A nice catch by Sam Stein of HuffPo from Rand’s interview with Boston Herald Radio. Skip to around 11:00 for the key bit.
I … did not expect a competition between Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul over who could conjure up a better Nazi allusion for Republicans. Or rather, I didn’t expect it until the election turned to foreign policy.
“There have been a lot of dumb ideas put out,” Paul said, speaking with Boston Herald Radio. “One that the Mexicans will pay for a wall, [which] was probably the dumbest of dumb ideas. But putting a wall up between us and Canada is sort of a ridiculous notion. It is sort of like everybody is now competing to say, ‘Oh no, I’ll put them in camps. Oh no, I’ll throw them out. Oh no, I’ll put everyone in jail. And I’ll have an electric fence, and I’ll do this.’ And it’s like, you know, the biggest thing we need to do is have a functioning immigration system, with a good work program.”
You should know the punchline here already: By libertarian standards, Paul is an extreme border hawk himself. Shikha Dalmia, a policy analyst at the Reason Foundation, ripped him apart last month for taking the same sort of law-and-order approach to illegals, replete with a double-layered border fence and “100% incarceration until trial for newly-captured illegal entrants and overstays,” that he routinely decries with respect to the war on drugs. As such, you can view this “camps” wisecrack in one of two ways. One: The race to be hawkier-than-thou between Trump and the rest of the field, Scott Walker most conspicuously, has now reached a point of such absurdity that hyperbole about camps isn’t that outlandish. I mean, we have the governor of Wisconsin, a top-tier presidential candidate despite his polling slide lately, entertaining the idea of a border wall with Canada. Paul’s goofing on the idea of where this silly one-upsmanship is apt to lead rhetorically. Two: With his campaign in deep trouble among the sort of mainstream conservatives he’s spent the last few years trying to woo, Rand’s decided to embrace his dad’s base and hope that libertarians will carry him back into contention. That’s why Ron’s endorsement was rolled out a few weeks ago. There is no “Rand Paul coalition,” it seems, but there may still be a Ron Paul rEVOLution out there. Coopting it requires some signaling that Rand’s still a true blue libertarian at heart and goofing on the GOP for demanding strong borders is one way to do that. (Interestingly, Ron Paul is himself more of a border hawk than many libertarian ideologues, although not as much as is often alleged.)
Further evidence that Rand’s ready to embrace his inner Randian: This tweet from his campaign on Saturday.
Behind me is the NSA. When I'm President we'll turn it into a Constitutional Center to study the Fourth Amendment! pic.twitter.com/f19A5ZyYEI
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) August 29, 2015
I thought Rand’s problem with the NSA was that it casts far, far too wide a net, ensnaring millions of innocent American citizens, in gathering metadata to try to find terrorists. Now he’s suggesting that we need to get rid of the NSA and its signals intelligence capability entirely? What?