Rand Paul to Announce Candidacy

Rand Paul

Photo courtesy of Rand Paul Senate

Rand Paul to Announce Candidacy
| published April 6, 2015 |

By Thursday Review staff

Rand Paul, U.S. Senator from Kentucky, has bad news and good news.

The bad news is that all is not well in America, and his soon-to-be-official Presidential candidacy—one that plans to start with the assumption that U.S. citizens need to hear the bad news without the usual sugar-coating and sunny prevarications—will focus on how both Democrats and Republicans succumb to pandering, nonsense and evasion. Despite campaign promises of change and optimistic slogan-making, the country has not gotten better under the leadership of President Barack Obama, Paul says, but it has gotten worse—for everyone.

The good news, Paul will tell us this week, is that he is running for President himself in 2016. His solution: less government—a lot less government.

Rand Paul, the junior Senator from the Blue Grass State, intends to announce his Presidential candidacy this week in a speech in Kentucky, and his arrival among the top tier may rankle the sensibilities of more Republicans than it will Democrats. Paul’s libertarian beliefs are core values to his brand, and that sometimes puts him at odds with his fellow Republicans. But like his famous father, Dr. Ron Paul (a veteran of several Presidential runs), the Senator from Kentucky has the uncanny ability to reach younger voters, independent voters, non-aligned voters, and even people otherwise so cynical about the political system that they tend to not vote.

Many of Paul’s libertarian impulses, such as exposing the activities of the NSA and the CIA, may be more popular with progressive voters than with conservatives. Libertarians tend also to be extremely wary of the government’s war-making capabilities and skeptical of the presumptions which lead the U.S. into wars, placing people like Rand Paul at odds with neo-cons and foreign policy hawks.

In short, Paul can be expected to draw many non-traditional Republicans to the polls, especially in states with open primaries, and in states where caucuses decide the outcome of delegate selection. And Paul will likely stoke the ire of traditional and mainstream GOP candidates when debates begin this summer.

In the increasingly crowded field of GOP contenders, Paul will join a list which includes former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Texas Senator Ted Cruz (who announced his candidacy officially in March), Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Others have made their intentions to run official, including neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson and businessman Donald Trump. More than a dozen Republicans have expressed an interest in running in 2016. In December, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin told reporters he would not be a candidate in 2016, and in January Mitt Romney ended months of heated speculation by announcing that he too would remain on the sidelines for the current cycle.

Paul is an outspoken critic—as are most Libertarians—of the Federal Reserve Bank and the central bank system. He has been known to call for the abolishment of the Federal Reserve. Paul also opposes any and all forms of gun control, describing any attempt by the government—state or Federal—to control weapon ownership as overtly unconstitutional. Paul is also a critic of state or Federally-mandated minimum sentences for drug offenses. He has said that such standards impose the strange and cruel paradoxes: someone convicted of drug possession may be forced to serve a mandatory 30 years; but the person convicted of rape and murder may serve only 15 years.

On international issues and foreign policy, the younger Paul diverges somewhat from the generally anti-war views of his father: the Senator from Kentucky supports some forms of military intervention, but has been critical of the open-ended policies used by both the George W. Bush administration, and the Obama White House, to apply military force in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other hotspots. Paul supports strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but questions the open-ended use of force; he also concurs with both Democrats and Republicans who say that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be punished severely for his interventions in the Ukraine and the annexation of the Crimea. Paul believes strongly that President’s must secure approval from Congress for military action.

Paul, 52, will announce his candidacy at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville on Tuesday.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Marco Rubio to Enter GOP Contest; Thursday Review staff; Thursday Review; March 30, 2015.

Ben Carson Enters GOP Contest for 2016; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; March 14, 2015.