Independence, Ky. – The Libertarian Party of Kentucky strongly condemns the hurtful comments of Republican senate candidate Rand Paul.
Rand Paul belongs to the Republican Party of Kentucky, an association which he makes of his own free will. Dr. Paul’s sole libertarian credentials come from Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, former adversary Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson, and many in the mainstream media. In an effort to clear our good name, we make this public statement.
Rand Paul is not a libertarian. There are clear differences between the Libertarian Party, including the philosophy upon which is it based, and the philosophy and campaign rhetoric of Rand Paul. While the Libertarian Party shares some stances traditionally associated with the Republican Party, the LP also shares common ground on positions traditionally associated with the Democratic Party, and not always for the same reasons. We are an alternative to the two party system, not constrained by the model that defines both major parties.
Libertarians want a complete repeal of the PATRIOT Act, closure of Guantanamo Bay, and an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rand Paul has stated that he wants to continue military detentions at Guantanamo Bay, a retroactive official declaration of war by Congress, and has denied that he seeks to overturn the PATRIOT Act.
In further contrast, libertarians want to provide a mechanism by which non-traditional couples can receive equal protection under the law. Rand Paul has voiced his support of the discriminatory “one man, one woman” definition of marriage and his opposition to any other civil contract option.
In 2009, social conservatives in Kentucky outlawed adoption by anyone not living in a traditional, legally-recognized marriage – a concept so extreme that even family counselor and conservative talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger has opposed it. The Libertarian Party stood in strong opposition to this legislation. Rand Paul has acknowledged that he agrees with his party in this, squarely placing himself at odds with the Libertarian Party of Kentucky and libertarians nationwide, who have a strong record of fighting these inequities.
The Libertarian Party of Kentucky has primarily avoided being involved in the race for US Senate to date, other than to defend our party and the philosophy upon which it is built, and we intend to continue avoiding involvement. Rand Paul’s statements regarding all forms of discrimination are not consistent with, nor do they reflect the views of, the Libertarian Party of Kentucky. Rand Paul does not speak for us or for our party. We condemn all bigotry based on any and all factors.
The Libertarian Party of Kentucky is the official state affiliate for the Libertarian Party, America’s third largest political party. Founded in 1971, the Libertarian Party prides itself on a history of fighting for oppressed members of society and the rights of all citizens. More information is available on our website, www.LPKY.org.
State chair Ken Moellman writes:
You know, I had about 7,000 other things planned for this week, and only one thing has ended up dominating it.
For the 15,000th time, Rand Paul isn’t a Libertarian. He never has been one, he never will be one.
We have more coming in dealing with this mess, but let’s correct the record on a few things right now.
MSNBC says, in their most recent article, “The Libertarian Party is considering running a candidate in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, saying GOP nominee Rand Paul — the son of a former Libertarian presidential candidate — has betrayed the party’s values.”
Problem – Rand can’t betray our values because he never signed onto our principles in the first place.
Another problem – FEC guidelines prevent any party from recruiting candidates to run for Federal office.
Another problem – We’d need (a) someone to volunteer to run; (b) they’d have to be approved by our executive committee; (c) they’d have to collect over 5000 signatures in less than 3 months; (d) and they’d have to pay the $500 filing fee.
As fun as it is to run sensational headlines, this is nowhere close to what’s going on.
But the race is being closely watched as Democrats seek to reclaim a seat that is being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, a 78-year-old former major league pitcher who opted not to seek a third term.
Democrats are drinking Kool-Aid from a firehose if they think they’re going to win the US Senate seat here in Kentucky. I’ve mentioned before that this isn’t going to happen, and the real motivation of this whole mess.
Dems haven’t held the seat since 1992. Obama got his rear-end handed to him here, losing by almost 17 points. I see no signs of this changing, regardless of the current media flap.
Libertarians typically side with Democrats on social issues and Republicans on fiscal issues. Because of that, a Libertarian candidacy would likely draw equally from both Paul and Conway, said University of Kentucky political scientist Stephen Voss.
Well, someone’s paying attention, anyway. Congrats to Mr. Voss for knowing what’s really going on here, and what we’ve been trying to say all along.
More from Mr. Moellman:
Hello again, everyone.
It’s now painfully obvious that we need to clarify some things. I’ve been on the phone all day, which has just been great (sarcasm). Let’s get some things cleared up right now:
Rand Paul is not a Libertarian, or a libertarian
We have beat this to death. He’s not his father, he is his own man with his own beliefs. I personally respect that he is not a tool of his father or of anyone else. I just disagree with him on certain positions, because I am a libertarian and a Libertarian, and he is neither.
The LPKY is not endorsing anyone in the Senate race
As a party we have no one in this race, and we do not seek to help or harm the candidacy of any candidates other than our own. As a party, it would be completely inappropriate to involve ourselves or in any way devote resources to a candidate outside of the LPKY, when there are great libertarian candidates running as Libertarians for office in Kentucky.
Anything that looked like any sort of endorsement or un-endorsement should be seen as a private individual’s opinion, and not the policy of the LPKY.
We ask that our members, and those who might otherwise look to the LPKY for advice in how to vote, to look at what people say and what people do, and judge them on that, and that alone. Don’t be a sheep.
The LPKY has no candidate for US Senate
While technically possible for the LPKY to run a US Senate candidate in 2010, the prospects are very unlikely, despite what some in the media have said.
To get a candidate on the ballot, we would need:
- A candidate to come forward (recruitment is illegal in Federal races)
- Approval from the State Party Executive Committee
- Collect 5,000 signatures before August 10th (R’s and D’s only had to get 2 — just a little unfair)
- Pay $500 in filing fees
Anything else is individual opinion
Any other comments are individual opinions and are not the view of the Libertarian Party of Kentucky.
While our party bylaws do permit the endorsement of candidates outside of the LPKY by a vote of 7/8ths or better in the Executive Committee, the reality is that this has not been done for as long as I have been chair (2007) and for as far back as I remember. The party has historically stayed neutral when there’s no Libertarian in a particular race.
Any other questions?
If you have any other questions, please contact me (Ken Moellman) via this website here: http://www.lpky.org/contact
I’ll be happy to answer any questions.
Previous post by LPKY chair Moellman:
There’s been a ton of talk in the media about Rand Paul’s alleged Libertarian / libertarian stance on equal rights.
But, the media won’t let this die, in part because of the candidate’s previous primary opponent, and in part because Democrats are poised to take an awful beating nationally in November, and playing the race card is probably the only thing they’ve got.
Sadly, this issue could likely win the election for the Republicans in Kentucky. You may disagree with that statement on its face; but follow me here:
- Since 1952, Kentucky has voted as a block with Ohio and Indiana in the majority vote for President. However, that changed in 2008.
- Obama won Indiana and Ohio, but lost in Kentucky. Here’s a quick table of the results ( raw data provided from Wikipedia )
Why did Obama do so poorly in Kentucky? I’d like to believe it’s because Kentuckians didn’t believe the hype; however, a 15-to-20 point difference between KY and the other members of this former voting block is a bit excessive. More likely, it’s because there is a racist segment of Kentucky’s population; moreso than Ohio and Indiana. I do believe this, and it saddens me.
I also believe that those over in the D camp know this, and that by pushing this issue chances are very good that it will win the seat for Paul in November. This will be a net-zero sum for R’s and D’s, as Republican Jim Bunning is the current office holder.
I believe the goal of those pushing this story is to use the Paul campaign to associate Tea Partiers with both Libertarians and Racists, nationally, to suppress the Republican vote in November, and to swing moderate votes in other states to Democrats.
- A recent poll showed that Republicans dislike Libertarians (more than Democrats, and Independents like us). So if they can hang a “Libertarian” noose around Tea Party Republicans, they can suppress Republican votes in November.
- Add in the racial component nationally, so that in states where moderates generally rule the day, guilt by association may drag an additional 5% away from the Republican and give it to the Democrat. And in those states (and in many other races), 5% can decide everything.
It appears the D’s strategy is to intentionally lose the seat in Kentucky held by a Republican today, so that they can stem major losses nationally (an otherwise inevitable result of passing the healthcare bill and perpetual 10%+ unemployment).
The real problem here, and my real concern (beyond the smearing of the term “libertarian”), is that politics is trumping solutions at the expense of people.
Why are politicians and the media pouring salt in old wounds? Using race as a divisive issue only serves to deepen the divide and repulse those who might otherwise one day awaken to the reality that all men are created equal. We must be careful not to regress, by fighting fights from over half-a-century ago. Please don’t hurt the progress that’s been made by making a political issue out of this! We’re on the right path; please don’t derail it for short-term political gain.
America has made great strides in overcoming bigotry in the past 55 years. Most of my generation (I was born in 1977) and the younger generations are practically unconcerned with race when making decisions. This is a very positive step for all of us. We are beginning to live Dr. King’s dream, a nation where [his children] will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I’ve personally witnessed the growth of people who have — over time — shed bigoted beliefs and begun to accept people for who they are. It’s indescribable how happy it makes me to see that happen. It refills my hope that the human race can one day find peace amongst the various divisions along national, cultural, and religious lines.
Have there been set-backs — even recent ones? Yes. In 2008, the KY General Assembly voted to ban the adoption of any children by anyone who wasn’t married, in a not-so-subtle attempt to keep gays from adopting. (Even talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who is by no means a lefty, believes that this sort of law is a wrong-headed move.)
But generally, we have been changing the hearts and minds of people. We must continue that journey toward true equality, not legislated faux equality.
So, people inevitably have asked me where I and/or the LPKY stand on this issue.
The Libertarian in me agrees with the idea that we shouldn’t be telling private businesses what to do. Admitting this will probably make media pundits (if they even read this) say “See! Rand Paul is a Libertarian!”.
The problem is that it’s just not that cut and dry. Libertarians agree with Republicans and Democrats on various issues, as mentioned in our Clarification on our December 2009 Press Release. Sometimes for the same reasons, and sometimes not.
I am not a bigot. I treat all people the same, until they personally do something to directly threaten or harm me, my family, or my friends. Libertarianism is all about condemning and stopping the initiation of force. It’s a pledge that any member of the Libertarian Party must sign in order to be a member.
Personally, I’d like to know who the bigots are. I’d like to spend my money where the proceeds aren’t going to fund activities that are counter to my own personal beliefs.
Today’s laws prevent me from knowing that! Does the shop keeper use the proceeds of the sale of a product to burn crosses, or to fund anti-gay activities on the weekend? I don’t know — if I did, I’d certainly make better decisions about where I spend my money!
But this has been the accepted practice for 55 years. There are much bigger fish to fry, and as time continues to pass, this becomes less and less of an issue, as (thankfully) fewer and fewer people hold bigoted views.
I wanted to take a moment to clarify the latest press release, since you can’t write a novel in a press release.
Let’s start out again by reiterating that Rand Paul is not a Libertarian.
Libertarians, as you all should already know, agree with Democrats and Republicans on certain issues, though not always for the same reasons.
We have classically agreed with Republicans on economic freedom. In the 1980’s, Reagan preached a message of economic liberty that rang true for many of our members: Reducing taxes, eliminating barriers to entry, etc. The Republicans of the early 90’s advocated returning power from the federal government to the states, and that also attracted Libertarians. This is our influence from Goldwater.
We have classically agreed with Democrats when it came to social freedom: Live and let live, people have a right to make their own lifestyle decisions as long as they don’t force them upon others. This is our influence from the hippie movement.
The confusion is due to both the Republicans and Democrats having strayed from the points where we once classically agreed with them. Republicans voted for the Bank Bailout and ran massive deficits from 2000 through 2006. Democrats now want to force people into certain lifestyle choices, such national healthcare.
And make no mistake, our non-agression principle is what drives us to be economic conservatives and socially tolerant (formerly, liberal). So there are places where we haven’t agreed with either party.
Real fiscal and social conservatives are rare these days, especially in politics. Omnibus bills are not a new development. They existed and were passed all through the GWB administration. Social conservativism lives on, but it’s slightly different than 20 years ago. I can’t quite pin-point the difference. Maybe someone else can tell me.
Just as rare are the true fiscal and social liberals. Today, a social “liberal” as defined by popular vernacular is one who wants to take all of your money redistribute it, and to take your personal healthcare choices and mandate a “minimum”.
So, when a candidate like Rand Paul pops up, who is a fiscal and social conservative, in the way things used to be in the 1980s, his opponents label him a “Libertarian”, for multiple reasons. And Rand Paul even more-so.
(1) Modern Republicans are not fiscal conservatives. That’s led to the rise of the TEA Party movement. Perhaps you’ve heard of that (heh).
(2) His father is Ron Paul is/was a Libertarian. Ron was our 1988 Presidential Candidate. But does this mean that the son MUST believe everything that the father espouses? Of course not. That’s what the media and his opponents are trying to make you believe, though.
(3) The opponents are losing, and they’re losing traction fast. Recent polls show that TEA Party candidates are much more popular than establishment Republican candidates. Rand Paul is a TEA Party candidate.
Now, I will not fault the man for being a fiscal conservative. As I’m a fiscal conservative myself, I appreciate his stands on fiscal issues. This is where Libertarians and Republicans had traditionally agreed.
But we disagree on social issues. He is a social conservative and advocates the continued use of government to maintain that social conservativism. I’m socially tolerant, living a socially conservative lifestyle by choice. This is where we part company, and what definitively makes Rand Paul a “TEA Party” Republican, not a Libertarian.
I hope this is clear, and this is a thread open to discussion, so please feel free to comment.
For those within the LPKY party structure, that are confused about these statements and the FEC regulations I’ve been warning of, for the past year: I am defending the LPKY, not promoting Rand Paul. I did not ask for this fight, but we must defend our party. We are not Rand Paul, and Rand Paul is not us. It does not serve us well to allow the GOP smear machine to associate the two.
Previous IPR coverage here, here, here, here, and here.