Some liberals, fed up with Democratic waffling on issues like military intervention and corporate welfare, are finding something attractive in Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s brand of libertarianism.
In an op-ed for HuffPost on Monday, H.A. Goodman explained why, even though he identifies as “a liberal Democrat” and has “never voted for a Republican,” he plans to vote for Sen. Paul in the 2016 presidential elections.
“On issues that affect the long-term survival of this country,” Goodman says, “Rand Paul has shown that he bucks both the Republican and Democratic penchant for succumbing to public opinion, an overreaction to the terror threat, and a gross indifference to an egregious assault on our rights as citizens.”
Goodman applauds Paul, for instance, for questioning the legality of President Obama’s decision to quietly increase troop deployments in Iraq amidst an ongoing bombing campaign against ISIS. The deployment came “without a peep from the anti-war left,” but as Goodman points out, “the reaction would have been entirely different from liberals throughout the country” if it had been made by a Republican president. (RELATED: Petraeus: Fighting ISIS in Iraq is ‘Doable’, but Could be a Nightmare in Syria)
Moreover, “Paul is one of the few Republicans who’s addressed the GOP’s love affair with corporations,” Goodman says, citing the senator’s statement that, “corporate welfare should once and for all be ended.”
And while he acknowledges the risk that Paul might flip-flop on some of those issues, Goodman notes that “Hillary Clinton and President Obama have changed their views on everything from gay marriage to marijuana legalization and Iraq.”
Goodman even expresses skepticism that Clinton is “any more liberal than Paul on Wall Street or banking, although perhaps she’d be more willing to save failed corporations than the Kentucky Senator.” (RELATED: Both Parties are United in Support of Corporate Welfare)
Tim Donovan, a self-described “liberal hipster,” echoed Goodman’s sentiments in an op-ed for Salon on Monday, saying, “I’d vote for Rand Paul for president faster than you can say ‘libertarian wacko’ if I thought he would actually end the drug war, slash corporate welfare, and plow the savings into student loan debt relief or a robust infrastructure bill.”
If even a committed partisan such as himself can consider ignoring party affiliation, Donovan says he “can only assume that less ideologically committed millennials are even more willing to vote Republican for the right candidate or platform.”
The main reason Donovan gives for considering such apostasy is that “Democrats are far too committed to being a centrist, business-friendly party,” unwilling “to shed the yolk of Clinton-era conformity and compromise.”
Donovan argues that, “Democrats have failed to embrace the policies their voters clearly desire,” allowing Republicans like Sen. Paul to steal a march on them with regard to themes like economic populism. (RELATED: Research Sheds Light on Corporate Welfare in the States)
Russell Brand, the far-left British comedian, suggested in an interview with Democracy Now that the allure of candidates like Sen. Paul stems from the fact that they break from the traditional mold of politicians who are “only interested in servicing the needs of corporations.”
Brand claimed that, “we live in a system where tax breaks and tax avoidance are easy if you understand the law,” but because we also have “a media that’s dominated by corporate interests… we can’t just say aloud that we live under a feudal system, we live under an oligarchy.”
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