Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rand Paul's Strategy for Expanding the GOP

Robert Costa's interview of Rand Paul in the National Review is a must read.  Here are some key excerpts:

Paul says foreign policy is an instrumental way to expand the GOP, but it's not the only way. Social issues are another area where he thinks Republicans can make a better argument to independents and centrists without departing from their principles. Gay marriage, for instance, is one issue on which Paul would like to shake up the Republican position. "I'm an old-fashioned traditionalist. I believe in the historic and religious definition of marriage," he says. "That being said, I'm not for eliminating contracts between adults. I think there are ways to make the tax code more neutral, so it doesn't mention marriage. Then we don't have to redefine what marriage is; we just don't have marriage in the tax code."


Across the board, Paul says, Republicans need to be open to accepting new ideas, or at the very least, willing to listen to new voices. On fiscal policy, he admires Paul Ryan's push to balance the budget in a decade, but would prefer to see the budget balanced in five years. While Paul knows that his five-year plan is probably never going to get passed, he wants to be the Republican who is shaping the terms of every debate, so that tea-party perspectives or libertarian themes are included. "[Ryan's] coming in the right direction," he says. "He was at 28 years [to balance the budget] last year, and he's come to ten. I think by having our plan out there at five, we have a lot of people coming in our direction."

But it's foreign policy that remains Paul's chief focus. Before Paul can reshape the party's program on national security, he knows he needs to spend time on the Senate floor, making his arguments colleague to colleague. "Five or six" Democrats, he says, have expressed their admiration for his determination to bring controversial topics to the fore. To him, those comments are a sign that there is room for future talks about passing legislation regarding national-security and personal liberty.


Paul's filibuster has also stirred talk of a White House run in 2016. He says he's open to the possibility. But for now, his campaign is within the marble halls of the Capitol, not in the Iowa cornfields. "You know, I just went to the floor," he says, recalling how his famous filibuster started. "All of sudden, it just sort of happened." You can say the same about the rapid ascent of Rand Paul.

It will certainly be a difficult balancing act to try to get people into the tent without offending social conservatives so much that they leave.  I can already see a red-faced Rick Santorum referring to Paul as a godless libertarian heathen.  If Rand Paul can make his point as eloquently as he made his point about drones, he just might have a chance at success.

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