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The Crunchy Con Rand Paul

Paul fils says things that make Your Working Boy very happy. [1] For example:

The senator praised Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” which he read last year, about growing and harvesting one’s own food and buying locally. He said his family tries to buy as much as they can from a local farmer’s market, but they still shop at the supermarket, too.

Paul also cited Joel Salatin’s “Folks, this Ain’t Normal,” another book about sustainable farming.

Paul said he took his son, Robert, to visit the author’s farm in the Shenandoah Valley last year, where he grass feeds his cows, chickens and hogs.

“He collects rainwater from the slopes of the mountain,” said Paul. “Manure is his fertilizer. He avoids vaccines, antibiotics, and hormones. His farm is idyllic and he trains interns on sustainable farming. He also sees the government as a troublesome meddler in the life of the small farmer.”

“Like many libertarians, he sees government regulations written to benefit the large corporate farmer but nearly impossible for the small farmer to follow,” Paul said of Salatin. “I hear the same stories from small banks, small medical practices and small retailers.”

His sermon for sustainability served as a broader point about politics.

“When we as Republicans wake up and tell voters that we want to be the champion of the small farmer and the small businessman or woman, then we will thrive as a party,” he said.

A presidential candidate who visits and quotes the great Joel Salatin [2]? This is fantastic stuff. Next time he’s in the Dallas area, I hope Sen. Paul will go out to see my conservative farmer friends Robert and Nancy Hutchins at Rehoboth Ranch [3]. He’ll eat well and learn a lot about what it means to love God, respect the earth, and raise healthy and delicious meat. Robert used to work in defense contracting before he gave it up to become a farmer. I bet he and Sen. Paul could have some interesting conversations on that front too.

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25 Comments To "The Crunchy Con Rand Paul"

#1 Comment By J_A On June 1, 2013 @ 8:57 am

You nailed in the first sentence. He “says” things that, were they to pass, will make tou very happy.

However, I doubt very much he will lift a finger to help those things actually pass (no, theatrical displays that have no further consequences do not count)

And why would he? You are already happy with him just talking. Mission acomplished.

#2 Comment By Sam M On June 1, 2013 @ 9:07 am

I am sure he’s not perfect. But right now, he’s the closest thing I have to hope in the the political realm.

In a way, I think it’s better that he’s not perfect. The weird messiah complex that ushered Obama in is something that ought to be avoided.

#3 Comment By Avi Marranazo On June 1, 2013 @ 9:51 am

This is indeed a breath of fresh air from Paul. Of late–specifically since the Hagel hearings–I had lost a lot of my initial enthusiasm for him.

#4 Comment By Mr. Pickwick On June 1, 2013 @ 10:15 am

I join you, Rod, in welcoming these remarks from Senator Paul. As far as they go, they are good and he deserves kudos. But his libertarian stance, which rejects land use planning and environmental regulation, threatens to overshadow them. We tried laissez faire concerning the use of land, wildlife, water and air: that was the 19th century, when the forests were clearcut, the prairies plowed, the wildlife slaughtered and our air and water befouled. Thanks to government regulation, we have grown back some of our forests (and protected those that remained), recovered many species and made considerable strides toward cleaning our air and water. I know that you recognize the need for regulation, to avoid the Tragedy of the Commons that occurs whenever individual actors (large and small) are free to pursue their own self-interest without concern for the common good. It’s said that Sen. Paul’s conservation ethic (at least to date) hasn’t come that far.

#5 Comment By Ben From Ireland On June 1, 2013 @ 11:14 am

This is great news. What with this development, if this guy was just a bit more, well, Christian in his economic policies, I’d feel pretty confident supporting him for President. As it is I think I’d still go with him over Obama or Hillary.

#6 Comment By Philip Giraldi On June 1, 2013 @ 11:42 am

Rand unfortunately also says other things. He recently participated in the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)’s Annual Advocacy Mission to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. He said “I was asked before coming here today, ‘Why are you going to ZOA?’ I answered, ‘Why? Because ZOA was the only organization that supported my amendment saying no more money and arms to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt … Giving F-16 planes and M-1 tanks to them? One day we’re going to regret this.” Turning to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in Egypt, he said, “You now have a president in Egypt who says Jews are sons of pigs and apes and a president who stands next to a preacher saying ‘Death to Jews and all their supporters,’ which includes America. If they want our funding, why don’t they affirm their support for the Camp David accord? Why don’t they reaffirm that Israel has a right to exist?” Turning to another deeply problematic recipient of U.S. aid, Pakistan, Paul said, “They have put a man, Shakil Afridi, in jail for the rest of his life because he helped us find Bin Laden, which was a big thing, that makes him a big friend of America, so I say – No more money to Pakistan unless you free Shakil Afridi. If you want to be a friend of America, act like one.” Speaking of Israel, he observed, “There one thing I know I can say: You will never see anyone in Israel burning the American flag … the U.S. and Israel have a great shared religious and cultural history.”

#7 Comment By Sean Scallon On June 1, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

There was always certain amount of romanticism in supporting Ron Paul that I had never detected before in Rand. Hopefully this changes as related by these stories of going to organic farms and such realizing the common interest against “bigness”. Granted romanticism doesn’t win you elections it doesn’t mean it has to be separate from Rand’s more practical approach.

#8 Comment By Aegis On June 1, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

To build on Mr. Pickwick’s post, above: we also had an era of small, unregulated banks. It didn’t go so well for the average depositor.

Mind you, I don’t mean to say that I favor large banks as such; they are even more dangerous than small ones and I favor breaking up the largest financial institutions and capping their balance sheets. However, if you are too small to comply with banking regulations, my strong suspicion is that you are too small to safely operate in the banking business.

#9 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 1, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

One question. Is the below still accurate? Unclear what he means by that local solutions. They have broken federal and state law.

From: [4]

I do not support amnesty, I support legal immigration and recognize that the country has been enriched by those who seek the freedom to make a life for themselves. However, millions of illegal immigrants are crossing our border without our knowledge and causing a clear threat to our national security. I want to work in the Senate to secure our border immediately. In addition, I support the creation of a border fence and increased border patrol capabilities.

Immigrants should meet the current requirements, which should be enforced and updated. I realize that subsidizing something creates more of it, and do not think the taxpayer should be forced to pay for welfare, medical care and other expenses for illegal immigrants. Once the subsidies for illegal immigration are removed, the problem will likely become far less common.

I support local solutions to illegal immigration as protected by the 10th amendment. I support making English the official language of all documents and contracts.

Millions crossing our border without our knowledge constitutes a clear threat to our nation’s security. Instead of closing military bases at home and renting space in Europe, I am open to the construction of bases to protect our border.

#10 Comment By EngineerScotty On June 1, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

What, is Paul deciding to become a less doctrinaire libertarian? It would be good news if he were to abandon the bad parts of libertarianism–the desire to smash the welfare state, and the belief that the government should never, ever, disturb capitalists in their job-creatin’–and focus on the good, such as being suspicious of a militaristic foreign policy, and ending various types of nanny-statism (which both liberals and conservatives are often guilty of).

Or, he could simply be engaging in a bit of campaigning. During his 2010 campaign, he frequently posed and postured as a Tea Partier–libertarian politics not being particularly popular in Kentucky (a socially conservative state with a long history of economic populism and labor politics, and a major problem with meth on its hands); but like most self-identified libertarians, thinks the best way to help the poor is to drive down their wages so more of them might be employed.

#11 Comment By Kit Stolz On June 1, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

Local papers framed this as Rand Paul opening his campaign for the presidency in California (here’s the headline — story behind a paywall: [5]).

In his speech, Paul claimed that the GOP, which is down to about one-third registration in CA, can still compete by showing that it cares about the environment, which is very important to the voters of this state, and by highlighting other “choice” issues, such as school vouchers.

But CA voters don’t care much for vouchers, and have seen that funding and sensible regulations can and do result in cleaner air, cleaner water, cleaner energy, great parks, and all those other goods that come with commons protected, as Mr. Pickwick said, by the government. Californians will vote for regulation and even taxation for their environment and stand by their votes when challenged (as in the attempt in 201o to overturn a 2006 clean energy/global warming law with a proposition sponsored by Valero et al).

So although Paul is making good lemonade out of his libertarian stance, his claims that this will be enough to relaunch the GOP in CA is doubtful. Not until the GOP can find an environmentalism that can stand up to corporate interests will Republicans running for state or federal office be taken very seriously by Californians. Still, it’s good to see the GOP at least pay tribute to small farms, recycling and composting, however unlikely it is to make it into their actual legislation.

#12 Comment By surly On June 1, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

There is an opportunity to bring both right and left together to create a sustainable economic framework. If the left agrees to significant deregulation, the right could agree to aggressive enforcement of anti-competitive agglomerations of business interests.

It is quite true that big business colludes with big government to write regulations that are so costly to comply with that smaller competitors are forced to throw in the towel. They are expensive, but they don’t actually prevent any harm to consumers or to the environment or the economy.

The most egregious example of this is the “financial services” industry.

#13 Comment By surly On June 1, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

I meant aggressive enforcement of regulations against anti-competitive business practices and against too much concentration. Companies like Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, etc. would be broken up into manageable pieces.

#14 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 1, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

“I support local solutions to illegal immigration as protected by the 10th amendment. I support making English the official language of all documents and contracts.”

or

“I support local solutions to illegal immigration as protected by the 10th amendment.”

Someone wnt to square these. To me it’s ideological trouble.

#15 Comment By Chris 1 On June 1, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

The CA GOP is moribund. It has so enforced its ideological purity that it has died to the real world.

Rand Paul talks the talk of local agriculture, but allow me to share with you the truth. Los Angeles used to have local agriculture in every community, from Palos Verdes to Pomona, from Lancaster to Long Beach. Today it has nearly none because it was all replaced by housing and strip malls. All of it. Orange County is not far behind on this front…the orange groves are long gone, Knotts Berry Farm no longer has a farm.

Ventura County chose a different path, and sharply limited the destruction of farmland and encouraged greater density in residential development. The result is that Ventura still has a thriving agricultural component, and most “local” Los Angeles produce comes from Camarillo and Oxnard and Santa Paula and Somis…Ventura County’s agricultural zones.

So you can laud local agriculture all you want, but if you’re ideologically unwilling to do what it takes to prevent “the market” from destroying that local agriculture you’re as useless as the CA GOP. (OBTW: Ventura is a Republican stronghold, it was conservatives in government who action to conserve local agriculture rather than to allow “the free market” to destroy it.)

#16 Comment By Glaivester On June 1, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

However, if you are too small to comply with banking regulations, my strong suspicion is that you are too small to safely operate in the banking business.

That depends on what the regulations are. Too small to comply with common-sense regulations? Certainly a problem. On the other hand, at a certain point, you are too small because the regulations are just too onerous.

But CA voters don’t care much for vouchers, and have seen that funding and sensible regulations can and do result in cleaner air, cleaner water, cleaner energy, great parks, and all those other goods that come with commons protected, as Mr. Pickwick said, by the government. Californians will vote for regulation and even taxation for their environment and stand by their votes when challenged

Of course, once all of the wealthy people move out like Mikkelson is doing, and the state completely collapses like Detroit, it may become a moot point. You can vote for high taxes all you want – until the people paying them leave.

#17 Comment By Richard Parker On June 1, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

“You can vote for high taxes all you want – until the people paying them leave.”

My friends on the left are already drooling over the idea of “exit taxes” for corporations from CA.

I have noted over time that some of their wild-eyed fantasies become settled policy in 10 to 15 years.

From there, it’s probably another 5 years or to so some sort of exit surcharge on the state income tax for “The Wealthy.”

You really cannot believe California unless you live here.

#18 Comment By Noah172 On June 1, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

I second Phil Giraldi’s comment.

Senator Paul also stands for amnesty for illegal aliens and free trade. Uttering sweet nothings about sustainable farming does not negate these enormous political sins.

Sometimes apples do fall far from trees.

#19 Comment By Glaivester On June 1, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

I agree with Noah and Phil. Rand Paul ‘s time has passed. He can probably be useful in defeating the current amnesty bill, as he has said that it has too little enforcement for him to support it, but long-term he is not an ally.

#20 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 2, 2013 @ 12:36 am

“Like many libertarians, he sees government regulations written to benefit the large corporate farmer but nearly impossible for the small farmer to follow,”

This true statement has been the perennial poster child for the large corporate interests trying to get out from under even the regulations they are able to comply with, since Day One. Aye, there’s the rub. It is TRUE that a roadside shop in Vermont selling hand-carved wooden toys shouldn’t have to pay thousands of dollars to have their products tested for lead-based paint… but toys coming from China darn well ought to.

Its hard to get a sensible word like that in edgewise, and I’m not sure Paul is the man to do it.

Mr. Pickwick has it exactly right:

We tried laissez faire concerning the use of land, wildlife, water and air: that was the 19th century, when the forests were clearcut, the prairies plowed, the wildlife slaughtered and our air and water befouled. Thanks to government regulation, we have grown back some of our forests (and protected those that remained), recovered many species and made considerable strides toward cleaning our air and water.

With Paul calling the shots, the commons will be despoiled, he just won’t be so brazen about it as James Watt was.

#21 Comment By RIchard Parker On June 2, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

Met James Watt once in a group setting. His staff came out to ask our protest group to select 3 reps for a short meeting.

Turned out to be a pretty nice guy who actually listened. Although no positions were changed, we left wondering where the expected forked tongued two-headed scaled devil was.

Our group was shocked when we talked to them.

#22 Comment By PM On June 2, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Count me underwhelmed by Senator Aqua Buddha. Where were his principles when thugs stomped a female protester at one of his rallies in 2010? Inside each libertarian is an authoritarian trying to get out.

Just let it slip that Barbara Kingsolver’s a Democrat and Paul will drop all of this as fast as crunchy cons dropped Wendell Berry over gay marriage (and his admission that he considered himself a standard New Deal Democrat). It probably wouldn’t take that, though – like any good libertarian, when Monsanto’s lobbyists dangle some money in front of him, Paul will drive a bulldozer personally into Joel Salatin’s house in Swoope, VA before you can say “property rights”.

[NFR: Yeah, yeah, rant away. Crunchy cons didn’t “drop” Wendell Berry at all, nor was it the least bit of a surprise that Berry considers himself a New Deal Democrat. His wife Tanya told me that years ago. So what? I think Berry is very wrong about same-sex marriage, but unlike some of you, I don’t consider the fact that someone is wrong about an important issue reason enough to discount everything they’ve ever said. I would even sing Walt Whitman, even though I can’t sing and don’t care for his poetry. — RD]

#23 Comment By Kit Stolz On June 2, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

Let me associate myself with Chris 1’s comments re: Ventura County, which yes, is one of the most productive ag counties in the nation (producing approx. $2 billion a year in income) in large part because it refused to allow itself to be suburbanized. In other words, a largely Republican county turned to government to protect its lands from rapacious development, by local consensus, and has greatly benefitted from the result, economically, politically, and spiritually.

And I can only scoff at Glaivester’s claim that “all of the wealthy people are moving out of CA.” I grew up in this state, know a surprising number of friends who became very rich here, and though some are Republicans, and none enjoy paying high tax rates, I’m sure, none have shown any interest in moving away from the place that made them very wealthy and, in some cases, famous. I’m talking scientists, cooks, and writers. If they were motivated only by money, they might, but if that were the case, they probably wouldn’t be in California in the first place. Its charms are far more than monetary.

#24 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 2, 2013 @ 11:35 pm

Richard Parker, I hadn’t been aware that James Watt had negotiated with the mutineers at the Nore…

…OK, witty anachronisms aside, I’m not surprised he was a nice guy. He always seemed to be on TV. Most of us, left, right, or center, are nice guys. I believe George W. Bush was a nice guy, and probably John Boehner is too. Not so sure about Cheney, Rumsfeld, or Cruz, but very likely Marco Rubio and Rand Paul are nice guys.

Its their policies and policy proposals that stink. As I recall, Watt said we might as well use up the forests because pretty soon Jesus is coming back and we’ll get a whole new earth. Mining companies loved it — without any expectation of moving on to a new earth anytime soon, but happy to despoil this one.

#25 Comment By jon s On June 3, 2013 @ 3:07 am

Seconding Pickwick and Kit. A man looking to get rid of the EPA because it’s a govt bureaucracy is a man whose baby and bathwater are both floating away. He has an exceptionally simple understanding of the world.