Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rand Paul

Yglesias thinks he's a lunatic. I wouldn't quite agree. I sort of find the Ron/Rand Paul phenomenon to be quite vexing. On many subjects the two of them have entirely sensible views that Republicans would be wise to adopt wholesale. When it comes to issues of war, security, civil liberties, and drugs, these guys are on pretty solid, limited government ground. So naturally Republicans want nothing to do with their stances on those issues. On the other hand, the Pauls have stances on economics that are just...nutty. I'm not saying that all small government philosophy is nutty, but from what I read the Pauls basically hold to conventional economic theory circa the 1800s up until, say, the 1920s. I realize that Keynesianism has its critics, and that's why the right wing here and elsewhere endorsed Friedmanite monetarism during the 1970s and 1980s, which basically said that manipulating the money supply was the better way of making the economy work, as opposed to deficit spending. And while monetary policy will only take you so far, this was at least a theory that could work under certain circumstances. But the Pauls--who want to eliminate the Federal Reserve, of course--essentially think that even monetarism is fishy, and that the invisible hand ought to rule again. I don't quite think the public grasps that the Paul philosophy is to literally do nothing about the economy, which would probably sour most everyone on the entire Paul enterprise. But all this is extremely radical and bizarre to me. I don't know if Jack Conway can use any of this to knock down Rand Paul, but I suspect that this race will be a real close high-risk/high-reward race for the right wing that could easily have been a cakewalk with Grayson.

On the bright side, Paul could become a leading civil libertarian on the Republican side if elected (though his attempts to distance himself from those stances aren't promising), and at the very least could make himself a real nuisance to the GOP leadership.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.