Senator Rand Paul is an authentic; corral the Feds; hallowed be the Constitution; don’t touch my guns; build a fence Republican conservative. Or, is he? He is also a social progressive wanting to reform prison sentencing, give back citizenship privileges to nonviolent felons and has stated his opinion that police do sometimes unfairly profile citizens of color. Very interesting positions from a conservative Republican. Either way, he stops short of his father’s step over the edge into “who let the crazies out” Libertarianism. In today’s politically polarized environment, Rand Paul is an enigma who defies labels. In fact, Aaron Blake at the Washington Post recently wrote: “The trouble with Paul is that no well-known labels seem to fit him well.”
One label perhaps that we can apply is “Man of Principle.” There are few politicians that actually believe in a political ideology. I think that Senator Rand is one of them. Unfortunately, those that honorably stand for something, those that have firm political positions, very rarely get a chance at the presidency. Believing, in this time of rapid news cycles, large super PAC’s and instant media, makes it too easy for an opposing candidate to rapid fire fatuous and misleading sound bites. Dishonorable attacks have unfortunately been proven to be effective, even when they are patently false. Being a principled candidate with a well-defined political stance makes the Haters diatribe easier to sell to the preoccupied electorate. And there are those who do hate him. With few exceptions, most Media outlets are already gunning for him.
The sad reality though is that most of the really good presidents believed in and followed a set of ideological principles. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John Kennedy, Ronald Regan, etc. I wonder if modern technology and the voters media spun ignorance have now combined to make it impossible to elect a principled person as President. The result is that Rand Paul will not be able to campaign as a man of principle. His ethos will have a difficult time getting into the political narrative unless it can be slandered.
While his conservative ideas are bound to find a rural following, his evasion of an easy label may make him interesting to independents. I confess, I am intrigued by the combination of platforms. Agreeable political positions include: limiting the government from seizing property without any evidence of a crime; supporting and encouraging vaccinations while not mandating; national fiscal responsibility; social progressive tendencies and reforming the tax code.
Positions that I find lacking would be: trashing the ACA without a better plan; building a border fence; no amnesty for illegal aliens and a 100% pro-life narrative (a pro-life stance needs to include those well-rehearsed limited exceptions.)
An interesting side note is that he continues to provide pro-bono eye surgery to Kentuckians in need of care. A generosity which sets him apart. This kindness shows a charitable propensity that meets The Moral Middle standards for “What Kind of Candidate Ought They to be.”
Being in his fourth year as a Senator along with his varied committee assignments (Foreign Relations, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and Small Business) round out his qualifications.
I am intrigued by Senator Paul. I hope he gets into the primaries. While he has distanced himself from his father’s more eccentric Libertarian policies, one thing I suspect that they have in common is the ability to liven up a debate. I hope to see him there.
Samuel Waen Jensen