Rand Paul Announces Presidential Candidacy
— The Hill (@thehill) April 7, 2015
Today Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced he is running for president.The kickoff event included a video of Paul providing medical care in the developing world playing on his background as an eye doctor. Other videos emphasized Paul’s opposition to the drug war and NSA domestic spying as well as his outreach to the black community.
Paul emphasized his distaste with both parties and the Washington political establishment saying there was no point in voting for a “Democrat light” candidate in 2016. This opened the way for Paul to say he wanted term limits for Congress and a bill that would force members of Congress to read bills they passed.
The speech could be fairly characterized as hardline libertarian and oscillated between economic conservatism and social liberalism. Paul said he wanted to privatize public schools, lower corporate tax rates and cut off foreign aid while also saying he wanted to stop government surveillance on US citizens and repeal laws that disproportionately target people of color such as laws associated with the war on drugs.
Senator Paul also went into his opposition to an Iran deal that is not approved by Congress calling any such deal “illegal.” Paul infamously signed the 47 Senators letter to Iran trying to sabotage a deal which alienated him from many libertarians who viewed the letter as an attempt by neocons to kill any deal with Iran in order to promote more war in the Middle East. Paul further said that America was “at war with radical Islam.”
Senator Paul, as always, presents a somewhat confounding candidacy for progressives and traditional conservatives. Each video before the speech featured the line “The future of conservatism,” but is that true? Is conservatism really conservatism without the social reactionaries? Not to mention that by having parts of a national campaign platform that strongly appeal to both those on the left and those on the right Paul also risks having policies that disgust both those on the left and those on the right. Everyone decries bland vague candidates but authenticity and strong opinions has its own pitfalls.
In any case, the Paul candidacy is official starting today.