Day: 2013.08.15

Even More 2016 Silliness

Timothy Noah makes an interesting point:

Given the extremism of Paul’s libertarian politics—most famously, he’s quarreled with the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against discrimination by privately-owned businesses—one may reasonably suppose that most of the liberal and/or mainstream centrist pundits who tout Paul as a likely or even plausible presidential nominee would never dream of voting for him themselves. What they seem to overlook is that an awful lot of conservatives would never vote for him, either. Indeed, to judge from the conservative press these days, Paul’s fellow Republicans can’t stand him.

Rand PaulIt’s long been apparent that the GOP’s foreign-policy hawks don’t like Paul, a foreign-policy dove who attracted much attention in March for waging a 13-hour “talking” filibuster over U.S. drone policy. Arizona Sen. John McCain has called Paul a “wacko bird.” (McCain later apologized, and still later joked that if Paul and Hillary Clinton are the nominees, “it’s gonna be a tough choice.”) The Washington Post’s neoconservative blogger Jennifer Rubin has called Paul (among other things) “amateurish” and “downright dishonest.” Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol has mocked Paul as the “spokesman for the Code Pink faction of the Republican Party.”

But in recent days it’s become clear that a lot of the economic conservatives who ought to be Paul’s natural constituents don’t much like him either. At issue is an interview Paul gave Bloomberg Businessweek’s Joshua Green in which Paul appeared neither to understand the late economist Milton Friedman’s monetarist theories nor to know that Friedman was deceased. It’s no surprise that liberals like Paul Krugman and Jonathan Chait jumped on Paul for his incoherent criticism of Fed policy (which Paul elaborated in National Review Online). But it was interesting to see conservatives like the American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis and National Review’s Patrick Brennan do the same.

Indeed, if you want to keep abreast of everything that compromises Paul as a possible presidential contender, you should bypass liberal opinion mongers and objective mainstream news organizations altogether and focus on conservative news sources. The story that Paul aide Jack Hunter was a former neo-Confederate activist who boasted of toasting John Wilkes Booth’s birthday, which eventually led Hunter to resign, did not break in the Nation, but rather in the Washington Free Beacon, a web publication created by the very conservative Center For American Freedom. (Paul is quite testy about the matter.)

And as long as we’re piling on, we should note that Jennifer Rubin went so far as to include him on her list of people who shouldn’t bother running for the White House in 2016. So, yeah. Let’s see how all this 2016 wisdom works out.