As Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) continues to move closer to a presidential campaign, the Republican senator spends quite a bit of time on the road, talking to as many possible supporters as he can. Unfortunately for Paul, his father, who ran several failed presidential races, continues to maintain a high public profile, too.
Andrew Kaczynski got a hold of the video of former Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) recent appearance at a pro-secession conference.
Former Republican presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul says secession is happening and it’s “good news.” Paul later predicted the states would stop listening to federal laws.“I would like to start off by talking about the subject and the subject is secession and, uh, nullification, the breaking up of government, and the good news is it’s gonna happen. It’s happening,” Paul, the father of potential Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul, told a gathering at the libertarian Mises Institute in late January.
The video is about what you’d expect – Ron Paul’s bizarre views on the gold standard, for example, remain intact – though that doesn’t make his remarks any less kooky.
Of course, there are plenty of former congressmen running around saying strange things at strange conferences; the question is when (and whether) this will start to cause problems for his presidential candidate son.
Following up on our conversation from last month, this is a threat to Rand Paul’s candidacy that’s unlikely to go away. Walter Block, an economics professor at Loyola University and a Paul backer, told the Washington Post, “If I were Ron, and my son were running for president, and we were in the same situation, I would shut up.” Block added, “Ron is a millstone around Rand’s neck, in the sense that he’s not helping him – or, at least, he’s not helping him be Rand.”
I continue to believe that it’s generally unfair to hold candidates responsible for the views of their family members. I know I wouldn’t want to be blamed for some of what my relatives say, so my general inclination is to argue that a politician’s kin should be off limits.
But with Rand and Ron it’s not quite so simple. Much of Rand Paul’s political life was spent urging people to put his father in the White House, making public appearances to espouse his father’s bizarre ideas, and often speaking on his father’s behalf as a surrogate.
In this sense, Ron Paul isn’t just Rand Paul’s father; he’s his son’s political mentor. Their familial relationship isn’t even what’s important in this dynamic – any political figure who worked with a fringe presidential candidate who espoused ridiculous views should expect some scrutiny.
And as recently as a few weeks ago, Rand Paul’s mentor insisted publicly that American secession is “gonna happen” and that’s “good news.”
One assumes the senator will argue that he shouldn’t be blamed for his father’s off-the-wall ideas, and that defense might even be compelling under normal circumstances. But given that Rand Paul had a leading role in Ron Paul’s operation, this isn’t quite so easy.