Rand Paul Stuck in the Shadows


On Tuesday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul intends to announce his run for the 2016 Republican nomination, standing in the large shadow of his father’s ideology. His father, Ron Paul, who is known for being quick to comment, was energized for his 2008 and 2012 primaries and spread that energy to others. Ron Paul’s speeches rang out to the people that did not have a voice in Congress. Libertarians and college students would gather to listen to Ron Paul’s politics or rather non-politics. Ron was for smaller government and believed in staying out of foreign affairs when at all possible. Now, Ron Paul is not in the spotlight, it is Rand’s turn, and Ron has taken a more quiet position in his son’s campaign. Ron has moved his shadow a little.

Ron has refused all interview requests. Even though Ron did not win either election, he had an obvious presence of 2.1 million voters. There are those who believe that Rand would not be in the Kentucky Senate seat, if his last name were not Paul.

However, Rand has spent four years in the Senate and has created a following of his own. His following may even outreach his father’s following. Rand is now claiming to be his own man and Ron is simply “Dad.” Ron has his own things to do. He still gets called upon to give speeches around the country. Though, he does support his son. Campaign strategists are also brutally aware that Ron’s absence could leave a strong negative impression on supporters that are on-board because of him.

Ron was a socially conservative supporter of libertarianism and free-thinkers, all of which he has passed down and rooted into his son. However, Rand has to have established, moderate Republican supporters to become the presidential nominee.

Ron and Rand have not spoken much since Ron’s 2012 campaign. Senator Paul was asked what he was able to glean from his part in his dad’s campaign, he said all he did was give a few speeches. The relationship between father and son have little reflection on how Rand is getting ready to run his campaign. The Ron Paul Channel, a website that requires a subscription, and is run by Ron, has had some sit down interviews with his son, Rand. In a 2013 interview, Ron was asking a question from fan, Carol Paul, Rand’s mother. The question asked was, will we see you at Christmas? Rand said his family was trying their best to come home for Christmas and then the subject changed to the Federal Reserve.

When Rand first became a senator, he spoke up and called for a compromise between the Republicans and the Democrats to both make cuts to the budget. This is something Ron would have done. It did not matter if Republican or Democrat when creating a budget without money. Those days seem to be over as he is joining the ranks of the GOP Republicans. He has changed the ideal that made him a different kind of Republican.

Rand has an admiration for Ayn Rand shown through his choice of nickname from “Randall” and in choosing the Galt House Hotel to announce his candidacy. However, the foundation of his candidacy is the libertarian following he inherited from his father, which his father built by being willing to speak the truth against big government. Ron was not afraid to speak his mind to anyone. Rand came into the Senate the same way. Rand is trying too hard to move out from Ron’s shadow. He does not seem to realize that he needs some of that shadow as protection.

Rand has a basic desire to continue Ron’s libertarianism movement and continue his own popularity with younger voters and he wants to do this while compromising to get elected. Not only is compromising something Ron would not do, it changes what makes Rand a different and likable Republican to libertarians and young people. He did away with that which made him likely to get the Republican nomination, his personal convictions.

Aides to Rand have said that he needs to put space between himself and his dad. No matter how much distance, however, he will have to answer for his dad’s legacy as well as his rants. However, Rand cannot afford to put space between himself and his dad, he needs his dad on the campaign trail to maintain the libertarian votes.

Ron has devoted supporters because he thought outside the government box. Ron’s ideals of a limited government and a non-interventionist foreign policy are part of a political philosophy that has never gotten as far as Ron was able to take it. Rand has some of his father’s ideology but his is not the same as Ron, not even a full expansion at this time. He is definitely moving out from under his dad’s shadow, legacy, ideology and voter support.

Opinion by Jeanette Smith


NY Times



Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore – Flickr License

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