Libertarian Party of Kentucky: Rand Paul is not a Libertarian or a libertarian

For Immediate Release

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.

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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.

We’ve told you before that Rand Paul is not a Libertarian and even explained it further.

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 )
State Obama McCain Obama Margin
Indiana 49.9% 48.9% 1%
Ohio 51.5% 46.9% 4.6%
Kentucky 41.2% 57.4% -16.2%

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.


Expounding on a previous press release:

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.

30 thoughts on “Libertarian Party of Kentucky: Rand Paul is not a Libertarian or a libertarian

  1. Trent Hill

    Moelleman continually conflated “libertarian” with “Libertarian”. I haven’t seen anyone suggesting Rand Paul is a member of the Libertarian Party. If Mr. Moelleman had his way, only a couple thousand people would have the ability to call themselves libertarians.

  2. Gene Berkman

    Very comprehensive. I just hope that next time IPR runs a story on Rand Paul or the LPK, that someone does not repost this entire post in the comments section. Just a hope.

  3. Ken Moellman

    Trent –

    I’m part of the pragmatist wing of the LP, and I am very open to bring people into the LP; however, when people actively campaign on issues in direct opposition to our principles, and then is called a “libertarian” all over the media, including by RNC Chair Michael Steele, it’s important to make a distinction.

    The issues we listed are the 3 biggest issues, but there are lots of nuanced issues, as well. They just don’t make for good press release material.

    There are issues where a libertarian case can be made for either side. However, I think most libertarians would agree that “declaring war on Iraq and Afghanistan,” while Constitutional, is not a libertarian solution; that taking punitive action against the gay community is not libertarian; and that keeping Gitmo open is not a libertarian solution.

    Maybe I’m wrong. Just our perspective over here.

    Only one “e”, 🙂
    Ken Moellman

  4. Donald Meinshausen

    So in order not to hurt Rand Paul, we as libertarians should not endorse him? It is nice to see that someone with all the experience and paid media advisors make a mistake like we would. When he does get elected he’ll be the best we got in the Senate. hat isn’t saying much but he’s worth supporting. Still I would rather have him carry the libertarian banner than some LP candidates I could name

  5. Eric Dondero

    No, sorry Ken, you know I luv ya man, but most libertarians WOULD NOT AGREE that it’s necessary to declare War on Afghanistan after they brutally murdered 3,000 of our fellow Countrymen.

    Bush’s biggest mistake is that he waited 6 FRIGGIN’ WEEKS TO ATTACK after 9/11. He should have ordered the bombers to get airbound 24 to 36 hours after the attacks. Destination: Quandahar, Tora Tora and all other shitholes controlled by the Taliban and Al Qaeda all over Afghanistan.

  6. Eric Dondero

    Again Ken, keeping Gitmo open is MOST ASSUREDLY a LIBERTARIAN position.

    Guantanamo Bay is United States Territory. It is no different from Palmyra, Johnston Atoll, Wake Island, Midway, Navassa, the Virgin Islands, Guam, or even the Aleutian Island chain, (some of which that bastard Bill Clinton gave to the Russians in the mid-1990s.)

    Why in the bloody hell would we want to bring the likes of Khalid Sheikh Muhammed to the United States mainland?

    Makes all the sense in the world to keep that rat bastard on some lonely island that’s part of the US or some god-for-saken rock somewhere in some isolated spot.

    Unlibertarian position is to endanger Americans by locating him and the other Islamo-Fascists next to shopping malls, airports or fast food joints in Illinois, Pennsylvania or Montana.

  7. Eric Dondero

    Ken, looks like you’re in an extreme minority on this.

    Don Meinhausen, who’ve I’ve know for two decades, is a hardcore anti-War Libertarian. I’m a hardline Pro-Defense Libertarian.

    You get the two of us aligned against you and you know you’re in a world of sh*t.

    The Kentucky Libertarian Party needs to make an immediate about-face and re-affirm its support for Rand Paul. Say you all made a mistake. Repent.

    You are aware that the nominee for Governor for the Libertarian Party in New York is a Republican, right?

    What’s the difference with Rand?

  8. volvoice

    …..The Kentucky Libertarian Party needs to make an immediate about-face and re-affirm its support for Rand Paul. Say you all made a mistake. Repent. ….

    I disagree with you Mr. Dondero. If guys like Steele are trying to ‘paint’ Mr. Paul as a Libertarian then what Ken has done here has helped not hurt. Is Rand trying to get elected by Republicans or Libertarians? Based on the numbers he better be shooting for Republicans. Ken has managed to kill two birds with one stone here….One… Layout the philisophical beliefs that the LP Ky Chair has, he has been elected by his peers so I would feel sure that he reps quite a few of his constituents, and two…Shows that Rand is NOT a Libertarian he is a Conservative. Rand has never claimed to be a Libertarian and Ken’s Press release only validates that…not only for Libertarians , but also for the large numbers of Republicans that will be voting for him in the fall. Good job Ken, a couple of mixed drinks on me in Saint Looooeeeey!

  9. Conrad

    But his dad is Ron Paul, so he must be a libertarian. They must have the same policies, right?

    Yeah, not so much… READ!! FREAKING READ!!!!

  10. Robert Milnes

    I don’t get how Rand Paul is not a libertarian is so quick & easy to determine & say yet Ron Paul is not a libertarian gets lost somewhere. He’s NOT!

  11. Eric Dondero

    Hey check this out from SouthTexas.com this morning:

    Well, Sarah Palin can celebrate now: the left-wing news media has discovered a new bogeyman to hound, and his name is Rand Paul, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky. Though nominally a Republican, Paul is in fact a libertarian, as is his father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul. While libertarian views tend to be technically correct about what the Constitution actually says, those GOP voters in Kentucky who nominated Paul for this Senate seat are about to find out exactly why it is that the Libertarian Party seldom fields candidates who can actually win elections.

    Read more: mySouTex.com – entry Hobnobbing with Dave Of libertarians liars and frauds

  12. Eric Dondero

    What was that that Ken Moellman and others were saying? Rand Paul “is not libertarian.” Well, the article above indicates that not only is he a “libertarian,” but a carbon copy of a LIBERTARIAN PARTY candidate.

    Do a Google on “Rand Paul libertarian,” and you come up with over 600,000 hits.

    Why is it that some in the libertarian movement think they’re smarter when it comes to political labels than the news media and virtually the entire political blogosphere. Everyone else labels Rand Paul a “libertarian,” yet a tiny faction of purist Libertarian Party members says he’s not.

    Sheesh! Are some Libertarians out of touch with reality or what?

  13. paulie Post author

    That’s exactly what the LPKY is addressing. They believe that the media is creating a false impression, and that Rand Paul is in fact far from being a carbon copy of the LP. He himself does not claim to be a libertarian, big l or small. BTW I have spoken to Ken Moellman quite a bit, in person and on the phone. He is not a purist libertarian. He’s a Wayne Root delegate, for example.

  14. AroundtheblockAFT

    Since when is it illegal to “recruit” a candidate for Federal races?

  15. Ken Moellman

    re: Recruiting Candidates – I’m pretty sure that was part of BiCRA that said that the Party apparatus isn’t allowed to recruit people to run for federal office. I’ll look into it again.

    re: generic endorsement – Don you can do whatever you’d like as an individual, of course. You are you, you can do what you want to do. You know that! But as a party it would be both misleading and improper to endorse someone who has campaigned on several items in direct conflict with principles that we hold true. I’m not throwing my gay friends under the bus because people want me to endorse Rand. Ain’t gunna happen.

    re: LPKY endorsement of Rand – Not going to happen. As I said in the one release,

    “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.”

  16. Eric Dondero

    Paulie, I too have spoken to Ken. In fact, I’ve had beers with him on a number of occasions. He’s a first class individual. He’s got quite a sense of humor, as well, which is hopelessly lacking in Libertarian Party circles.

    However, I would describe Ken from my vantage point as a doctinaire Libertarian. I wouldn’t say he’s from the pragmatic wing.

    He may be supporting Wayne Root. But that doesn’t indicate he’s pragmatic. A number of purist Libertarians are also supporting Root.

  17. Derek

    I’d like to suggest for the Libertarians to sit the U.S. Senate race out. I’ve read there are state legislature seats that have either a Democrat or Republican running unopposed. Would be good press there. Not so sure about the races for the U.S. House. Would be nice to see the PLAS be put into place, either for the state legislature or U.S. House seats or both. And maybe, just maybe, if we put our minds to it, eek out a win and get a state legislator.

  18. Trent Hill

    “He’s a Wayne Root delegate, for example.”

    And he’s saying Rand isn’t a libertarian? Yay for lack of consistency.

  19. Michael H. Wilson

    Libertarian Richard Epstein takes on the Paul question in Forbes.

    “Does the libertarian affection for private property and freedom of contract mean that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was wrong to deny the white owner of a luncheonette the right to exclude a black customer from his premises solely on the ground of race?
    Paul answered yes, based on a rote application of the Randian approach. The correct answer to that question was no, for reasons that place normative libertarian theory in its proper social and historical context, to which Paul was blind.”

    http://www.forbes.com/2010/05/24/rand-paul-rachel-maddow-opinions-columnists-richard-a-epstein.html

  20. Brian Holtz

    Epstein offers no libertarian argument for outlawing freedom of private economic association.

  21. Red Phillips

    But again, what are the “hurtful comments” that are being referred to? If nothing else that comes off as pathetically whiny.

  22. S.J. Bing

    I can’t see what the arguement is here. Rand Paul himself has declared that he is NOT a Libertarian. Why do people insist that he is?

    To quote: “They thought all along that they could call me a libertarian and hang that label around my neck like an albatross, but I’m not a libertarian,” Paul says between Lasik surgeries at his medical office, where his campaign is headquartered, with a few desks crammed between treatment rooms. “Frankly, I’d rather be coming from the right than from the left like Grayson, who not too long ago was a Democrat and Bill Clinton supporter.”

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1972721,00.html#ixzz0pGAEMyF3

  23. Pingback: Libertarian Party Chairman Pushes For Change In County Government | Independent Political Report

  24. mikesteraz

    Thank you LPKY for setting the record straight!! Sad to say but winning the battle for liberty means defeating Rand Paul. He made his choice to get in bed with the enemies of the people and now it’s time to hang that legacy around his neck like an albatross and sink him to the bottom of the cesspool. Bah bye, Rand Paul!! Bah bye!!

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