Don’t look now but Rand Paul is playing a long game that many refuse to see. While both parties are dismissing him, he is doing exactly what President Obama did to get elected. He is strategically adopting position to triangulate his left and right flank.
“Well, there is going to be, like I say, thousands of extraneous situations where the life of the mother is involved and other things that are involved,”
Inasmuch as he kind of recanted later, he left much wiggle room. Rand Paul has come out in support of comprehensive immigration reform. In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper he said:
"Those who are here, if they want to work, let's find a place for them. If they want to become citizens, I'm open to debate as to what we do to move forward."
Rand Paul wants to stop the incarceration of nonviolent drug users. His statement about the presidents below is absolutely true.
“Look, the last two presidents could conceivably have been put in jail for their drug use. And I really think look what would have happened: It would have ruined their lives. They got lucky, but a lot of poor kids, particularly in the inner city, don't get lucky, they don't have good attorneys and they go to jail for these things and I think it's a big mistake.”
Rand Paul recently went on the House floor to speak out against same sex marriage with the following statement.
"I do believe in traditional marriage. Kentucky has decided it and I don't think the federal government should tell us otherwise. There are states that have decided in the opposite fashion and I don't think the federal government should tell anybody or any state government how they should decide this,"
While that statement may seem problematic, note he is not attempting to make it illegal but recognized state by state.
Rand Paul’s recent filibuster of John Brennan’s nomination to lead the CIA under the pretext of receiving assurances that drones would not be used on American soil without due process was so well received that support for drones fell by 24% to a net against. He received kudos from Liberals and Conservatives alike.
What does all this mean? This is not a detail analysis of everything Rand Paul has ever said. This is not a detail analysis of his Randian Libertarian stance. This is not a detail analysis of some of his racist and insensitive comments. Most importantly it does not need to be. America has a very short attention span and a short memory.
Rand Paul, the Libertarian, is positioning himself to keep most of his Republican base and using key issues to attract several demographics. His perceived moderation on abortion may attract a few women. His stance on drug incarceration may attract Blacks and Hispanics who suffer disproportionately from incarceration on nonviolent drug charges as well as the young in general. His stance on same sex marriage while behind the population at large may be sufficient to keep his base and attract the gay conservatives, moderates, and libertarians. His stance on drones and present vote on the Patriot Act may attract many of the young and informed voters concerned about civil liberties.
Republicans as a brand will likely not win a Presidential election in the near term. Democrats have been doing what they do best, self-inflicted wounds. If Obamacare is too expensive because of a lack of a public option, if the Protect IP Act (PIPA) becomes law, if the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) becomes law, if the drone policy is not implemented in a transparent non-infringing manner, if banks are not better regulated or broken up, and if corporate control of government isn’t mitigated, one can rest assured that many in America may be willing to try something they perceive as new and different.
This is a country that elected the actor that laid the groundwork for the destruction of the middle class. This is the country that elected a Texas cowboy that forced us into an illegal war and was causal in the destruction of the world’s economy. A Rand Paul Presidency is much more plausible than most would want to believe.