I don’t even have to wonder what President Joe Biden will do in response to Senator Rand Paul’s request for federal assistance following the tornado devastation across his state of Kentucky. The President will do the exact opposite of what Trump would do in his identical position. Trump would laugh and withhold expediting aid because Kentuckians didn’t vote for him. Joe Biden will deliver the aid promptly and compassionately because he promised to be President for all Americans. So Kentuckians will get that help — no matter that Biden lost the state by a huge margin and their junior senator is a hypocritical jerk. (So is their senior senator, for that matter.)
That’s the way it should be — period. You don’t play politics with human life. Republicans do just that and they do it all the time, of course, and that’s why they are evil. In fact, Rand Paul has played politics with the lives of Americans many times. But he needs the votes from the people of Kentucky, so for this occasion he’s dismounted his anti-socialism high horse.
Paul has a long and disgraceful record of opposing federal disaster aid for other states on the grounds that it’s socialism. In the aftermath of superstorm Sandy — the deadliest hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season — Paul strenuously opposed aid to the Northeast, called them greedy. He even got into a bitter war with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie about it. He similarly opposed aid for hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey. “People here will say they have great compassion,” Paul complained from the senate floor, “… but notice they have great compassion with someone else’s money.” Yes, for Paul it’s all about money, and any people that money can help can go straight to hell. He needs that money for his billionaire friends.
Paul also tried to block the extension of the 9/11 victims’ compensation funding, and he opposed increasing FEMA’s disaster relief fund. He also robbed the Senate of a unanimous consent vote when he voted “No” to the Gulf Coast Hurricane Aid Act.
Meanwhile, of course, Kentucky has a history of getting billions more in federal aid than most other states. In fact, Kentucky isn’t just politically red, it’s economically red. The state has taken far more in federal aid than it has given back in tax revenue. You might say the state of Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul is one of the most socialist states in the nation.
So remember this next time a Trumpist complains about socialism. First, ask them to define it. When they can’t, offer federal disaster relief aid as an example of the concept they are so artlessly groping for. Then as a knockout punch, serve them up the hypocrisies of the anti-socialism “Libertarian” Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.