Friday, March 28, 2014

Two Years Out, Paul’s Presidential Machine Is Assembled… But Can He Remain Himself?

by Sam Rolley  -  March 27, 2014 – From

Rand_Paul_UC_BerkeleySenator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is getting serious about a potential 2016 Presidential bid. With just under two years before the Presidential primaries take place, the lawmaker has reportedly assembled a campaign presence in all 50 States and an organization whose ranks include more than 200 supporters.

According to The Washington Post’s Robert Costa, Paul’s early organizing is likely part of a broader effort to convince more traditional Republicans, including big donors, that he’s serious about becoming the GOP nominee.

“The decision to swiftly expand and announce Paul’s national political infrastructure,” Costa writes, “comes after reports describing Paul’s operation as unready to compete nationally.”

Paul already boasts a broad libertarian and youth base. But the unconventional Republican faces an uphill battle if he is, as Costa suggests, trying to “win the confidence of skeptical members of the Republican establishment.”

Many of Paul’s establishment GOP colleagues in Congress regularly attack the Senator’s laissez-faire views on foreign policy and social issues as harshly as Democrats attack his small government fiscal conservatism. Furthermore, the Republican Party leadership has already made clear that it wants to steer the party away from tea party conservatism and in a kinder, gentler— Democrat-lite—direction.

If Costa is correct about Paul’s ambition to win over establishment GOP support, the GOP leadership’s recent irritation with tea party legislators could put Paul in some sticky situations in the lead up to the kickoff of the primaries. The Senator would put himself in particular danger by abandoning too much of his libertarian streak to satisfy establishment donors and thereby losing what sets his electoral viability apart from that of other candidates: His broad youth, independent and libertarian appeal.

Read Costa’s full report at The Washington Times.