(Before I get to Paul, let me start with Bunning. The guy is borderline senile. Although once a fearsome presence on the mound, he has been arguably one of the weakest and most ineffectual Senators in history, except when it comes to single-handedly blocking unemployment benefits. Also, I'm pretty sure the only legislation he ever introduced had something to do with retired baseball players. In 2006, Time Magazine named Bunning one of America's five worst senators. He hasn't done much to improve his reputation since then. His retirement couldn't come soon enough, but I digress...)
Rand Paul is not a bad guy. Neither is his dad. They just have some radically impractical ideas based on a vision of how our founding fathers would have wanted America to turn out. I realize the Pauls just want to go back to simpler times, when most Americans were farmers, we basically produced everything we consumed and the federal government largely stayed out of certain affairs over which it now has influence. I can understand that. But, for better or worse, those days are gone and they aren't coming back anytime soon.
Over time, America has grown and with this growth has come experience through crisis and knowledge about how best to keep our country safe, stable and strong. At certain points along the way, our predecessors felt it necessary to give the Federal Reserve the power to regulate the financial industry, establish a federally regulated education system, limit corporate expenditures in elections and make it easier for historically oppressed minorities to enter the workforce. These things happened, and for Mr. Paul to openly criticize some and call for the abolishment of others is both impractical and insensitive but most importantly a waste of time. Don't even get me started on his use of free market principles to defend BP, a massive foreign corporation whose regulation-skirting caused one of the worst environmental disasters in history. In American waters.
What scares me most about Rand Paul is that his message strikes a chord with people, even me sometimes. Most Americans want fresh faces in Congress who won't uphold the status quo and follow the party line. We want new decision makers making new decisions. (I'm trademarking that.) But I don't think some people realize that although they agree with Paul's take on America's problems, they really aren't going to like his solutions. What we need are realistic minds representing us in Washington, not backwards idealists too wrapped up in colonial nostalgia and anti-government passion to actually be an effective lawmaker at the national level.
I have to give Rand Paul credit for sticking with his gut now that he is in the limelight instead of falling in line with the Republican establishment. But I don't think he is good for the country at a time when we need real solutions and not what-if pipe dreams. Hindsight's 20/20, Mr. Paul. Let's hear some practical ideas.