When Rand Paul first entered into politics, I was told that he was more politically savvy than his father, Ron Paul. I was told that he had his father’s libertarian streak, but that he knew how to tone his message down in order to appeal to a wider audience.
Rand Paul, in his first major foray into politics, succeeded by winning a Senate seat. Perhaps his supporters were correct.
When Rand Paul was campaigning for his Senate seat, I immediately detected his far less radical message than his father. I was told this was a good thing. I was told that he is really a libertarian and that he just needs to say some of those “mainstream” things in order to get elected. Once in office, he would be like his dad.
Since being in office, Rand Paul has not been like his father. He is probably one of the best senators out of the 100, but that isn’t really saying much.
Now that he is running for president, I am told that Rand Paul has had to take certain positions in the Senate in order to position himself as electable in the presidential race. Once in office, he will be more like his dad.
I suppose if Rand gets elected president, then I will be told throughout his first term that he has to take certain positions in order to get elected to a second term. Once he gets into a second term, then he will be more like his dad.
For the last 6 years, I have been told by libertarian-leaning conservatives, and even some libertarians, that Rand Paul cannot be too much like his father. If Rand is like Ron, then he won’t be successful.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on what would have happened if Rand had been like Ron. What if Rand had been delivering the same radical message as his father? We don’t even have to go back over the last 6 years. Let’s just consider if Rand’s presidential campaign had been similar to his father’s campaigns from 2007/2008 and 2011/2012.
- If Rand had been more like Ron, there would be hundreds of thousands of young adults today converted to a more radical libertarian message because they were too young to comprehend or take an interest in Ron’s message 4 or 8 years ago.
- If Rand had been more like Ron, there would be college students today taking their summers and holiday breaks to campaign for Rand.
- If Rand had been more like Ron, we would be seeing “money bombs” in which Rand’s campaign could be raising millions of dollars over a one-day period.
- If Rand had been more like Ron, we would be seeing blimps flying overhead with his name on them.
- If Rand had been more like Ron, there would be people taking leaves of absence from work to campaign for him.
- If Rand had been more like Ron, there would be signs and bumper stickers all over the place with Rand’s name on them.
- If Rand had been more like Ron, the post-debate polls taken online would have been overwhelmed with Rand supporters.
- If Rand had been more like Ron, we would be hearing true opposition to foreign interventionism, the drug war, the Federal Reserve, and other issues where we currently do not hear a libertarian message.
- If Rand had been more like Ron, he would be much higher in the polls.
- If Rand had been more like Ron, he would actually have a decent chance of winning in Iowa.
What worked for Rand in running for his Senate seat has not worked in running for the presidency. Libertarians are worse off for Rand Paul not being a libertarian. But we don’t have to worry about him winning the presidency and being misrepresented as a libertarian. That’s because he is not going to be elected.
He has miscalculated politically, and I still don’t think he understands. He thought he could play both sides of the fence. Instead, he has managed to turn off both sides of the fence.
He wasn’t elected Senator by hiding from his father’s name. If his name were Rand Smith, he would never have been elected to the Senate. In terms of his presidential run, his name may as well be Rand Smith.