Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
Mark Leibovich--last seen exalting the village of Washington reporters who compete to know as little as possible about policy--seems to have no idea what "libertarianism" actually is. Rand Paul is a right-wing American religious conservative, not a libertarian:
For the Pauls, Libertarianism Began at Home: In keeping with their position as the First Family of Libertarianism, the Pauls of Lake Jackson, Tex., did not have many rules around their home. “Behave yourself and be polite” is how Representative Ron Paul describes his regulatory philosophy about rearing five children. Mr. Paul, a Republican, and his wife of 53 years, Carol, never believed in assigned chores or mandates. They did not give out allowances, which they viewed as a parental version of a government handout. They did not believe in strict curfews; Mr. Paul says that unintended consequences — like speeding home to beat the clock — can result from excessive meddling from a central authority. While Mr. Paul’s laissez-faire views produced a family of likeminded thinkers — “We’re all on board,” says the oldest son, Ronnie Paul — they inspired the middle child, Rand, to follow his father’s career path, first into medicine and now politics. If he prevails in November after winning the Republican nomination for a Senate seat in Kentucky last month, he and his father would form a two-man libertarian dynasty...
Michael Tomasky would be a much better person for the New York Times to print:
Michael Tomasky: Rand Paul, not a libertarian: A real libertarian believes in abortion rights (government shouldn't control a woman's decision). A real libertarian thinks gay people should be able to do what they want and have equal rights. Paul is virulently against abortion rights.... He does not discuss gay rights on his web page, interestingly, but a sympathetic blogger late last year described his position as thus:
What the article doesn't specify is that the libertarian approach to the issue is to oppose "government sponsored" Gay Marriage. The distinction is hugely important.... They want to get married. Have at it. But why should the government be involved?
"Why should the government be involved?" is... really absurd here. The government has been involved in marriage for centuries.... [He doesn't] support ending the requirement that male-female couples go down to the courthouse and enroll and get blood tests.... As long as libertarianism keeps him on safe ground (bashing the UN and international alliances, say), he is one. But when need be, he's a religious conservative. A perfect amalgam of what the tea party movement is...