Rand Paul on Sarah Palin, Dostoevsky and dad
(Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
Rand Paul may still be green to the ways of the U.S. Senate (he only assumed office in January) but he’s got a lot to say about the political state of the country. Most of his new book, “The Tea Party Goes to Washington,” is a defense of the movement from what he sees as unfair attacks by liberals, the Republican establishment and the mainstream media. He does, however, devote a few pages to his campaign, his childhood and his literary influences.
On Sarah Palin: “Jaws dropped” when Rand Paul’s team heard that Sarah Palin would be endorsing him. “Palin’s endorsement gave us a boost that energized supporters, brought in new ones and, of course, annoyed my opponent [Trey Grayson] and his Republican bosses to no end,” Paul writes. Shortly after the endorsement, Palin made a Saturday morning phone call to Paul’s house. He recalls talking about two issues.
“She wanted to know my position on Israel. I said that Israel was an important ally, the only democracy in the Middle East and that I would not condemn Israel for defending herself.”
Next was the issue of abortion.
“In talking to Palin, one of the primary things I wanted to do was allay any fears about social issues, telling her, ‘My opponents call me a libertarian but I want to assure you that I am pro-life.’ Palin responded, ‘Oh, we all have a little libertarian in us.’”
On Dostoevsky: The 19th-century Russian writer known for his dense novels about human suffering is responsible for Paul finding the greatest happiness in his life. He met his future wife Kelley at an oyster roast held a friend’s house in Atlanta. At the time, Paul was 25 but looked like a teenager.
“Kelly, an English major in college, overheard me discussing Dostoevsky with some friends, decided maybe I wasn’t as young as I looked and we struck up a conversation,” Paul writes.
He calls “The Brothers Karamazov” and “Crime and Punishment” “two of the greatest novels of all time.”
In a bit of literary criticism, Paul writes:
In “Crime and Punishment,” Dostoyevsky puts to the narrative the common nineteenth-century belief that if there were no God, all would be permissible. Dostoyevsky’s protagonist Raskolnikov acts out on that premise by killing a woman yet justifying it in his mind. He convinces himself that he will do some good with the ill-gotten proceeds and that the end justifies the means. The greatness of the book is that you can see and feel his fear leading up to the act, and you see and feel the relentless gnaw of his conscience eat away at him as he discovers that theory cannot ultimately trump conscience.
On his father, Rep. Ron Paul: “Being Ron Paul’s son means being your own man, independent and unique-minded. If I blindly followed Dad with no questions or differences of opinion I would be less my father’s son, not more….I don’t think I could have become a US Senator without him but, for most of my life and certainly my political life, I have never been dependent on my dad — and he wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Rand writes that there was no allowance in the Paul household and that kids “were always taught the value of a dollar.” The family always shopped at Sears or JC Penney, and Rand mowed lawns to earn extra money.
“My first job in high school was working at a miniature golf course, which was great because I got to stay out late since my parents didn’t really know what time mini golf closed.”
| February 17, 2011; 2:15 PM ET
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