Political Profile for Week Four: Senator Rand Paul

4. Rand Paul, Junior Senator from Kentucky:
Basic Background Information

  • 52 years old
  • The son of former Congressman Ron Paul
  • Attended Baylor University but did not graduate
  • Received a medical degree from Duke University
  • Practiced Ophthalmology (eye doctor) beginning in 1993
  • Became the junior US Senator from Kentucky in 2010
  • Term expires in 2016

4. Rand Paul Political Profile

  • Well-suited for the states that have early primaries/caucuses?

–Iowa-yes, New Hampshire-yes, South-Carolina-no, Florida-no.

  • Skeletons in the closet (that we know about)?

–Plagiarism scandal and anything and everything Ron Paul related (isolationism, ties to white supremacism and anti-Semitism).

  • Candidate’s Weaknesses: Ties to unpopular positions or politicians?

–Unpopular positions for the Republican primary:

  • Supported the sequester/supports cutting military spending.
  • Supports legalizing medical marijuana.
  • Opposes mandatory minimums.
  • Opposes the Ryan Budget Plan.
  • Opposes a national ban on same-sex marriage.

–Unpopular positions for the general election:

  • Personally opposes same-sex marriage; let individual states decide.
  • Pro-Life without exceptions/supports banning all abortions.
  • Opposes raising the debt limit without balancing the budget.
  • Wants to eliminate the federal reserve.
  • Wants to make drastic cuts to or eliminate certain federal departments all together (including the Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development).
  • Opposes gun control.
  • Opposes foreign aid for financial reasons.

–Ron Paul’s radical policy positions (especially foreign policy) could harm his son’s candidacy.

–His foreign policy vision, while less radical than his father’s, is still concerning to much of the Republican party.

–Has been in the past been dismissed as unelectable. Working hard to change this perception.

–Also been criticized of frequently changing his views to suit his audience.

–No experience governing (not a governor).

–Prickly (overly sensitive about criticism), has a reputation for treating media members (especially women) poorly.

  • What is this candidate’s selling points/credentials?

–Has served in the Senate for four years.

–Has shown the ability to work with Democrats on a few select issues (i.e. criminal justice reform)

–Appeals to the tea-party, libertarians, and even some establishment Republicans. Is willing to express views that are unusual for the typical tea-party member, yet he manages to remain popular among the different factions in the Republican Party.

–A Paul candidacy has the potential to be very popular amongst Iowa and New Hampshire voters; sweeping those first two states could go a long way to locking up the nomination.

–It is also said that Paul loyalists control Iowa’s Republican party.

–Unique, charismatic, extremely intelligent

  • Best suited for the general election or primaries? Establishment or outsider candidate?

– Originally ran for senate as an outsider. His republican primary opponent was considered the establishment. But Paul seems to be making a concerted effort of late to court the Republican establishment. Has formed an alliance with Mitch McConnell. Not hated by other senators like Senator Cruz is. With that said, Paul remains best suited for the Republican primary.

  • Trending upward, downward , or neither. Why?

–Neither–Since he was Governor of Massachusetts, which borders New Hampshire, Mitt Romney was extremely well-known and popular there. Romney not running, makes Paul one of the early favorites to win New Hampshire.

–Paul made some dumb comments about whether government should compel parents to vaccinate their children. He wasn’t the only Republican to do so. However, Paul’s comments stand out because they come from a doctor. Paul of all people should have known better. Media miscues more generally are becoming a liability.

On a scale of 1-10 (with ten being certain to run) how likely is he to run?

–Nine. What good is a Republican primary if a Paul isn’t running? On a serious note though, although Senator Paul is trying to fight it, it does not appear that he will legally be allowed to run for senator and president. So by running for president, he would risk losing his safe senate seat.

Rand Paul: Key Questions

  • Is Rand Paul electable?
  • Does Paul’s foreign policy positions make it impossible for him to win the Republican nomination?
  • Will he be hurt by having very little political experience?
  • Is he willing to risk a safe senate seat to run in a very crowded and talented Republican primary?
  • Will his efforts to reach out to constituencies who typically vote for Democrats help him in any way?
  • Can he unite the Republican Party (at least the non-establishment parts)?
  • Can he expand his base beyond Ron Paul fanatics?

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