Paul’s endorsement of Mitt Romney. Does it mean I now support Mitt Romney? Does it mean that Rand has abandoned the libertarians? Are the Pauls fighting? Is it part of some two-pronged Paul-Paul strategy to get some respect from the mainstream GOP for Rand’s presidential run in 2016 or 2020?

While I wasn’t exactly thrilled to see Rand endorse Mitt Romney, there are some reasons that this endorsement makes sense. Plus, in four (or eight) years when Rand runs for president, those who criticize him for the endorsement now won’t care about it then. On the other side of that coin, those delighted by the Romney endorsement won’t have the “not a team player” card to play at that time.

It’s also important to remember that endorsements these days mean almost nothing. Like a free toothbrush at the dentist’s office, anybody who really wants an endorsement can get one. If Rand Paul wants to endorse Romney as a candidate, that’s fine with me. Plus, Paul is an elected Republican with real presidential possibility. In what universe would endorsing someone other than the GOP nominee make any sense for him?

Rand’s endorsement of Romney the candidate means nothing to me. But if Rand endorses Romney’s philosophy, we’ve got issues. Playing nice within the Party is one thing; jumping on the big government bandwagon is something else entirely.

You can imagine my delight when I saw this article from Rand Paul. He is very direct in his criticism of the Obama administration, especially since Obama campaigned on a platform of ending wars and since his election, he has done the exact opposite. Obama deserves this criticism.

While he embraces Romney as a candidate in his article, Paul pulls no punches on Romney’s assertion that he could bypass Congress to launch a war with Iran. And Romney deserves that criticism. Says Paul:

I will hold accountable and oppose any actions from any president, Republican or Democrat, if he declares war without congressional consent.

This open criticism of Romney tells me that Paul is serious about holding his ground on what he believes. It’s a good sign that the endorsement of Romney was indeed an endorsement of a candidate and not a compromise of his libertarian philosophy.

Though Rand may play the game of politics a bit differently than his father has played (or refused to play, depending on how you see it), I fully expect that Rand will continue in his willingness to be the lone guy standing up for what he believes is right. Despite this endorsement, he is still his father’s son.


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