Monday, September 16, 2013

Don’t underestimate Rand Paul as a 2016 presidential contender

The first nine months of 2013 have convinced us of one thing: Rand Paul acts, and the rest of the potential 2016 Republican presidential field reacts.

On drones, the senator from Kentucky led a 13-hour filibuster that drew Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), among others, to the floor in support. On Syria, Paul was out front in his opposition to a military strike — a position that more than two dozen of his Republican Senate colleagues came to share.

Paul, in short, seems to be a step or two in front of the ongoing transformation of the Republican Party from a hawkish conservatism to a sort of populist libertarianism.

That’s not to say, of course, that significant strains of resistance to the vision of the Republican Party that Paul is offering don’t remain. They do. And it remains to be seen whether the establishment, such as it is — elected officials and major donors, primarily — can unite to keep Paul from the nomination in favor of a politically “safer” choice such as Rubio or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

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Photo by Gage Skidmore


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