The junior Senator from Kentucky has created quite the political firestorm across America. Coming in as a Tea Party favorite in 2010, Paul brought a message from the Tea Party: “We’re taking our government back!” This was highlighted in his 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington.
Paul came in with a sweeping victory all across the country for the GOP at large, and the Tea Party in particular. His name was not very well known though in national politics. That is until March 2013, during his 13 hour filibuster on the Senate floor over Obama nominee for CIA Director John Brennan. Paul raised concerns over the Obama administrations use of drone strikes in targeted killings.
Paul has declared that he wiould filibuster the nomination of David Barron for the First Circuit on the U.S. Court of Appeals. Concerns have been raised regarding Barron’s legal justification over the drone strike program.
This particular topic has brought all sorts of people together backing Paul, from the left, right, top, bottom, etc. You name it, you can bet a Rand Paul supporter is there.
Even at the University of California Berkeley, a heavily liberal college, welcomed Paul with thunderous applause at his address at the Berkeley Forum. Watch his it below.
For instance, to the surprise of many, Paul endorsed Mitch McConnell, the Senior Senator from Kentucky, and Senate Minority Leader, in his bid for reelection. This came as a surprise to many, and some find themselves questioning why Paul has endorsed McConnell.
McConnell praised Paul for “not attacking fellow Republicans,” but some such as Mark Levin and Glenn Beck have openly called out “RINO’s” like McConnell for their “progressive” political views that align with big government policies.
Paul’s trouble doesn’t end there. In regards to foreign policy, he recieved a great deal of criticism for his ‘flip-flop” position on the role of the U.S. regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.
“In the beginning, he was pacifist. Then he tried to sound statesman-like. And then he got tough. Then he became Reagan crossed with Eisenhower. And he attacks Ted Cruz, as any good McConnell toady would.” Quote via “streiff (Diary)” in a summary of Paul’s flip-flopping on Crimea, published by RedState.com.
Paul’s most recent ideological clash with the Conservative base was regarding voter identification laws, something that the Tea Party at large, and GOP in general has been pushing for.
“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Mr. Paul said in an interview (with the New York Times). “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”
Many on the right were rather outraged by this, but Paul says his comments were taken out of context. Rather he meant that the GOP should not make it a running issue for the midterm elections come November.
Paul agrees that voter ID laws are a good thing, citing a race in which his father, libertarian hero Ron Paul, lost an election by a mere 200 votes in a race with more than 200,000 voters. 3,000 were found to be fraudulent.
These few issues may have caused some concern for many on the right, including Mark Levin and Glenn Beck, but perhaps what Paul is doing is part of a larger and longer term strategy than many of us realize.
With Paul’s endorsement of McConnell, he could be following Reagan’s 11 Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” Perhaps he seeks to maintain some friendly relations in the Senate for the future; only Rand Paul knows that.
One thing is for sure though. Rand Paul does not seem to be the kind of leader who will simply fade into the background.
In an early Presidential Poll in New Hampshire, Paul beats out Hillary Clinton by 2 points.
He has attracted Republicans, Democrats, and libertarians all across the country. If he continues on his streak of standing up to the Obama administration,and standing for principles that unite everyone across the political spectrum, his popularity could dwarf that of Hillary Clinton by the time 2016 comes around.
If he becomes just another part of the GOP establishment, it may just be a story of betrayal and disappointment America has never seen before.