Is Rand Paul The Legislator From Franken’s Story?

Last weekend when I got to talk to Sen. Al Franken at Netroots Nation, he told me a story about a newly elected politician that he chatted with shortly after his win, one who stated the federal government should get out of “charity” because his mother volunteered for Meals on Wheels.  Franken told me that he explained to the new colleague that Meals on Wheels was a federal program, but one thing the senator would share with me was who the colleague was.

Now he doesn’t have to spill the secret, as it’s looking pretty clear that the Republican in question was Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.   And Paul appears to now be obsessed with getting the government out of the Meals on Wheels program.  And it’s just as ludicrous to Franken as it was then.

Via The Nation:

“It’s curious that only in Washington can you spend $2 billion and claim that you’re saving money,” [Senator Paul] said. “The idea or notion that spending money in Washington somehow is saving money really flies past most of the taxpayers.” Instead, Paul touted the “nobility of private charity” as opposed to government-funded “transfer programs.” He suggested privatizing Meals on Wheels and other government assistance for hungry seniors.

…Paul—who’s home state of Kentucky is ranked twentieth in the nation in senior citizen food insecurity, with over 5 percent of seniors there facing hunger—pressed on. Addressing Greenlee, he asked: “If we are saving money with the two billion we spend, perhaps we should give you 20 billion. Is there a limit? How much money should we give you in order to save money? If we spend federal money to save money, where is the limit? I think we could reach a point of absurdity.”

Senator Al Franken turned on his microphone and offered a quick reply: “I think you just did.”

You have to wonder — if it was good enough for Paul’s mother to participate in, how did he turn so rabidly against it?

Photo credit: photo from Gage Skidmore


Tim H.
Tim Haines5 years ago

Don't demonise Rand Paul - the guy does some good stuff -

Rand Paul Aims to Kill "Indefinite Detention" Provision of Controversial Bill
Head of Japanese American Citizens League warns that bill has echoes of World War II-style internment without charge

Paul Joseph Watson
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

With the bill expected to be up for a vote within 48 hours, Senator Rand Paul has offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that will kill a provision allowing the military to detain individuals, including American citizens, without trial or due process.

Read more:

Robby C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Marcus- good points. You're right, we do agree on many things. Oftentimes things seem different when people are shooting for the same basic things- sometimes not, but...

I'll admit I know little about Germany's &/or Norway's govt, so will have to read up somewhat. I'll also check out Greg Palast. Everytime I come across what seems to be the "truth" it seems there is someone on another "channel" calling the opposite. As for Rand Paul. I want to believe in the guy- he says the right things, but then, now I'm finding that some of the things he's standing for might not be what I thought. Hell, I believed in GW, at first. Not for BO though, but then, McCain didn't seem to offer much more. I now dislike both BO & GW about equally. Our two-party system has worked hard to cause this confusion. Instead of working together to make progress, they just run billion dollar smear campaigns. The last 4 presidents have been elected b/c they seemed to be the lesser of two evils- NOT the best candidate.

I admit, I would seriously respect a society w/a more equal distribution of wealth- basically, it sounds like you're saying that Germany has a much larger middle class- I would be happy to see that for America. It's relative though. To someone who makes $200k/yr is super rich. But they would pale by comparison to those making 10's of millions/yr. And true- allowing huge corporations leeway in an attempt to create jobs & strengthen the economy, is BS. Hasn't worked so far. I al

Marcus Fish
Marcus Fish5 years ago

In closing, to clarify on Germany - my point is that they have a higher average wage, work less hours on average, have more paid vacation, have universal access to health care, have free college or trade school... and to top it all off, their income equality is among the lowest of first world nations. Because their unions are so strong, they control work conditions in return for high productivity. There aren't many "uber-rich" in Germany - and they don't have as many poor people either.

For another example, nations like "socialist" Norway take natural resources like oil or gold - and share the profits with the people. They figure these national resources rightfully belong to the people. Here in "capitalist" America, we sell or "lease" our resources to corporations - so they can make all the profit, at the America's expense. The logic is that these corporations will create jobs, stimulate the economy --- when in fact they are just vehicles of profit for the super-rich. To me this is the dark, evil side of capitalism.

In closing, to clarify what I mean by socialism is more of a focus on the welfare of the people - while still maintaining high productivity and a strong economy. I don't mean totalitarian central control, or some broken corrupt system based on ideological falsehoods.

Marcus Fish
Marcus Fish5 years ago

Hey Rob C. - I understand where you are coming from and ironically - we would likely agree on more issues than we know at first glance. Often it is just the differences that are glaring.

For news, I figure I get the conservative side from multiple national and local sources - including the so called "liberal" papers of the San Francisco bay area. (which are all of course owned by conservatives) I don't really even see MSNBC as a liberal counter-weight, either.

Check out the Guardian UK - and specifically Greg Palast. Palast is an American journalist pretty much in exile... He rarely gets his stuff published or shown over here. He has audio presentations as well as articles - great stuff.

I try to check UK, German and Middle Eastern news - and have even been known to indulge the Russian propaganda at to keep tabs on political trends. Even with this focus, I am missing plenty of important stuff in a global sense.

If you run across additional sources of media worthy of attention, please share them with us!

Robby C.
Past Member 5 years ago

I don't have the answer to where it should be drawn, but then, I don't want it all forced down my throat either & I honestly see the erosion of our constitution to be more a dictatorship than socialist state. I'll try & do some research on the German way. Hey, I love their cars, so maybe they have something to offer in terms of govt too, LOL....

Robby C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Marcus- thanks for the note- I MAY have been a little irritated when I put "dims" in caps. I'm trying not to let this stuff get me angry, but I'm not perfect, so I apologize for any offensive comments or implications there. I am passionate about a few things & Patrick F's comments on "legwork" irritated me a touch- might have confused them w/your's. My prob is- where DO we go to find reliable info? I mean, everyone has their own source & they all seem to say that everyone else's sources are wrong- like the constant reference to "faux" news, here on Care 2. Liberals own more of the media than the reps do- please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that Fox news is the only real republican news organization...? In the end, we need unbiased news & I'm afraid that is impossible this day & age. It seems as though just about everyone in politics is bought & paid for & by controlling the media, they control the world.

Your comments on Boxer & Feinstein are well taken- I'll try & do a little "legwork" checking up on them :-) If they stand for what you're saying, then I'm likely to respect them. And socialism- yes, it's a degree thing. It's obvious we have some socialism in America & it's helped a lot, but then full-on socialism... Well- it is my belief that there has to be a line somewhere.

Marcus Fish
Marcus Fish5 years ago

(continued) We can agree to disagree on socialism - and what levels of socialism can be beneficial to productivity and the economy. Again, look to Germany as an example. I'm talking about modern social democracy, not Stalinism.

Robby C.
Past Member 5 years ago

I'm starting to miss not having a character-counter....

I was trying to finish by saying: I'm not angry at anyone- just dissapointed in both parties.

Robby C.
Past Member 5 years ago

I am completely against socialism b/c it will drop productivity to the lowest common denominator & there will never be true socialism here- it would be a totalitarian style of socialism where the wealthy elite (dems & reps) would rule & the rest of us would live on bread crumbs (equally).

But I do agree w/many of your points- too much is spent on war & too much money sent overseas (instead of helping to build a strong infrastructure for our own people), & wasted on presidential vacations etc. I am against the ABUSE of entitlement programs, which are RAMPANT & so rampant that it's almost neccessary to disband them & start over. But I'm not for people starving to death & I certainly have a prob w/corporate takeover. Some unions are good, but others are not- when it comes to anyone having a monopoly, things can get bad in a hurry.

My point in all of this is that these liberals you guys often defend, are just as bad as republicans & are complicit in all of this. The main reason I am at Care 2 is for animal rights & I do care about the environment. But I honestly believe the republicans are going to dissolve themselves b/c of their ridiculous tirades against planned parenthood simply b/c of abortion. It's pitiful really- they lied their asses off last November. But the dems are no better & lie just as much. For the last 15yrs or so, it's been one embarrassment/lie after another for each party. It's disgusting. And I'm not angry at

Marcus Fish
Marcus Fish5 years ago

Tax me more - tax everyone more. Then we won't have the weak excuses from conservative politicians about the "cost" of everything.

We can throw billions to banks, but can't help starving people.

We can go to war while cutting taxes - but can't help victims of Katrina.

We can cut money to planned parenthood while we throw 54 billion on obsolete cold war submarines.

We cut unemployment compensation at home while increasing military spending in Afghanistan.

We extend billions in tax breaks to corporations while mothers and children starve for food stamps.

You won't find many conservative converts here - this is CARE 2 causes. We care about people, animals and the environment - not republican politicians.