Senator Rand Paul: Making The Right Moves for 2016

PREVIEW 2016 – Senator Rand Paul Making The Right Moves

My first entry in a series looking ahead to 2016 is on Kentucky’s Senator Rand Paul, who is quietly building a resume for the presidency based on limited government conservatism coupled with a restrained foreign policy.

Senator Paul began his political career in the shadow of his father, one of the most beloved figures in the libertarian-wing of the conservative movement, Rep. Ron Paul. The impressive grassroots and social media presence of Ron Paul supporters was a huge factor in Rand Paul’s upset win in the 2010 Kentucky U.S. Senate primary.

Since taking office there has been rampant speculation that Senator Paul would follow in his father’s footsteps and run for President in 2016. Not surprisingly, Paul is staking out a host of foreign policy positions that place him at odds with hawkish Senate Republican wing of the party, led by John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

First, Paul astutely recognizes, even if Senator McCain does not, that the American people are weary of overseas adventures and have little patience for widening the War on Terror. This week at the Heritage Foundation, Senator Paul claimed the mantle on the “realist” school of foreign policy, laying out a principle of foreign intervention only when it serves specific American interests. This places Paul much more in line with the broader American public than the interventionist McCain-wing of the GOP.

Second, he has been vocal in his opposition to the selling of F-16s and M1A1 Abrams tanks to the Muslim Brotherhood controlled Egyptian government. Senator McCain claims this will help “stabilize” Egypt, but most Americans little sympathy for a government that is instituting sharia law, treating women like second class citizens and openly supports Hamas. Our national interest are not served by giving this unpredictable government fighter jets or the most advanced tank in America’s mechanized arsenal.

Third, he was one of the few Senators willing to confront Secretary Clinton during the hearing on the Benghazai debacle. Not being afraid to speak truth to power or bucking conventional wisdom is a sign of true leadership.

Fourth, Paul has been a leader in criticizing the Obama’s Administration weak response on the arrest of Dr. Shakil Afridi, the brave Pakistini doctor who provided the actionable intelligence on the Bin Laden raid. The notorious Pakistini ISI subsequently seized Dr. Afridi, where he faces torture and execution. The President’s abandonment of the man who was critical to his greatest national security triumph sends a chilling message in a region where America has immense trouble recruiting human intelligence assets.

Senator Paul recently conducted a high profile visit to Israel accompanied by several of America’s leading evangelical leaders. Evangelical Christians are steadfast supporters of Israel, and it is no coincidence that they are one of the most significant voting blocks in the early caucus state of Iowa.

Finally, Senator Paul’s thoughtfulness has earned wide respect from his Senate colleagues. It is well known that his father has a much more combative personality that inevitably leads to isolation in a town where relationships are vital to achieving substantive legislative victories. Senator Paul has been adept in doing his homework, conducting his committee work seriously and picking his battles wisely.

If Senator Paul can tap into his father’s grassroots supporters and energy coupled with decent establishment support, he will be a very formidable candidate in 2016 for the GOP nomination. Regardless, he is providing a unique voice in the United States Senate on a more restrained foreign policy for America. Future thoughts on Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Bobby Jindhal and our own Governor Bob McDonnell are coming soon.

  • JR, I am requesting that add a Like button.

  • Chris

    on a more tactical level . . . the Iowa GOP just reelected their current chairman, AJ Spiker, who can from the Paul campaign, as well as elected an RP-backer as vice-chair. One of the “evangelicals” on Paul’s trip to South Carolina was Chad Connelly, current chairman of the SC GOP. Rep. Paul did well in Iowa and New Hampshire, so there is vertile ground for Senator Paul to get off to a fast start in 2016 in two states that lean in his favor based on his father’s past performances.

  • David A.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but Rand Paul has no shot at being the Republican nominee in 2016 or ever. Put down the kool-aid.

    • lol! I’ll see you on the battlefield sir! Better get ready now, for hell hath no furry like men fighting for freedom!

      L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace!

      • pinecone321

        That brings to mind the comments/observations made by many during the Ron Paul election season, that even though Ron may have had some good ideas, his more, ummmm, shall I say vehement supporters, they turned so many off, and ignored Ron Paul completely because of it.

        There is surely already a contingent already rallying for Paul’s likely run in 2016. In an article on Marco Rubio, another possible contender, it seems the second birther contingent is already screaming that Rubio is not qualified to run for the presidency, as he is not a natural born citizen, therefor disqualified. Sigh!

        I dropped my teeth when I read one comment that proudly proclaimed that the “Founding Fathers were brilliant because they made sure that a Hitler or a Stalin could not come to the US, marry a girl from Kansas, and then takeover the presidency to destroy the country.” Double sigh!!

        There were so many comments on how the Founding Fathers decided who could be president or not, that they seem to have skipped over the fact that the Founding Fathers writing in Article II, Section 1, of the US Constitution never defined “natural born citizen” but left it up to the future Congresses to decide.

        Before the rumor grows legs, and I am not at this time a Rubio fan by any means, I would suggest reading what I believe has been some really excellent research on the topic of “natural born” citizenship.

        I’ll be right back with the link to part 1.

    • MD Russ

      As they say on the Geico commercial, “when pigs fly.” However unlikely, if Rand did get the Republican nomination, I can predict the outcome: President Elizabeth Warren, a.k.a. Pocahontas.

    • pinecone321

      Rand Paul has already been talking about his foreign policy positions. Here are a few comments from his speeches that are sending him in his father’s foreign policy direction, which many believed to be dangerous and downright naive in the current world.

      Rand Paul spoke at the Values Voters Summit. He claimed that he was conflicted, as he wasn’t sure that Jesus would condone killing anyone, even in self defense. That is absolutely scary. Does that mean that even if we are attacked, we would not retaliate, because Jesus would not have condoned killing, even in self defense?‘t-believe-jesus-wouldve-condoned-killing/262558

      In Rand Paul’s foreign policy speech before the Heritage Foundation, he had this to say-

      “Here’s the passage at issue:

      In the 1980s, the war caucus in Congress armed bin Laden and the
      mujaheddin in their fight with the Soviet Union. In fact, it was the
      official position of the State Department to support radical jihad
      against the Soviets. We all know how well that worked out.

      Let’s leave aside for now the insulting, utterly asinine, sickening,
      inexcusable use of the phrase “war caucus” to describe those (including
      Reagan!) who supported the mujaheddin against the Soviets. That word
      choice alone is almost entirely disqualifying for its purveyor to ever
      be president.”

      I am also remembering that Ron Paul left the Republican party in 1988, to run as a libertarian presidential candidate. When he wrote his letter of leaving, he accused Ronald Reagan of being a total failure as a President. He slammed the Republican party, that he later came crawling back to in order to run for his House seat yet again. It’s curious that Ron denigrated President Reagan in the 80’s, and Rand Paul claims that there was a “war caucus” in the 80’s as well, and seems to be still knocking Regan for his successful cold war initiative. That hasn’t sat really well with the Reagan conservatives, and it shouldn’t.

    • Guest

      David. Who in your view is the front-runner for the GOP nomination in 2016? And based on what? (And frankly, the kool-aid has been been so over used, it no longer meaningful. Ought to give that line up. At this point, every pundit has used that line against every other pundit. It really is not longer even remotely clever.)

      • David A.

        At this point, it’s pointless to talk about the possible Republican field in 2016. No one is going to announce until after the midterms and there is an eternity b/w now and then. Anything can happen.

        But, I’ll humor you and myself. If Hilary runs, you’ll probably see quite a few high profile candidates take a pass. Why risk the chance. She’s exceedingly popular and we’ve already seen the country’s excitement over electing a candidate who isn’t a white male.

        But at this point, those probably considering who have some sort of shot – Rubio, Christie, McDonnell (could be a consensus choice in a fractured primary), Jeb Bush, Ryan (but I believe he would prefer to stay in the House and rise through leadership), Portman or Kasich. But if Bush gets in, Rubio will not run and vice versa. I’d say Martinez as well, but I don’t think she’d have a shot in this field.

  • Jason. Rest assured, you are not alone I congratulate BD for allowing you to post this first series of your take on the possible candidates in 2016. The blow-back here is predictable, but at least you have got their attention.

    • MD Russ

      But the question here, Craig, is whether or not Rand Paul can get the attention of the voters? The Tea Party-Libertarians and the Israel-first fundamentalists are not a majority voting block by any means. Just ask Barack Obama.

      • pinecone321

        In three attempts, at runs for the presidency, on two different party tickets, should be pretty obvious that the majority isn’t buying what is being sold. Even when double speak has been employed.

      • Let’s break down your comments here Russ. (1) can Rand Paul get the attention of Voters? I think the answer to that is yes. He got elected to the US Senate; (2) Tea Party Libertarians Israel First Fundamendalists…WTF? Can you write a sentence in English that connects verbs with subjects? (3) Just ask Barack Obama. ???? Ask him what. What time it is? See #2 above.

      • Russ. First you said Ron Paul got not more than 2% of the vote. Then you admitted he got 40% of the vote in the Virginia GOP primary. Then you said he got 14% of the of the vote. Something about this guy just really scares you to death. Maybe because he’s telling the truth.

        • M Russ

          Craig, Ron Paul does not scare me a bit. As for telling the truth, as we say out in the country, he would rather climb a tree and tell a lie than stand on the ground and tell the truth. And if you insist on quoting me, then please do so accurately rather than twisting what I said beyond any recognition. I said that Ron Paul typically polls around 2%, not that he got not more than 2% of the vote. I was referring to his nationwide vote when you introduced the irrelevant fact that he got 40% in Virginia. BFD, he was running against one candidate in Virginia–a Mormon–in one of the most conservative and fundamentalist states. As for his 14% of the vote, that included the caucus states where his Paulistinian fanatics could pack the caucuses. You also forgot to mention that Ron Paul did not win a single delegate in a primary state.

          Now then, returning to Paul the Younger, tonight he is going to present the Tea Party response to Obama and to the Republican response. So what is his party, Republican or Tea Party? Or, like his father, is party affiliation a matter of convenience?

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