Sen. Rand Paul (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)
Sen. Rand Paul (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)

Rand Paul is popular among conservative Republicans and a potential candidate for president at some point. Part of his appeal is his outsider status, that he’s somewhat against the establishment of the party, filbustering against drones and whatnot. But Michael Gerson pleads for Republicans to think twice before hitching themselves to that particular star. Paul, indeed, is not an establishment Republican, and that makes his path to the White House steep, rocky and covered with mud. The slimy kind of mud.

The mud in this case is provided by an aide of Paul’s, who also does outside-the-mainstream things, only his outside-the-mainstream things include celebrating the birth of the murderer of America’s greatest president. And Paul’s anti-establishment response was to say, well, you know, kids.

One problem with discussing these things on the internet is that someone will show up who agrees with the aide, and it will be totally impenetrable and/or alienating to everyone else. Observe:


Lincoln was for civil rights? God that’s golden. Last time I read a real history book, Ol’ Abe was a member of two colonization societies, the ILL and the United States. While the war was hot and heavy and very expensive, Honest Abe still was able to appropriate monies from Congress to try and rid this country of Black people. Weeks before his death, Abe spoke with Union General “Beast” Butler about how to go about “colonizing” (ridding) this country of all the newly freed Blacks. Had he lived, who knows, we may have been a totally White country. Well, except for a few Red people that weren’t completely eradicated under the Lincoln administration. For civil rights. Yeah.

(PostScript notes that there is, indeed, a lively online debate about whether or not Lincoln ever considered or advocated deportation of black people to a friendly clime that was not in the United States — the polite term was colonization — so as to mollify the South. And, yes, he definitely did mention it, but that may or may not have been merely a political ploy to set up eventual emancipation. The biggest debate is how late in his life he still spoke of such a thing. General Butler did allege that Lincoln talked to him about it shortly before his death, but some historians discredit Butler’s account; the most common term used is “spurious.” PostScript would also like to point out that in any discussion of Abraham Lincoln’s legacy, it is perhaps more important to consider what he did for civil rights than what he may or may not have said once or twice.)

MissButterfly doesn’t care what Paul’s aides have said, even if Paul defended it:

Sorry, I, and a lot of other conservatives, don’t care what kind of dirt you dig up on people around Rand Paul, he’s still the best choice. A mainstream Republican is just a watered-down Democrat.

Hayek 2016 cares more about eye surgery abilities than what aides have said:

Rand performs many pro-bono eye surgeries for Kentucky residents who cannot afford cataract removal and other precision surgeries. Rand is a skilled surgeon and I look forward to voting him into the White House.

irootsorg says Paul is the mainstream, and Gerson is the outlier:

He already is a mainstream Republican. Those who say otherwise are proving however that they are not any longer.

ThinkThink2 says the libertarian front is just a facade:

Oh, Rand Paul is mainstream Republican, all right. Through and through. He recently sponsored an amendment that would have made adoption of a Federal Flood Insurance authorization contingent upon first adopting “personhood” for unborn fetuses. He’s as Republican as Republican can be (I apologize for resorting to such harsh language, and typically try to avoid such mud slinging).

pigface agrees:

Rand Paul is NOT a libertarian. If he was, he would be in the Libertarian Party, not the Republican Party. Additionally, he would be pro-choice and support marriage equality. Rand may say he is a libertarian, but his actions say otherwise.

hit4cycle thinks that Paul’s rise means we might get to have the serious discussion about whether Lincoln was amazingly great or what, which will at least be a change of pace:

With Rand Paul the only high-profile libertarian-leaning pol out there, he is a very interesting option. If he were a John McCain or a Mitt Romney he wouldn’t be worth the electrons in this post. The questions brought up in the column about secession and Lincoln are themselves serious questions deserving of serious but civil debate/discussion but to Gerson they’re just mud balls to sling.

Lincoln-revisionism might be mud balls to some, PostScript allows, but it gets all over your hands and makes it very hard to climb.