Defeat the Washington Machine.
A sign displayed on the lectern in a Louisville, KY hotel ballroom as Senator Rand Paul announced his intention to run for president.
Yeah, we're going to be seeing a lot more signs like that over the next year plus. In fact every yahoo the republicans trot out of the paddock and onto the track will have supporters carrying them. Quite simply, all you have to do is take a glance at congressional and executive branch poll numbers, to realize it is the path of least resistance. Yes, that's right, portray Washington as some sort of amorphous, yet institutionalized beast which is utterly out of touch with reality, not to mention control and you'll get very little argument from anyone who lives in these United States.
The problem is Paul, along with Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, who will announce he's in the hunt next week, are all currently part of that roiling mass of dysfunction. Both Rubio and Paul have been there since 2011 while Cruz showed up in 2013 with his travelling Shut the Government Down dog and pony show.
Although Paul has only been there five years both he and Jeb Bush are the scions of entrenched Washington politicos. Ron Paul served in congress for a total of 23 years and everyone, sadly, knows the legacies of the two previous Bush presidencies.
Actually the senator from Kentucky has more problems than just being part of the problem. Every time he talks he sounds more and more like a professional politician doing a spectacular job of the old bob and weave--just the sort of bull shit behavior he says he wants to root out of the District of Columbia.
To get the nomination he has to court the religious right and it's never been his strong suit. The Huffington Post says he was baptized as an Episcopalian, but since then he has been a little bit of several traditions. He attended Baylor, a Baptist university, but reportedly was part of a secret society known as the NoZe Brotherhood, which takes particular delight in making fun of the school's religious roots and rules. He also attended Duke, which was founded by Methodists and Quakers. At the moment he is attending a Presbyterian church, a denomination not usually associated with, or approved by all those born again, come to the rail, or you'll burn in hell types.
The Huffington Post also reports he once attended a prayer breakfast during which he told the audience, "The first amendment says keep government out of religion. It doesn't say keep religion out of government. So you have a role and a place here." Meanwhile, Americans for Separation of Church and State gave him a 100% rating. In other words the group decided Rand Paul had a perfect record when it came to keeping religion out of politics.
Then there is an issue near and dear to all evangelicals, which is Israel. In 2011 Senator Paul said the government should end all foreign aid, including the money earmarked for the Israelis. At the time, he blathered on about how curtailing aid to the country would make Israel stronger in the long run. By 2014, with the White House in his dreams, a sweaty epiphany set in and he was denying he ever wanted to end American aid to Israel.
In 2007, he claimed Iran wasn't a threat to the United States. To paraphrase an old saying, that dog won't hunt when it comes to your average republican. Paul now says he only spoke those words because he was helping "another person" run for office. That other person was his father.
NBC points out there are other issues he is going to have to address during the primary campaign. He is at odds with huge numbers of his own party over things like normalizing relations with Cuba. In addition, he has repeatedly agreed with his old man's policy of neo isolationism, especially when it comes to the middle east. Right--sell that to your average GOP chicken hawk who is reading about and watching the horrors perpetrated by Islamic State on a daily basis. Hordes of them are already screaming for another full blown war in Iraq.
The truth is, there isn't a single candidate out there who energizes the entire angry and splintered mob known as the republican party. They hate each other nearly as much as they hate Barack H. Obama.
Rand Paul might have staying power next year, but he has to know Jeb Bush is the national chamber of commerce--country club republican guy. He also must know Ted Cruz might be many things, foremost among them a bald faced liar, but he is going to get the majority of votes cast by the lunatic right. That means between now and the GOP convention it is imperative he convince huge numbers of the faithful he is the perfect hybrid of them both. To do so will take a juggling act the likes of which few of us have ever witnessed.
It won't be an impossible task, but it is one so daunting the republican's latest self proclaimed outsider, Rand Paul has hedged his bet. He is not only running for the presidential nomination, but for re-election to the senate at the same time. This, in some corners, is known as having your cake and eating it too--or, to put it another way--the senator is displaying a tell tale symptom of the classic, Washington Machine Junkie.
Indeed. Many enter the beltway, but few leave it willingly, no matter what they might say when the cameras are rolling. In the end, the town is a teat far too intoxicating to give up.
sic vita est