Rand Paul making things up (that matter)


If there was one thing we knew about Rand Paul, it was that he wanted to bring America back to its glory days, when businesses could call the police to evict those meddlesome Negroes from their lunch counters. If we knew another thing, it was that he was Ron Paul’s kid. And if we knew a third thing, it was that he was a board-certified ophthalmologist.

Well, one of those things turns out to be not exactly true. Sadly, it’s not the lunch counter one. And he looks way too much like his dad to have his paternity in doubt. So let’s look behind door number three, shall we?

Rand Paul, who touts his career as a Kentucky eye doctor as part of his outsider credentials in his campaign for U.S. Senate, isn’t certified by his profession’s leading group.

He tried Monday to bat away questions about it by calling it an attack on his livelihood, saying the scrutiny stems from his challenge of a powerful medical group over a certification policy he thought was unfair.

The libertarian-leaning Republican helped create a rival certification group more than a decade ago. He said the group has since recertified several hundred ophthalmologists, despite not being recognized the American Board of Medical Specialties – the governing group for two dozen medical specialty boards.

Hey, to be fair to Rand Paul, I can understand why he did this. I mean, who hasn’t gone out and formed their own ophthalmology licensing board? I know I have. In fact, if you want to be a board-certified ophthalmologist just like Rand Paul, just print out the certificate below, and write your name on it somewhere. Voila! Instant certification!

Okay, sure, Jeff’s Pretty Good Ophthalmology Board isn’t, like, recognized by anyone. But that’s only because we’re sticking it to the man, with his “rules” and “regulations” and “dues.”

Seriously, this does fit with Paul’s worldview – if you’re a Randian superman, you can do whatever you damn well please, and silly things like licensing shouldn’t matter. Hey, if the eye doctor blinds enough people, the magic of the market will ensure that rich people don’t go to him, thus ensuring that the doctor will only be able to make a meager living treating the poor.

Now, Rand Paul might be a great surgeon. Even in libertarian world, some people who set up shop as doctors would turn out to be good at it. But here in the real world, you have to question a surgeon who has certified himself, with assistance from his wife and father-in-law. Moreover, you have to wonder about someone who would flout his industry’s basic rules. Because thankfully, we live in a real world, where doctors have to get real certification from real boards. And that gives those of us going into surgery at least a basic reassurance that the doctor who’s treating us has reached a basic level of competence.

The fact that Paul was willing to go it alone shows a startling arrogance, and a disregard for his patients. But then again, that arrogance is part and parcel of Paul’s persona. He’s a man born on third base who thought he hit a triple, and who sneers at the rules that put him where he is. A man who should be nowhere near the levers of power.