Rand Paul is the Senate’s “libertarian conservative.” He’s always campaigned as the conservative leaning version of his dad, minus all the icky antisemitism and die hard libertarian stances. Rand Paul has taken many a principled stand in the Senate, similar to the efforts Ted Cruz has taken in his short career in the Senate.
His initial opposition to Mitchcare and Ryancare was understandable, they kept much of the bill intact at the federal level, they also kept the subsidies completely intact, albeit at a lower level. Direct welfare payments from the federal government to individuals was and is a horrible idea because it creates a big government entitlement that becomes popular with the general public. Who doesn’t like “free stuff” like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security?
The biggest differences between this incarnation of “repeal” is that it almost completely does away with the federal bureaucracy and transfers the responsibility of health insurance regulations and health care back to the states. This will result in a near complete reversion to the original system the United States had in place before Obamacare was rammed down the throats of the population.
So Why is Rand Paul Opposing This Bill?
Graham/Cassidy keeps Obamacare and tells the states to run it. No thanks.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 18, 2017
First, the states mostly run Obamacare now with federal government directives handed down from the Department of Health and Human Services. The states that have opted out can have their citizens use the federal exchange.
He also states this in an op ed for Fox News:
Make no mistake – Graham/Cassidy keeps ObamaCare funding and regulations in place. Oh, it rearranges the furniture a bit, changes some names, and otherwise masks what is really going on – a redistribution of ObamaCare taxes and a new Republican entitlement program, funded nearly as extravagantly as ObamaCare.
Rand Paul would have us believe that the newest proposed effort to roll back Obamacare… is establishing a new entitlement. He’s been lambasting it ever since he announced his opposition to the bill.
Block Granting and renaming a trillion dollars in spending is not #ObamacareRepeal
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 21, 2017
Well is this true? Is this bill creating a new entitlement?
Absolutely not. The entitlement he is talking about are the block grants that the bill creates by eliminating the medicaid expansion and the welfare payments, the politically incorrect term for “subsidies” that the federal government uses when it doesn’t want people to know that they are paying for welfare.
The block grants are also funded at a much lower rate than Obamacare’s current two entitlements are and are slated to go even lower than the current rate as the years go on.
Already out of the gate the block grants would be reducing welfare payments, but the best part of this bill that was not a part of any previous bill, it completely eliminates the block grants in 2026.
So we have Rand Paul sounding the alarms that we are going to pass the Obamacare lite bill.
What Rand Paul isn’t telling you are his real reasons for his opposition to the bill is not because of its stated goals, its legislative language, or even what the bill actually will do. Rand Paul wants to be President one day. Every action he takes here is one that is calculated and poll tested to see how this will fare with his targeted demographic for the upcoming 2020 and 2024 Presidential primaries.
Does everyone forget that Rand Paul backed and campaigned for Mitch McConnell’s reelection in 2014? Remember that time Rand Paul worked with the establishment to crush the tea party?
“Rand Paul has endorsed McConnell,” Jesse Benton, McConnell’s 2014 campaign manager, told The Daily Caller.
The move quashes a determined effort by Kentucky Republican Liberty Caucus chairman David Adams, who launched Paul’s Senate bid and served as Paul’s campaign manager through the 2010 primaries, and other tea party leaders to mount a primary challenge against McConnell.
Paul recently appeared in a Mitch McConnell advertisement with the slogan “Stand Up to Obama: Join Mitch & Rand,” prompting Adams to complain on Facebook, “Is anyone buying this, really?”
“There’s no support at all at this point for a tea party challenge,” Benton said, in a statement confirmed by other Kentucky Republican insiders.
There was “no support” because Rand Paul doesn’t care about taking out the good old boy network in the GOP. He, like his father, wants to have his cake and eat it too.
In yet another instance of self serving corruption, Rand Paul shut down the effort to investigate the alleged corruption for the special exemption of the Washington D.C. exchange for Congress.
The application said Congress employed just 45 people. Names were faked; one employee was listed as “First Last,” another simply as “Congress.” To Small Business Committee chairman David Vitter, who has fought for years against the Obamacare exemption, it was clear that someone in Congress had falsified the document in order to make lawmakers and their staff eligible for taxpayer subsidies provided under the exchange for small-business employees.
But until Vitter got a green light from the Small Business Committee to subpoena the unredacted application from the District of Columbia health exchange, it would be impossible to determine who in Congress gave it a stamp of approval. When Vitter asked Republicans on his committee to approve the subpoena, however, he was unexpectedly stonewalled.
With nine Democrats on the committee lined up against the proposal, the chairman needed the support of all ten Republicans to issue the subpoena. But, though it seems an issue tailor-made for the tea-party star and Republican presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) refused to lend his support. And when the Louisiana senator set a public vote for April 23, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies got involved.
“For whatever reason, leadership decided they wanted that vote to be 5–5, all Republicans, to give Senator Paul cover,” one high-ranking committee staffer tells National Review.
Remember, Rand Paul has ulterior motives. He wants the big chair and he is working with the establishment when he can to get it.
When Rand Paul takes a position like he did with Graham-Cassidy, he frames it in a way that enables him to win big with many camps when the bill fails or passes:
- He can turn to libertarians and say “I saved us from a new Republican entitlement!” / “Vote for me to end this new entitlement!”
- He can turn to democrats and say “Deathcare avoided thanks to me!” / “I fought against this, my plan was better!”
- He can turn to conservatives and say “I stated I want to repeal Obamacare, not keep nearly ALL of it!” / “Vote for me to repeal Obamacare!”
- He can show establishment types: “I torpedoed the repeal we didn’t really want passed!” / “I tried to torpedo the repeal we didn’t really want passed!”
- And for the low info voters and welfare mooches: “I saved your Medicaid funding and your preexisting condition coverage by stopping my party!” / “THEY took it, I voted against it!”
Currently he gains more for the bill to fail than he would if the bill were to succeed because it helps him in a later Republican primary for the Presidency, since he can use this as a bludgeon against the more “liberal” GOP competitors who voted for the bill.
It also helps that the bill loses because Rand Paul’s home state of Kentucky had one of the largest medicaid expansions in the country thanks to their former Democrat governor. Even conservative stalwart and current Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has relented on his pledge to completely end the medicaid expansion that covers 1.4 million people in that state.
The only time he loses is if he is persuaded in the unlikely event to vote for it due to some token measure, he would actually be taking a stand, which would shred his symbolic opposition cred with people for standing up to the BIG GOVERNMENT RINOS… that he endorsed and campaigned for of course.
The only way this equation changes is if the Trump supporting base changes the game on him and the other grandstanding “conservatives” Senators and makes it clear that their fake opposition without consequence is not going to work anymore.