Rand Paul, Kennedy and the ‘Libertarian Moment’

Rand Paul (7004226384)

Rand Paul. Photo: Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

One has a feeling that we’re going to be seeing an awful lot more of Rand Paul in the media over the next two years. The New York Times Magazine kicks off with a lengthy piece about Paul and the “libertarian moment” (whatever that is):

“Let’s say Ron Paul is Nirvana,” said Kennedy, the television personality and former MTV host, by way of explaining the sort of politician who excites libertarians like herself. “Like, the coolest, most amazing thing to come along in years, and the songs are nebulous but somehow meaningful, and the lead singer kills himself to preserve the band’s legacy.

“Then Rand Paul — he’s Pearl Jam. Comes from the same place, the songs are really catchy, can really pack the stadiums, though it’s not quite Nirvana.

“Ted Cruz? He’s Stone Temple Pilots. Tries really hard to sound like Pearl Jam, never gonna sound like Nirvana. Really good voice, great staying power — but the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts.”

I met Kennedy (a gabby 41-year-old whose actual name is Lisa Kennedy Montgomery) in Midtown Manhattan at Fox News headquarters, where she hosts a Fox Business Network program called “The Independents.” By cable TV standards, the show, which is shown four times a week, is jarringly nonpartisan, for the simple reason that she and her co-hosts — the Reason magazine editor in chief Matt Welch and the entrepreneur Kmele Foster — are openly contemptuous of both parties. Kennedy spent most of the Bill Clinton ‘90s as MTV’s most vocal Republican, but then she soured on the G.O.P., a political shift that solidified during the spending and warring and moralizing excesses of the George W. Bush years. Sometime after the elephant tattoo on her left hip “got infected and started looking more like a pig,” Kennedy began thinking of herself as a libertarian instead. She, Welch and Foster take turns on the show bashing not only “Obamacare” but also the N.S.A., neoconservatives and social scolds. It’s not a hospitable forum for G.O.P. talking points. “There are some libertarian-leaning Republicans who are afraid to be on our show,” Kennedy told me. Libertarianism’s Nirvana, a k a the former congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul, has been on “The Independents” more than once. But Pearl Jam — a k a Ron Paul’s son Rand, a one-term Republican senator who may well run for the presidency in 2016 — has yet to appear.

A few weeks after our conversation, I saw Kennedy onstage in a hotel ballroom, wearing purple spandex, gyrating to the soundtrack of “Flashdance” and hollering into a microphone, “Are you hungry for more liberty?” She was the M.C. for the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s annual dinner, which, as Welch put it to me, “in the tallest-dwarf category is considered to be one of D.C.’s best annual galas.” The C.E.I. is a 30-year-old organization that routinely sues federal agencies, often when new and onerous regulations are posted in the Federal Register. Tonight’s banquet had advertised itself as having an ‘80s theme, and so several of the 800 attendees arrived dressed as pop icons of that decade…

[continues at the New York Times Magazine]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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17 Comments on "Rand Paul, Kennedy and the ‘Libertarian Moment’"

  1. Anarchy Pony | Aug 7, 2014 at 10:33 am |

    Yeah well pearl jam’s vocals are terrible.

  2. That greenhouse extension makes reading about politics so much more fun.

    Rand Paul:
    Retired $528,908
    Health Professionals $364,632
    Republican/Conservative $270,940

    Ted Cruz:
    Republican/Conservative $1,120,722
    Lawyers/Law Firms $817,785
    Oil & Gas $751,618

  3. LovelyLady666 | Aug 7, 2014 at 1:43 pm |

    No, just no. Don’t compare these idiots to somewhat decent rock/grunge bands, if anything compare them to disney/pop singers. They have WAY more in common.
    Billy ray cyrus = Ron paul
    Miley cyrus = Rand paul
    Justin bieber = Ted Cruz
    The 90s are over MTV and so is your status of bringing decent music to the masses, stop living in the past where you were once relevant.

  4. emperorreagan | Aug 7, 2014 at 1:46 pm |

    Great. What would the US political cycle be without a huge helping of neo-fascism?

  5. BuzzCoastin | Aug 7, 2014 at 1:59 pm |

    a very astute comparisons because
    politics & rocknroll
    are aMerka’s two most popular forms of entertrainment
    lots of noise & lots of gyrations
    as the crowd flicks their Bics

  6. like political stances there are much better styles of music though…

  7. I think Im dumb, I think I’m dumb…….

  8. WeirdPDX | Aug 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm |

    No, Kennedy, Somalia is the “libertarian” Nirvana you want. Little regulation. Little governance. Somalia is your personal paradise. Feel free to have your own personal libertarian moment anytime.

    There’s that little problem when there’s little governance, armed mobs/gangs always seem to take over fairly quickly, but you are FREE as a BIRD. Free. Free. Free.

    • BuzzCoastin | Aug 7, 2014 at 7:07 pm |

      Belgium is more apropo
      it’s Federal gruberment was shut down for years
      everyone did fine
      Somalia on the other hand
      is a direct result of long time meddling by Uncle Homeland
      who is always above the law it holds so dear

      • Dingbert | Aug 7, 2014 at 8:44 pm |

        Neither is apropo. Belgium failed to form a coalition gov’t for almost two years. It didn’t disappear–a temporary gov’t took over and maintained business as usual (including foreign military adventures in Libya). Pretty routine in those types of parliamentary systems.

        The only true libertarian paradise is an inaccessible island with only that one person on it.

        • BuzzCoastin | Aug 7, 2014 at 10:47 pm |

          Liberterian, Smibertarian
          any time political philosophy
          gets mixed up with public service
          the protection racket called gruberment takes hold

    • misinformation | Aug 7, 2014 at 8:25 pm |

      Good to see there was no time wasted in busting out the Somalia fallacy.

  9. Dingbert | Aug 7, 2014 at 7:33 pm |

    Dear libertarians,

    Rand Paul was never a libertarian and he’s especially not one now. As we edge closer to 2016, expect him to become unrecognizable, while still demanding your allegiance based on identity politics.

    Would a libertarian:
    -Be strongly pro-life
    -Sponsor debt limit increases
    -Oppose legalization of marijuana
    -Oppose same-sex marriage and allowing gays in the military
    -Send foreign aid to Israel
    -Support domestic drone use for any “imminent threats”?

    Mmmm, I don’t think so. Both Pauls are paleocons. Sorry.

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