For the first time since Ronald Reagan we have a political figure who is not just running for office to seek personal power but one who is actually leading a popular movement. I’m talking about Senator Rand Paul who leads a diverse array of young people, free market conservatives, African Americans and Internet Geeks in what can best be described as “The Give Us Back Our Freedom Movement.”
Not since Ronald Reagan has a Republican attracted so many Independent and Democratic voters. His ideas transcend partisan politics, like his recent tax proposal which as he puts it, “blows up the tax code.” It’s no surprise that he usually does better than any other GOP candidates when pitted against Hillary Clinton in national polls.
Young people support Rand Paul because he is the only public figure who talks about the corruption of the current economic system. Regulations create contrived monopolies for some companies and keep new ones out of the marketplace. Government subsidies favor Democrat or Republican corporations depending on who is in power. The result? The rich get richer and the poor get poorer no matter who is president.
Socialist solutions call for more government run businesses. The US Post Office comes to mind. Paul favors a return to free markets and supply and demand. Many young people like that. They want a chance at the American Dream.
Most of his following comes out of his strong support of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Many African Americans support Paul because he would reform the criminal justice system and make justice color blind. While Democrats like to reminisce about their Civil Rights victories of the past, Rand Paul has picked up the torch and reclaimed the Republican lead for the first time since Abraham Lincoln.
Internet Geeks like Rand Paul because he is the Archangel of Internet freedom, standing with his flaming sword and trusty filibuster should the FCC or any other government agency make good on their promises to tax and regulate the digital age.
Evangelical Christians like Rand Paul because he is a born again Christian, himself, and he fights for their right to freedom of worship. Paul would end foreign aid to countries that execute women who are, themselves, the victims of crime and Christians simply because of their faith.
Gays like Rand Paul because he is a fierce proponent of personal privacy and the dignity of the individual. His opposition to government intrusion and eavesdropping are already legend.
His opponents say he can’t win because of his father’s sometimes controversial ideas. Actually, I like his father’s ideas but presidents were never elected because of their fathers. Reagan’s father was an alcoholic. So was Bill Clinton’s stepfather. Barack Obama’s father walked out on him when he was two years old. Abraham Lincoln’s father used to chase down runaway slaves for a living. He would sometimes beat them before returning them to their master.
If this were a contest about who had the best dad, Rand Paul would do quite well. He can be proud of his dad’s great career in congress. But in fact, this is a contest about who has the best ideas to run the country and at the moment Rand Paul is a fountain of ideas.
Foreign Policy? Rand Paul sees Israel as one of American’s most important allies. In 1978 I served as vice president of Christians and Jews United for Israel so that is no small point for me.
The biggest knock on Rand Paul is his reluctance to go to war.
Yes, he is slow to send in the same troops over and over. American soldiers now experience the highest divorce rate in history and, as a result, the highest rate of suicide as well. Rand Paul cares about these families, the soldiers, but also the children.
And yet, Rand Paul was one of the first public figures to call for a Declaration of War against ISIS. Perhaps more significant, Rand Paul would not have armed ISIS in the first place. Two years ago he was trying to block the U.S. Senate from transferring arms and vehicles to Syrian rebels. “It could fall into the wrong hands,” he warned. Two years later, American equipment raced across the Middle East with black ISIS flags waving, slaughtering Christians and Muslims who opposed them.
When Reagan stuck his toe in the Middle East in 1982 it resulted in the death of 241 marines. He immediately withdrew our forces, deciding that it was not in America’s security interest to be involved in the region. Nobody called Reagan an isolationist.
Rand Paul has made it clear that American must clean up its own messes. So he will do what has to be done in the Middle East and elsewhere. But I proudly support a man who thinks before he shoots. Someone who won’t get us into messes in the first place. “The soldier more than anyone else,” wrote Douglas MacArthur, “prays for peace.”