KEEP RAND WEIRD: Will the Libertarian Presidential Candidate Shed the Stuff That Makes Him Interesting?

Published on April 8, 2015

Will Rand continue to be the different Republican or will he become like the rest?

Rand Paul, who launched his presidential campaign on Tuesday, calls himself “a different kind of Republican,” which at this point remains an accurate description. But in his eagerness to win primaries, the libertarian-leaning Kentucky senator runs the risk of shedding the differences that make his voice distinctive and worth hearing.

Perhaps the most striking example of politically motivated backpedaling is Paul’s recent proposal to raise defense spending by $190 billion over two years with money reallocated from other parts of the federal budget. Four years ago, by contrast, he supported cutting defense spending by $164 billion over five years.

Paul seems keen to placate Republicans who absurdly insist that the current defense budget is inadequate, even though it amounts to nearly two-fifths of global military spending. But the Republican Party desperately needs a candidate who understands that “not every dollar spent on the military is necessary or well-spent,” as Paul put it at the 2012 Republican convention.

In a related move, Paul has become notably more open to foreign intervention, endorsing war with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on the very same day that he wondered aloud whether the terrorist organization posed “a threat to our national security.” To his credit, Paul still insists that military action must be approved by Congress, and he still opposes U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war (which makes you wonder how he proposes to “destroy” ISIS).

Read more: Townhall