Is Rand Paul a Hypocrite Regarding Executive Orders?

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Recent reports coming out of Washington D.C. have indicated that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is working with the Trump administration on executive orders designed to give healthcare relief to Americans. This has certain commentators on the right accusing Paul of hypocrisy.

“Paul now argues that Trump can create a legislative impact through executive orders. Isn’t that akin to “altering legislation”? Did we amend the Constitution in the last three years in a way that makes this kosher in Paul’s eyes?” Ed Morrissey asked in a Hot Air column.

Paul was the primary opposition to President Barack Obama’s abuse of executive authority while he was in the White House. Back then, Paul claimed to be against executive overreach even if a Republican wielded that unlawful power.

“I’ve been opposed to executive orders, even with Republican presidents… Presidents were never supposed to be able to usurp the Constitution and run roughshod over Congress,” Paul wrote on his Facebook page back in 2013.

Paul’s defenders argue that he is not displaying any hypocrisy due to the nature of this executive order. The executive order he is planning alongside Trump would cut at the heart of centralized control over healthcare, rather than add to the power of the federal government like has been done during previous administrations.

“I believe that President Trump can legalize on his own the ability of individuals to join a group or a health association across state lines and buy insurance,” Paul said.

Still, the detractors are not convinced by Paul’s rationale.

“If the new EO allows insurance companies to avoid the federal coverage mandates as well as the state regulations, it could accelerate the death spiral for individual coverage… If the EO accelerates the process, though, Trump and Republicans will end up shouldering the political blame for it. But at least we will have created the Libertarian Moment of Total Executive Authority, so we’ll have a great legacy to recall in our dotage,” Morrissey said.

While the EO may not be a silver bullet or do enough to solve the litany of problems resulting from Obama, it is still a step in the right direction. It also shows that Paul will embrace pragmatic solutions if it means reducing centralized control and giving more options through the marketplace for the consumer.

29 Comments

  1. This is not unlike when his father would insert earmarks into bills but vote against the final version.
    If an EO will destroy something anti-liberty and unconstitutional, though itself be at best gray it is better to do it, and consolidate the recovery later.

  2. Absolutely must get rid of this POS personal mandate to have to purchase healthcare or else be fined. Stupidest thing in healthcare ever. Other than the ridiculous costs of premiums rising. Obamacare is Horrible. Go Rand Paul!

  3. An executive order that takes away restrictions that constitutionally shouldn’t be there?

    And he’s criticized for this?

    One rare exception of the proper use of an executive order.

    A more free marketplace and freedom of association.

  4. If the objective is to achieve liberty, then the answer is absolutely not.

    Unless you want unlawful and authoritarian unconstitutional “laws” to remain in place.

    If you disagree with more liberty, then you support government tyranny on ridiculous technicalities (it wasn’t voted on by a corrupt, authoritarian congress).

  5. Executive orders basically cannot make law, as Obama tried to do, so he is not a turning tail on his position. The commerce clause allows deals dealing with cross state sales to be done. That means sales of insurance are legal across state lines per the commerce clause. Establishing buying associations is a legal action, as unions already do it and this action just allows equal opportunity for all groups to come together for better insurance rates. This means that the purpose is to clearly define law, the exact purpose of an executive order. That is where Paul is clearly right to support this method. Executive orders are only bad when you use them for things they cannot do. An executive order can only define existing law. It cannot create new law out of thin air. It also cannot ignore established law because you do not like it, such as immigration law, as that is dereliction of constitutional duties to uphold and execute the laws. Definition of existing law for certain cases is not wrong.

  6. An executive order was going to happen irregardless. He did his part to have it fall more towards liberty. He’ll go farther than his father in Washington because he’s willing to negotiate.

    • Executive orders are not necessarily a bad thing either. Calvin Coolidge was considered the doing nothing president and one of the last presidents to act in that role as the founders intended. He signed 1,253 executive orders.

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