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Rob Horowitz: Rand Paul: One of the Early Republican Frontrunners

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

 

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is wasting no time making a name for himself ahead of the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

Fresh off of winning the Presidential Straw Poll at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held last week in Washington DC, and among the leaders in the admittedly premature national presidential preference polls of Republican primary voters, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is emerging as one of the early frontrunners for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

First, let’s get the all-important caveats out of the way. The CPAC straw poll—which Rand Paul’s father Ron won twice without ever getting within shouting distance of the nomination—is far from a reliable indicator of who will end up as the nominee. Further, early national polls measure mainly name recognition and are of limited value in presidential nominating contests that are, after all, conducted state-by-state. And most importantly, it is nearly two years until the first actual caucus and primary votes will be cast; much can and will happen to shape the ultimate outcome during that time.

Ahead of the competition

Still, more than any other potential Republican presidential contender, Rand Paul has astutely filled the media vacuum in the initial coverage of the developing 2016 presidential contest, brought about by the precipitous decline in Governor Chris Christie’s (R-NJ) presidential prospects due to a multi-faceted abuse of power scandal with a hard to discern end point. (Disclosure: Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who has come forward and charged the Christie administration with tying aid for Hurricane Sandy to the approval of a large scale redevelopment project, is an election client of mine.)

While a more established Republican such as Jeb Bush—who would be competing for the same kinds of voters and many of the same contributors—may ultimately benefit the most if Governor Christie can not recover politically, in the short-term it is undeniable that Paul has gained the most political oxygen.

Unexpected platform

Rand Paul offers a less doctrinaire and hard-edged version of the libertarian ideology championed by his father. He hopes to build an expansive new coalition that combines economic conservatives with younger voters who tend to be more skeptical of foreign involvements, moderate on social issues, and concerned about invasions of privacy in the name of national security.

Recently Paul joined with President Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder in advocating restoring voting rights for non-violent ex-felons. Sounding not at all like a typical traditional conservative, Senator Paul said, “When you look at who is being deprived of voting they are disproportionately people of color." He is also a leader in the Senate in opposing warrantless wiretapping and other measures some view as essential to protecting the nation from another terrorist attack, arguing they are infringements on personal freedoms. “The Fourth Amendment is just as important as the Second Amendment,” said Paul this past weekend on FOX News Sunday.

Paul has recently come under fire from prominent neoconservatives, including Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, for being too soft on relations with Russia, a potentially damaging charge in the wake of recent events in the Ukraine. This is part of a general neoconservative critique that Paul is too much of an isolationist who would reduce America’s standing in the world if elected. When asked about this on FOX News Sunday, Rand Paul—in a major departure from his father, who was and is a consistent Reagan critic, as well as from libertarian foreign policy orthodoxy—explicitly said that his views on the use of military force are in line with the former president. To drive this point home, Rand Paul approvingly quoted Reagan, “Don't mistake our reluctance for war for a lack of resolve.”

Senator Paul’s intriguing effort to forge a more mainstream big tent libertarianism—attracting new voters to the Republican primaries and caucuses while still capturing a large enough slice of the traditional Republican primary electorate—will be fascinating to watch. Even if Paul fails to gain the nomination, it is of potential consequence in terms of the development of new thinking in the party. And in what is shaping up to be a wide-open race for the nomination, I would not count Rand Paul out.

Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.

 

Related Slideshow: Rhode Island’s Most and Least Popular Politicians

The statewide poll conducted by the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University in October 2013 is the latest public opinion survey by the Ivy League institution.  

See how elected officials fared in Brown polls in years past BELOW.  

Prev Next

Mayor Angel Taveras

 

October 2013: 63.9%

October 2012: 65.6%

December 2011: 51.7%

Prev Next

Treasurer Gina Raimondo

 

October 2013: 54.2%

October 2012: 58.7%

December 2011: 52%

Prev Next

Senator Jack Reed

 

October 2013: 51.6%

October 2012: 58.5%

December 2011: 46.4%

July 2010: 55.6%

December 2009: 56.3%

September 2008: 68%

September 2007: 61%

September 2006: 70%

September 2005: 65%

June 2004: 63%

September 2003: 62%

Prev Next

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

 

October 2013: 39.4%

October 2012: 45.4%

December 2011: 33.6%

July 2010: 42.8%

December 2009: 43.7%

September 2008: 46.2%

September 2007: 41%

Prev Next

Rep. Jim Langevin

 

October 2013: 38.7%

October 2012: 41%

December 2011: 41.9%

July 2010: 54.6%

December 2009: 46%

September 2008: 51.2%

September 2007: 55%

September 2006: 56%

September 2005: 62%

June 2004: 56%

September 2003: 56%

Prev Next

AG Peter Kilmartin

 

 

October 2013: 35.6%

October 2012: 35.8%

December 2011: 34.5%

July 2010: 20.2%

Prev Next

Sec. of State Mollis

 

October 2013: 35.6%

October 2012: 28.6%

December 2011: 25.6%

July 2010: 32.6%

December 2009: 22.6%

September 2008: 24.1%

September 2007: 23%

Prev Next

Lt. Governor Roberts

 

October 2013: 32.9%

October 2012: 37.5%

December 2011: 32.8%

July 2010: 33.5%

December 2009: 22.4%

September 2008: 24%

September 2007: 37%

Prev Next

Rep. David Cicilline

 

October 2013: 26.6%

October 2012: 29.7%

December 2011: 24.3%

*July 2010: 40.3%

*December 2009: 40.8%

*September 2008: 46%

*September 2007: 64%

*September 2006: 58%

*September 2005: 60%

*June 2004: 61%

*September 2003: 67%

* As Mayor of Providence

Prev Next

Sen. President Paiva-Weed

October 2013: 23.5%

October 2012: 26.2%

December 2011: 24.1%

July 2010: 21.4%

December 2009: 19%

 

Prev Next

Governor Lincoln Chafee

October 2013: 23%

October 2012: 28.5%

December 2011: 27.4%

*September 2006: 51%

*September 2005: 54%

*June 2004: 56%

*September 2003: 50%

* As U.S. Senator

Prev Next

Speaker Fox

 

October 2013: 20.5%

October 2012: 18.3%

December 2011: 25.9%

July 2010: 20.2%

 
 

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Comments:

In an Radio interview on May 15, 2009, Paul told the host that he would have voted against going to war in Iraq and that he opposes a long-term occupation of Iraq. In the same interview, he said, "I think torture is always wrong' and that our country should have a higher ideal than that.

Rand Paul 2016

Sammy in Arizona

Comment #1 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 03 11

I have no idea who will be the republican nominee, but it wont be Rand Paul.

Comment #2 by Redd Ratt on 2014 03 11

Ron Paul was a "consistent Reagan critic"?
While there were specific instances where he disagreed with the administration, a little fact checking will show that far from being a consistent critic of Reagan, he was in fact a consistent supporter of Reagan before it was fashionable to ride on his coattails.
For the record: In 1976 when Reagan first ran for the Republican nomination a grand total of four (4) Republican congressmen endorsed Reagan, Ron Paul was one of the four.
In 1980 the overwhelming majority of congressmen endorsed the establishment candidate (George H. W. Bush), Ron Paul endorsed Reagan.
It takes no small amount of spin and historical revisionism to label those who were against Reagan until it was expedient to support him as the heirs to his legacy, and to call one of the few who actually did support Reagan consistently in his ascendancy to the White House as a "consistent critic".

Comment #3 by michael rupcich on 2014 03 11

Ron Paul was a "consistent Reagan critic"?
While there were specific instances where he disagreed with the administration, a little fact checking will show that far from being a consistent critic of Reagan, he was in fact a consistent supporter of Reagan before it was fashionable to ride on his coattails.
For the record: In 1976 when Reagan first ran for the Republican nomination a grand total of four (4) Republican congressmen endorsed Reagan, Ron Paul was one of the four.
In 1980 the overwhelming majority of congressmen endorsed the establishment candidate (George H. W. Bush), Ron Paul endorsed Reagan.
It takes no small amount of spin and historical revisionism to label those who were against Reagan until it was expedient to support him as the heirs to his legacy, and to call one of the few who actually did support Reagan consistently in his ascendancy to the White House as a "consistent critic".

Comment #4 by michael rupcich on 2014 03 11

Rand Paul would get maybe a 30% voter share in a National election.

Let's see if Democrats can sink Christie before the election.

It's in the interest of the far left such as Horowitz to give publicity to Paul in hopes he gets the Republican ticket or worse runs as an Independent.

Comment #5 by Jim D on 2014 03 11

Jim D, thanks for the comment. You've precisely revealed Rob Horowitz's veiled reason for writing his mildly positive article on Rand Paul.

I was wondering why the piece was generally so friendly but couldn't put my finger on it. You have.

Comment #6 by Art West on 2014 03 11

Jim D and Art West - What the Republicans need is a true Conservative, Christie isn't it. The left media will hand the Republicans a candidate that they will go on to crucify, Jim D alluded to this.

2008 McCain/Palin McCain was handed to the Republicans as being able to work across the party lines. A lot of the country still thinks "I can see Russia from my house" is a direct quote from Palin. Anyone remember how the race became Obama vs Palin?

2010 The media handed Romney over as the one and Republicans bought it. This is the guy (Romney) that lost to the guy (McCain) that lost to the guy (Obama) in the White House. What chance do you think he had?

Rand Paul isn't a Republican he runs as one, but he's a Libertarian. Christie is a RINO. I don't think the Republicans have a candidate yet that will stand out enough from the Democrats that they are willing to run. The Republicans ran and had a chance to defund ACA, they didn't do it. It's as bad as Bush 1 with "read my lips no new taxes".

The Republicans need a candidate that doesn't need their finger in the wind to know what to say.

Comment #7 by Wuggly Ump on 2014 03 12

Wuggly,

And in that vein, I'm pushing for Joe "Shotgun" Biden for President.

Comment #8 by Art West on 2014 03 12

Wuggly, I believe Christie can get some cross over vote which will be necessary unless the Dems run another black candidate.

There is a possibility that the Dems will be unable to run anything other than a black candidate again. The scenario of a black dem running in the primaries who gets 100% of the black vote and a small percentage of white voters could be a real dem problem.

I'd be curious who you think fits the profile you are describing. Most Repubs are trying a softer line so as not to alienate blacks, hispanics and the 47% who don't pay taxes but do vote.

Art, I'd love to see Biden run also.

Comment #9 by Jim D on 2014 03 12

Art West - That would at least be fun, think of how many things we could place in your quotation marks in addition to "Shotgun". Examples: "7-Eleven", "Stand up, Chuck", "Big F***ing Deal", "First Mainstream African-American, Who Is Articulate" and more.

Jim D - Unfortunately I don't think he'll be running, but, Rep. Trey Gowdy, because of his tenaciousness defending the Constitution. I like the way he poses questions to bureaucrats and experts during hearings. The Democrats have people that represent them and don't compromise, the GOP need people that will do that. Then the people need to be informed of them, so they can research them and make an informed choice.

On the 2012 RI Ballot there were seven candidates for President, four of them had their names on ballots in enough states to win the Presidency. At the very least the nightly news casts that started Obama and Romney during the election, should have been reporting on all those with a mathematical chance of winning.

As far as the alienation of minorities and women, that's media propaganda. There are many minorities on the right that are not recognized. Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen Tim Scott, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. Nikki Haley, Gov. Janice Brewer, Mayor Mia Love, Rep. Artur Davis and Rep Allen West and many more, maybe not in office but conservatives, that the mainstream media never puts a good light on, or any light on.

Comment #10 by Wuggly Ump on 2014 03 12

Wuggly it is hard to overlook the fact that 96% of black voters voted for the minority candidate in 2008 and some slightly smaller percentage in 2012.

Jindal or Rubio could have run in 2012.

As I said though the dems may have created a minority ticket for the long term which would blow up on them fast. Not that Horowitz would ever take that debate up publicly - he's too busy representing methadone clinics.

Comment #11 by Jim D on 2014 03 12

Jim D - I'm not overlooking the 96%, I'm saying they're being lied to (aren't we all) by their "leaders" and those are the only ones the media will talk to. Very seldom do you see Conservative minorities giving their opinion in the main-stream.

Comment #12 by Wuggly Ump on 2014 03 12

Wuggly, I'd like to see Rubio run in 2016. Agree about the media though one wrong word and they do publicize that. I've seen them jump down Jindal's throat a couple of times.

Comment #13 by Jim D on 2014 03 12

Jim D - I have trouble with him wanting citizenship for illegals. Don't get me wrong there should be a way into the country. Giving a pass to those that entered illegally in unacceptable.
That said if he was to run and made to the "finals", I could vote for him.

Comment #14 by Wuggly Ump on 2014 03 12

Rand Paul should run on the Libertarian ticket.

Comment #15 by Wuggly Ump on 2014 03 12




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