Sen. Rand Paul is presenting himself as a “libertarian Republican” rather than a “libertarian,” and is courting evangelicals and other Christian conservatives. In an apparent effort to position himself as a credible GOP presidential candidate, Paul is backing away from conventional libertarian positions, such as legalizing drugs, and is nuancing his support for gay marriage. (I believe he has always been pro-life.)
I know lots of readers of this blog have long supported the Pauls, both father and son. Are you bothered by Rand’s attempt to appeal to the GOP establishment? Or do you support him in trying to make himself electable? And, for you Christian conservatives leery of libertarianism, do these efforts make you likely to support him?
From the Washington Post:
Earlier this spring, Sen. Rand Paul and his wife, Kelley, invited a crew from the Christian Broadcasting Network into their Kentucky home for what turned into two full days of reality TV. In a half-hour special, “At Home With Rand Paul,” the couple are seen bird-watching in the woods, going to McDonald’s and, especially, talking about religion — their belief in traditional marriage and the senator’s call for a “spiritual cleansing” in America.
The show was an unusual moment for Paul, who has gained fame as a live-and-let-live tea-party hero closely aligned with the libertarian movement inspired by his father, former representative Ron Paul (R-Tex.) — and not as a social conservative.
For the past few months, though, Paul has aggressively courted evangelicals, not only with the CBN special but also with a trip to Israel, numerous events with pastors and a handful of appearances in Iowa this weekend.
Paul’s play for evangelical support is part of a broader effort by the rookie senator to court the Republican establishment — much of which views him with suspicion — and become a mainstream political player in a way his father never was. The younger Paul, for instance, does not call himself a libertarian, but rather a “libertarian Republican.”
As he openly considers a run for president in 2016, Paul’s rebranding effort is a test of his political skills as well as the state of the Republican Party. For the senator, the question is whether he can win over the establishment without upsetting his tea party base. For the GOP, Paul again raises the question of whether anyone can gain the trust of both sides. . . .
On marriage, a matter in which many libertarians believe the government should have no role, Paul used the CBN interview to lay out a more careful position.
He said he’s not ready to “give up on” the traditional family unit. But he added that it is a mistake for conservatives to support a federal ban on same-sex marriage, saying, “We’re going to lose that battle because the country is going the other way right now.”
“If we’re to say each state can decide, I think a good 25 or 30 states still do believe in traditional marriage, and maybe we allow that debate to go on for another couple of decades and see if we can still win back the hearts and minds of people,” he said.