Posted: 6:16 pm Monday, April 6th, 2015
By Jamie Dupree
As Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) gathers supporters in Louisville, Kentucky on Tuesday to announce his bid for the White House, the GOP Senator hopes he can set himself apart from others in the Republican field for 2016, and at the same time forge a new way forward for his party.
“A different kind of Republican leader,” was the title of a video that Paul’s team put out even before he made his official announcement.
Over the last two years, Paul has tried to do things a bit differently on the GOP side – a dash of Libertarian, combined with outreach to minorities and an effort to appeal to younger Americans.
His bottom line comes from an encounter he had with a voter, while standing in a line for barbeque at a political event, as Paul chuckled about how he urged an older man not to heap so much food on his plate.
“Leave me alone; mind your own damn business,” was what a smiling Paul got back for his advice – and that pretty much sums up how the Kentucky Republican believes the federal government has expanded its reach far beyond what the Founding Fathers envisioned.
“You can give that speech at CPAC, and you can give that speech at Berkley,” Paul likes to say – and he has done just that – turning himself into a hot commodity on college campuses, who might be able to attract the votes of more young voters.
Prove to the Big Government establishment that patriots like you and I are ready to fight tooth & nail for liberty. (5/6)
— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 31, 2015
One place where Paul still runs into some trouble within his own party is on the subject of foreign policy, where Paul’s belief in keeping the U.S. out of overseas entanglements is something that a lot of Republicans in Washington don’t like.
The idea of ‘non-intervention’ might have sounded good a few years ago, but most national GOP leaders are much more in the corner of the George W. Bush Administration, arguing the threat of military force is a much better way to achieve American goals – with a big military budget as well.
Moving out of the shadow of Ron Paul
Rand Paul is certainly expected to gain a lot of supporters for his 2016 run courtesy of his father, ex-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who ran two campaigns for the White House.
Paul the Elder was able to motivate small bands of very loyal voters in caucus states, but failed to break through in primary voting.
I covered a number of Paul events in 2008 and 2012 – you could always count on big numbers turning out for Ron Paul.
But the numbers just didn’t make their way to the ballot box in most states.
Will 2016 be different for Rand Paul?
He certainly has the chance to write a different script.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.