Not too long ago, Bill Maher opened the door to the possibility that he'd support Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) forthcoming presidential run, forcing many of us to ask how Maher, who's otherwise pretty savvy, could be so thoroughly flimflammed by Rand Paul's duplicity on a long list of issues. As we've covered here many times, Paul's flip-flops make Mitt Romney look like a pillar of steadfast integrity, but for some reason, guys like Maher along with a small faction of the far-left, including Salon's H.A. Goodman, are completely blind to Paul's serial waffling and doofery.
Months later, Maher still hasn't figured it out. On Friday night's Real Time, Paul was the opening guest and Maher used the opportunity to repeat his earlier pledge, while repeatedly telling Paul that he's right (as in correct) on statement after statement, not realizing that whatever Paul says is either purposefully deceptive or that he'll probably say or do the exact opposite in 5... 4... 3... 2...
Here's where the love affair reached a climax:
MAHER: I am available to the Rand Paul campaign, but not if I don't think you're seeing [the climate change] issue realistically.
PAUL: I think the best way to do this is, [pretending to lose audio feed] Bill I think you're facing out here. I'm not sure I can hear you're question. Um, no I'll give you the straight poop on this.
No, no he won't.
PAUL: There's abundant evidence that carbon is increasing and has increased since the industrial age, all I ask for is that the solution has to be a balanced solution, and that you have to account for jobs and jobs lost by regulation. And I'm not against regulation, I think the environment has been cleaned up dramatically through regulations on emissions as well as clean water over the last 40 or 50 years, but I don't wanna shut down all forms of energy such that thousands and thousands of people lose jobs. Plus, we're a growing population and as we grow, we need more energy, and maybe cleaner energy will supplant less clean energy over time and it already is, but I don't think shutting down dramatically one form of energy is a good idea for an economy.
MAHER: Well, that sounds like you're pretty open to renewable energy, which is great because you know when you use the job excuse, I mean the truth is that new forms of technology create jobs, not destroy jobs. Wouldn't you agree with that?
PAUL: Yeah, here's a good example of how we can work together on it. I have a new bill that's gonna be coming out in the next month or so that's going to be called The Deregulation of Alternative Fuels. So I'm for trying to get the government out of the way of converting their trucks from diesel to natural gas, or from gasoline to ethanol, try to get the government outta there and let the marketplace take care of this...
You know what this bill probably is? It's likely a big, sloppy wet kiss to Iowa corn growers and the production of ethanol. Why? Because of the Iowa Caucus, of course, which is Rand Paul's only real chance in the primaries, given the penchant of Iowa Republicans to caucus for weirdos and outliers. Beyond that, nearly all of Paul's response is entirely about deregulation and allowing the commonwealth of Kentucky to continue its love affair with coal. Furthermore, nearly all of Kentucky is shale territory and is therefore being fracked all to hell. So no wonder he's into deregulating natural gas and ethanol.
Worse, any proposals he might support at the federal level are toothless given his support for nullification -- allowing the states to overrule federal laws.
Please tell me that lefties like Maher and so many others who rushed to "Stand With Rand" on drones (even though Paul later said he supports drone strikes on liquor-store thieves inside the U.S.) aren't going to carry this insane naivete into actual voting booths. What am I saying? Of course they're going to do that in spite of Rand Paul's record of mendacity and kneejerk reversals. Let's review.
STANDING WITH RAND: FIGHTING ISIS
“If you wanna see a transformational election, let the Democrats put forward a war hawk like Hillary Clinton.”
Speaking to a ballroom later, some of the loudest applause for Paul came when he quipped: “If the president has no strategy, maybe it’s time for a new president.”
In an emailed comment, however, Paul elaborated by saying: “If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.”
STANDING WITH RAND: DRONES AND THE MILITARIZATION OF POLICE
I rise today to oppose the nomination of anyone who would argue that the President has the power to kill American citizens not involved in combat.
I rise today to say that there is no legal precedent for killing American citizens not directly involved in combat and that any nominee who rubber stamps and grants such power to a President is not worthy of being placed one step away from the Supreme Court.
I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him… If there’s a killer on the loose in a neighborhood, I’m not against drones being used to search them out, heat-seeking devices being used, I’m all for law enforcement.
The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm. It is one thing for federal officials to work in conjunction with local authorities to reduce or solve crime. It is quite another for them to subsidize it. Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security.
STANDING WITH RAND: AID TO ISRAEL
While this budget proposal does eliminate foreign aid to Israel, it is not meant to hurt, negate, or single out one of America’s most important allies. This proposal eliminates all foreign aid to all countries. Israel’s ability to conduct foreign policy, regain economic dominance, and support itself without the heavy hand of U.S. interests and policies, will only strengthen the Israeli community. The elimination of all foreign aid, including provisions to Israel, is not necessarily a new idea.
"I haven’t really proposed (phasing out aid to Israel) in the past."
STANDING WITH RAND: BANNING BIRTH CONTROL
In 2013, Paul introduced the personhood amendment that would not only have banned abortions but also would have in effect banned many forms of birth control, including some forms of the pill. Paul also supported the Blunt Amendment, which would have given employers an excuse to deny contraceptive health care coverage based on their conscience.
"There may be various opinions in here, but there’s probably almost nobody who wants to ban birth control. I haven’t heard any Republican politician who does."
STANDING WITH RAND: CIVIL RIGHTS ACT
May, 2010. Opposes provision in Civil Rights Act banning discrimination in private businesses and institutions.
"One [title] deals with private institutions and had I been around, I would've tried to modify that."
July, 2014. Denies ever opposing the section of the Civil Rights Act preventing discrimination in private businesses and institutions. Asked by NBC News if he ever opposed the title, Rand Paul replied:
I think you get the idea. At best, he’s suffering from some kind of senile dementia and simply can’t remember his positions. At worst, he’s a flagrant liar and flip-flopper who has no values -- or at least tries badly to hide his actual values. And yet people like Maher can’t wait to praise him for his positions. Suckers.