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Judging Rand Paul: Not Just the Distance of the Apple From the Tree

February 28, 2013 in Blogs

By Robin Koerner The greatest ideological achievement of Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative Prime Minster of Britain from 1979 to 1990, was arguably not the redefinition of the right of British politics, but the redefinition of its left, and therewith, its middle. She has a legacy not because she destroyed her opponents or their political philosophies, but because her practical success as a politician forced them to incorporate much of hers.

With that in mind, Rand Paul’s efforts as both a libertarian Republican and a constitutional conservative — both phrases he used to describe himself in a recent interview with Sean Hannity — are more interesting, and likely to be more effective, than many have yet given him credit for.

At the end of the interview, Hannity — a conservative host with an overwhelmingly conservative audience, including plenty of dyed-in-the-wool self-identified Republican voters (and that means many recent Romney voters) noted that Rand Paul is one of the “four strong conservative voices” in the Senate that he looks to “to bring sanity back to Washington.” He didn’t call Rand, “one of the four libertarian voices” in the Senate, and yet the four Senators he mentioned (Paul, Lee, Cruz and Rubio) are without much doubt the most pro-liberty members of that house).

And what “strong conservative” views did Rand Paul proceed to elucidate as Hannity endorsed his conservative credentials? They were as follows.

The need to audit the Pentagon, the need for term limits, the GOP’s need to win in New England and on the west coast, the fact that he (Rand) is a libertarian Republican, which approximates to a constitutional conservative, the need for the GOP to appeal to Independents, recognition that America doesn’t need to be involved in every war around the world, the fact that people shouldn’t be locked up for 20 years for taking drugs, and the need to embrace immigrants.

This is not your grandfather’s conservatism. But it is slowly looking more like it might become Hannity’s — and (much more importantly) your grandson’s.

Take note. Here is an established conservative host in mainstream media recognizing as conservative the least neo-con version of that creed that has been heard from a Republican for decades. How far all this is from the only conservatism that was “licensed” by the GOP just a decade ago.
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