I worked two years for Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and witnessed a man who is principled and a fighter. That is why it angers me to see some accusing him of running away from his core beliefs because he announced his support for the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Sen. Paul had expressed reservations because of Kavanaugh’s limited view of the Fourth Amendment yet agreed to support after meeting with the nominee.
Most of the attacks are coming from individuals who never liked Senator Paul’s brand of libertarian-ish Republicanism. These know-it-all opinion writers also distain the likes of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), because they are fighting against the establishment of both parties in Washington. The attacks on Senator are more emotional and not supported by the facts.
James Hasson wrote in the Washington Examiner on July 31, 2018, a snarky piece accusing Senator Paul of “hypocrisy.” Hasson clearly did no research or willfully mislead his handful of readers when he asserted “by now, we are all used to the Kentucky Republican’s defenses of his (allegedly) deeply held principles. According to Rand, his career in the Senate is that of a man who has fought doggedly for civil liberties, reduced spending, and conservative values. Except he has not done those things.” Had Hasson been honest he could have cited Sen. Paul’s 2013 filibuster that lasted 13-hours to delay the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s liberal nominee for the CIA, John Brennan, as contrary evidence.
Hasson argued that Senator Paul engages in “stunts” attention of the cameras. This is false and I am an eye witness. I was with Senator Paul when he filibustered the Brennan nomination and he had no idea that it became the news story of the day, until House members and other Senators streamed to the Senate floor and told him. Hasson seems like one of those establishment Republican types who dislikes Senator Paul’s vocal opposition to continued engagements in Afghanistan and willingness to engage in diplomacy with traditional enemies like North Korea, Iran and Russia.
Hasson attacked Senator Paul for opposing an effort to partially repeal Obamacare. That bill would have put Republicans on the record of support for the most corrosive elements of President Obama’s health care law – Sen. Paul was right to oppose. Republicans campaigned on fully repealing Obamacare, yet when the rubber hit the road only Sen. Paul was willing to stand up against the Republican Party selling out a core platform promise. Hasson also hit Senator Paul for proposing a budget that slashed foreign aid to all nations, including Israel. Cutting all foreign aid has been something that limited government conservatives have supported for years.
Hasson claimed that Sen. Paul had not fought “doggedly” for reduced spending and conservative values. We can call this “gaslighting” or a fact free assertion, because it is provably false. When the Senate Republican leadership tried to bully Senators into passing a budget that added $300 billion in spending over the next two years, Senator Paul was the one who shut down the government by demanding a vote on one amendment. And to Hasson’s equally baseless claim that Senator Paul is not conservative enough, he might want to refer to the scorecards of Freedom Works (98 percent lifetime score), Heritage Action (91 percent lifetime score) and the American Conservative Union (96.09 lifetime score).
Tina Ngyun wrote for Vanity Fair on July 31, 2018 an equally snarky attack titled “Rand Paul Dumps His Principles for a Romance with Trump” that made the case that “once the G.O.P’s resident iconoclast the “libertarian-ish” senator and the authoritarian-curious president have become unlikely allies.” Ngyun wrote, “Paul has built an unlikely relationship of sorts with Trump” and “the two have reportedly become simpatico, chatting frequently and occasionally golfing together.” Ironically, and according to FiveThirtyEight, Senator Paul (voted in line with Trump position only 74.0 percent of the time) making the senator the least likely Republican to vote for a Trump supported priority. It is factually incorrect to state that Sen. Paul is in a political “romance” with Trump when Sen. Paul ranks behind Sens. Susan Collins of Maine (78.9 percent) Mike Lee of Utah (81.6 percent), Lisa Murkowski of Alaska (82.7 percent), John McCain of Arizona (83.0 percent) and Jeff Flake of Arizona (83.3 percent) in voting with the president. Yet again, facts have been pushed aside to push a fake storyline.
The bottom line is that Senator Paul is a solid conservative who is friendly with President Trump, yet his voting record shows that he is one of the few willing to stand up to the president when the president veers away from conservative policy. Opinion editors, and Never-Paul types like Bret Stephens of the New York Times, take great pleasure in attacking Senator Rand Paul because they are more interested in defending the status quo and hating on President Trump then moving the ball forward on a limited government style of conservatism that is being pushed by the libertarian-ish members of the Republican Party occupying the D.C. swamp.
Brian Darling is a former staffer for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.) and founder of the D.C. based firm Liberty Government Affairs.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.