My first response to viewing a chart recently posted on FiveThirtyEight.com (and posted below), was “Damn! Look at the gap!” Even though the article is about new presidential candidate George Pataki, it’s Rand Paul that stands out most in the chart that Harry Enten included in his write-up.
That eye-catching gap is the wide distance between what Paul says and what he does. The chart lists all the Republican candidates in recent years (declared and potential), along with the last few GOP presidents. See those blue dots? They indicate the level of conservatism in candidates’ public statements on issues. Then look at the red dots, which show the conservative level of their congressional votes.
Do you see Paul’s name, third from the bottom of the list? And do you see how wide that gap is between his public statements (scoring only 30 on a conservative scale) and his voting record (almost 100)?
Apparently, what Paul says and what Paul does come from opposite ends of the spectrum. Don’t believe it? Look up his campaign statements and compare them to his Senate votes.
Paul claims he holds left-leaning stances like decriminalization of marijuana. He says his presidential campaign is geared toward the progressive interests of women, minorities, and younger voters. Paul publicly gripes about “the Washington machine” that he says doesn’t represent the people’s interests.
But when he steps away from the public stage, Paul then votes against the Paycheck Fairness Act – against the Bring Jobs Home Act – against the Non-Discrimination Act – against environmental protection, workplace safety, minimum wage increase, women’s rights, health, and education. He votes against all the things that his same targeted group of voters not only want, but need. (Paul also gets a 100-percent rating from groups like Global Exchange for his “Loyalty to Finance, Insurance, Real Estate Lobby” that’s evident in his senate votes, and even hires neo-Confederates.) And just how f*cked up is that?
The only other presidential candidate who held a wider gap on the chart was his father, Ron Paul. But Dandy Randy is still the most conservative of all when it comes to his voting record, inching ahead of his dad. He’s even more right-wing than Ted Cruz.
Paul’s “say one thing, do the opposite” trend is something everyone should know by now, however. For example:
- He frequently claims to be against overspending by the military, but earlier this year Paul introduced an amendment to increase defense spending by almost $190 billion over just two years.
- Paul publicly claims to be against the NSA, calling its domestic surveillance practices an attack on personal liberty. In the Senate, though, he voted against a bill that called for ending that surveillance.
- In January, Paul said he wants to “cut every penny from corporate welfare.” One month prior, though, he co-sponsored a bill for a corporate “tax holiday.”
Paul places a distant sixth of all the Republican presidential candidates at the moment. Let’s hope he gets knocked further down the slate, too, because the current gap between him and first-place Jeb Bush isn’t as wide as the one between what Paul says and what Paul does.
Featured image by Mallory Benedict/PBS NewsHour via Flickr