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Beware Rand Paul's Bait-and-Switch

By       Message Thom Hartmann     Permalink
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Reprinted from Smirking Chimp

From Rand Paul
Rand Paul
(image by Gage Skidmore)

Rand Paul is not your "typical" Republican, except on almost every single issue except for drugs, drones and spying.

And that's something all Americans -- especially all progressives -- need to remember heading into 2016.

Here's why.

As veteran Democratic strategist Ed Kilgore points out today in a piece for Talking Points Memo, Rand Paul won't try to win a presidential election the way Ted Cruz will try to win one.

He won't just rely on the same old conservative base to boost his popularity; he'll try to attract new voters to the conservative cause, and he'll do this by emphasizing how different he is from other Republicans on key issues like NSA spying, drones and the drug war.

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At the same time, though, Rand Paul will stick to his far-right roots on economic issues.

By doing this, Kilgore writes, "Paul offers limited-government conservatives an interesting bargain: They can take America right back to the economic and social policies of the Coolidge Administration -- if they give up spying on, imprisoning and sending off to war young people and minorities."

In other words, Rand Paul is going to give Republicans everything they've ever wanted on economic issues as long as they make a few concessions on national security, foreign policy and criminal justice.

But here's the thing: Paul isn't just offering this bargain to conservatives -- he's also offering it to the entire country.

By calling himself a "different kind of Republican," and highlighting his supposedly bold stances on drones, drugs and spying, he's trying to trick everyday voters into supporting his right-wing economic policies.

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And when I say Rand Paul supports some unreal right-wing economic policies, I mean really unreal.

Not only does he want to do away with Medicare and Social Security, he also supports going back to the "Lochner era," when the Supreme Court banned child labor laws and basically made life a living hell for the US worker.

So ultimately, Rand Paul is giving US voters a choice, even if they don't know they're being offered one.

If they let "President Paul" bring back the Lochner era and turn the US into a testing ground for the most outlandish libertarian ideas around, he'll bring the troops home, stop the government from spying on innocent civilians, and maybe, just maybe, he'll decriminalize pot as well.

Of course, we probably won't hear a lot about the Lochner era during Senator Paul's upcoming trips to New Hampshire and Iowa.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)

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