At this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Republican Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky fired up conservatives with his emphatic defense of civil liberties, the Fourth Amendment and his passion for holding President Obama accountable for “shredding the Constitution.” Unlike his eccentric father Ron, who ran in the 2012 presidential election, Rand Paul is shaping up to be a strong contender for the 2016 election. With his levelheaded personality and consistent commitment to liberty and fiscal responsibility, Paul is considered a highly electable Libertarian even by those who take issue with his foreign policy views. Undetermined is whether plagiarism allegations associated with his lawsuit against Obama and the National Security Administration’s (NSA) surveillance tactics will have long-term effects on his electability.
Rand’s father Ron Paul was never really considered electable despite his passionate Libertarian base partly because of his eccentric communication style. While sometimes as cute as a little Keebler cracker elf, Paul senior was mostly off-putting and his delivery involved too much giggling and not enough dignity. He also carried some questionable baggage that cast doubt on his character. Case in point were some newsletters in the early 1980s and 1990s with his masthead on them that were racist and anti-gay.
Ron Paul continues to claim he had no knowledge of the content of his own newsletters but wide held skepticism on how this could have been possible still dogs him to this day. Add in his isolationist foreign policy beliefs and his statement that Iran has just as much a right to nuclear weapons as the United States and you have a dead in the water presidential campaign.
Rand Paul, on the other hand, while holding mostly the same Libertarian views as his father, expresses them in a certain manner that indicates personal strength and an air of wisdom that belies his relatively young years. His demeanor, unlike his father’s, is reassuring even when he is delivering a message not entirely palatable to Republicans and conservatives.
Paul consistently maintains his composure under media pressure. He even did so while filibustering for 13 hours straight against CIA director John Brennan on the floor of the Senate ostensibly to get President Obama to stop using drones against U.S. citizens. His highly developed communication skills will be a key component of his future campaign success whether it is for the office of the president in 2016 or his re-election to the Senate. Undetermined is whether Americans are truly ready for a Libertarian president.
At CPAC, Paul spoke to the crowd and said he is not about promoting the election of Republicans, what he wants is to elect “lovers of liberty” and he chastised Republicans for “meekly diluting” the conservative message. He further demanded that people not elect Republicans that do not adhere to undiluted conservative values. Paul received huge applause for his comments regarding Obama’s NSA surveillance of ordinary citizens telling the crowd that even as they gathered, the NSA was monitoring every phone call they made. According to Paul, what ordinary Americans do on their personal cell phones is their own “damn business” and his statement brought attendees to their feet.
Paul has called for “boldness and action” and he has asked people to stand with him for liberty. In a time when Americans are truly wondering if their constitutional rights are subject to interpretation by a government grown massively bloated and subjectively intrusive, Paul’s message has tremendous appeal. On foreign policy Paul did state in a 2013 Heritage Foundation speech that he sees the world as it is, considers himself a “realist” and is not an “isolationist.” His words alone may not be enough to reassure those who believe America is correct in its role as an exceptional and benevolent benefactor to other nations, regardless of the financial burdens of that role. In any case, compared to his eccentric father Ron, Rand Paul is highly electable and in 2016 Americans may be ready to vote for a president willing to rein in a bloated government and restore liberty and fiscal responsibility.
Editorial By Alana Marie Burke
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