Shocker: Rand Paul already disappointing libertarians

The senator-elect comes around on wasteful earmarks

By Alex Pareene
Published November 8, 2010 6:30PM (EST)

Uh-oh! Rand Paul's been a senator-elect for less than a week and he's already a total sellout. (This will, I'm sure, shock everyone who hasn't read most of the public statements he's made since winning the GOP nomination.)

But he's not just moving toward the establishment Republican line on foreign policy. He actually seems to have already abandoned one of the core libertarian tenets of his campaign.

Veronique de Rugy, of the libertarian Mercatus Center, Reason magazine and the National Review, reads a piece contrasting Paul with pork-lovin' wasteful spender Roy Blunt. And guess who has learned to love earmarks?

In a bigger shift from his campaign pledge to end earmarks, he tells me that they are a bad "symbol" of easy spending but that he will fight for Kentucky's share of earmarks and federal pork, as long as it's doled out transparently at the committee level and not parachuted in in the dead of night. "I will advocate for Kentucky's interests," he says.

De Rugy notes that earmarks are mainly "symbolic," but she still notes that this seems to be a "big shift" from his position way back in February of this year: "I would have expected a little more time between Paul’s election and statements like this one."

Yeah, I wouldn't have.

(Corner commenters are of course defending Mr. Paul. My favorite defense involves reporters from the liberal Wall Street Journal fabricating quotes, and so on.)

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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