Rand Paul – Sweet Spot or Easy Target?

Bookmark and Share    In 2008 we were introduced to the Ron Paul Revolution.  Everyone from right-wing libertarians to hardcore liberals were donning Revolution shirts.  Ron Paul, a staunch pro-lifer and limited government candidate, gained support from right-wingers who were tired of bailouts, debt and big government.  As an anti-war candidate, he drew in many Bush hating moderates and liberals whose biggest beef was the Iraq war.

Despite stocking conventions and straw polls with loud, rambunctious supporters, Ron Paul remained a second tier candidate throughout the primary and eventually refused a third party run.  The biggest hit Ron Paul took was from establishment Republicans and supporters of the war on terror.  Many of us viewed his protectionist ideas as nice on paper, but naive after 9/11.

2010 Kentucky Senate Candidate Rand Paul

Enter Rand Paul in 2010.  Dr. Rand Paul is running for the Kentucky Senate seat previously held by Jim Bunning.  Paul is running against state attorney general Jack Conway.  So is he a viable 2012 candidate simply because he shares the family name?

Rand’s family name will certainly help usher him into the spotlight and could attract many of the libertarians, independents and moderates who who loved his father,  however the very thing that made his father so popular with those groups will make Rand popular with his own party.  Rand is not as protectionist like his father.  Rand’s views on war and national defense may not match up with the so-called Neocon view of spreading freedom or the Bush doctrine, but he does understand the importance of winning the wars we are in.  He also supports a strong national defense as the number one constitutional job of the federal government.

Rand Paul’s doctrine is one of Conservative Constitutionalism.  With an eye on returning to the Constitution, staunch pro-life stance, and fiscal conservatism, Rand Paul will be a darling of the Right.  At the same time, his message of limited government, relegating social issues to the states, desire to shed light on the Federal Reserve, and anti-UN stance will continue to attract Libertarians.  Finally, just like his father, his genuineness and political prowess may capture the hearts of many non-political, average Americans.

So is Rand Paul a potential sweet spot candidate for the Republican party?  He must be doing something right because of the attacks he has already faced on a national level.  For example, Rand Paul believes in constitutional limits on the Federal government.  For him, that means the government cannot legislate racial equality in people’s minds and should not force private individuals with private businesses to serve people they don’t want to.  In the minds of his opponents, it means that Rand Paul is a racist who believes blacks should drink at different fountains, and they have been very effective at leveling this attack.

Rand Paul also opposes abortion, even in the case of rape and incest.  However, he supports use of the morning after pill.  These two views are enough to give everyone on every side of the abortion debate enough ammo to gun him down.  On the other hand, the average American who opposes abortion, taxpayer funded abortion, and especially taxpayer funding of overseas abortion still elected President Obama, and Obama supports all three.

It is too early to tell if this Conservative Constitutionalist will be a 2012 contender.  At this point he has less political experience than our current President.  My guess is that he will make an attractive Vice President pick.  Paul’s political future has two speed bumps before we can get a clearer picture.  The big one is winning his 2010 Senate campaign.  The second is Steve Beshear’s 2011 governor’s race.  If Democrat Beshear wins a second term, Rand Paul may not be willing to sacrifice his seat in a tightly controlled Senate.  In Kentucky, the governor fills Senate vacancies.

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: