Rand Paul continues his triangulation
Many continue to take Rand Paul for granted. Democrats and Republicans do so at their peril. Rand Paul has been doing a masterful job over the last couple of years to take positions that are generally anathema to the Republican Party.
Earlier today Rand Paul appeared on the Tom Roten show. One of the topics discussed was President Obama's new Cuba policy, the talks towards full diplomatic relations. Rand Paul made no attempt to distance himself from the President's new Cuba policy.
"When we first opened up trade with China we were thinking that it was a bad idea," Rand Paul said. "But you know over time I've come to believe and many conservatives have come to believe that trading with China is actually the best way to ultimately defeat communism. And it makes us less likely to fight. You know the fifty year embargo with Cuba just haven't worked. I mean, if the goal was regime change it sure doesn't seem to be working. And probably it punishes the people more than it punishes the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship and if there is open trade I think the people would see what it is like, all the things that we produce under capitalism. So in the end I think opening up Cuba is a good idea."
Tom Roten then states that in that respect Paul agrees with President Obama. Asked if he agrees with the way the President has handled it, Rand Paul conceded that it is his understanding that even some parts of the embargo were accomplished with executive orders and as such the President has the right to do what he is doing.
Rand Paul has been selectively choosing issues like the incarceration of men of color, voting rights, marijuana legalization, the prison industrial complex, and now Cuba that may actually allow him to peel off support of key Democratic constituencies. With his support of the President's policy on Cuba unlike other Republican presidential hopefuls, he gains the support of many Cuban Latinos. This Al Sharpton comment in a Politico speech should be probative.
“Now that he’s [working] with Booker, going to Ferguson, having breakfast with Al Sharpton … he is beginning to demonstrate some very open, very consistent patterns of trying to broaden the framework of a potential candidacy,” Sharpton said. “I think he knows it’s unlikely someone like Al Sharpton would endorse him, but I can’t ignore him. He’s openly dealing with issues that [politicians] including people in the Democratic Party, haven’t done.”
A few months ago I wrote the piece "Don’t laugh but Rand Paul could be our next president" where I said the following.
If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, as a Democrat it would be better than any Republican getting elected. Given Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street baggage however, the triangulation used by the Clintons against the Republicans in the past may just be used against them in 2016. A populist Republican with limited Wall Street ties, with a fairly liberal social stance on marijuana, marriage equality, immigration reform, incarceration (mandatory minimums), and women’s rights is out there waiting. Anyone following the news can see that Republican in the making. ...
Rand Paul does not need to blow up the Obama coalition to win. He simply needs to skim the fat. His little excursions into the liberal base can do just that. His base is much more committed to winning and voting than our base. The Florida-13 election was probative. ...
The biggest fear is that if there is a coronation of a select few, many potential candidates remain undeveloped. Worse is the inability to recover from an unknown. The fact that Ronald Reagan and George Bush were elected presidents of the United States means it is not farfetched that Rand Paul could be our next president.
Many were amused. They do so at their peril. Rand Paul continues to make his rounds strategically. While he stumbles sometimes, he will be ready when the horse race begins. Support for the President's new Cuba policy is just another necessary check mark in his list. But he checked it.