Rand Paul, son of Libertarian idol Ron Paul, has always been one who (much like Dad) won’t shy away from speaking his mind regardless of whether he feels the answer is politically advantageous.
And in 2016, Rand Paul may run for President — because unlike others being courted for the job of Commander-in-Chief, Paul isn’t flirting with us or trying to get us to bat our eyelashes at him for the next two years. He just came right out and said it, because he’s Rand Paul.
Rand Paul confirmed his consideration of the political move and a presidential run when speaking to ABC’s Jonathan Karl, and himself addressed the tradition of acting coy when it comes to presidential politics. Instead of subjecting us all to the “who, me? To the dance?” winkfest in which most presidential hopefuls engage, the younger Paul simply said:
“Am I interested in thinking about that? Yes … I am different than some in that I am not going to deny that I am interested. I’m not going to deny that I think we have to go a different direction because we’re just not winning.”
Who the “we” is to which Rand Paul refers is an intriguing contemplation. On one hand, Paul is an ardent traditionalist in many ways, espousing a strong anti-abortion stance (he was on his way to a large anti-abortion rally when he was detained by the TSA last year) and a dim view of spending on social programs like welfare.
But Paul could also, like his dad, be a GOP game changer — as he isn’t afraid to break with right-wing dogma both on the civil liberties front as well as when questioning Republican sacred cows like defense.
In the same set of remarks, Rand Paul discussed current issues like marijuana legalization, and commented seemingly in favor of continuing down the same path:
“I think for example we should tell young people, ‘I’m not in favor of you smoking pot, but if you get caught smoking pot, I don’t want to put you in jail for 20 years.'”
The so-called “fiscal cliff” was next on the docket, and Paul again broke right-wing ranks to use the dirty c-word: “compromise.” He said:
“How about another compromise? Republicans who think military spending, myself, who think national defense is important, should compromise and say, ‘you know what, not every dollar spent on the military’s sacred, we can reduce the military spending,’ that’s a compromise … Democrats should compromise also — entitlements and welfare — the spending can come down.”
Rand Paul presents an intriguing conundrum as the right struggles to find its identity after the failed 2012 election and changing American voter demographics have issued a “shellacking” that seemed a long-time coming.
Paul, like his dad, represents a simultaneous right-wing purity as well as rejection of status quo — at once embracing what used to make the right the right, instead of the spending-crazed, neo-conservative GOP we watch flounder today.
Rand Paul could easily shake up the 2016 race before it even starts — or, he could spearhead a new and fresh direction for the GOP, one that will really give the left a run for its money as Obama’s second term comes to a close.
Do you think Rand Paul represents a redemption of sorts for the right?