Ron Paul doesn’t like to go to New York. No surprise, really. The city of Mayor Bloomberg, with its limitations on how much carbonated sugar citizens are allowed to pour down their own throats is bad enough. That a drone was reportedly spotted by Italian airline pilots this past week, hovering over the city, probably doesn’t add to its charm for a guy like Paul. But he seemed to like Ottawa.
Only 48 hours after his son, Senator Rand Paul, wrapped up his 13-hour filibuster on the potential threat to civil liberties by way of aerial drone assassination, his father Ron was in the capital city to the north, telling Canadian conservatives that a transformative time is upon us. We are moving away from “interventionism”, he said, and toward a new kind of societal dismantling, thanks to rampant debt and government overspending.
It was a familiar message for anyone who watched the Republican primary debates in the run-up to last year’s election. It’s happens to be a message with a particularly contrarian tone in a place like this, what with Canada’s reputation for social programs and safety nets. The speech also exposed the fraying, existential nerve of the Republican party that Rand Paul danced on for most of Wednesday: is the party in need of a transformation?
For Ron Paul, it seems it is. The outlook for the GOP is “dismal”, as he put it to me after delivering his speech to the annual Manning Centre Networking Conference. (It’s not a new line from him – it’s the same thing he recently told a crowd at the George Washington University.) Republicans, he said Friday:
“Haven’t come to grips with some of these issues. They’ve been too tolerant of abuse of civil liberties, too tolerant of a military industrial complex, of spending money … and they have to attract young people.”
Ron Paul’s assessment of the GOP might not have much resonance if it weren’t for the line of Republican senators who supported Rand Paul’s filibuster – a group that included the current heir apparent to the Republican leadership in the post-2012 world, Marco Rubio. That’s probably what concerned Senator John McCain, who later painted Rand’s filibuster as an amateurish depiction of non-reality, designed only to rabble-rouse “impressionable libertarian” college kids.