Sunday, July 5, 2015

Rand Paul channels inner libertarian on western tour

Rand Paul 2016: Libertarian politics and his campaign - POLITICO - Matt Dixon:

July 1, 2015 - "Rand Paul’s raising money with the marijuana industry in Colorado. He’s holding private meetings with anti-government ranchers in Nevada. Ask him about same-sex marriage, and he’ll say the feds shouldn’t be in the marriage business anyway — it should be left for states to sort out.

"The Kentucky senator has always held libertarian views. But he’s leaning pretty hard into his anti-government cred during a campaign swing out West, championing states’ rights and excoriating Washington and federal overreach at every turn....

"The return to Rand Paul 1.0 comes after weeks of trying to break out of a crowded GOP pack. His poll numbers aren’t terrible — the Real Clear Politics average of national polls puts Paul at sixth place among 15 Republican contenders for the nomination, enough to put him on stage at the first GOP debate in August — but show a worrisome lack of upward momentum. In both Iowa and New Hampshire, he’s stuck in fourth place.

"Paul’s move back into his comfort zone also underscores a key priority for his presidential campaign: Lay the groundwork for a strong showing in caucus states where strong organization can pay off and where the live-and-let-live mentality thrives. An early state like Nevada is a plum target for any Republican in the field but holds special appeal for Paul, whose father won the second-most delegates in the past two Republican presidential caucuses there.

"A win there or even a strong showing would help Paul distinguish himself among a large Republican primary field that is clamoring to dominate in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina....

"'Nevada is a very important state for Rand Paul’s campaign. The state has a very prevalent libertarian streak,' a Paul campaign official said. 'As far as the other Western states, Sen. Paul has made it a priority to reach out to nontraditional Republican voters. His goal is to turn purple states red by expanding the Republican Party.'

"And thus Paul’s Western swing. On Tuesday, Paul’s campaign was slated to meet privately with donors during the annual Cannabis Business Summit in Denver. A day earlier, Paul granted a private audience to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, the anti-government activist who clashed last year with federal officials and briefly became a celebrated figure on the right.... (The campaign denies that: 'There were no scheduled meetings at Sen. Paul’s stop in Mesquite. He spoke to many people who came to this public event, none for 45 minutes and none planned,' Paul spokesman Sergio Gor said.)

"Paul told the crowd, 'I think almost all land-use issues and animal issues, endangered species issues, ought to be handled at the state level.

'I think that the government shouldn’t interfere with state decisions, so if a state decides to have medical marijuana or something like that, it should be respected as a state decision,” he added.

"That came days after Paul, after initially staying silent, finally issued a statement on the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. Paul, like the rest of the GOP field, made sure to note he considers marriage to be between a man and a woman but directed most of his fire at the federal government weighing in on the institution of marriage at all.

"'Since government has been involved in marriage, they have done what they always do — taxed it, regulated it, and now redefined it,' Paul wrote in an op-ed published on Time magazine’s website. 'It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right.'"

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