The Horse Sense Blog compares the nonsense in today's news with good ol' fashioned horse sense

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Can Rand Be The Man?

Here's the Nonsense:  Rand Paul is throwing his hat in the ring to run for president.  No one can overcome Rand and he's the only one we should support.

Here's the Horse Sense:  While Rand Paul would make a very good candidate, he does have some things to overcome.  Whether he can do it remains to be seen.

The Republicans are starting to announce their candidacies for the 2016 presidential nomination.  Officially, Ted Cruz is the one candidate who's in the race, but Rand Paul is planning to announce tomorrow that he's in the contest, too.  While there's no doubt that no one who's shown interest in running is as conservative as Cruz, that doesn't mean there aren't others who will be taken very seriously by conservatives.  Very close to Cruz, with a very strong conservative voting record is Rand Paul.  But does Rand have what it takes to woo voters and win the nomination?

Certainly Rand Paul inherits his father, Ron Paul's libertarian followers.  Rand has shown himself to embrace much of what his father did when it comes to libertarian issues, yet he's not a clone of his father.  Rand is clearly his own man and has taken a more conservative stance on some issues.

Rand has been willing to pursue support from traditionally unfriendly audiences for Republicans with such efforts as speaking to black audiences.  He clearly understands the fact that blacks tend to be more conservative in their values than other voting blocks, even though they often don't recognize that fact about themselves and have tended to follow Democrats blindly.  However, recent polling shows that 26% of blacks now embrace conservatism.  The remaining 74% are split with about 40% now considering themselves moderate and the balance considering themselves liberal.  This is an interesting set of statistics in a community where over 90% voted for Obama.  My guess is that the failure of Obama's presidency to provide any solutions to help the black community (in fact, Obama has made situations worse for the black community) and this has awakened many to reconsider their commitment to the Democrats.  

This could play very well for Paul as he builds his campaign momentum.  There is a huge relatively untapped voting base for conservative Republicans in the black community if conservatives will reach out to them and show them that they values they hold are the same values as conservatives represent.  This is a worst case nightmare for Democrats if a conservative candidate is successful in turning them back to the Republican Party (the party which the black community embraced for generations all the way up to and including Martin Luther King, Jr.).

Intellectually the Republican field has some extremely intelligent candidates to choose from:  

Ted Cruz, as mentioned in a previous post, has proven his intellect with high achievement in school and comments of his high intelligence from the likes of his former Harvard law school professor, Democrat Alan Dershowitz, who has talked about him being one of the smartest students he ever had.  

Bobby Jindal has a remarkable intellect that was proven when he declined the chance to go to Yale or Harvard medical school and instead chose to go to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar.  

And Rand Paul also has a remarkable scholastic background having quit college before obtaining his undergraduate degree and still being able to get accepted to medical school.  Add to this his achievements in medicine that include significant work in the areas of providing care for the underserved and indigent communities and he's also one of those top tier intellects running for the Republican nomination.  (And, let me say here that any of these 3 or the other conservative Republicans who've shown interest in running could certainly mop the floor with the Phoney-in-Chief who has hijacked the presidency since 2009 and had his education and all other records sealed from the very beginning so that no one knows how he did in school or virtually anything else about his background).

One of Rand's problems will be balancing libertarian and conservative support.  There are differences between the two camps and both push him to take a stand that could cause the other camp to reject him.  For example, conservatives believe in a strong military but many libertarians are against it, some even believing in a pure isolationist foreign policy.  While Rand has shown support for a strong military, that could create uneasiness amongst his libertarian followers.  The balancing act between the two groups is no easy task.  And if he can't get and keep the support of conservatives, the libertarians who are loyal to him won't be enough to win him the nomination.

Another problem could be his work to achieve some type of working relationship with establishment Republicans like Mitch McConnell.  Some will see this as heresy and reject him outright for it.

But, Rand has the advantage of having inherited his father's fundraising operations.  This is something that his competitors will have to build and gives him a jump on his competition.  And unlike establishment candidates, the non-establishment candidates won't have a built-in money machine behind them, so this is a big advantage for Rand over the other conservatives running.

On the flip side, he has changed position on a number of issues that could cause him problems and even result in him being considered a flip-flopper.  For example, he's changed his position on amnesty numerous times.  In 2010 he was strongly against amnesty.  That changed in a Washington Times article he wrote in 2013 (and yet, he voted against the Senate Gang of Eight amnesty bill).

He also said the U. S. should end aid to Israel, although later he said he didn't say that.  And he was said to change his answers regarding Ukraine being invaded by Russia and how Russia should be handled.

Rand Paul is young in his senatorial career.  And certainly any human is going to grow and evolve on some issues.  (It's not the same as Obama claiming he evolved on gay marriage but later it came out that he simply lied about his original position.)  Evolving is usually due either to thoughtful investigation and education or responding to political pressure.  Americans will have to do their own due diligence to determine if Rand Paul, or any other candidate, has grown through education or simply reacted to political pressure, much as it appears that Marco Rubio may have done on the amnesty issue of immigration (we'll talk about Marco Rubio's candidacy in a future blog post).

But we shouldn't take Rand Paul lightly.  He's extremely thoughtful in his decisions and usually well educated.  His views are not always expressed as well as they are thought out.  For example, his view on how activist judges have not just influenced, but been the source of virtually every major Democrat victory in the last half century on issues such as property rights, the right-to-life, immigration, and marriage and family offers an important perspective.  Rand feels that we need to stop the judicial activism that has so effectively been used by the left to change America without use of the appropriate constitutional methods designed by the founders.  He feels that must be done by bringing in judges who are committed to the Constitution and will even push back to stand up for the Constitution and Americans' rights given thereunder.

The greatest risk of a Rand Paul campaign is if he does not win the nomination. For if that happens, then many of his loyal libertarian followers are likely to do just as they did when his father didn't win the nomination, even with any efforts he may make to get them to support the nominee.  When his father didn't get the nomination in 2012 his followers were angry and either stayed home or voted 3rd party, both of which assure a Democrat victory.  

Many libertarians are, unfortunately, too purist in their views.  They believe that if they can't have it their way, then the Democrat and Republican nominees are exactly the same.  They miss the point that there really is such a thing as a lesser of two evils and that sometimes that's the process we must accept while we work towards eventually being able to have the candidate we want.

That's why it is critical to get involved now and through the primaries. The future of America will be determined in the primaries, not the general election.   That's because the primaries decide who the candidates for the general election will be.  The old saying that you should vote according to your heart in the primaries (after working as hard as you can to get your candidate to win), but in the general election you need to vote your head (because even though you may not get exactly what you want, the choice is still between good and evil).  In 2012 many libertarians refused to vote for Romney saying he was no different than Obama.  If someone was foolish enough to believe that, then they've certainly gotten the government they deserve.

But the fact is that while Romney is a moderate Republican who believes in big government, he's not a progressive communist like Obama.  America is a ship that is in the middle of the worst storm in its history.  It is taking on water and sinking.  Romney would have at least tried to plug some of the leaks in the hull and turn the ship towards port.  Obama headed us deeper into the storm with not just total disregard for the leaks in the hull, but also added more holes in the hull and expanded some of the ones already there.  Romney may not have headed us to the exact port we want to be in, but it would have bought us time to fix some things and then turn towards the right port.

Rand Paul is an excellent choice as a candidate.  Can he win the nomination?  The establishment GOP is already starting to attack him (Lindsey Graham just said that only Rand Paul would negotiate a worse deal with Iran on nukes than Obama).  I believe they are wrong about Rand, but I'm not sure that he'll have the Reaganesque ability to overcome those kinds of attacks (and that's exactly what it will take if a candidate is to get the voters support to overcome the establishment GOP).  Only time will tell.  Regardless, if he can overcome the attacks from the establishment GOP, Democrats, and the media, he could be a very good candidate.