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5 Ways Rand Paul Will Shake Up the GOP Primary

5 Ways Rand Paul Will Shake Up the GOP Primary

“Defeat the Washington machine”

Rand Paul became the second in a long line of GOP hopefuls to make an official presidential candidacy announcement.

Paul brings a much different dynamic to the Republican Party. One that challenges the status quo and makes many Republicans very nervous (and some very angry). The question of whether Rand Paul can win the nomination remains to be seen. Whatever happens, he will bring a dynamic to the GOP primary that forces other candidates to discuss issues they may not be comfortable with.

Paul meanwhile, is going to have to be ready for a bevy of blistering attacks from some quarters of the GOP, particularly on issues related to national defense.

Still, Rand Paul is going to shake up the race to see who will face off against the Democratic challenger in 2016. Here are 5 ways he will do that:

1. Paul will make civil liberties a priority – It’s not something that has been heard in previous campaigns. But Paul’s filibuster over drone strikes and his harsh criticism of NSA spying programs is sure to be an issue that will be front and center.

2. Criminal justice reform is being discussed – 20 years ago, politicians were all about getting “tough on crime.” Now, Rand Paul is talking about doing away with mandatory minimum sentences and changing drug laws to do away with jail sentences for minor offenses. He has also introduced legislation to reform civil asset forfeiture laws.

3. Paul has a new approach to national defense and foreign policy – If Rand Paul has an Achilles heel, this will be it. Paul’s philosophy on national defense and foreign policy would be a major shift away from where the party has been historically. While it may be a stretch to refer to Paul as an “isolationist” he does have a view of where it is not better to intervene unless it is absolutely within the interests of the United States to do so. The attack angle is actually one where he is being compared to Hillary Clinton. 

4. Paul is reaching out to constituencies others are not – A lot of people were not happy that Rand Paul met with the NAACP at Ferguson or that he met with Al Sharpton. Others have been critical of him visiting largely black universities, with critics on the left and right claiming he’s just “pandering.” What Paul is showing by doing it however, is a fearlessness that is lacking from a lot of politicians. He knows he’s not going to get the warmest of receptions, but he does it anyway. Know what it does? It leads to headlines that say, “NAACP head praises Rand Paul.” 

5. Paul is going to bring a populist message to the primary run – Rand Paul has been able to take a populist tone while still maintaining an approach that relies on free market principles and not government solutions. Still, he is not afraid to go after big business and banks and their cozy relationship with the government. He has called for a complete end to corporate welfare and has said the GOP’s close ties the business community has tarnished their reputation.

Senator Paul is by no means a shoe-in for the nomination. With what is sure to be a crowded field all vying for the same votes and donations, Paul will have to navigate some rough waters to make it through until the very end and at time when the Middle East is burning and ISIS’s reach is growing, Paul might find the reception to his foreign policy will be a somewhat cool at the very least.

Still, his official entrance into the race along with Ted Cruz (and by next week, Marco Rubio) promises to make it a very interesting primary season.

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Comments

“A lot of people were not happy that Rand Paul met with the NAACP at Ferguson or that he met with Al Sharpton. Others have been critical of him visiting largely black universities, with critics on the left and right claiming he’s just “pandering.” What Paul is showing by doing it however, is a fearlessness that is lacking from a lot of politicians.”

Bullshit. There are THOUSANDS of people, organizations, and venues he could approach for a genuine outreach.

He chose who he chose. That has nothing to do with “fearless”. It has to do with a lack of judgment. I WAS pandering.

Wasn’t Romney “fearless” in addressing the NAA-CCP?

What’s you position in Rand’s campaign?

    pesanteur in reply to Ragspierre. | April 7, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    I agree.

    The premise here is that Paul is reaching out to constituencies traditionally ignored by Republicans, and that this is striking and brave. But this doesn’t account for how these groups have perpetually and virulently smeared Republicans and conservatism, to the degree that the “outreach” takes on a sort of moral confusion (even a political ostentation) more than it reflects bravery.

    I would disagree that Paul has cornered or will corner the market on populism. He may take certain small-government and individual rights issues on as his own, but each candidate will do that.

    I’ve heard talk from candidates in the past about “third ways” and “new ways” and “changing the template” etc., but this never seems to work out well (see Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Newt Gingrich). If Paul is running as such a counter-intuitive “game-changer,” he has a problem in that there is nothing really in his record to support this. On the other hand, Cruz’s themes seem to be more about reformism or a return to time-tested conservativism (something we know and trust) but with the necessary add-on of confronting Washington establishment — the clear obstacle to this reform. Cruz has already made enemies within his party, which substantiates his claim. Paul on the other hand endorsed Mitch McConnell — the embodiment of the failed establishment.

    From the tone of the piece I would be inclined also to ask your position in the Paul campaign.

    Estragon in reply to Ragspierre. | April 7, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    The fact is, as my old friend Jack Kemp found out (but never stopped trying), even if you reach out AND connect on some things, blacks will not vote for you if you are a white Republican. PERIOD.

    – –

    Richard Nixon pulled 37% of the black vote in 1960. Only one Republican has cracked double digits since – Reagan managed 13% in his 49-state reelection landslide in 1984.

    It is as stupid as it is futile to assume “this time will be different.” Not going to happen. It’s fine to “try,” but it is dishonest to pretend there is a point to it beyond appearances.

Henry Hawkins | April 7, 2015 at 4:22 pm

“A lot of people were not happy that Rand Paul met with the NAACP at Ferguson or that he met with Al Sharpton. Others have been critical of him visiting largely black universities, with critics on the left and right claiming he’s just “pandering.” What Paul is showing by doing it however, is a fearlessness that is lacking from a lot of politicians. He knows he’s not going to get the warmest of receptions, but he does it anyway. Know what it does? It leads to headlines that say, “NAACP head praises Rand Paul.”

Well, that’s one reading of it. It is a defensible position, not that I hold it, to say he’s pandering to blacks because gaining a certain number of votes from that bloc is a necessary part of his path to the White House, that is, it could feasibly be motivated by base politics, a pander for votes.

Also, in today’s GOP, and especially among a huge part of Paul’s base – Tea Party-style conservatives – the headline “NAACP head praises Rand Paul” will cost him more votes on the right than it gains him on the left*, the same mistaken calculation made by the GEP leadership not once, but twice, in 2008 with McCain, and in 2012 with Romney. The basic equation is that if you move to the center, you’ll pick up more indies and Dems than you’ll lose conservatives, and it has failed miserably twice. The question is whether or not Paul’s team knows this equation doesn’t and won’t work.

* Not because of any racism over it being the NAACP, but because 99.99% of the NAACP’s leadership and membership are far left in their politics, therefore natural and normal political opponents of the GEP and/or conservatives.

4. Paul is reaching out to constituencies others are not

Peter Suderman at Reason made a similar point in his “5 Things” Paul piece:

1. Rand Paul’s campaign strategy is built around an appeal to people who don’t traditionally vote Republican.

I guess it remains to be seen whether doing this will gain him more actual votes from people who wouldn’t ordinarily vote Republican, than it will lose from those who ordinarily do.

I do agree with you that he’ll bring a dynamic to the primary that will stir things up a little bit. We need someone up there who is at least willing to start a conversation about issues like NSA spying, crony capitalism, the ‘war on drugs’ and just how many Americans we’re willing to lock up in aid of it… The fact that the GOP establishment is already going all-out against him makes me more interested in hearing what he has to say.

If the primary were held today, I’d still vote Walker or Cruz over him, but I’m glad he’s in the race.

Will conservative and libertarian candidates split the vote so Mr. Establishment Jeb Bush get’s the nomination?

    Andy in reply to MattMusson. | April 7, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    This threat by the establishment comes up in every election. My response…. I would rather burn the establishment to the ground than have a RINO in the Oval office.

    If Hillary wins, then Ayn Rand will win and that’s better than a Jeb Bush victory.

P.S. His online store is very … hip. Almost self-consciously-so? The pitch:

Political fashion is boring. Rand fashion is cool. Make a statement.
CALL IT COOL

I do wonder whether he might end up with more people buying Rand stuff as a fashion statement than he actually convinces to get out and vote for him. I’m smitten by the puppy-dog “Unleash The Dream” gear myself 🙂

It is amazing; I read all this negativity about Rand
Paul’s viewpoints on foreign policy, that he wants to
legalize pot, give amnesty to illegals……..etc.

Then I go watch the video of his speech whereby he never
said any such thing.

If one watched today’s video, Rand Paul laid out his foreign
policy opinion very succinctly. He doesn’t think the US
should borrow money from China to give to Pakistan when
they support Hamas, etc. etc. He believes in a strong
defense that is not used to build other nations; that is
mostly used to protect American interests.

Anyone here disagree with that?

And btw, if you had a son or daughter that was caught
up in selling a little pot at the local bar and they
received 12 years in prison you would want these laws
changed also. What if they sold it on your property and
the government came and took your house? Which has happened.

I have always found it wise to put myself in the situation
prior to my making a stupid “naysayer” comment.

Too many are quick to jump down a candidate’s throat because
they aren’t their preferred candidate of choice; which is
usually Ted Cruz or Jebbie Bush. Listen to all their ideas;
this is the best crop we have had in decades.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Amjean. | April 7, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    I’m going to take a wild stab and guess you’re not in sales.

    Every poster above expalained to some degree why they feel as they do about Rand Paul. The problem is that you don’t like how they feel about Rand Paul. And that problem is yours.

    I have always found it wise to put myself in the situation
    prior to my making a stupid “naysayer” comment.

    What situation did you put yourself in prior to your making a stupid “naysayer” comment about your fellow commenters on this blog post?

    You write,

    I read all this negativity about Rand
    Paul’s viewpoints on foreign policy, that he wants to
    legalize pot, give amnesty to illegals……..etc.

    …yet which comments to this post are you addressing, exactly? Excluding yours, there are only 8 other comments up to this point. It shouldn’t be hard to pinpoint which ones you’re talking about.

    (And as an aside, what’s with the weird sentence formatting? You don’t really have to hit “enter” and start a new line every time you pause to take a breath, you know.)

No mention of the EPA? And as for his blurb about “I see an America with a restrained IRS that cannot target, cannot harass American citizens for their political or religious beliefs”; restrained until the next time?

Reforming the drug sentences really doesn’t seem to be a battlecry in ‘taking our country back.’

Liberals will vote for him. I consider him the democratic nominee ( although he won’t be by name)

It is a good thing he is entering the playing field as the democrats have Elizabeth Warren and…. that’s about it. Whatever nominee the democrats produce is going to have to contest rand paul for votes.

In the meantime, I think Scott Walker and Ted Cruz will both make a strong showing in their campaigns. I really wish that they would both run on the same ticket though.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to TB. | April 7, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Nothing prevents a Cruz/Walker or Walker/Cruz ticket. One of them has to defeat the other first and win the nomination, but many VP candidates have been selected from primary opponents.

Assuming he was elected would he be the first president to wear a toupee?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

Rand Paul will never be on a national Republican ticket.

– –

The apologists/revisionists/fanboys can pretend he’s modified his foreign policy views if they wish. It is only a political calculation, though, to the extent he has changed at all. But he repeated his allegiance to the Old Paulicy hundreds of times to small audiences. Was he lying then, or is he lying now?

Lindsey Graham is exactly right: Rand Paul’s foreign policy is to the left of Obama’s, to the left of Hillary’s. That’s just the truth. Deal with it.

    Ragspierre in reply to Estragon. | April 7, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    That reminds me of another pick I have with ol’ Rand.

    He’s been triangulating all over the damn map for months. I don’t find that attractive in a “principled Conservative”.

      Barry in reply to Ragspierre. | April 8, 2015 at 12:57 am

      “He’s been triangulating all over the damn map for months.”

      Agreed. Not quite the principled conservative he’s been sold as (or L).

      Which is the answer to my question further down…

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Ragspierre. | April 10, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Rags: I accidentally down-ticked you. Consider one of the down-ticks and uptick.

Rand has zero chance of getting the R nomination, and he knows this. So, ask yourself why is he running?

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Barry. | April 7, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    I’ve beening asking myself for ten minutes, but no answer yet.

    I imagine it happens more than we realize that major candidates have run despite knowing they had no chance to win, but at least they got their message out. Ironically – or perhaps not so ironically – Ron Paul is/was notorious for this. So, that’s a possible motive – taking the libertarian baton from dad and carrying on (with revisions for 21st century libertarians).

    He might be angling for the VP slot.

    He might be thinking he has an outside chance at the GEP nom, but if he fails, the money spent in the primaries sure helps his concurrent US Senate reelection campaign. A sort of backasswards can’t lose/two-fer.

    This is 100% subjective, but I’ve always gotten this sense of elitism from Paul when he speaks, this sense that though outwardly politic, there’s an undercurrent of condescension. He visibly smirks a lot, it seems to me, again.. subjective. I say this to wonder if he’s got that vein of narcissism we seem to find in so many famous people, that maybe he’s a true believer, he honestly and sincerely believes he will win the presidency and will perform wonderfully. Can’t fault that in a guy when the belief is within possibility.

    Perhaps Paul has been coerced or snookered into doing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) the favor of entering the primaries to divide conservative voters, opening the hole for Jeb Bush, that fresh young face and breath of fresh air that so many conservatives are clamoring for. His reward would be some committee chairmanship or a place on Bush’s putative short list for the VP slot.

      CloseTheFed in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 7, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      It’s highly advantageous to enter a race to get your issues highlighted. It tends to bring the other candidates in your direction.

      Also, if you force a runoff, you can bargain with the other candidates, offering your endorsement if they will try to implement your policy preference.

      Yes, it happens a good bit. 🙂

      CloseTheFed in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 7, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      Also, with regard to his “condescension”: I don’t pretend to know what’s in someone else’s mind, but when you look at the world from a different angle than everyone else, and you know you do, then yes, you might look a little disconnected, for lack of a better word.

      Libertarians REALLY believe you shouldn’t have to ask the government’s permission for every damn thing you do. Oddly, most Americans can’t comprehend this viewpoint. Staggering unAmerican that they can’t.

      They’re so used to being under the yoke of big government, they can’t even conceive of not being so yoked anymore.

        Sanddog in reply to CloseTheFed. | April 7, 2015 at 11:34 pm

        The idea of the kind of freedom we’d have if the constitution were strictly adhered to scares the hell out of everyone on the left and a lot of people on the right. Our rights don’t come with a “however”, “but”, or “except” attached. Unfortunately, we’ve sat back and allowed rights to be eroded out of nothing more than the fear that people might make bad decisions.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to CloseTheFed. | April 8, 2015 at 11:48 am

        “Also, with regard to his “condescension”: I don’t pretend to know what’s in someone else’s mind, but….”

        I’m a psychologist paid to know what’s in someone’s mind, so that’s not a perjorative to me, to pretend to know what’s in someone’s mind, however, I have never evaluated Paul, of course. I see this a lot, where folks say they don’t pretend to know what’s in another’s mind, but in fact, we all make such assumptions, all day, every day. Personal pet peeve, sorry.

        “…when you look at the world from a different angle than everyone else, and you know you do, then yes, you might look a little disconnected, for lack of a better word.”

        Well, there IS a better word – condescension – and changing it to disconnected creates a straw man. I’ll take your word on your assertion about looking disconnected, but it’s irrelevant because I never said that.

        In fact, my subjective sense that he’s often condescending is based in part on his projecting that he’s completely and totally connected on everything, which can seem or is condescending. It also obviates your ‘disconnected’ substitution.

      I’m not certain I know the answer. I do know, he knows, he will not be the nominee, not even close.

      Rags had this comment above, “He’s been triangulating all over the damn map for months.”

      Which is sorta the answer – I think it is simply self promotion. He will syphon some support from Cruz and Walker, maybe enough that he thinks they will pander to him. I don’t think either will in any real fashion. Cruz is too smart and Walker is comfortable in his own.

      Or, he could be in bed with Bush, but I highly doubt that one.

      I don’t dislike Paul. Just not the right guy for P.

    Rand has zero chance of getting the R nomination, and he knows this. So, ask yourself why is he running?

    For the some of the same reasons that his father spent so many presidential cycles running: If you’re on the stage, you get to bring YOUR issues to the fore-front. It means that “the candidates” can’t simply ignore the points you are making, and at least some small portion of the electorate will start identifying with YOUR issues.

    It’s a “long game” approach to national political change. That’s in large part why Rep. Ron Paul spent so much time angling for the college/youth vote. Those who you can capture and get involved today become the loyal voters in tomorrow’s primary (tomorrow being 24-32 years down the line) and will become the influence on a disproportional volume of the primary vote.

There’s a lot to like about him–he is definitely small government, big liberty–, but I think that Rand’s time has either past or is yet to come (and not in 2016). The global situation that Obama has created and will leave in even worse shape when he leaves office will need someone who has a stronger vision of America’s role in the world than Rand Paul has or will ever have. He can say whatever he wants now, but we all know that he’s more isolationist and more like his dad in this area than he’s willing to admit now (and up to the election). He’s not the guy I want leading the fight against global jihad. I’m not even sure he gets that there is a global jihad come to think of it.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | April 7, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    What possible risk could a couple dozen nuclear-tipped Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles pose? Small nuclear missiles can be mounted on a truck, but the Iranians are too moral for that. Besides, Obama got us a plan to discuss and talk about and ultimately ignore Iran’s nuclear aspirations, so it’s all good. Rand Paul is right on this.

    /sarc

Henry Hawkins | April 7, 2015 at 6:51 pm

Rand Paul is apparently selling autographed copies of the Constitution for $1,000.

http://weaselzippers.us/219955-beyond-tacky-rand-paul-selling-autographed-copies-of-the-u-s-constitution-for-1000/

Not quite sure what to think about that.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 7, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    To be clear, HIS autograph on the Constitution, not those of the Founders. Those would cost, like, I dunno, $1,500?

    Yikes, that’s not good.

    I had to go to his website to see it for myself (not that I don’t trust Weasel, just couldn’t believe it). I get that it’s a fund-raising thing, but that’s not good. Not good at all.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | April 7, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      Perhaps Martin Luther or someone like him will staple some suggestions to his forehead.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | April 8, 2015 at 11:55 am

      I’m going to give the Paul team the benefit of the doubt and assume they meant this as one of those traditional forma of fundraising where you get gifts for larger donations, a common practice. You know, like: “And if you’ll commit $50 per month to the Fuzzy Slipper Foundation, we’ll send you a spiffy FSF canvas shopping bag!”

      Perhaps they got a little clumsy with the presentation, inadvertently made it look sort of tacky?

So how about a ticket of Bush/Paul? As opposed to a ticket of Walker/Cruz or Cruz/Walker?

I live in Wisconsin and greatly admire Walker but wonder whether he is too “small” to govern the country, but, at the same time, wonder whether that is exactly what is needed. Walker is very decent and has good principles. He has been totally vetted and there are no scandals attached to him. But his ability to have a global perspective? I’m not sure.

Cruz is brilliant, principled and, according to my neighbor who works for Johnson, is utterly reviled by many “conservative” Republicans.

So far, I’m for Cruz.

CloseTheFed | April 7, 2015 at 9:58 pm

If a man if for liberty, I don’t care if he sells bikinis with his face on them. I’ve gotten half a dozen copies of the constitution from different groups. They paid; Rand is finding a way to make money to push to restore our freedom.

It’s a long-held daydream of mine, to live in a free country. I’ll probably die without knowing what that is like.

Criticize on substance; not baloney. Iran getting a bomb is substance. But heck, give Israel whatever arms she wants, and let them bomb Iran forward to the iron age.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to CloseTheFed. | April 8, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    “If a man if for liberty, I don’t care if he sells bikinis with his face on them. I’ve gotten half a dozen copies of the constitution from different groups. They paid; Rand is finding a way to make money to push to restore our freedom.”

    The practice is normal and common. The Paul team’s presentation of the $1000 autographed Constitutions is very tacky, off-putting, to many.

    “It’s a long-held daydream of mine, to live in a free country. I’ll probably die without knowing what that is like.”

    Oh, fer crissakes, take your palm from your forehead, Miss Scarlet, it’s gonna be OK. Guarding the Bill O’ Rights is incredibly important, but your living in what is still the free-est country on earth. This sort of hyperbolic lament-for-effect does nothing to further Rand Paul’s cause, if you would be a salesman for him, nor does it serve your own credibility.

    “Criticize on substance; not baloney. Iran getting a bomb is substance. But heck, give Israel whatever arms she wants, and let them bomb Iran forward to the iron age.”

    One man’s substance is another man’s baloney. It’s called ignoring opinion/facts you don’t like and relabeling them as baloney. Substantive criticism of Rand Paul exists – you just don’t like hearing it. That does not make it baloney. But, calling it baloney relieves you of substantively rebutting it, which you have not, and I’ll wager, cannot do.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Ragspierre. | April 8, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Huh? How could you oppose race-based criminal codes?

    /sarc + LOL

      Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 8, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      I know, right? What WAS I thinking?

      My lil’ head must have been infested by the notion that people are people, and conduct is conduct.

      Geez. I’m turning into a monster…

        Henry Hawkins in reply to Ragspierre. | April 8, 2015 at 6:40 pm

        I’ve been hanging on the fence, leaning NOPE re: Rand Paul, but this call for a criminal justice system retooled to equalize racial balance among the convicted is insane. It’s one of two things:

        1. A pander to black voters.

        2. He sincerely believes in it.

        Either is a deal-breaker for me.

        BUT, he does provide some awesome verbal spankings to the right targets (Rand Paul today to press, frustrated over constant abortion questions: “Why don’t you ask Democrats if they support killing a 7 pound baby?” or something like that, referring to late term abortion.)

        I think he’ll slowly disappear from the primary process, but he can bulldog all the way.

    Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | April 9, 2015 at 12:16 am

    I actually think many of the laws Powerline lists should be repealed — but not because the people who break them happen not to have the same racial distribution as the general population. That’s just an insane position for Paul to take.

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