Skip to comments.Ferguson response shows libertarian divide between Paul and Cruz
Posted on 08/17/2014 1:55:00 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Rand Paul and Ted Cruzs differing tone in response to the Ferguson riots could provide clues for the divergent trails they're forging to woo libertarian voters in 2016.
Both the Kentucky and Texas Senate Republicans urged that civil liberties be protected in statements following unrest in Ferguson, Mo.. After an officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an 18 year old African American teen, last weekend, riots have erupted and police have been criticized for using overly-aggressive force against protesters and reporters calling for answers.
Strategists say Paul struck a more provocative tone against in his TIME op-ed, calling for the demilitarization of police but also noting inequality in the prison system. Meanwhile, Cruz took a more tame tack in calling for protection of civil liberties.
"With Ferguson, Rand Paul took a more libertarian approach -- Ted Cruz is just giving lip-service to civil liberties," said Wes Benedict, president of the Libertarian Party. "I think the press sometimes gives Sen. Cruz undue credit for leaning-libertarian, but I just don't see it."
Benedict added: "You're not really libertarian when your gut reaction is to defend militarized police and say, 'Let's study this.'"
Paul wrote in the op-ed that "given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them."
"Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention," Paul wrote in the op-ed.
Cruz, in contrast, issued a more politically-neutral statement on his Facebook page: "Police officers risk their lives every day to keep us safe, and any time a young man loses his life in a confrontation with law enforcement, it is tragic... Civil liberties must be protected, but violence is not the answer. Once the unrest is brought to an end, we should examine carefully what happened to ensure that justice is served."
Long-time Florida-based GOP strategist Rick Wilson said Cruz's statement was a classic campaign response that's "technically correct," while Paul's was more forceful and direct.
"This is only one little window into their potential candidacies," Wilson said. "But it tells you that Cruz will give a more careful, more precise, more political response. Paul is seeking to define himself as a candidate willing to confront difficult and politically complex issues that are outside of the normal lanes of discourses within the Republican Party.
Wilson paused before adding, "The Cruz statement is probably what would've come out of my keyboard. It's measured, it's steady -- and it's not particularly inflammatory in one direction or the other."
Observers say the risk for Paul is that he risks jumping into a situation in which not all of the details have emerged. On Friday, authorities were still releasing details into the investigation, including allegations that Brown robbed a convenience store to steal cigars. His family has since criticized authorities for attempting to smear their son's name, and later the Ferguson police chief said the officer who killed Brown did not know he was a suspect in a robbery that took place minutes earlier.
As the investigation continues, some say Paul's response risks being too strong too quickly.
Matt Wills, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, praised Cruz for "saying, let's figure this out first and let cooler heads prevail and compared Paul's rhetoric to that of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).
McCaskill said Thursday in a public statement that authorities "need to de-militarize this situation -- this kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution."
"Look, I live about 4.5-miles outside of Ferguson," Wills said. "I really feel for that community... but the political response from Paul and McCaskill to what happened is a little premature."
Wills said that Paul and other politicians who bring-up race were being "unhelpful."
"This is a tragedy for all communities -- not just African-American communities," Wills said. "I think this all just too much too soon from these politicians. We're still learning new details. I can't fault the police for wanting to protect themselves and the community, and I also have a deep place in my heart for the civil liberties we have as Americans."
A senior Paul staffer defended the column.
I dont think theres anything premature about the column at all," the staffer said. "He wanted a long-form way to communicate his feelings and an op-ed seemed the best route People wanted to know what libertarian-leaning Republicans thought of this situation and its an appropriate time to raise these issues.
The Paul aide "applauded" Cruz for making his views known on the issue, too, "when so many others aren't saying anything."
"But nobody weighed-in as much as Sen. Paul did," said the staffer, who asked not to be named to speak more candidly.
"He's just OK making his voice known and weighing-in on controversial issues whereas most of the other members of the Senate aren't as willing. Yeah, of course there's risk with that -- but that's the way Rand Paul is wired. He's not risk-averse for better or worse and he can't change his nature," the aide said with a laugh.
It's that type of personality that could help and hurt the Kentuckian should he jump into the White House race. Both he and Cruz would be making appeals to the same conservative constituencies.
"We've learned that ideological perfection alone isn't sufficient, but we've also learned that personality alone isn't sufficient," Wilson said. "If personality was it took to win the nomination than we would've nominated Herman Cain."
He would also be looking to win over libertarian-leaning voters, many of whom are fans of his father, former-Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Paul has also made an effort in recent months to take his message outside traditional GOP stomping grounds, speaking at African-American colleges and visiting inner-cities.
Meanwhile, a Cruz spokeswoman declined comment when asked about Cruz and Paul's differing rhetoric on Ferguson, other than to say: "I think the senator's statement speaks for itself."
Remember all the turmoil and accusations about how the Partisan Media Shills have picked the nominees during the recent POTUS elections?
Rand Paul: If you don’t realize race skews the justice system, you’re not paying attention
UPI | Aug. 14, 2014 at 3:37 PM | Matt Bradwell
Posted on 8/14/2014 10:11:06 PM by SoConPubbie
Al Sharpton: ‘Rand Paul Is Right’
Breitbart’s Big Government | August 14, 2014 | Charlie Spiering
Posted on 8/16/2014 1:09:52 AM by 2ndDivisionVet
Rand Pauls op-ed on Ferguson shows why he is the most interesting voice in the GOP right now
The Washington Post’s The Fix ^ | August 14, 2014 | Chris Cillizza
Posted on 8/14/2014 11:16:33 PM by 2ndDivisionVet
With Ferguson essay, Rand Paul proves a very different Republican
Los Angeles Times
Posted on 8/15/2014 12:04:26 AM by TigerClaws
Rand Paul: Police Militarization Makes Americans, Esp. Blacks, Feel ‘Gov’t Is Targeting Them’
breitbart | 8/14/14 | t lee
Posted on 8/15/2014 3:21:32 PM by bestintxas
Rand Paul: We Must Demilitarize the Police
Time | August 14, 2014 | Sen. Rand Paul
Posted on 8/14/2014 11:32:25 PM by conservative98
The Rand Paul Ferguson Time Article And The Senators 2010 Speech That Contradicts It [VIDEO]
International Business Times | August 14, 2014 | Anthony B. Smith
Posted on 8/15/2014 12:56:07 AM by 2ndDivisionVet
POLITICO’s Kevin Cirilli on MSNBC, Dec. 13
Paul is reading this incorrectly; it is not race but culture that skews the application of justice in this country. The difference matters because culture is a choice. If you are the sort of urban thug who initiates violence because of perceived disrespect, you are likely to end up in prison or in a pine box. If you are a decent, well-behaved person, your odds of ending up in prison or being shot by police or by the neighborhood watch as an "unarmed teen" are pretty slim.
I have no fear at all for the safety of my black neighbors, a physician married to a lawyer, nor do I fear for their children (a nurse, and two engineers - all married). They are culturally American and identify and hang out with other Americans, rather than with those who identify based on skin color.
wolf in sheep clothing.
Libertarian? Hell with that. Rand Paul is a flat out liberal on the borders, on race, on homosexualism, etc. He wants Christian conservatives to forget about “social issues” and sit in the back of the GOPe bus. The elite can run our lives far better than we can.
Well said Jim.
He;s about as far left as most liberals on social issue.
Pretty sensible. I would also add that to deviate from that is to really open Pandora's Box. You either vote for a solution to social problems, or else you accept that a revolution is the answer. There is no other approach.
The questions really comes down to Claire Wolfe's timeless observation. And I will add to that, the wisdom of the rock band Chicago: "Does anybody really know what time it is?"
Actually thinking about it , and what Paul said then it explains why there is a two or three on here these last few days spewing the same line as what Paul is while ignoring the robbery, riots ,and looting.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing, over which is wolf’s clothing, over which is, well, you get the idea. :’)
Sorry folks, but Rand Paul is whack job, following in his dad’s footsteps. Ted Cruz makes sense and doesn’t try to placate the left.
This DU thread title seems awfully gentle on Rand Paul, there are clearly some positive connections that he is making with the left.
Randy is no libertarian. He’s a Democrat who pretends to be a libertarian.
a Libertarian is either....
A former Democrat who has quit smoking dope....
A former Republican who has started smoking dope....
I wonder if blacks that grew up in stable traditional families feel their government is targeting them.
Maybe Mr. Paul could kindly address this issue.
LOL That is so true.
Every liberaltarian I have talked to always talks about wanting their drugs legal, some with no sex age law, but all hate the laws and think the world evolves around them
Obama, Gov. Nixon, and Holder tried to stop the truth from coming out about this bully.
I'm surprised the police haven't all quit in Ferguson. Why should you risk your life to be tried and convicted in the media.
Paul in on the losing side with conservatives. He doesn't have a clue.
“Libertarian? Hell with that. Rand Paul is a flat out liberal on the borders, on race, on homosexualism, etc. He wants Christian conservatives to forget about social issues and sit in the back of the GOPe bus. The elite can run our lives far better than we can.”
Cruz is a conservative which means he has a conscience and respects God's truth, knows the difference between right and wrong, and understands that societies are destroyed by immorality.
Paul is a libertarian who loves his unworkable political ideology, doesn't differentiate between right and wrong, and doesn't care if our society is immoral as long as people have license to do anything they want.
I choose Cruz.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.