- Free Speech
- Religious Liberty
- Second Amendment
- Sanctity of Life
- Common Core
All of these issues are, arguably, important to the base of the Republican Party (some appealing to certain sectors of the base and others, like the Second Amendment and Israel, appealing to wide swaths of GOP primary voters).
Instead, Paul talked about the War on Terror, the economy, self-esteem, and how we have “two Americas.” He somehow managed to get a room full of libertarians to cheer for increased infrastructure spending and for a proposed billion dollar stimulus for Detroit (I have a feeling some of them are going to wake up tomorrow and have a “wait…what?” moment).
It’s an interesting strategy, to be sure. Usually the Republican candidates wait until after the primary to ditch the base and set themselves up as mushy moderates. But perhaps Paul thinks he can cobble together enough libertarians and establishment Republicans to win the nomination (without alienating either or both in the process).
He says he wants to be a “different kind of Republican” and it seems that, like Jeb Bush, Paul might be trying to win the primary by tiptoeing around the base. However, a base that is hungry for a principled conservative — one whose core values are easily discernable and don’t change with the political winds — may ultimately reject Paul’s “all things to all people” strategy. (See my post from yesterday for another example of Rand Paul sending a confusing message to the base.)
One more thing. I was going to include the full video of Paul’s announcement speech with this post, but I was having trouble finding it. Apparently, it has been taken down by YouTube for a copyright violation (the dispute is over the use of John Rich’s song, “Shuttin’ Detroit Down”).