Rand Paul demonstrated his wider appeal through the amazing variety of endorsements he picked up, from Jim DeMint to James Dobson, from Steve Forbes to Sarah Palin. As Liberty Maven’s Marc Gallagher commented when Palin appeared with both Pauls on Fox’s Freedom Watch last June:
“How fitting it was to see Rand Paul sitting between Ron Paul and Sarah Palin on the show. I’m not sure if this seating arrangement was purpose-driven, but it certainly seemed like it could have been deliberate. Rand Paul represents the ‘coming together’ of these factions into a more effective liberty-driven whole.” (5)
Salon acknowledged in May that Rand Paul had “pulled off a remarkable feat in Kentucky: uniting his father’s libertarian army with Rush Limbaugh’s Dittoheads in a coalition that the party establishment has been powerless to stop. If he could even begin to replicate that Kentucky formula on the national stage, Rand Paul would be far more formidable than Ron Paul ever was or ever could be.” (1)
Sometimes it looks as if Rand Paul is already running against Obama. He recorded his own response to the President’s State of the Union message in January, stressing the looming debt crisis (6). He returned to that theme this week, speaking for a group of rogue Senators who vow to block the passage of “any” legislation until that crisis is addressed. (7) Unlike his father, Rand does not hestitate to attack; and he sounds increasingly like a candidate as he excoriates Obama’s lack of ‘leadership’:
“We do need bold leadership, and I think the president has abdicated in that role, and I think even some of us as Republicans aren’t doing what we ought to do. We need to lead boldly. We need to believe in the things we used to believe in, like that education should be state and local, that we can cut things, that we can balance the budget, and that America is a great nation, that the American dream is worth believing in. And I think if we can do that I think the sky’s the limit.” (8)
Like his father, Rand Paul is scheduling speaking trips of his own to Iowa and New Hampshire, “raising reporters’ eyebrows because of both states’ status in the presidential nominating cycle” according to Washington insider blog The Hill. The blog adds: “The trips to Iowa and New Hampshire do nothing to tamp down speculation that the younger Paul will make a run if his father opts against another campaign, and he’s been on a media blitz to promote it.” (9)
The younger Paul has many reasons to encourage such speculation and the attention it brings him. For one thing, he has a new book to promote. (10) For another, it attracts attention to his issues. But it cannot be denied that he is positioning himself for a Presidential run.
Update: Online news service FITSnews reported March 15 that “U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) will be a surprise guest at a private political meeting in Charleston, S.C. on Monday – fueling speculation that the son of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul may take his father’s place in the 2012 GOP presidential primary…. Should Ron Paul decline to seek the presidency in 2012, his son has indicated that he would consider mounting a bid.” (11)
As a final consideration, one can note that Rand Paul would be running as a Senator, while Ron Paul (for all his rock star status among his supporters) is still just one of 400-odd Congressmen. As the Cato Institute’s David Boaz puts it: “Ron Paul may make some noise, and may run, but House members don’t get nominated for President.” (3) Indeed, one has to go back to James Garfield in 1880 to find the last, and in fact the only, instance of a sitting Congressman being elected POTUS..
On the other hand, Senators can and do win. True, Rand Paul is only a first-term junior Senator. But that does not look like much of an obstacle. To find an instance of a first-term junior Senator winning the Presidency, one has to go back only as far as Barack Obama.
rEVOLution 2.0 — prologue - http://www.nolanchart.com/article8421.html
rEVOLution 2.0 – The case for a Ron Paul Presidential campaign in 2012 - http://www.nolanchart.com/article8429.html
Photo: Rand Paul, at a town hall meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, Nov. 7, 2009. Photo by Gage Skidmore. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported (CC-BY-SA-30) License. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.