Out of all of the seemingly hundreds of Republican candidates who have announced they’re running for president in 2016, the only one that I kind of like is Rand Paul. Don’t get me wrong, under that veneer of civil libertarian rhetoric designed to appeal to younger and more progressive voters, he’s pretty much just a Republican who doesn’t mind people smoking pot. Even some of my libertarian friends have made the same remarks, despite the fact that we find him to be charismatic and pretty good at ruffling the feathers of his fellow Republicans.
I’m not voting for Rand Paul for a number of reasons, but if a GOP candidate were to win in 2016, I can think of far worse people to sit in the Oval Office. Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, or Bobby Jindal are examples that immediately come to mind. Like his father and other conservatives, Rand Paul gets things right every once in a while. Just yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sided with the liberal judges in the case of Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans which stated that Texas was right to refuse to issue license plates with the Confederate flag on them.
The problem is that Justice Thomas doesn’t have to worry about pandering to fringe voters, but Rand Paul does if he wants to get the GOP nomination. That’s why this statement he made in the aftermath of the Charleston shooting probably just sank his chances of getting the GOP nomination.
Sen. Rand Paul took a risk Thursday. Speaking to an audience of religious conservatives in the wake of a racially charged shooting in South Carolina, Paul delicately suggested that Republicans might want to start focusing on other parts of the Bill of Rights than the Second Amendment.
“Everybody is for the Second Amendment. All 55 candidates running for president are for the Second Amendment—on our side,” Paul told the crowd. “But the thing is that a lot of young people, that might not be their primary issue.”
Leaving room, even rhetorical room, to one’s right—particularly on an issue as important to the Republican base as gun rights—is a gamble in the crowded 2016 GOP primary. But it’s one very much in keeping with the Kentucky senator’s campaign of almost-gonzo optimism, and it’s the type of decision backed by Paul’s personal conviction that his libertarian philosophy can unite traditional Republican voters with more independent-minded young people and minorities. (Source)
Rand Paul is right, Republicans do need to pay attention to the rest of the Constitution, but the voters they cater to have been so completely sold on an absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment that to even suggest it’s not the primary thing to focus on is political suicide.
It’s a statement that the crowded field of Republican candidates will be quick to pounce on, even though Rand Paul is a staunch supporter of the right to bear arms. After all, this is the party of the NRA and Larry Pratt, a rabid gun fanatic who stated that the Second Amendment was meant to be used against people like President Obama. It is also the party that has constantly warned that President Obama was coming for our guns any day now, and anyone who supports any kind of regulation, no matter how sensible, was a traitor to be dealt with harshly.
I don’t think that Rand Paul is any kind of political moderate, but it is very telling how out of touch and how far right the Republican Party has become when it is unusual for a serious candidate to say that perhaps talking about guns all the time might not be the best political strategy. Then again, any occurrence of a Republican politician proposing something sensible, whether as policy or strategy, is becoming more and more rare these days. No wonder they have such a hard time attracting younger voters and minorities.
Latest posts by Manny Schewitz (see all)
- It Looks Inevitable, Donald Trump Will Eventually Be The Republican Nominee - January 17, 2016
- Donald Trump Is Now Using Ted Cruz’s Canadian Birth Against Him - January 14, 2016
- Hillary Clinton’s False Statements On Bernie Sanders’ Healthcare Record Are Disgraceful - January 14, 2016