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Rand Paul & the Christian Right

Can Rand Paul make a case to the Christian right? The answer will have implications for the Republican Party far beyond the Kentucky senator’s hypothetical 2016 presidential campaign.

In the Bluegrass State’s 2010 Republican senatorial primary, Paul was the candidate of choice for Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, and Concerned Women for America. James Dobson reversed course after initially endorsing Paul’s opponent. “Have you ever made an embarrassing mistake?” Dobson asked in an ad, before suggesting that endorsing against Paul fit the bill.

In that race, Paul was able to unite social and economic conservatives against neoconservatives and other hawks in the GOP. The party establishment’s attempts to portray him as weak on national security and liberal on social issues fell on deaf ears.

Early in his Senate tenure, Paul has managed to do much the same thing. He took a well-publicized trip to Israel to reassure evangelicals that his skepticism of foreign entanglements didn’t prevent him from being a well-wisher of the Jewish state. Paul targeted countries where American flags are burned and anti-Israel sentiment runs high for cuts in foreign aid.

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Paul talked about the persecution of Christians that followed the Iraq war and could be expected after a similar military intervention in Syria. He also drew attention to the flight of Christians in Egypt, a major recipient of U.S. foreign aid. The campaign drew a rebuke [1] from Michael Gerson, the former Bush speechwriter and leading evangelical interventionist. Gerson called the actual events on the ground a “caricature” while ending with an empty exhortation that we not “resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians.”

The Tea Party senator has drawn attention [2] to the injustice of mandatory minimum sentences, a cause that has won the support [3] of George Will, the dean of Washington’s conservative columnists. This has dovetailed into advocacy for prison reform, an issue dear to the hearts of many evangelicals since the days of Chuck Colson.

Paul’s speech at the Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University was not about abortion, contrary to press reports [4]. In fact, he mostly criticized the Patriot Act and warrantless surveillance. But his remarks did touch on how the desire to minimize risk, whether through medical technology or government regulation, can diminish the individual in ways that ought to concern both libertarians and social conservatives.

In short, Paul gave a fusionist speech, to use the late National Review senior editor Frank Meyer’s term for the synthesis between liberty and tradition that has been at the heart of the American right from the founding of the modern conservative movement to the Tea Party. But there are many things that can cause conservatism to come unfused.

Pope Francis’s critique of capitalism, insofar as it is not dismissed simply as liberal Catholicism, reminds us of the tensions between traditionalists and free-market enthusiasts. The right has to a lesser extent fractured over social issues like gay marriage. Iran looms as a source of conflict that will draw social conservatives away from their new realist and anti-interventionists allies, back into the familiar embrace of Republican hawks.

In the realm of electoral politics, such tensions could also fracture the electoral coalition necessary to advance Paul as a leader of the Republican Party. A Rick Santorum or a Mike Huckabee could become the evangelicals’ candidate of choice in 2016. Both men have already notched wins in Iowa during the past two election cycles.

Iowa will be a tough, if necessary, state for Rand Paul. Interestingly, it was also the contest where his father turned in one of his best performances among evangelicals in 2012. At 18 percent of the vote, Ron Paul finished a distant second with this socially conservative bloc behind Santorum—and ahead of Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Michele Bachmann.

In theory, if the younger Paul held onto his father’s base and added some Santorum, Perry, Gingrich, and Bachmann votes, he would be quite a formidable contender for the Republican presidential nomination. If he can get social conservatives to add the plight of prisoners and a more prudent approach to American power to their grave concerns about the sanctity of innocent human life, he can do something even more important.

Either way, a partnership between the Christian right and liberty movement could change the Republican Party. And, God willing, the country.

W. James Antle III is editor of the Daily Caller News Foundation and author ofDevouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? [5]

48 Comments (Open | Close)

48 Comments To "Rand Paul & the Christian Right"

#1 Comment By Arthur Sido On December 30, 2013 @ 9:18 am

I am seeing a growing disillusionment with the traditional interventionist policies of the neo-Con GOP among my fellow Christians. Perhaps that is a knee-jerk reaction to our current President being the one sending in the troops but there certainly seems to be a backlash against military adventures around the globe. Senator Paul likewise is well received among Christians in the circles I run, at least among those who are not so fed up that they are withdrawing entirely. At the very least we are finally having these conversations among Christians and other social conservatives, a marked improvement from the rigid adherence to the “conservative” articles of faith of prior election cycles.

#2 Comment By steve in ohio On December 30, 2013 @ 9:39 am

Most of my friends and acquaintances would be considered Christian right. Although Cruz is the favorite at the moment, Rand Paul is also popular. Rand’s best chance for the nomination would be if Cruz and Christie (or some other establishment candidate) split the early primaries. At that point Rand would be one of the leading compromise candidates.

#3 Comment By Bobby On December 30, 2013 @ 9:57 am

The GOP primaries will be a lot more interesting this time around vis-à-vis same-sex marriage (SSM).

In deep-red Indiana, a battle is brewing within the GOP on whether the legislature will put a Constitutional amendment banning SSM up for a vote.

Every major corporation in the state has come out against the measure, and is threatening to move jobs out of the state if it goes through. So, business-oriented conservatives seem to have lost interest in moving forward. Several key GOP lawmakers have already come out against it.

Meanwhile, the “values voters” are working to make this single issue the litmus test of loyalty to the conservative cause. They don’t seem to care if the state loses thousands of high-paying white-collar jobs as a consequence.

In past primaries, SSM was not really an issue within the GOP. It was only something that would arise in the general election. That’s not going to be the case this time around.

Two Novembers ago, I waited in line 2 hours to vote in my youthful corner of the DC metro area. I overheard many of the conversations of the 20-somethings and 30-somethings that surrounded me. Their #1 issue was SSM. Several people even mentioned that they hoped that this would be the last national election where this issue is even in play.

If the GOP Presidential candidate in 2016 is strongly opposed to SSM, he or she will lose the election. Period. Everyone seems to get this except for the values voters. Given the centrality of the SSM issue to the values voters, it’s hard to see how Rand Paul navigates this course easily.

#4 Comment By arrScott On December 30, 2013 @ 10:28 am

The question isn’t whether Paul’s attempt at fusion will change the Republican Party, or God willing, America. It’s whether it will change the Christian right, which is the main center of statism and paternalist authoritarianism in American politics. As such, I’m not convinced that genuine fusion is possible between the Christian right and authentic libertarianism.

(Corollary: Because of the obvious and fundamental incompatibility between the first principles of the two movements, attempted fusion more likely indicates the insincerity of the person attempting the fusion than the likelihood of forming a coherent coalition.)

#5 Comment By Mike On December 30, 2013 @ 10:35 am

I don’t think Iowa should be taken seriously by any Republican hoping to be president. The republican voters care about 2 things; farm subsidies and the next war Israel wants us to fight for them.

#6 Comment By DeepSouthPopulist On December 30, 2013 @ 11:42 am

Paul’s libertarian approach to economics should and will make him a non-starter for most people. It’s unfortunate because many of his other ideas are appealing.

#7 Comment By DeepSouthPopulist On December 30, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

Bobby,

[Two Novembers ago], I overheard many of the conversations of the 20-somethings and 30-somethings that surrounded me. Their #1 issue was SSM.

Not jobs, healthcare, wealth inequality, defense spending, war or middle class decline? The GOP’s business faction and the cultural left’s opinion leaders sure have done a good job educating their supporters on what matters most!

#8 Comment By WorkingClass On December 30, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

I agree with arrScott when he speaks of “the obvious and fundamental incompatibility between the first principles of the two movements”….

It’s a shame we don’t have proportional representation. And it’s a shame that liberty and the rule of law are fringe issues.

#9 Comment By SDS On December 30, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

Maybe even the average “Christian Right” voter is getting fed up with intervening in every foreign matter; and realizing what our Iraq folly (and Afghanistan failure) did to our standing/reputation/debt/privacy/you name it…. Some are even recognizing the difference between “non-intervention” and “isolation”…..WOW- Any way he can get them to see that; this libertarian applauds him….

#10 Comment By RadicalCenter2016 On December 30, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

WorkingClass: yes, agree with you yet again. We need to scrap this system and institute both proportional representation and two-round voting.

#11 Comment By bayesian On December 30, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

@DeepSouthPopulist
I wasn’t there in Bobby’s line or any other line in Nov 2012 (I vote by mail), so I didn’t hear any conversations. That won’t stop me from speculating 🙂

1) I strongly suspect (based on such conversations as I have had with demographically similar people) that from the perspective of Bobby’s line-sharers (i.e. I am taking no position on the validity of said perspective), the dominant motivations of the anti-SSM forces were/are:

1a) Anti-gay animus;

1b) Right wing tribalism/reaction (i.e. people who don’t care strongly about the topic itself, but who line up because that’s the right wing position or simply in opposition to the left wing position);

1c) Generic “standing athwart” conservatism (Burke and Oakeshott don’t get much respect among the younger crowd of any political persuasion).

Given those assumptions, they perceive no “valid” reason to oppose SSM; they also perceive its implementation to be cheap, quick, and easy (plausibly IMHO based on the experience of those states and countries where it has been implemented); and of course it’s easy to personalize (“Why shouldn’t my friend Joe be able to marry his sweetie Tim?”).

So it’s a pretty cheap and easy heuristic for the youngish voter as an affective stance to make support for SSM their litmus test, as opposed to the other issues you listed which are mostly (war being the closest to an exception) muddy and complicated.

And of course there’s negligible cognitive dissonance involved in their position: there wasn’t in 2012 a major political figure (that I can think of, anyway) whose position on SSM cuts across the rest of that figure’s support. Sombody like “seamless garment of death” Giuliani might fit that bill, or say a socially conservative version of Elizabeth Warren.

#12 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 30, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

he will have to clean up his position on immigration. Currently he sounds like a younger Sen. John McCain —

And that will just not fly.

#13 Comment By M Lipscomb On December 30, 2013 @ 3:52 pm

Most Americans have no desire to live in a theocracy and as a woman with a daughter I am profoundly grateful that a far right “Christian” candidate has almost zero chance of winning a national election.

#14 Comment By Ken Hoop On December 30, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

Wishing Israel well while not admonishing it for many of the same excesses TAC writers outline periodically, nor calling for aid to be curtailed to it until these excesses are corrected, might also be called a non-starter.

I’m sure an Iranian editorialist would be able to point out the ineffectual compromise involved-that which father Ron wouldn’t have considered-if Iran becomes that “source of conflict.”

By the way, has Rand Paul criticised the economic war against Iran, which he could do as similar to the one which anticipated the attack on Iraq?

#15 Comment By David On December 30, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

I doubt that of this would be God’s will!

#16 Comment By David Peterson On December 30, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

We’ve already had a partnership between the Christian right and liberty (democracy) movement. It was called the George Bush II presidency.

#17 Comment By Philip Giraldi On December 30, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

I note that one third of Americans do not believe in evolution [6]
This is presumably the same demographic that Rand Paul wants to appeal to and which are being euphemistically described in this article as “values voters.” It now seems clear that Rand is desperate to become president at any price but pandering to the bible thumpers on foreign policy is a no win situation for the rest of us as it virtually guarantees more wars in the Middle East and a continuation of the same tunnel vision that has made the United States ridiculous in the eyes of most of the world.

#18 Comment By rdrift1879 On December 30, 2013 @ 7:59 pm

He definitely has a following among the segment of values voters given to conspiracy theories. That’s a real, but fairly small group. Most will reject the Libertarian acceptance of drugs and perversion as insufficiently accounting for human depravity. It’s a philosophy that so far has not addressed the major values issues American voters face today about what kind of society we want to live in.

#19 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 30, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

I guess I will have to count myself as part of that 1/3. And it’s that I don’t believe in evolution per se. but the case for it despite the majority opinion among evolutionary theorists is might long on claims and explaination about those claims and might mighty short on evidence to support their conclusions.

Just because some thing makes sense doesn’t make it true.

#20 Comment By Uncle Billy On December 30, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

Rand Paul is walking a tightrope. He needs to appeal to social conservatives without embracing them too tightly. You can be against gay marriage, but know that it is not a hill that you are going to die on. you can be against abortion, but in favor of contraception. I think that Rand Paul has a good shot in 2016.

#21 Comment By Dennis Brislen On December 30, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

Rand may well be “…desperate to become president at any price…”. He has certainly shown himself to be a bit duplicitous and borderline craven whilst deliberating the political winds.

As well, quite unlike his father, he appears less intellectually grounded, therefore inconsistant, in his applications of noninterventionism, Austrian economics and civil libertarianism. His fumbles in these areas are well noted though to date it should be given him, he is nowhere close to implosion.

All this is to say that Brother Giraldi’s assertions notwithstanding, there unfortunately exist few signs of having any political choices that do not involve either staying home or voting LOTE.

In most of these cases I prefer to stay home but we may want to entertain the thought that Rand is quite possibly devious enough (in the political sense of the word) to do the right thing when given the opportunity. Time alone will tell.

I too am made very nervous by any pandering to the religious right and their Likudnik/neocon friends. However, I find myself willing to give him a little more rope.

#22 Comment By Carrie Besanceney, MD On December 30, 2013 @ 10:31 pm

Not a prayer for President, although the possibility of a nomination can’t be excluded. He does not have his father’s principles, as witnessed by both his actions and the remoteness that the two have maintained since Ron Paul left Congress and established his Institute. The public tires of the AIPAC/Israeli lobby even if they are kept uninformed by all of the major networks.
Rand is “practical”–which means he’s just another politician. While Pat Buchanan may decry the loss of religion in society, it is the shield behind which neo-cons, bigots and hypocrites of both parties hide while they celebrate American military exceptionalism. Young, and increasingly older, voters see this while their wallets get thinner. They also see the Santorums, Palins, Huckabees, Bush family, and Romney for the worst rather than the best of Constitutional conservatism, compassionate Libertarian economics and moderate social policy. And Republicans have been joined by the war-hawk Democrats in never ruling out starting a new war or expanding covert military bases. Republicans need a leader and not a gamer–even if the national security world actually directs the majority of what any President does.
Carrie B.

#23 Comment By LarryS On December 30, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

I am an evangelical Christian who is anti-war, anti-Zionism, pro-Intelligent Design, anti-government sanction of same-sex “marriage”, anti-global economy,
anti-offshoring of US jobs and anti-government bailout of Wall Street. Who will be my candidate for president?

#24 Comment By Jamie Estevez On December 30, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

As long as the American Christian Right is Evangelical and Dispensationalist they won’t support Senator Paul’s foreign policy. Unless Paul betrays his father’s principles and embraces Israel/AIPAC and crusades for war with Iran on Israel’s behalf.

#25 Comment By df On December 30, 2013 @ 11:00 pm

To EliteCommInc regarding evolution:

There are huge bodies of evidence if someone actually wants to take a look. So, I’ll suggest a start:

Modern medicine works because evolution is true since medicine depends on the similarity of genes across different creatures, including human.

So take something specific, human insulin. Where does the human insulin that diabetics take come from?

I’ll give you 2 sources:

1) Via the genetic engineering of single-celled organisms, such as E-Coli, which was/is done by Genentech.

2) Refined insulin from the pancreas of pigs and cows, which is 1 or 2 amino acids away from that of human insulin, depending on the creature.

Now, peel back the layers to find out how and why it is possible for E. Coli to make human insulin, or how pig/cow insulin should so closely resemble that of humans and other primates.

#26 Comment By df On December 30, 2013 @ 11:04 pm

Additional note to EliteCommInc,

If you are truly interested in understanding my questions above, you may want to get a book on genetics, such as the Cartoon Guide to Genetics (which is concise and approachable).

Wikipedia is also good. You can also approach the same question by using cancer development as the basis of inquiry, as cancer is evolution gone and going awry within the confines of one organism.

(BTW, randomness in evolution means that changes to DNA can have one of 3 effects: better, worse, or neutral. That’s what it means.)

#27 Comment By LouisM On December 30, 2013 @ 11:07 pm

The good that Rand Paul could do is continue Obama’s path toward removing this country from foreign wars.

Rand would also focus more on rebuilding our nations infrastructure and domestic issues.

Rand would probably partner up and reform democrat social programs and I think successfully because I don’t think Rand would raise the hair on the democrats back as much as other republicans.

I think Rand would have a successful presidency…and it would be successfully bipartisan…but it would not be revolutionary and it would only be a step in the right direction for the republicans / conservatives…it would not save them.

I think, only a scott walker could create a game changer that would save the republican / conservative party from future demographics.

The argument must be made to republicans that chasing after Hispanics and Asians over liberal and leftwing give aways isn’t a winner. The democrats will always win that fight.

The republicans must burry GBushII and his falsified foreign wars…and they must attract Hispanics and Asians for the strong family centered morals and values that both care about and naturally gravitate towards. Rand Paul can be helpful here too.

The Republicans must also start to rebalance corporate welfare with the middle class. Far to often republicans and conservatives have sided with corporations and war and immigration over the poor and middle class and infrastructure…this needs a fundamental rebalancing or the republicans wont shake their GBushII image.

#28 Comment By William Dalton On December 31, 2013 @ 2:32 am

I have no doubt that Rand Paul is his father’s son – a Christian conservative and firm adherent to the principles of avoiding involvement foreign conflicts and strict adherence to the limitations of the U.S. Constitution.

Will he be the Republican nominee in 2016? The record says “No”. The GOP does not nominate candidates who are making their first nationwide campaign. He might qualify as a surrogate for his father, as G.W. Bush did in 2000, but Ron Paul’s influence on the Party, while greater now than ever before, is not that strong. Rand Paul, if he continues to take his stands and plan his campaign as intelligently as he has until now, may well position himself to be the V-P nominee in 2016, and, win or lose, from that standpoint can continue to work to the position that McCain and Romney enjoyed before him – of being the party’s “presumed” nominee going in to some year’s primary campaigns. Depending on the mood of the country and the relative strength of the Republican Party that year his likelihood of being elected would be no worse than any other Republican, although he may not put together quire the same coalition as Republicans have in recent years.

But can Rand Paul govern the country as President and remain true to his principles? He and his ideas will have to have grown to enjoy far greater influence in forming American public opinion than they do today. That campaign, the one his father was always pursuing and still actively pursues, will be far more important than Rand Paul’s, or anyone’s, run for the Presidency.

#29 Comment By Clint On December 31, 2013 @ 5:48 am

Rand Paul’s concerns about Federal spending, Federal Debt,The FED ,Obamacare,Energy,Taxes, Sanctity of Life,the 2nd Amendment,etc.are in line with the concerns of The Christian Right and other American voters

#30 Comment By DeepSouthPopulist On December 31, 2013 @ 8:44 am

Bayesian: Fair and interesting observations. Good comment.

#31 Comment By Rich On December 31, 2013 @ 10:25 am

Will the so-called libertarians stick with Rand, now that he is more overtly embracing the pro-life movement and talking of Christian persecution? In Virginia, they abandoned Ken Cuccinelli, who was waving the Gadsen flag before there was ever a tea party. Why? Because he dared to be consistently pro-life and pro-marriage. Many libertarians would be more accurately called anarchists. They are downright hostile to Christians, and think that laws against killing babies are another case of the government sticking its nose in people’s business.

#32 Comment By alcogito On December 31, 2013 @ 11:44 am

I like a lot about Paul’s positions, but he doesn’t have the right kind of experience, yet. We’ve plenty of experience with presidents who needed on-the-job training, and it hasn’t been pleasant, or good for the country. I’m looking for someone with 4-8 years of governorship, in touch with reality, not just policy ideas.

#33 Comment By Chris 1 On December 31, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

arrScott put it succinctly: Because of the obvious and fundamental incompatibility between the first principles of the two movements, attempted fusion more likely indicates the insincerity of the person attempting the fusion than the likelihood of forming a coherent coalition.

#34 Comment By T. Grant On December 31, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

To learn about Libertarianism, we can look at their own primary documents. If you read The Libertarian Manifesto by Rothbard, the New Libertarian Manifesto by Konkin or Democracy:The God That Failed by Hoppe, it quickly becomes apparent that the end game is a return to feudalism or the monarchies of the past. In other words, it is a scam.

Here is a quote from Hoppe: “In a natural order, there is no such thing as “freedom of migration.” People cannot move about as they please. Wherever a person moves, he moves on private property; and private ownership implies the owner’s right to include as well as to exclude others from his property.”

Libertarians (again, see Rothbard) lobby for private police forces, and private police forces –with insurance companies as the final arbiters of justice. Another quote from their own documents: …insurers would… be particularly interested in gathering information on potential… crimes and aggressors… [A]lways under competitive pressure, they would develop and continually refine an elaborate system of demographic and sociological crime indicators. That is, every neighborhood would be described, and its risk assessed, in terms of a multitude of crime indicators, such as… its inhabitants’ sexes, age groups, races, nationalities, ethnicities, religions, languages, professions, and incomes.

According to the New Libertarian Manifesto, the ends justifies the means and disruptions such as drug and human trafficking as well as many other things are encouraged to delegitimize the government of the United States of America.

Beware, good people. Do your homework.

#35 Comment By Sean Scallon On December 31, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

Tom Fleming once said the problem with “fusionism” was that its adherents could never figure out who to credit their victories to, Adam Smith or Jesus Christ.

Fusionism may well have been contradiction but it was not a philosphy, it was a political strategy. And politics being full of a contradictions, then fusionism worked as well as a New Deal coalition of blacks and white segregationists did. Had there been no fusionism the conservative movement could not have succeeded politically and Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan could not have nominated by the Republican Party.

Rand is obviously trying to recreate this coalition and I wish him the best of luck. But this is not the early 1960s when a small group of intellectuals and politicos knew they were badly outnumbered and knew they needed to submerge their differences and find common ground in order to have any chance of success. Indeed, Rand is dealing with people who do not feel the need to compromise anything because what they believe is a matter a of personal faith that cannot be compromised for a greater political good.

The only way he can succeed is making his top concerns about prison reform, the fate of Christians around the world, their No. 1 concerns. If he cannot, then he will fail because while Rand may be personally opposed to same-sex marriage or abortion, his ideology says that states and localities have the right to allow same-sex marriage and allow abortion. He cannot compete for such votes against the absolutists and there will be many running for President in 2016 (Have you made your pledge to the Ben Carson-for-President-draft movement today?)

A couple of technical matters stand in Rand’s path as well. Rand must win Iowa to be sure but there are many in Iowa who wish to see him fail so they can retake the state party from Rand’s supporters. And given how the whole caucus process has corrupted the state’s politics, Iowa becomes a snake-pit, not a launching pad for White House aspirations. Secondly, if Mitch McConnell loses in either the GOP primary or the general election, both of which are possible, the Rand loses a powerful potential backer who could have helped sell Rand to the party establishment. Finally, don’t assume Rand will automatically have all of his father’s supporters on hand he finally throws his hat in the ring. He has burned many bridges with some of them through his alliance with McConnell and the early endorsement of Mitt Romney while his father was still presumably running for President and the forgettable speech he made at the last GOP national convention. I think many will take a wait and see approach to Rand 2016. However, the more time he spends courting Christian dominionists in Iowa to build his “fusionist” coalition, the less time he has to shore up the movement his father started. The only way he can have both is through winning, pure and simple. But it will be be awfully tough to do so.

#36 Comment By M_Young On December 31, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

“Many of them find themselves in prison sometimes for making one nonviolent mistake — for decades or more — because our federal government mandates it. Throughout the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, federal mandatory minimum laws were implemented that forced judges to deliver sentences far lengthier than they would have if allowed to use their own discretion. The result has been decades of damage, particularly to young people.”

That’s from the linked article. The thing is, the one unequivocal success that government has had over the last 20 decades is a drastic reduction in crime. And a lot of that, one quarter according to criminologists who have studied the phenomenon, is due directly to tougher sentencing.

The ‘non-violent’ drug offender in prison is almost certainly at least a dealer; we just don’t put people in jail long term for drug use. And a lot of the ‘non-violent’ crimes are pled down from what were actually violent crimes.

Lily Burk is dead today because a ‘non-violent’ offender was let out of jail and into supposed ‘rehab’.

#37 Comment By Kyle Huckins On December 31, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

You would think that the rise in anti-Christian violence post Iraq War would offer a chance to make a pro-Christian argument for non-interventionism but sadly but he doesn’t seem interested in trying.

#38 Comment By CitizenX On January 1, 2014 @ 12:20 am

i oppose Rand – as a ‘Christian’ i have no candidate. Who cares what Mr Will endorses (he endorsed sterilization of the poor)… I’ve never heard him endorse Christ.

Mr Rand tried to get a journalist fired for asking him about his endorsement of Romney – so much for Libertarianism. Elitism seems to be the axiom.

As a citizen i can tell you who i endorse … when you homogenize Christianity and Politics “you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.”

#39 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 1, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

An interesting question is why so many political ingenues are touted for their party’s presidential nomination after winning one term in elective office, and before even completing that term.

Yes, one could ask that question about our current president. One answer, in that instance, is that the alternative was Hillary Clinton. Another is that John Edwards had some serious skeletons in his closet.

But a more universal answer may be, anyone who’s got experience is tainted, because they are part of an increasingly unacceptable status quo. Unfortunately, another universal answer is, the press gets hold of a fresh new face, and they spin it into something potentially big, because that is what the press does for a living.

In the case of the Republicans in 2016… at least Christie waited to win a second term as governor before taking seriously the noise from the peanut gallery about him as a presidential contender. One has to ask about Rand Paul… he can make a good speech, he can appeal to some people’s values, but can he govern? Can he administer? Can he manage?

That is arguably Barack Obama’s weak point, and I say that as an unrepentant two time Obama voter. It would be pointless to elect a capable administrator whose values are anathema to a majority of voters… but it can be rather ineffectual to elected an incompetent administrator, no matter how acceptable his or her values.

Is Rand Paul up to being president? Even those excited by his principles might want to stop and think about that. He may be a good senator, and not be presidential timber at all. Despite having been a governor, Huckabee is dubious in this regard also.

#40 Comment By Jack On January 1, 2014 @ 3:55 pm

…a partnership between the Christian right and liberty movement could change the Republican Party. And, God willing, the country.

The main reason I left the Republican party was when evangelicals (called “Born Again Christians” back then) for all intents and purposes took over the GOP and turned it into the party of GOD.

What was once a party filled with people who led with their brains became a party of people for whom “faith” was a litmus test. Public piety now trumps public policy, and competent candidates are shoved aside in favor of those who proclaim their love of Jesus louder than anyone.

For awhile there, I voted straight libertarian, but now (apparently) the “liberty” movement itself is being co-opted by people who feel the government should stay out of our lives, religious issues excepted.

Oddly enough, a Baptist minister effectively summed up my feelings about Rand Paul’s pandering to the religious right, and did so when this nation was still in it’s infancy. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Rev. John Leland, from his July 4th, 1802 sermon:

Guard against those men who make a great noise about religion, in choosing representatives. It is electioneering. If they knew the nature and worth of religion, they would not debauch it to such shameful purposes. If pure religion is the criterion to denominate candidates, those who make a noise about it must be rejected; for their wrangle about it, proves that they are void of it.

#41 Comment By Clint On January 1, 2014 @ 7:51 pm

Latest Public Policy Poll:

” (Chris) Christie’s the strongest candidate for President right now because he’s viewed favorably across party lines. He’s at 48/26 with Republicans, 46/28 with independents, and 38/36 with Democrats. Clinton would start out ahead of all the other potential GOP candidates we tested against her on this poll- she’s up 5 on Jeb Bush and Rand Paul at 48/43, 6 on Mike Huckabee at 48/42, and 8 on Ted Cruz at 49/41.”

#42 Comment By jhyunh On January 2, 2014 @ 8:04 am

Religion and social issues are irrelevant. The country needs a nationalist party before the left completely destroys it from within.

#43 Comment By concerned cynic On January 2, 2014 @ 11:34 am

@LarryS:

“I am an evangelical Christian who is anti-war, anti-Zionism, pro-Intelligent Design, anti-government sanction of same-sex “marriage”, anti-global economy,
anti-offshoring of US jobs and anti-government bailout of Wall Street. Who will be my candidate for president?”

Answer: 20 years ago, Pat Buchanan, except for the fact that Buchanan is Roman Catholic. Now? No one.

I too am find myself with no one to represent me. I also believe that were I to run for office in the USA today, I would prove unelectable.

I live in a country where one can be Anglican and conservative, and so I am Anglican. I believe that the laws of physics point to intelligent design. I accept the broad outlines of the evolutionary narrative, but do not accept the argument that evolution denies God.

Israel is a manifestation of the identity politics of the 19th and 20th centuries, and not as the realisation of God’s will in our time. Israel is an attempted colonial solution to a European sociological problem called anti-semitism. It will fail like all other colonial projects.

It is blatantly evident that intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan has failed, because American military might is no match for clever guerilla tactics and urban human shields.

SSM could have a pragmatic values justification if it motivates homosexual men to be less promiscuous. However, the whole debate about SSM is uninformed about family law, tax policy, Social Security benefits regulation, and pension practice. I am confident that SSM will eventually reveal itself to have unpleasant unintended consequences.

I am strongly against a public policy tilt towards homeownership, a tilt which grounded the mortgage meltdown that began in 2007 and that we are still working through. I am very disappointed at the Obama administration’s inaction in the face of privatised gains and socialised losses.

The economic historian Gregory Clark states that sooner or later, all First World economies are going to have to accept that about 10-15% of the population will have to be supported by the public purse. In the USA, this will include families where the primary breadwinner makes less than $10/hour, and the family qualifies for refundable tax credits, food stamps, Medicaid, and section 8 housing vouchers. I advocate a flat tax of 35% on value added by business, on wages paid by the public sector, and on cash benefits to persons, combined with a payment of $4400/year to all legal residents of the USA. This plus food stamps will put nearly everyone above the poverty line, with a minimum of adverse incentives and paternalism.

In terms of trade and industrial policy, the USA cannot go it alone. At minimum, the tariff wall would have to encompass the NAFTA zone. The costs of such a tariff wall would include a growing laziness by American and Canadian industries, higher prices, foreign retaliation, slower economic growth arising from a reduced incentive to innovate. There is no reason to believe that the average American wage earner would be better off.

A major fact about the American economy this century, is that in the private sector, real wages have grown substantially less than real GDP. Adding the cost of fringe benefits to wages does not change this conclusion. Except for construction, American business is doing very well, as revealed by the stock market. The upshot is that our time is not a good time to be an ordinary salaried employee, and a very good time to be an investor. Nobody seems to have any clue as to what is going on here.

#44 Comment By charles On January 3, 2014 @ 11:57 pm

As a conservative who is Christian and who believes in traditional values I am unwilling to waste another vote on some sort of ‘promise’ of Republican fusion. Too often Republican Lucy has convinced conservative, traditional Charlie Brown that the football would be held, only to pull it away. I will instead vote only on and remain true to principle by writing in candidate(s) and/or by supporting a new permanent 3rd party that aligns with my values and the values of millions who share them.

#45 Comment By charles On January 4, 2014 @ 12:08 am

If I am going to ‘waste’ another vote – it is going to be a vote for principle. I will not have it on my conscience that my votes contributed to continued destruction of this great nation.

#46 Comment By jimbojones On January 4, 2014 @ 5:11 pm

Rand Paul’s key intellectual convictions fall into the categories of Randism (or “Objectivism”) and Libertarianism.

Now, both the Randist and the Libertarian movements are largely antithetical to Christianity. Ayn Rand’s views, in particular, were vociferously atheistic, and her key doctrine, as far as one can tell, went along the lines of “Be selfish.” She even wrote a book called “The Virtue of Selfishness.” On the other hand, Christianity is supposed to be a religion about compassion. Nietzsche, the self-professed “Anti-Christ” was a major influence on Rand though she denied it.

As for libertarianism, it is also a creed that clashes with Christianity. Under libertarianism, for all of Rand Paul’s recent mouthings, things like “gay marriage,” access to hard drugs, lurid pornography, and abortions are considered basic “rights.” The libertarians are quite candid about all of this:
[7]

So, any support Rand Paul might garner from heavily “Christian” demographic groups will stem from heavy-duty dissimulation on the part of Rand, and colossal naivete on the part of the Christians.

#47 Comment By Clint On January 5, 2014 @ 8:16 am

@ jimbojones:

Ronald Reagan,
“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are traveling the same path.”

#48 Comment By Corey Mondello On January 5, 2014 @ 10:32 am

@M_Young: I state: “The ‘non-violent’ drug offender in prison is almost certainly at least a dealer; we just don’t put people in jail long term for drug use,..”

That’s where you are completely wrong and the fact that this happens is not the reason why their is less crime, because their isn’t, crimes are just labelled differently determined by which area of the country you live in. One person may go to jail for 6 months for not paying parking tickets while a rapidly gets out in a year in the same city.