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Friday, September 17, 2010

Rand Paul Update: Hypocrisy 101

Someone put a Rand Paul flyer on the billboard next to my office. When I read through it quickly yesterday, I noticed something odd that is apparently a point that he has been emphasizing in his latest ads. Fox News:
Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Rand Paul's latest ad is selling him as a Washington outsider. In a new 30-second commercial, the Bowling Green eye surgeon declares he's a "physician, not a career politician."
On his webpage, Paul takes this further, calling for term limits for "career politicians":
Long term incumbency leads to politicians who seem to care more about what is best for their career than what is best for their country.
These are kind of strange claims from someone known primarily as the son of a long-time politician, Ron Paul.

The elder Dr. Paul, Rand's father, has served in the U.S. Congress representing District 14 in Texas continuously since 1996. However, he has been in the House of Representatives much longer as Project Vote Smart clarifies:
Representative, United States House of Representatives, District 22, 1976-1977, 1979-1985
Ron Paul has been in the House for 22 years.

Additionally, Paul lost election for that House seat in 1974 and 1976, which is why he didn't serve consecutively in the period from 1975 to 1985. He also ran for the U.S. Senate and lost in 1984 and ran for President unsuccessfully in 1988 as a Libertarian.

Even if we posit that Paul wasn't a politician from 1989 through 1996, that still means about 30 years of politics as a career choice.

So, would Rand want Ron booted out of Washington?

University of Virginia Political Scientist Larry Sabato explains that Rand definitely benefits from his father's family business:
“As we know from almost every state, having a family member in politics can be very helpful. You gain contacts, experience, you understand what the job is all about, campaigning. It’s like the family business,” Sabato said. “When he ran for president, Ron Paul was very popular with a segment of students. They are fiercely anti establishment and perfectly happy to accept Rand Paul.”
That same Miami Herald story notes that the family connection "helped the political newcomer net a big boost in contributions - in part by relying heavily on his dad's donor list."

Always follow the money.

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