Is Rand’s fight against Planned Parenthood the secret to a comeback? Probably not, and he continues to slip in the polls. Let’s take a closer look in this week’s “Pauluses & Minuses.”
Rand Looks to Bring Battle Over Planned Parenthood to a Vote
Many publications are sounding the death knell for Rand Paul’s presidential campaign. After a hot (and some would argue far too early) start, his polling numbers have cooled (more on that later). The common thread is that Rand isn’t active enough, isn’t speaking with the media enough, however Rand has been quite active on one contentious front: his battle with Planned Parenthood.
If one mentions Planned Parenthood in a mixed room, you’ll get two strong reactions. Progressives will back it blindly as a universal good. Hell, I myself have utilized Planned Parenthood in the past for testing purposes. Conservatives will typically strongly oppose it due to the abortion services provided first and foremost. Rand Paul falls into the latter camp, and has introduced a bill to defund Planned Parenthood based on alleged illegal use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions, and also the illegal sale of fetus tissue for profit.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rand Paul today introduced an amendment to H.R. 22, the vehicle for the highway bill, which would eliminate nearly $500 million of taxpayer funding each year to Planned Parenthood.
“The continued disregard and disrespect for human life at Planned Parenthood, a partially taxpayer-funded organization, is shocking and appalling. Recent video revelations, involving potentially criminal activity, make it more obvious than ever that this organization has absolutely zero respect for the sanctity of human life and is an affront to the most basic human dignity enshrined in our founding documents. Not one more taxpayer dollar should go to Planned Parenthood and I intend to make that goal a reality,” Sen. Paul said.
Rand is referring to these videos, which are somewhat damning for Planned Parenthood, though not completely. The law allows compensation for donation costs for fetal tissue, and the doctor in the meeting seems to be interested in covering costs, not getting “market value.”
From a liberty perspective, the concept of abortion is a sticky wicket. Do we protect the rights of the mother, or the child? When does the child gain the natural rights of a human? These are incredibly difficult questions, and frankly there is no consensus answer.
What does seem to be fairly cut and dry is the use of taxpayer funds that Planned Parenthood enjoys, which is abundant, to potentially fuel criminal activity. While I support the use of fetal tissue for research and would encourage women to donate it, this does looks like a possible violation of the law. Additionally, there is no reason for taxpayers to be funding this type of organization regardless of its activity, criminal or non.
Planned Parenthood should operate like any other nonprofit organization and not enjoy a cozy $500 million a year relationship with our government, facilitated by lobbyists from inside their own organization through to those from the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries who benefit from this relationship. This is a massive business, receiving what is essentially corporate welfare.
While I may not agree with Rand Paul’s stance on abortion overall (though I do concur that late term abortions are wrong), I support this legislation. Taxpayers shouldn’t be funding what is essentially an abortion business. Paul is pushing for a vote before the next congressional recess.
Let Planned Parenthood stand on its own. The United States provides enough social welfare, healthcare, contraceptives and everything else without this additional half-billion dollar albatross.
Paul Grills Sen. Kerry on Iran Deal
Rand took on John Kerry in the Senate, giving him the once-over in regards to the Iran deal. The video is below. The entire line of questioning was a bit absurd. Rand still made no valid points that would make this deal anything other than a huge step forward, and showed an obvious intent to make mountains out of molehills pertaining to specific language in the pact.
Maybe this is what Rand believes he has to do, making some deal with the Neocon Devil to survive in the GOP Primary, but it’s no less disappointing. And as Brian Doherty at Reason points out, Rand’s points weren’t even honest.
He very disappointingly in a hearing grilling Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday quotes a statement from Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei grossly out of context in order to buttress an argument that the Iranian nuke deal is questionable and dangerous. Bad form. Paul quoted Khamenei as saying “The Americans say they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. They know it’s not true.”
Whew, scary, huh? Paul neglected to quote the next sentence, in which Khameini clarified: “We had a fatwa, declaring nuclear weapons to be religiously forbidden under Islamic law. It had nothing to do with the nuclear talks.”
Clintons “Above the Law”
I can’t get enough of Rand bashing the Clintons, mainly because they thoroughly deserve it. His latest attack against Hillary follows the ongoing questions about the former Secretary of State’s illegal email usage, and he’s dead on-accurate. From CBS:
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday that the latest questions surrounding Hillary Clinton’s email habits while serving as secretary of state show that “the Clintons think they live above the law.”
“They did this because they’re Clintons. And the Clintons think they live above the law, and they think they can live differently than all the rest of America. And I think this is going to come back to bite her and already is,” Paul said.
He also said it’s “a little bit hard to have trust in Hillary Clinton when she breaks every rule along the way…I think this is a real problem for Hillary Clinton, and this isn’t going away.”
The Clintons do indeed seem to think that the everyday law that rules over the rest of us doesn’t apply to their privileged class. Whether it’s questionable funding and mis-reporting for the Clinton Foundation, or Whitewater real estate deals, or classified emails from the Secretary of State on a private server, the Clintons just don’t give a damn.
It’s sad and shocking that Hillary Clinton is in a position to potentially govern this country from behind the desk of the President. This is not a woman who should be looked upon as a serious candidate. She should be looked at as a threat to the nation.
It’s damning for the state of our country, just as Trump leading the polls is damning. People don’t seem to ask for more out of their representatives. They seem to simply want to know who they are and see them on TV, and that’s enough to vote for them.
Anyway, for Rand’s part, he gets a…
Rand Stagnant in Polls
Despite Rand Paul’s hot start as a presidential candidate, he’s dropped as the GOP field has become more crowded, falling behind notables Jeb Bush, warmongering Senator Scott Walker, and of course the quixotic, clown haired, offensive quote machine, Donald Trump. Real Clear Politics has the latest polls.
This is not good, and multiple media outlets are already sounding the death knell for Paul’s campaign.
Only weeks ago, I was having a hard time choosing which Rand stories to include in this weekly column because there was such a mass of news coverage on him. Now it seems I have to search harder for viable content. That’s an indicator that the media isn’t reporting on Rand anywhere near as much, and that Rand’s actions aren’t newsworthy (at least to the MSM.)
While his efforts against Planned Parenthood (and shameful opposition to the Iran deal) have garnered him some media coverage, Rand is falling behind and out of the national spotlight. He needs to engage his rivals and return more to his (Editor’s note: quasi)-libertarian roots; those same roots which would separate him from the pack and provide a solid voter (and donation) base if he were to return to his previous, more principled incarnation.
He should still easily make the August 6th GOP debate, and will hopefully make his presence felt during his time on stage. One of the elder Paul’s shortcomings was a reluctance to make himself heard, instead allowing himself to be marginalized during debates (though arguably no matter what he did the MSM was intent on ignoring him). When he did have a brief chance to speak, he obfuscated his broader points with economic minutiae that the general, non-libertarian public couldn’t easily comprehend. Rand, on the other hand, is glib and can make a strong impression in a public forum. It could be a make-or-break opportunity.
Still, his quasi-disappearing act since Walker and Trump announced earns him a…
Not a great week for #Randypants and hopefully not the start of a continued downward trend.
The Current “Paulus-Minus” Tally:
81 Pauluses / 29 Minuses / 5 Push
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