Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rand Paul's Latest Controversy - He's Not Board Certified

By now, I am sure that if you up to date with the various political headlines, you had certainly heard the newest Rand Paul whopper - he is not board certified.  What exactly does that mean?  For Paul, it means absolutely nothing and I am certain that he wishes for this added scrutiny into his life to end, but that is what happens when you become the party nominated candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Paul claims that the discrepancies in his claims are meaningless because he is certified by another organization, in which he founded and is headed by him and his family.  When asked when he would address this issue, Paul responded rather ambivalently, asking what his certification had to do with the election and then stating that he would never address the matter (his campaign later stated they would only respond to written questions).  Besides, Paul was once certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO), but he allowed his certification to lapse because of principles. opting for his homegrown National Board of Ophthalmology (NBO).

See, Paul allowed his certification to lapse because of changes made in the ABO years ago that affected how doctors went about becoming board certified.
The ophthalmological civil war began in the early 1990s, when the American Board of Medical Specialties – a non-governmental group of which ABO, founded in 1916, is the oldest member – began pushing its member organizations representing the various medical specialties to change the way they certified doctors. In the past, most specialists passed a single certification examination after medical school and received a certificate that was good for life. Under the new “maintenance of certification” process, doctors would have to retake their tests each decade.
Alex Pareene from Salon had an interesting take on the matter, pointing out that Paul's position seems to contradict his other positions.
Now, the ABO and the American Board of Medical Specialties are non-government professional groups, so theoretically a libertarian should be fine with them instituting whatever policies and membership requirements they like.

And the ABO couldn't force doctors who received certification before the rule change to recertify every ten years, because that would not have been legal. Apparently Rand Paul wanted the brutal shocktroops of the federal government to march into your local doctor's office and force him, against his will, to submit to the capricious demands of a voluntary professional organization.
I am not sure about the specifics of the law, but I was reminded of the Contract Clause in the Constitution - you know, that document conservatives love to love, even when something else they love directly contradicts their patriotic predisposition.  According to the Contract Clause, found in Article One, Section Ten, Clause One, "No State shall... pass any... Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility."  Granted, what we are discussing is not the the state imposing new legal requirements on a preexisting contract, but I think the principle remains the same - Rand Paul would rather violate other physicians contracts then go through the recertification process. 

This is where Paul fails to understand the significance of why this matter is important to voters.  Paul is promoting himself as a political outsider, and so one is trying to look at his past actions to try and gauge what kind of senator he would become - similar to legislators digging up every paper ever written by Supreme Court nominees to try and figure out how they would rule on various issues. 

I think that one can look at Paul's actions surrounding this matter, from the creation of his NBO to the recent inquirey into his certification status to try and understand his politics, and right now Paul does not look that good.  He is refusing to address the concerns of his voters, simply dismissing the headlines as nonsense, which in turn drives the news to dig deeper, uncovering even more dirt.  Paul should have learned his lesson from his Civil Rights Act statements but I guess he is still a little wet behind the ears.

Oh yeah, on top of Paul not being certified by the ABO and misleading his voters, Paul has also changed positions regarding accepting funds from senators who voted for TARP - apparently it is okay to flip-flop because he won the primary and is now facing the Democrats in the general election.  Its nice to know just where a candidate stands in regards to those pesky principles they started out campaigning with. 

From a David Weigel article for The Washington Post:
Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton confirmed that the pledge is no longer operative, and explained that it was meant for the primary, when Paul was drawing a bright line between himself and Trey Grayson.

"That contest is won," said Benton. "He won the primary and he didn't take money from senators who backed the bailout. Now they're coming to support him, and he's not going to turn down support from Republicans. They're not looking for a seat at his table. They're supporting him because of his positions, and because of his steadfast commitment to principle."
See?  Now that the primary is over, Paul can show that there really was no real "line" between him and Trey Greyson.


  1. You gotta love all the republicans in Kentucky who voted for Rand Paul and brought him to national exposure, priceless. Lets face it they will try to vote this liar in but we can only wait and see if there is other skeltons in hs closet, oh yeah he is not a racist, I repeat, he is not a racist. Great thing is we are talking about Kentucky, so being a racist may be a positive, we will see.

  2. If handled properly, these issues would not have been that damaging at all. I don't find the board certification to be all that serious, but because he had misled the voters and then failed to address the issue, to me it shows a disregard for his constituency - particularly his critics.

    What bothers me most about the right wing is that they seek to rule by exclusion. They want to only represent those who voted for them despite the fact that they will represent everyone from their district/state...

    As soon as these things were brought up, Paul should have had a press conference or gone on a non-Fox News program (although he could possibly accomplish some damage control by going on the propaganda station) and held a detailed Q&A. If he really believed his certification made no difference or really wanted to get people behind his Civil Rights Act stance, he should become more open with the public...


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