GILDED PAGES

Rand Paul’s Many Leather-Bound Books

Feast your eyes on the ‘top-grain leather,’ ‘original’ design, gilded pages. Is it the Bible? No, it’s the senator’s ‘Government Bullies’—now part of the ‘Classics of Liberty Library.’

I am holding in my hand a book, bound in black “genuine top-grain” leather. The edges of its pages are painted gold. It features on its front and back covers an intricate “original” design, embossed in gold. Its spine, too, “‘hubbed’ as the most prized European classics are,” is decorated with delicate gold squiggles and a star. The endpaper features a “pattern of marbleized paper” that has been “individually designed.” Poking out of the shiny gold pages is a “distinctive silk marker”—also gold—which “complements the color of the leather.”

You may be wondering what work of monumental consequence is contained within these gilded pages. The Bible? The Federalist Papers? Moby-Dick?

Government Bullies by Rand Paul.

According to Gryphon Editions, a publishing company owned by Rick Ritter, Paul’s 2012 lament about Big Government harming everyday people, co-written by his senior aide Doug Stafford and featuring a foreword by his father, Ron Paul, the former congressman and two-time presidential candidate, is among the greatest written works of our time.

The 262-page opus, of which three entire pages were proved to have been plagiarized from think tanks, has been featured in Gryphon Editions’ “Classics of Liberty Library” alongside 133 books from people like George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Cicero, Adam Smith, and John Locke.

These classics, Gryphon Editions boasts, are “books that defined traditional American thought and are the foundations of American freedom.” The publishing company specializes in leather-bound series, on topics ranging from science to law, ancient classics, and conservatism.

“These books are designed to last generations,” the company says on its website. “Develop your understanding of the philosophical and historical basis of liberty in order to enable you to transmit the American way of life we enjoy to posterity.”

Obtaining this understanding and posterity is easy, according to the website. “Thomas Paine’s COMMON SENSE together with RIGHTS OF MAN is yours for the introductory offer price of $9.95 when you enroll as a member in the Classics of Liberty Library.”

Government Bullies delivers foundational elements of American thought through soaring prose like “As a U.S. senator, it is my job to keep an eye on what our government is up to…But what our government is doing is not ‘fine.’ It’s infuriating,” and “But there is some hope on the judicial front, and there is promise that checks and balances might finally be imposed on the EPA.”

People who are interested in Government Bullies, according to Gryphon Editions’ website, may also be interested in Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman, Socialism by Ludwig von Mises, and The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek.

The Daily Beast asked Stafford whether it struck him as odd that Government Bullies would be featured alongside works by the Founding Fathers and former United States presidents. “If you are expecting any serious answers to this question, you are probably going to be disappointed,” he said.

Pressed further, Stafford said, “I don’t really have any feelings about who puts the book out or in what form. I’m just glad people have read it.” He then referenced the film Anchorman: “I personally have many leather-bound books, and my house smells of rich mahogany.”

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“Obviously I have no further comment,” he added.

Gryphon Editions did not respond to a query about its inclusion of Paul’s work in the “Classics of Liberty Library.” The Kentucky senator, while not the only modern political figure in the “Library”—Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush are also in there—is the only current presidential prospect to find himself listed alongside Milton Friedman and George Washington.

That’s certainly not for lack of books to include.

In the last few years, it seems the majority of likely Republican candidates have put out books. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush co-wrote 2013’s Immigration Wars, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker released Unintimidated in 2013, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum put out American Patriots in 2012, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio published his autobiography, American Son, in 2012. (As BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins reported in March, none of these books have generated much interest, despite large advances paid to the authors.)

On Tuesday, it was announced that in 2015 Paul would be coming out with his third book. (A year before Government Bullies, he published The Tea Party Goes to Washington.) The title was not made public, though the senator suggested to the Louisville Courier-Journal in June that it might be called Beyond Partisanship.