What Was Paul Thinking in His First Senate Term?

What Was Paul Thinking in His First Senate Term?

A lot of U.S. Senators feel like they have to ease their way into the job. They stay behind the scenes at the outset, defer to their colleagues who have been in office for a longer time, and generally skate by.

That’s not Rand Paul’s way.

Despite having never held political office before, Paul made two strong conservative gestures during his first months as a U.S. Senator.

Writes Ben Adler of The Daily Beast, Paul co-sponsored two socially conservative bills during his first weeks in office. The first, with Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, is the “Life at Conception Act,” which would make all abortion illegal by declaring a human fetus has the same rights as a born person, protecting them under the 14th Amendment.

“Paul and Wicker reason that by declaring fetuses to be legal persons protected under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the laws, it would override the constitutional right to an abortion that the Supreme Court found in Roe v. Wade.”

Paul also teamed up with David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana, to introduce a resolution that would “amend the Constitution to prevent children born to illegal immigrants from gaining automatic citizenship.”

“Under the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which Paul and Vitter oppose, citizenship is given automatically to anyone born on U.S. soil. So Paul wants to expand the 14th Amendment to cover the fertilized embryos of American citizens while restricting it to exclude the babies of illegal immigrants.”

Adler continues by noting that Paul’s early moves are a potentially interesting indicator. The Tea Party wave he rode to an election win was very much centered around fiscal and economic issues, not social battles (much less ones as divisive as abortion).

So maybe Paul is melding the two – they’re not mutually exclusive by any means. There are a lot of people who are pro-life that would also classify themselves as proponents of small government. In fact, I’d bet a lot of people classify themselves that way.

Paul’s early gusto is notable in a career that seems to value age and experience over common sense. That doesn’t seem to be an issue for Kentucky’s junior senator though.

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