We’re quickly reaching the point at which Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) committee tirades are worth watching, for no other reason than entertainment value. Hearings tend to be rather dull, especially when senators are pontificating for no apparent reason, but when it’s Rand Paul’s turn, it’s best to un-mute the screen — the guy is likely to say something crazy, dumb, or both.
In March, for example, at a hearing about efficiency standards, Paul blamed the Department of Energy for his toilet problems. In April, at a markup of bipartisan energy efficiency and hydropower measures, Paul used an Ayn Rand novel to make an incoherent case for incandescent light bulbs.
And yesterday, at a hearing on diverting non-urgent emergency room use, Paul railed against the very idea of having a right to health care.
“[Y]ou have realize what that implies. It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery. It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses.
“Basically, once you imply a belief in a right to someone’s services — do you have a right to plumbing? Do you have a right to water? Do you have right to food? — you’re basically saying you believe in slavery.
“I’m a physician in your community and you say you have a right to health care. You have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you? That’s ultimately what the right to free health care would be.”
I’m so glad Kentuckians elected a self-accredited ophthalmologist to the U.S. Senate.
Jon Chait, describing the Kentucky senator, recently said, “He’s not only an ideological fanatic, he’s not even a terribly bright one.”
That’s more than fair, but look on the bright side — he’ll be serving up bizarre quotes like these for at least another five years. He’s an embarrassment to himself, the Senate, and the state of Kentucky, but for political writers, Rand Paul is the gift that keeps on giving.