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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Rand Paul and the Constitution Party

I don’t know how long it’s going to take before the past views and associations of new Republican superstar Rand Paul all come to light, but he’s currently on track to serve as the living link between all sorts of older forms of radical conservatism and the contemporary Tea Party movement. Indeed, it appears that his Lester Maddox-ish instincts about the supremacy of private property rights could be the least of his problems. Now it transpires that just last year he was guest speaker at an event held by the Constitution Party.
Now this is hardly a surprise, since his old man has long been friends with CP founder Howard Phillips, and endorsed that party’s presidential candidate in 2008. But most people don’t know much about the CP, which combines limited-government conservatism with the peculiar doctrines of Christian Reconstructionists, for which a simpler term is Theocrats. And no, I’m not using “Theocrats” as an insult, but as a technical description of what they support.
Here, right off the Constitution Party’s web page, are the opening words of its party platform:

The Constitution Party gratefully acknowledges the blessing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of these United States. We hereby appeal to Him for mercy, aid, comfort, guidance and the protection of His Providence as we work to restore and preserve these United States.
This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been and are afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.
The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.

What the Constitution Party means by “Constitutonal boundaries” is made clearer in the later sections of its platform, particularly this section:

Social Security is a form of individual welfare not authorized in the Constitution.
The Constitution grants no authority to the federal government to administrate a Social Security system. The Constitution Party advocates phasing out the entire Social Security program, while continuing to meet the obligations already incurred under the system.

Do you suppose Rand Paul would like to go on Rachel Maddow’s show and discuss the constitutionality of Social Security or the Dominion of Jesus Christ and His Believers over the United States? Probably not. Theocracy and abolishing Social Security don’t poll well. And maybe he doesn’t actually believe this stuff, but simply enjoys the company of extremists.
But Paul does not have some sort of inherent right to pose as a victim when he own words and his own associations come back to haunt him. And I suspect we are just at the tip of that particular iceberg.
UPDATE: Clearly, Rand Paul wants to stay in the news. He’s just been quoted defending BP from “un-American” attacks by the Obama administration.

3 comments on “Rand Paul and the Constitution Party

  1. Geoff Graham on

    I’d be interested to hear how Rand squares this extreme Christianism with the politics of his namesake Ayn Rand. She might like abolishing Social Security, but it’s hard to see such a devoted atheist addressing an outfit like the Constitution Party. Or does Paul support the Constitution Party because the enemy of his enemy (the big, bad awful democratically-elected Federal Government) is his friend? If Paul has found a way to synthesize Rand’s radical selfishness with the teachings of the Gospels, maybe he’s the Niebuhr of our age.

  2. Joe Corso on

    The Tea-Party movement has gotten an absolutely fabulous amount of milage out of its up-to-now “leaderless” character which allowed sympathetic commentators to describe it as an “aw shucks, just a bunch of regular folks from all walks of life” movement and to dismiss any obvious wingnut as an “exception”.
    Now, however, the movement has annointed a leader so richly symbolic and “authentically” Tea Party that he is going to suck absolutely every particle of air out of the room for everyone else and become the automatic “Go-To guy” for all and everything about the Tea Party.
    The fact that he is a veritable warehouse of fringy, nutball ideas is going to throw the Tea Party movement into an absolutely delicious frenzy of debates over competitive tin-foil-hat theories.
    No more softball media stuff about “jes a bunch of ordinary folks” any more. The standard media meme will move quickly to “you believe what?”


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