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Coro Fellows

As part of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs, these 12 Southern California fellows are engaged in a full-time, nine-month, graduate-level leadership training program that prepares individuals for public-affairs leadership.

A suddenly fashionable name

Q: Rand Paul, son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, has rocketed to national prominence with his win in Kentucky's Senate primary this week. Would his victory have been possible without his father's popularity and name recognition? Can any aspect of leadership be inherited?

Until very recently, many people would have quickly dismissed a candidate associated with Ron Paul as a fringe politician who was disconnected from the mainstream. The Paul name used to be a political liability, not an asset.

However, the recent surge of anti-incumbent, anti-establishment politics propelled Rand Paul to, in retrospect, a probable victory. In Kentucky, voters sought to reform what they believed to be an unresponsive, self-serving political system. Like many campaigns, the candidates chose not wade in the issues. Instead, the race hinged on which candidate could better distance himself from the established political culture.

Secretary of State Terry Grayson, the presumed Republican candidate, could never escape the fatal label of "political insider." Rand Paul, career ophthalmologist, supplied a fresh vision for many Kentuckians desperate for an alternative. In that bitter political environment, Paul could have run as anonymously and received respectable support.

Even so, Ron Paul's political legacy did have an influence on his son's campaign. It's clear that Rand Paul has adopted many of his father's libertarian values. Although recent studies suggest that we are very likely to adopt our parent's political perspectives, it doesn't exactly equate to heredity. Rand Paul does, however, inherit his father's name. Unlike previous election cycles, the "Paul" name offered a suddenly fashionable brand for a campaign to latch on to. It proved to be a critical first step for Rand Paul; his name allowed him to establish a dedicated support base relatively quickly and inexpensively.

Despite his campaign's success, the type of leader that Rand Paul will become is still unknown. Effective leadership must be learned. In fact, our entire system of democracy is based on that very notion: that any of us, from any background, can learn what it takes to lead and become great leaders. It's the story of many of our nation's leaders, including our current president. Rand Paul, then, has benefited from the perfect mixture of lineage and political climate to potentially win a Senate seat; that alone won't be enough for him to lead effectively once he gets to Washington. --Lanre Akinsiku


The footsteps of giants

Pause for a moment and think about how you feel when you read the following words: Roosevelt, Kennedy, Bush.

It's likely that in the moment different emotions and reactions resulted from seeing these different family names. Positive or negative, there is no denying the power that these names have to invoke intense emotions. Such is the power of family legacy.

While there are numerous family legacies in the world of public affairs, civic leadership cannot be passed down genetically. Effective civic leadership is a skill, and to some extent an art that requires proper nurturing, training, and experience. For children born into these political families, what they inherit include the family's brand-name, the networks that have been built up by previous generations, and most importantly the historic legacy that can line a path of expectations a child feels compelled to follow.

Rand Paul's success was a mixture of his father's network and impeccable timing to enter politics without any previous experience in civic leadership. Similar to his father who started off his career as an ob/gyn, Rand decided to enter the professional world as an ophthalmologist. When Rand Paul finally decided to dive into the political world, he ran on the energy of extreme anti-government sentiments similar to his father over twenty-five years earlier. This is where the eerie parallels to history stop.

In Kentucky, Rand Paul ran in an election where both candidates had strong anti-government platforms. As noted by Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza, the significant difference was that Rand Paul's platform had more ideologies similar to that of the "tea party" movement than the libertarian views his father was famous for. While Rand Paul could have very well won the election given the sentiments of the voters without his father's name, there is no denying that having the Paul name helped in some capacity.

The fact is Rand Paul isn't Ron Paul. Rand Paul has scored his political victory in a time that might parallel some elements of previous decades, but still has its own unique circumstances and influences. Leadership is not something that is inherited, but the power that provides the capacity by which an individual can act is. --Jimmy Duong

By Coro Fellows

 |  May 21, 2010; 5:58 AM ET
Category:  Leadership personalities Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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that these twelve "high-schoolers" have BA's (that means "college degree") in various fields.

If I didn't know what a "fellow" was I wouldn't have played on the word. Can't people even properly take an insult these days?
I'm pwned by the po-faced!

Posted by: eladsinned | May 23, 2010 11:38 PM
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Isn't the Kentucky Sect of State named Trey Grayson--not Terry Grayson. Sloppy work, Lanre.

Posted by: eagle12 | May 23, 2010 11:31 PM
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It will be very healthy to have a libertarian point of view in the US Senate. I do not agree with all of his views - however I am in complete accord with:

1. Get out of Afghanistan
2. End Farm Subsidies immediately
3. End the Drug War immediately.
4. Obama is a BP Corporatist.
5. Term Limits for Congress.

Posted by: alance | May 23, 2010 11:21 PM
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Rand Paul gets raked over the coals for being a son, the son of a unconventional politician. And yet, anyone in the Kennedy family is automatically presumed capable of any office, no questions asked.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | May 23, 2010 10:09 PM
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some people get fifteen minutes.

because of his name he will get a half-hour
and then we will never hear from him again.

i've said before, there are a lot of black people in kentucky, and he will get them riled enough that they will decide his fate.

Posted by: surlydoc | May 23, 2010 9:59 PM
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Voting for someone simply because they are not the incumbent is dangerous. Rand Paul's incredible recent statements show how ill-prepared he is.

Posted by: arancia12 | May 23, 2010 9:13 PM
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I get that Randal Paul thinks, philosophically, that it is wrong to force shop owners, who offer public accommodations, to serve everyone regardless of race. But, in practice, a racist operator of a Woolworth's lunch counter should not as a righteous human being decline to accommodate some customers but not others strictly on account of race. That behavior re-opens the door to arbitrary and capricious behavior of one whole class of citizens toward another whole class of citizens based on Tradition. Well, screw that kind of Tradition.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | May 23, 2010 8:30 PM
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posted by eladsinned:
Oh. Please make it stop. Please. Make. It. Stop. Nothing like a high-schooler lecturing us all on the importance of experience.
Where do you get these (")fellows(")?
==========================================
The link in blue (a "link" is something you "click" to pull up a "webpage" giving further "information") tells you that these twelve "high-schoolers" have BA's (that means "college degree") in various fields. The statement above that explains that they are engaged in full-time graduate studies.

One day you too can learn to use "the internets"
Note: the internet is NOT a "series of tubes"

Posted by: jefrix | May 23, 2010 8:14 PM
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Oh. Please make it stop. Please. Make. It. Stop. Nothing like a high-schooler lecturing us all on the importance of experience.
Where do you get these (")fellows(")?

Posted by: eladsinned | May 23, 2010 7:27 PM
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Posted by: j3hess
Where he gets it wrong is he wants to grant the same liberty to massive corporations ...A corporate state is as much a threat to liberty as a dictatorship.
==========================================
Au contraire, mon frère!

"Corporatist" is Paul's stated view on Obama:
From Ron Paul’s Texas Straight Talk:

“A careful examination of the policies pursued by the Obama administration and his allies in Congress shows that their agenda is corporatist." (This was in response to a commenter calling Obama a socialist, he disagreed, to say the least.)

From his address to the National Press Club:
"There will be no emphasis in protecting privacy and civil liberties and the constant surveillance of the American people. Do not expect any serious attempt to curtail the rapidly expanding national debt. And certainly, there will be no hint of addressing the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationship with big banks and international corporations and the politicians."

I was going to post his views on corporations - blaming their taking federal subsidies for inflation - but it was too long to post.

An interviewer speaking to Noam Chomsky at zmag.org - "I see no difference between your views and Ron Paul's."
- In fairness, Chomsky calls himself a libertarian also, however, liberals love him anyway.

But I like you, J3Hess, liberal or not, at least you have an opinion!

Posted by: jefrix | May 23, 2010 4:54 PM
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No wonder you liberals hate him so much!
Posted by: jefrix

No one hates Paul. But I suppose you need the feeling of persecution to explain why Paul fans are such a minority - even in the Republican party.

Speaking as one liberal, I think his views are driven by simplistic ideas that would work poorly in the real world.

I suppose you intentionally cite views that liberals support, ideas opposed in fact by conservative Republicans. Well, libertarians are generally good on the issue of individual citizen rights. Where they get it wrong is want to grant the same liberty to massive corporations whose power gives them a great deal of control over individuals, without the accountability of government at the ballot box. Marketplace competition? The tendency of commerce is to concentrate production to eliminate competition and it's pressure on profit - which is one of the reasons we need government - to protect competitive markets.

A corporate state is as much a threat to liberty as a dictatorship.

Posted by: j3hess | May 23, 2010 3:59 PM
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Radical, nutty ideas espoused by Ron Paul:

1) He was nutty for telling everyone in early 2008, while stocks were at 14,000, that the housing market was headed for collapse - what a crazy thing to say!

2) He was nutty for saying Bush's foreign policy was mostly to blame for arab countries hating us - how unpatriotic!

3) He was nutty for calling the patriot act "un-american" - crazy libertarians! (although Obama said the same thing - till he reached office - then he quickly added to it and strengthened it)

4) He was nutty for calling torture criminal and unjust - crazy old man!

5) He was nutty for saying the Bush's deficits were going to lead to massive unemployment - silly nutjob!

6) He was nutty for calling for an end to the drug war - hippy pothead!

No wonder you liberals hate him so much!

Posted by: jefrix | May 23, 2010 2:50 PM
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Anyone who takes Ayn Rand seriously is not worth taking seriously.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | May 23, 2010 2:13 PM
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Bravo to Mr. Cristy for starting to show the teapartiers what they stand to loose in their zeal to bash government!
Posted by: WPL22 | May 23, 2010 12:32 PM
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Absolutely amazing!!! Cristy shifts to the Republican platform -Anti-abotion, Pro-gun, Smaller government and you think it's a Tea Party loss!?!?!?!
Cristy is without pride and you are stupid!
When Cristy gets to DC he will revert to dunmbocrat and you will be stuck - in a voting district that is a joke!!

Posted by: thornegp2626 | May 23, 2010 1:57 PM
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Ron Paul is a charming, if somewhat eccentric man, and is relatively safe as a Congressman.

Rand Paul benefits from his father's name, knowledge, and experience but he's clearly an uncompromising novice. And since he's running for a US senate seat (as opposed to a congressional seat), he could do considerable harm given his impractical and anachronistic ideology and tendency to eat foot. He's not a shoo-in yet and that's good.

Posted by: Kelly14 | May 23, 2010 12:44 PM
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Rexsolomon wrote: The public view Ron Paul's age as his only weakness

---------------------------------------------
If the public viewed Ron Paul's age as his only weakness, then why is it that the public did not elect him president in 1988 when he was only 53 and all the things he rants against such as taxes etc. were higher? And why did the public dismiss him again eight years later when he was 61?

The answer to why is easy. Once the public realizes how radical Paul's ideas are and what they stand to lose in terms of pensions, etc. they dismiss him as the loon that he is.

The whole teaparty movement reminds me a prominent California libertarian in the early 1990's. While he ranted on and on about government spending, he could not grasp the hypocrisy of his holding a tenured professorship at Cal State Chico. Twenty years later it seems the biggest supporters of the teaparty are public schools teachers, police and fireman and other government workers opposed to the idea of private sector workers enjoying the same government funded health care benefits that they receive. Of course, my Obama-bashing cousin, a public school teacher in New Jersey, isn't so happy with the alternative that the Republicans have offered her in the way of Gov. Cristy who is asking her to contribute to her own health care.

Bravo to Mr. Cristy for starting to show the teapartiers what they stand to loose in their zeal to bash government!

Posted by: WPL22 | May 23, 2010 12:32 PM
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If Mr. Paul is a strict constitutionalist, why is he accepting a popularly elected nomination? There is nothing in the Constitution about Senators being elected by the citizenry of their constituency.

Moreover, while Mr. Paul's criticism of the Civil Rights Act does not suggest that he is racist, it does suggest that his political views are inconsistent with that of mainstream America.

Posted by: j762 | May 23, 2010 11:28 AM
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PD2710 proclaimed: "...(it is an) undeniable fact that a large majority of Americans are repulsed with the attempted take-over of the country by unvarnished Socialists..."
___________________________________________

You faith-based Know-Nothings wouldn't know a real socialist if one bit you on the nose. There hasn't been meaningful Socialist Party in the USA since the 1930s.

It is a measure of America's long radical right wing drift that otherwise sane adults can insist that your current Taxation Without Representation trope applies to a government elected by American citizens.

Posted by: tojby_2000 | May 23, 2010 10:48 AM
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This pathetic country is heading toward another civil war, this one between the mentally unbalanced (right) and culturally enlightened (left). Hopefully the left are as well armed as the right, but I fear not. In this instance, the inbreds will inherit the land.

Posted by: dem4life1 | May 23, 2010 9:00 AM
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It is better to have luck than to be smart - as long as it lasts.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 23, 2010 8:31 AM
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No matter who or how a Republican wins the Dems keep asserting that there is some odd-ball, extraordinary reason for it. One can only hope that the Dems will continue to be blind to the now undeniable fact that a large majority of Americans are repulsed with the attempted take-over of the country by unvarnished Socialists.
Come on Novemeber election!!! One could almost give the ol' Howard Dean YEE HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA - if it weren't so ill advised.
Whoops! the Obama home district House seat in Hawaii just fell to a Rep. tonight. Another one bites the dust. Oh what the hell....Yee Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!

Posted by: pd2710 | May 23, 2010 3:08 AM
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© I disagree COMPLETELY that the "Paul" brand was in any way a liability.
Certainly, the younger Paul has not helped the "Paul" brand in the short term.
But, Ron Paul was elected as the conservative straw poll choice in the CPAC AND perhaps has the most solid support of any viable candidate of EITHER party. He has support amongst the most conservative, the youngest and most intelligent university students, he even has support from the left. He will have the MOST fund raising from grass roots Americans of any potential candidate as soon as they start counting clams.
AND, if he were not such an ideologue and die hard republican (not in name only either) he could WIN as an independent candidate for the office of President of the United States.
NEVER underestimate the elder statesman, doctor and patriot from Texas.
Rand Paul won by the LARGEST MARGIN of any candidate last week because he wants to restore that old piece of parchment called the Constitution of the United States, perhaps one of the most important documents of all times.
Like all youngsters, sometimes Rand gets carried away with his ideals but his integrity and uncorrupt able morals is what the TRUE PAUL brand represents. Say what you want about the elder Paul, he is a patriot, a defender of the constitution and completely incorruptible in his beliefs and convictions. THIS IS THE PAUL BRAND!

Posted by: costaricanet | May 23, 2010 1:24 AM
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© I disagree COMPLETELY that the "Paul" brand was in any way a liability.
Certainly, the younger Paul has not helped the "Paul" brand in the short term.
But, Ron Paul was elected as the conservative straw poll choice in the CPAC AND perhaps has the most solid support of any viable candidate of EITHER party. He has support amongst the most conservative, the youngest and most intelligent university students, he even has support from the left. He will have the MOST fund raising from grass roots Americans of any potential candidate as soon as they start counting clams.
AND, if he were not such an ideologue and die hard republican (not in name only either) he could WIN as an independent candidate for the office of President of the United States.
NEVER underestimate the elder statesman, doctor and patriot from Texas.
Rand Paul won by the LARGEST MARGIN of any candidate last week because he wants to restore that old piece of parchment called the Constitution of the United States, perhaps one of the most important documents of all times.
Like all youngsters, sometimes Rand gets carried away with his ideals but his integrity and uncorrupt able morals is what the TRUE PAUL brand represents. Say what you want about the elder Paul, he is a patriot, a defender of the constitution and completely incorruptible in his beliefs and convictions. THIS IS THE PAUL BRAND!

Posted by: costaricanet | May 23, 2010 1:22 AM
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Q: "Would his victory have been possible without his father's popularity and name recognition? Can any aspect of leadership be inherited?"

A: Review history and other nations' royalties, and you'll get your answer. I'll help tie those matters to the current US: Human nature applies, even here & now.

It's been amusing to see the MSM try to generate controversy about Rand Paul this week. It's been saddening (tho' not at all surprising) how the unthinking and non-analytical can't see how the MSM is playing them for fools.

Best wishes to Dr Rand Paul. May he continue being clear and honest, and avoid falling into verbose but vacant politico-speak.

Posted by: Vespasian | May 23, 2010 1:15 AM
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Rand Paul is just another manifestation of the rise of the legals, as opposed to the illegitimate ILLEGALS. EVERY poll number shows the same pattern. The freeloading parasites are strongly for their godfather, Barry O, who, in turn, squeezes & steals from those who WORK, and, PAY TAXES. Against this allanince of pure evil are the REAL AMERICANS, who have no problem to show their birth certificate, have NO intention to keep on supporting auntie from Kenya, and want to see Obama hooked up to a lie detector.

Posted by: craigslsst | May 23, 2010 12:13 AM
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Rand Paul knows much less than people are giving him credit for.

Following is his attitude toward this administration's response to BP and the environmental devastation going on in the Gulf of Mexico:

"What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP. I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business. I’ve heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it’s part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it’s always got to be someone’s fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen.”

Oil gushing, yes gushing - not leaking, into the Gulf of Mexico and being described by experts as the most extensive man-made disaster in the history of our planet and this is what he has to say. Accidents happen? That's it?!

Do tell me how that statement signifies leadership.

We have many problems to solve in this country and we don't need to add to them by electing to the Senate someone such as Mr. Paul, who holds a "no big deal" attitude on multiple issues.

Repeat after me Mr. Paul: "Open mouth, insert foot."

Posted by: PatC1 | May 21, 2010 4:03 PM
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Posted by: politbureau:

"The Washington Post is as compromised as the corrupt political system it serves as its mouthpiece."

Frankly, I couldn't have said it better.

POSTED BY: VUNDERLUTZ | MAY 21, 2010 10:45 AM

Perfectly said and I second it.

Posted by: shovandas | May 21, 2010 1:27 PM
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I love how the same people that are arguing that Rand Paul won't be an effective leader because he lacks experience are the same people that, only 2 years ago, were arguing that half a term in the US Senate was more than enough experience for someone to be president.

Posted by: wolfcastle | May 21, 2010 12:19 PM
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What's in a name? For Rand Paul, quite a bit, as your article describes. He was a complete novice at politics, never holding an office, who was noticed, funded, and ulitmately elected due to his father's name.

It's funny, and somewhat sad, to see people who are so inept at their own thinking that they simply mimic the thoughts of their fathers. I say this having been born and raised in a house of libertarians, who were constantly justifiying their views with absolutist (and questionable) philosophies. WHich brings me to...

His first name: Rand. As in Ayn Rand, of course, that sci-fi writer and wannabe philosopher who has written some of the worst stuff (whichever genre you choose) of the last century.

I tell you, I take one look at this guy's names, and one look at his political philosophies, and I start feeling sorry for him. Hey, Rand, let's talk about what YOU might want to think sometime, once you step out from behind your namesakes....

Posted by: thompst1 | May 21, 2010 12:18 PM
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Rand Paul is just another knee-jerk rightist who wants to turn the clock back to a time in which white men were in no danger of losing control of their ability to impose their prejudices on minorities, women and foreigners.

Believe me, nobody on the left is wetting his pants about this numbnutz. He won over weak opposition, and good for him to be lucky enough to enjoy the good timing of having a famous father and the support of the misinformed and delusional Tea-baggers.

Actually, it's Republicans who are wearing damp trousers this morning after Mr. Paul exposed himself, so to speak, by leaking his private (racist, in this case) views.

The Tea-party is a bunch of bed-wetters who want to remain in their cribs rather than grow up and face the reality of the America that exists today.

WAAAaaaaaa...

Posted by: Zino | May 21, 2010 11:14 AM
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Now for some serious commentary on the question at hand:

As a psychologist, I refer you to the works of Harvard's Steven Pinker, Judith Harris of "The Nurture Assumption" fame, and a host of researchers in the area of behavioral genetics whose research shows unequivocally that leadership traits (not leadership success, that's different and dependent on myriad factors) are inherited.

Posted by: RandFan | May 21, 2010 11:12 AM
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First of all, the Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza article doesn't really describe the difference between the Tea Party movement's positions and those of Ron Paul. The reason is perhaps because the movement was started as an outgrowth from Ron Paul's libertarian and independent supporters and grew to encompass many others who considered themselves fiscal conservatives.

Rand is benefiting from his youth, relative good looks and more charisma than is father. Regardless of one's view's of Ron Paul, he's just not an attractive candidate on the national level, as he tends to come across as a cranky old man who's speaking style is neither fluid nor energetic.

Rand has been much more effective at taking his father's ideas and incorporating them into an image of what we've come to expect from today's politician. Now if he can just incorporate some of his father's political savvy and not fall into those "gotcha" moments like the one Rachel Maddow scored the other night.

Posted by: RambleOn | May 21, 2010 11:09 AM
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I love the irony of a physician, an ophthalmologist, becoming President just as all hell breaks loose over Obamacare eight or ten years down the road. I already have a theme song for Rand Paul's presidential campaign: I Can See Clearly Now.

Posted by: RandFan | May 21, 2010 11:02 AM
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I'm a fan of Ayn Rand, but "the other Rand" is growing on me.

Posted by: RandFan | May 21, 2010 10:57 AM
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"Ron Paul is a 'political novice.'" --Al Franken, Jessie Ventura, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Posted by: RandFan | May 21, 2010 10:54 AM
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[Perhaps the following isn't germane to this discussion, but it can't be said often enough or added to enough stories.]

Posted by: politbureau:

"The Washington Post is as compromised as the corrupt political system it serves as its mouthpiece."

Frankly, I couldn't have said it better.

Posted by: Vunderlutz | May 21, 2010 10:45 AM
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Rand's really inciting a pants-wetting moment for the big government progressives. This is heaven.

Posted by: millionea81 | May 21, 2010 10:41 AM
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How quickly will a liberal newspaper try to bring down a right leaning politician - shame on you and your so-called " fellows ". And from California - they must be absolutely fair and unbiased.

Posted by: shovandas | May 21, 2010 10:03 AM
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I would hardly say that "Rand and the tea party represent the foundation on which this country was built."

There is a great article today by the Post's Gerson that nails it - the last 100 years of government has not been a liberal overreach as much as a progressive response to complex issues facing America decade by decade. It is easy in hindsight to say "scrap it all" but you nee to understand the issues that drive that legislation in it's specific time. Rand Paul's extreme anti-government libertarianism, while seemingly a sensable approach to driving capitalism, in fact, undermines communal government that actually protects people. You can not just be against government, you need to understand how government can be effective and what it's true aims are in building a country that endorses capitalism while adhering to protecting people from unscrupulous business practices and setting national standards for water, environment, building codes, education, etc. Paul's direct answer in his interviews in the last 72 hours about allowing private companies to continue to descriminate shows that the fervant focus on individual liberty comes as the cost to communal justice and development. There has to be a middle ground.

Posted by: cadam72 | May 21, 2010 8:37 AM
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The Washington Post is as compromised as the corrupt political system it serves as its mouthpiece.

Posted by: politbureau | May 21, 2010 8:32 AM
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Wow! This is great! The lefties are freaking out over Rand....they better get used to it. America is fed up with the Socialist attempts to keep our middle and lower classes stagnant in a shortsided attempt to protect their own wealth and stature. Rand and the tea party represent the foundation on which this country was built. The very foundation that led us to be the prosperous nation we are today. Lets us rejoice in these victories and watch the lefties reach at straws as they fall off the proverbial cliff.

Posted by: dkehrli1 | May 21, 2010 7:56 AM
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The overlooked factor of the libertarian view is that it is anti war. Obama ran on change and then continued the Bush nation building. The country is tired of blowing billions on places in the world that most couldn't find on a map. Libertarians have the clear high ground there, and the longer we flounder at it the stronger they will become.

Posted by: bags956 | May 21, 2010 7:51 AM
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The analysis presented is superficial.
Rand Paul won because people view him as a younger Ron Paul. The public view Ron Paul's age as his only weakness. Believe me Rand Paul, in winning the Senate seat, shows that he has learned the lessons of his father's two failed attempts at the presidency. Rand Paul is clearly more effective in this regard. Rand Paul knows what is needed to win - and that in leadership, is THE most important thing.

Posted by: rexsolomon | May 21, 2010 7:25 AM
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