The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) doesn’t understand how the Civil Rights Act of 1964 improved America. He doesn’t understand why you shouldn’t introduce unfounded WorldNetDaily conspiracies into Senate testimony. And now he doesn’t “understand” same-sex marriage.

“I believe in traditional marriage,” Paul told Bryan Fischer on the Focal Point radio show. “I really don’t understand any other kind of marriage. Between a man and a woman is what I believe in. I just don’t think it’s good for us to change the definition of that.”

Watch below at 8:30:

What Rand Paul does understand is how to thread the needle between being a “libertarian” and a “social conservative” much better than his father — former congressman and serial presidential candidate Ron Paul — did.

Both father and son share the same far-right anti-abortion rights view that allows them into mainstream Republican politics. But Rand, who seems to be positioning himself for a run for the presidency in 2016, has figured out how to de-emphasize the stands that marginalized his father — non-interventionism, smaller military, drug legalization — and play up the issues that endear him to the right — spending cuts, conspiracy theories, hating Obama.

Just the fact that Rand Paul appeared on the radio show of American Family Association’s Fischer shows that he knows how to pander to the far right.

Fischer, who recently used Todd Akin as an example of how the GOP isn’t the “stupid party,” was one of the few public figures to attack Mitt Romney’s Mormonism. Fischer’s views are almost a Picture of Dorian Gray of American society. As we grow more progressive every day, his ferocity at gay Americans and women only deepens.

Yet the younger Paul — whose “let the states decide” view on same-sex marriage veers toward the views of President Obama and Dick Cheney — was able to find common ground with Fischer by exposing the anti-marriage rhetoric that social conservatives love before moving on to his actual view, which seems to be in opposition of the Defense of Marriage Act that House Republicans are spending millions to defend. But he even frames that defense in terms social conservatives will appreciate.

“We should try to keep it as a state issue,” he said. “My fear is that in federalizing it, we’re going to lose the battle for the whole country. And keeping it state-by-state, which is the way marriage has always been adjudicated, that we’ll still have areas that will continue to have traditional marriage. I think we’re losing in large areas of the country now. If the urban centers are able to dictate for the rest of the country what our definition on marriage is, I’m a little concerned about that.”

States do have their own guidelines for marriage, but the issue of marriage equality was nationalized by the Supreme Court when it invalidated all laws banning interracial marriage in 1967. The Supreme Court could make a similar stand on same-sex marriage when it rules on California’s Proposition 8 later this year. DOMA will also be contested in the Court in the next session. Federal judges have already overturned the law and few expect it to stand.

States’ rights is the sweet spot for Rand Paul to connect with social conservatives. As a libertarian, he believes that government shouldn’t be able to limit freedom. But as a social conservative, he makes an exception for state governments — and things he “doesn’t understand.”


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Dr. Mehmet Oz and Sean Hannity

Youtube Screenshot

Fox News prime-time host Sean Hannity is priming his audience to see election fraud in any defeat for Dr. Mehmet Oz, his favored candidate who currently leads the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania with two percent of votes outstanding. If the fast-closing hedge funder Dave McCormick takes the lead and the Oz camp claims the election has been stolen, it could set up a potentially explosive proxy war with Hannity’s colleague Laura Ingraham, whose Fox program favors McCormick and has suggested he is likely to prevail when all the votes are counted.

The GOP primary was a chaotic slugfest that split Fox’s slate of pro-GOP hosts in an unusually public way. Hannity was Oz’s most prominent supporter, reportedly securing the support of former President Donald Trump and using his program to endorse the TV personality, give him a regular platform, and target the challenge from right-wing commentator and Fox & Friends regular Kathy Barnette. Ingraham, meanwhile, used her Fox program (which airs in the hour following Hannity’s) to promote McCormick, criticize Oz, and defend Barnette.

Keep reading... Show less
Youtube Screenshot

Overturning Roe v. Wade is very unpopular, yet another poll confirms. Nearly two out of three people, or 64 percent, told the NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll that Roe should not be overturned, including 62 percent of independents. The poll also includes some good news for Democrats.

According to the poll, the prospect of the Supreme Court striking down Roe in the most extreme way is motivating Democratic voters more than Republicans: Sixty-six percent of Democrats say it makes them more likely to vote in November compared with 40 percent of Republicans. That echoes a recent NBC poll finding a larger rise in enthusiasm about voting among Democrats than Republicans.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}