As recently as last fall, Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) opposition to marriage equality was less than definite. “I believe in old-fashioned traditional marriage,” he told CNN in an interview, “but I don’t really think the government needs to be too involved in this and I think the Republican Party can have people on both sides of the issue.”
Asked if he might shift from his position against equal-marriage rights, Paul, quite literally, shrugged his shoulders, as if to say, “Who knows?”
That was October 2014, and the Kentucky Republican has moved sharply to the right ever since. He told Fox News earlier this month that marriages between same-sex couples “offend” him “and a lot of other people.” This week, as Right Wing Watch reports, the GOP senator went even further.
In a video posted yesterday by the Christian Broadcasting Network, Rand Paul addressed “a group of pastors and religious leaders at a private prayer breakfast” in Washington D.C. on Thursday about the need for “revival” in America complete with “tent revivals” full of people demanding reform.He suggested during the event that the debate about legalizing same-sex marriage is the result of a “moral crisis” in the country.
That’s not an exaggeration. Paul talked conservative pastors and the video shows him telling social conservatives, “[T]here’s a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage.”
It’s a striking argument – not only is Rand Paul opposed to marriage equality, he believes the debate itself shouldn’t exist and is the result of a “moral crisis” in the United States.
He added, “We need a revival in the country. We need another Great Awakening with tent revivals of thousands of people saying, ‘Reform or see what’s going to happen if we don’t reform.’”
I can’t help but wonder if the senator realizes the degree to which he’s abandoned what made him “interesting” to the political world.
Rand Paul seemed to fascinate much of the Beltway media, not through adept legislating, but by taking positions that break with GOP orthodoxy. Love him or hate him, the Kentucky Republican opposed aid to Israel, was open to immigration reform, wasn’t crazy about Guantanamo Bay, opposed war with Iran, was eager to cut military spending, was a civil libertarian on issues involving the national security state, and had some libertarian instincts on social issues.
That, however, was the old Rand Paul. The new version supports aid to Israel, opposes immigration, wants to keep Guantanamo open, signed onto the Iran sabotage letter, wants to increase military spending, supports the use of domestic drones, and believes we’re facing a moral crisis that’s led to a debate he opposes on marriage equality.
The more Rand Paul puts ambition above principle, the less he sounds like Rand Paul.
* Correction: I originally reported that Rand Paul had talked to Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcast Network, but as it turns out, that’s not quite right. The Christian Broadcast Network filed Rand Paul’s remarks, but the senator wasn’t speaking to CBN directly.