Rand Paul is probably the only candidate who has enough stature to go beyond party lines. Why? Because he goes against the mainstream of the old guard. Since early 2009, except on a few wedge issues, there are few differences between a Barack Obama or John McCain for instance. Rand Paul is one of the few fresh faces in US Politics.
Both Obama and Mccain are pro a very interventionist foreign policy, they are both for drones and for an obese military, they both don’t mind ignoring (many) aspects of the Constitution and they believe that the best thing to get re-elected is to keep the status-quo as long as this is possible whatever the consequences for the next generations. Very few politicians in the US are in this day and age against socialism ”for the old” (Medicare) or socialism ”for the military”. And this without saying that Obama’s first four years had been good for some bad reasons. He was the president who deported the most immigrants in his first four years in office and he was the one who had used the most executive order (rule by decree) of all US presidents while adding that for the ”most transparent administration in history”; Obama’s transparency record is awful. (1)
Indeed, after more then four years of Barack Obama in the White House, many are now realising that the ”change” and ”hope” was not much else then a game of mirrors. And sadly, the Democratic leadership both in the Senate and in the House had accepted the majority of politics which they opposed before January 2009 both in domestically and in foreign policy. There are of course, exceptions to the rule, but those exceptions are still quite rare.
There is also a sad sense that principles in US politics change a lot depending on which ”team” is in power. Even if Rand is not a clone of his father, Ron Paul is one of the few elected officials in Washington who respected the Constitution in his voting record for decades. From the 1970’s to 2013, his principles had not changed a bit.
I am not saying that Rand Paul is perfect. It’s naive to think that he is 100% libertarian in every one of his positions. Some of his positions are akin to social conservatism and this while considering the political culture in the State of Kentucky, may mean that Rand Paul doesn’t have much of a choice (2). We will have to wait and see what would be his main platform politics on the campaign trail in the future. But if we see in the primaries the same Rand Paul who did the filibuster against the ”President’s kill list” this could become very interesting for us Libertarians.
I am perhaps only a ”libertarian kid” as Senator McCain had said, but even through I remain sceptical, Rand Paul could have a base and a message that very few politicians have in the US right now. Like in many countries, people in the US (especially at the federal level) are doubtful about anything that elected officials are doing. I sometimes think that the plague would get a more popular approval rating than Congress. This is why Rand Paul should focus on a pro-freedom message to have a shot at winning the GOP primary and the White House especially among younger voters and New Americans who come to America to start a living and being left alone.
Like Calvin Coolidge said, to have a president who ”minds more of his own business” would be a very good thing for everyone.
(2) In 2010, when Rand Paul was running for the US Senate in Kentucky, Democrats in Kentucky had released the ”Aqua Buddha” attack ad which which give the impression that Paul was not religious.