Rand Paul, the U.S. Senator from Kentucky favored by many to win the 2016 Republican nomination for president, appeals to a broad range of constituents, from the Tea Party to Evangelical Christians, to African Americans, Gays, Independents, and to Democrats concerned about Civil Liberties.
He has picked up the Civil Rights torch and now leads the most active effort to reform social justice. His father, Ron Paul, was a U.S. Congressman from Texas — who ran for president three times.
Here's how they differ. The father, Rep. Ron Paul, is a classic Libertarian.
The son, Sen. Rand Paul, is a practical Libertarian.
The father believes in the personal freedom of the individual. The son recognizes there are times when the needs of the wider community must be considered. For example, the father would allow local communities to decide for themselves about legalizing marijuana. The son agrees, but openly favors laws against marijuana — for the greater good.
In foreign policy there is a big difference. Both men believe the nation should not go to war without congressional approval. They both believe it is a mistake for Congress to forfeit war making powers to the president alone. Both men believe that the U.S. should not assume the role of policeman of the world.
The difference is in degrees, and it is huge. The father, Ron Paul, prefers America stay out of everybody else's business. For example, he does not see Iran as a threat to American security. In an ideal world, Sen. Rand Paul would agree, but in a world of terrorism and nuclear weapons he sees genuine danger.
Rand Paul sees Israel as one of America's most important allies. The best example of a Rand Paul foreign policy would be that of former President Ronald Reagan. For Reagan, the security of the United States was the paramount concern, thus his focus was on the Soviet Union and the threat it posed.
Reagan's wars were always proxy wars against the Soviets. For example, Reagan did not go after Cambodian leader, Pol Pot, the man who killed half of his own people in a nationwide genocide.
Reagan did not go after Idi Amin, who slaughtered hundreds of thousands in Africa and had just been driven from office when Reagan arrived in the White House. Both of these despotic leaders, left untouched by Reagan, were far more evil than Saddam Hussein.
When Reagan stuck his toe in the Middle East in 1982, it resulted in the death of 241 marines. He withdrew our forces, deciding it was not in America's security interest to be involved in the intractable problems of the Middle East. How wise that seems in retrospect.
Likewise, Senator Rand Paul has refused to support the endless calls for international adventures from his colleagues in the Senate. Yet, when the ISIS threat emerged Paul had razor sharp focus. He was the first public figure calling for a declaration of war, seeing ISIS as a threat to America's national security.
Both father and son, would like to see Foreign Aid reformed, believing the process is corrupt. The father, Ron Paul, would eliminate it immediately. "Why should we borrow money from China and give it to Pakistan?" he asks.
Likewise, Sen. Rand Paul would move to end the corruption in Foreign Aid, where money really comes back to American lobbyists and their interests. Yet, he would see even that process of reform as an ongoing process.
He would start by ending aid to countries that allow the killing of Christians simply because of their religion. Or who persecute women. He would end aid going to terrorists groups targeting Americans and Jews — such as the Palestinian aid now being passed through to the terrorist group Hamas.
Perhaps the most striking issue associated with Sen. Paul has been his call for social justice. He favors strict incarceration of violent criminals but is appalled by the unfair application of the law, allowing young African Americans to be disproportionately sentenced for the same drug related crimes as white youth. Rand Paul sees this as unjust.
Then there is the Federal Reserve and the study by University of California at Berkeley, where the rich continue to get richer and the poor get poorer. He would like to see us return to free markets, away from corporate competition to game the system by upping their government subsidies and upping their money supply from the Federal Reserve.
Let in more of the natural forces of supply and demand. Let the 99 percent have a chance to play.
Finally, there is style. The father was a great provocateur and a born teacher. The son is a superb politician, a natural pleaser.
Doug Wead is a presidential historian who served as a senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign. He is a New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, and adviser to two presidents, including President George H.W. Bush, with whom he co-authored the book "Man of Integrity." Read more reports from Doug Wead — Click Here Now.
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