Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Campaign That I Would Have Liked To Have Seen Rand Paul Run

By Robert Wenzel

I continue to receive feedback from many that Rand Paul has been doing the right thing by not taking outright libertarian positions. The country isn't ready for libertarianism, I hear.

I will grant that the country is not about to adopt a Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist perspective anytime soon. But I also think it is just a terrible idea to support/apologize for a politician who has wrapped himself in so many establishment positions that he is difficult to distinguish in any significant way from the other candidates.

A call for "tax reform" and a "common sense" foreign policy plus a 16% increase in the defense budget and a visit to Israel. Puhleeze, how is that different from the other candidates? And by adopting these kiss-ass establishment positions that will allegedly make him "electable," Rand has done nothing but flounder in the polls.

It has gotten so bad that CNN's Wolf Blitzer, yesterday, asked Rand if he was going to pull out of the presidential race.

Meanwhile, the renegades who taunt the establishment (or at least appear to) are flying high in the polls. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are both doing much better than Rand--by far.

I am very pessimistic about the country turning libertarian anytime soon, but I am not as pessimistic as those who think a libertarian campaign can't be run at all. The masses won't buy into everything libertarian, but there sure are libertarian positions that would make them sit up and take notice of libertarianism.

Rand should have taken on a three point campaign and pretty much shut up about everything else.

He should have stated, and repeated daily, "My goal is to cut taxes." When the press would have asked him by how much? He should have answered, "There is no limit to how much in taxes I would want to cut. Whatever I can get through Congress. Government is much too big."

If a reporter than asked Rand (maybe by a planted a reporter), if he was thinking a 10% cut,  the answer Rand should have given was, "I am thinking a lot more than that, but it is whatever I am can get through Congress."

Rand should then have moved on to foreign policy and say. "My foreign policy will be free trade. I want to see designer jeans, iPads and Uber across the world. Enough of this pissing people off by blowing up their weddings via drones, by invading their countries and by covert operations, The troops are coming home. We need to show what US greatness is by allowing our great companies to spread their operations anywhere they want. There will be no US military overseas and no sanctions in a Rand Paul Administration. My foreign policy is two words: free trade."

Finally, Rand should have taken on the drug war and said, "My plan to end the drug war is to pardon, all non-violent federal prisoners jailed becasue of drug violations, my first day in office. And I will on a daily basis for the remainder of my presidency pardon anyone who is arrested on drug offenses by a federal agent."

If reporters ask about other positions, Rand should say, "Look, I am taking on a mountain with my tax cutting, bringing home the troops and pardoning those jailed solely on non-criminal drug offenses. Everything else is on the backburner"

This may not get Rand elected, but there is a good chance he would be doing much better in the polls than now, and people would know what he stands for. And they would be paying attention to him. And a lot more people would be googling "libertarianism," then are now with Rand's kiss-ass campaign. And isn't that what we really want in the long run, for more people to become aware of libertarianism and start thinking about libertarianism?

Are we really going to advance libertarianism by putting a kiss-ass to the establishment in to office, who is afraid to take any libertarian positions and muddies the true libertarian message?

 Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher at and at Target Liberty. He is also author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics


  1. Great post. Could not agree more!!

  2. We aren't conservatives. Classical liberal ideology needs to grow its own Party. You can't sneak in as a conservative and then adopt radical classical liberalism. Public opinion actually needs to CHANGE.

    We are also following the wrong guru. Mises was right that anarcho-capitalism is a broken model.

    1. I agree with you that public opinion needs to change, however you can't do that by "growing" your own party. It's the chicken and the egg scenario. The political establishment defines the political party system so that anything outside the "3x5 card of allowable opinion" is marginalized.

      That being said, I personally feel we focus too much time on political candidates and changing views via the political process. If voting could really change anything, it would be illegal.

      People like Robert Wenzel, Tom Woods, the Mises Institute, Walter Block, etc., who provide concrete examples of Libertarianism / Free Market Capitalism and the resources that support it, are really what matters.

      No republican can do what Robert suggests above because the party itself won't allow it. If you want to be in politics and really run for president, you have to play by their rules. The Ron Paul campaign proves that. However, that's the difference between Ron and Rand. Rand's goal is to actually win the presidency via an attempt to build off his father's legacy and be a more "mainstream" candidate. But that is the ruse. Ron didn't care about winning, he cared about principles and education, which was why he was as successful as he was and Rand is but a meager shadow of his dad.

      The majority of the public may not be Libertarian, but as Robert states, if you stick to your guns on specific ideas, Libertarian or not, you'll create a following. Ron Paul did that and he did more to grow libertarianism than anyone before him.

      There is also a persona behind the presidency itself. It is a perception of strength and willingness to act, as well a certain candor in front of the people. The moment you are viewed outside of that presidential public persona, you're out. Rand is none of that -- he has relatively the same views and is as squishy as the rest of them, along with zero stage presence. Ron didn't have the right persona either. Regardless of his views, he came across in the media as a bit of the "nutty professor" in his mannerisms and appearance. That's who he is and I don't care, but none-the-less it doesn't fit with the current public persona of who a president is.

      Focus on the free market and the education of those that are intellectually curious on the issues. The internet breaks down barriers and makes it possible. Only when that happens will you see real change.

    2. Anarchists do not want to take control of the state. Classical liberals do. 3rd Parties are not illegal so we can go through the legal process to power.

  3. I don't believe Rand even wants to do any of these things. It would be hard for him to run a campaign on things he doesn't even believe in.

    On a side note from a comment here...I do not think An-Cap is a broken model at all. We are not hardliners though and are not saying "An-Cap or nothing!". We are willing to support any step in that general direction. If we could even take a few steps that way I think all of us would be pleased, maybe not satisfied, but pleased.

    1. Rand just wants percentage points. If he thinks he'll get more votes by adopting those positions, he surely will.

  4. I'm hearing very few if any people say such remarks 'Rand's doing the right thing.' -- much less your feedback? Please.

    But I do like your campaign idea. Maybe Rand will reinvent himself, Welfare Wall-style.

    1. Jeffrey Tucker is one of at least two that I am aware of:

    2. While that was a wonderful analysis of Tucker's; a pseudo-libertarian, a watery guy. I don't expect him to give Wenzel any feedback.

      In my mind:
      Tucker is pretentious and looks for easy intellectual debate. He seems like he wants to appear smart really badly. But I know he's a fraud whenever he gets called out in posts like you made.

  5. Almost perfect. You hit all three areas of concern: economic liberty, personal liberty, and peace. The only minor quibble I have is that cutting taxes might not result in less spending if the government just makes up for it with borrowing or inflation. So I would focus on a 10% cut in federal spending. The great thing about these three points is that most liberals would support two of them. And I think most of them could be persuaded to support a 10% cut in spending, especially if any tax relief is focused on the poor and lower middle class.

    1. Yes! Correct. Go for spending and revenue cuts. To Hell with the bait and switch of increasing government revenues by cutting marginal tax rates, etc.

  6. That campaign would have been massive, and gotten even more support than his father's. Too bad his current sell out campaign is about to have him drop the race... Bad strategy.

    What in the world is Tucker thinking with this arguments? The opposite is true. Just look at polling a numbers Ron vs Rand at the finish line. That's all that matters numbers wise.