Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) launched his presidential campaign at the, yes, Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY on Tuesday with what can only be described as an awkward speech filled with his usual inconsistencies and contradictory positions. After being introduced by his wife, who's considerably more charming and likable than he is, Paul's opening line, "I have a message that is loud and clear!" was nearly fumbled when he delivered it with an almost falsetto tone.
And then there was the oddly-written third line of the speech:
The Washington machine that gobbles up our freedoms and invades every nook and cranny of our lives must be stopped.
Yes, that's the first time in history that a candidate for president has included in a campaign speech three words most often heard in a Thomas' English Muffins commercial: gobbles, nook and cranny.
Anyone who played the Ron/Rand Paul drinking game is likely hammered right now -- the word "liberty," a Ron Paul ReLOVElution shibboleth, was dropped 11 times, at one point twice in a single sentence.
1) A return to privacy, opportunity, liberty.
2) This message of liberty is for all Americans, Americans from all walks of life.
3) The message of liberty, opportunity and justice is for all Americans, whether you wear a suit, a uniform or overalls, whether you’re white or black, rich or poor.
4) We need to go boldly forth under the banner of liberty that clutches the Constitution in one hand and the Bill of Rights in the other.
5) Love of liberty pulses in my veins not because we have beautiful mountains or white sand beaches, although we do, and not because of our abundance of resources.
6) In one in America, people experience the opportunity of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
7) and 8) I believe we can have liberty and security and I will not compromise your liberty for a false sense of security, not now, not ever.
9) We must protect economic and personal liberty again.
10) With your help, this message will ring from coast to coast, a message of liberty, justice and personal responsibility.
11) Today I announce with God’s help, with the help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I am putting myself forward as a candidate for president of the United States of America.
Ironically, Rand Paul supports fetal personhood laws and thus a ban on all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. Because he totally believes in liberty and privacy.
By the way, that last line was the last line of the entire speech. There wasn't any "thank you" or the requisite "God Bless America." He just announced his candidacy and wandered away from the podium. Like I said, awkward.
Paul also made a big deal out of runaway government spending, balancing the budget and the national debt. The cynicism here is that he knows his audience and realizes that they don't know that under President Obama, the deficit has been reduced by more than a trillion dollars. Along those lines, he said:
"As I watch our once-great economy collapse under mounting spending and debt, I think, "What kind of America will our grandchildren see?"
I hope they can see economic indicators, because by most measures, the economy is flourishing. Not collapsing. Once again, he assumes no one in his audience can read or understand numbers -- numbers like the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the Unemployment Rate or the tens of millions of jobs created since the March, 2009 when the economy was hemorrhaging jobs.
He also emphasized term limits for Congress. Interesting given how he himself is running for president and running for reelection to the Senate at the same time. Incidentally, his Dad served for not one, not two but twelve terms in Congress.
But knowing the how often Rand Paul flip-flops, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the senator who filibustered the Obama administration's use of predator drones then suggested the police use drones to take out liquor store thieves then later spoke against the militarization of police, also promoted the idea of having a modernized military force.
We need a national defense robust enough to defend against all attack, modern enough to deter all enemies, and nimble enough to defend our vital interests.
Sorry to disappoint all of the naive "Stand With Rand" people but, yes, that defense will include using drones. Sorry. By the way, his official RandPaul.com online store features this appropriate item (we're not making this up):
Yes. Yes he does.
UPDATE: They edited the flip-flops page and changed the product name to "Rand Paul Sandals." Booooo. But the URL still says "rand-paul-flip-flops.html."