Rand Paul tests the presidential waters

Ralph Alter
As the field for the Republican presidential nomination rounds into form, it is becoming clear that the traditional standard bearers for the GOP aren't bearing up well under Tea Party scrutiny. Dominated by a raft of losing 2008 also-rans, the Republican field must yield candidates likely to live up to the demanding standards of one of the largest and most successful grass roots movement in the history of the Grand Old Party.

The one candidate that, in my opinion, demonstrates the most consistent adherence to Tea Party principles perfectly described the GOP dilemma in Iowa on Sunday:
Its not enough just to be a Republican (Rand Paul told the crowd) Its not enough just for the Republican parties to exist. Political parties are empty vessels unless we imbue them with values. We have to stand for something and we have to mean it.

Even Ronald Reagan never put it more clearly or plainly. While ruling class Republicans continue to practice 20th century deferential Republican politics, a few Tea Party favorites consistently stand on principle and, not surprisingly, those candidates are raising funds briskly. It would have been unthinkable in 2008 that Michelle Bachmann would be out-raising Mitt Romney thus far. With Romney's strategy appearing to be to lay low and assume what one of his spokesmen described as a "statesmanlike" position, Mitt is looking more and more like just another pretty face.

The Tea Party conservatives who will drive the 2012 Republican nomination are not interested in a low-key, reach-across-the-aisle statesman. Look how well that turned out for us in 2008. The Republican candidates drawing all the love from Tea Partiers are consistently vocal and unafraid of ruffling feathers. Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and even Donald Trump are all verbalizing issues and taking stances that the mainstream media expect to be anathema to a successful Republican candidate.

Compare the clear positions of Rand Paul with Mitch Daniels' desire for a truce on social issues or his unwavering support for his far-too-liberal friend Dick Lugar. There is simply no way the Tea Party will settle for ideological compromisers. The rest of the ruling class Republicans will fare no better this election. Mike Huckabee seems to want to be all things to all people, was decidedly soft on crime as Arkansas governor and is rapidly degenerating into the Republican version of Joe Biden.

Newt Gingrich is an excellent idea man and was a great Speaker of the House, but these aren't your father's Republican primaries. If Newt thinks he's having a hard time living down his messy divorce, just wait until he has to explain his teaming up with Hillary Clinton in 2005 on her proposed health-care legislation. Can you say toast?

Now let's get back to that fund-raising issue. The leading Republican fundraiser thus far in 2011 is Ron Paul. I have never been a fan of the Texas congressman. Despite his solid conservative record, particularly his stance on gun rights, abortion, the Fed, education and fiscal conservatism in general, he has been portrayed in the media as something of an odd-ball.

The elder Paul's successful fund raising is no accident, as he is a consistent winner of Republican party straw-polls including victories at the CPAC convention in 2010 and 2011. While Ron Paul will never be a palatable Republican presidential nominee, there is a way to tap into the near rabid support he generates among libertarians and fiscal conservatives.

His son, Rand Paul is, in my opinion, the logical choice for the 2012 Republican party presidential nomination. He is an absolute budget-cutting hawk, a forceful and uncompromising speaker, and on the Tea Party side of nearly every issue. He is avowedly anti-abortion, demonstrably in favor of major education reforms (including shuttering the Department of Education), and calls for additional security on our border with Mexico and elimination of birth-right citizenship. Rand Paul opposes all gun-control legislation and same-sex marriage. Furthermore, he is decidedly in favor of major reform to the out-of-control Federal Reserve and wants America to eliminate the issuance of visas to citizens of "about ten rogue nations." What's not to like?

It's refreshing to see Senator Paul taking time out from tying Harry Reid in knots with his forceful Senate floor speeches and strategic use of amendments to float his potential candidacy for the 2012 Presidential nomination. This is the one we have been waiting for to replace the one they were hoping for.

Ralph Alter is a regular contributor to American Thinker. He blogs at www.rightot.blogspot.com


As the field for the Republican presidential nomination rounds into form, it is becoming clear that the traditional standard bearers for the GOP aren't bearing up well under Tea Party scrutiny. Dominated by a raft of losing 2008 also-rans, the Republican field must yield candidates likely to live up to the demanding standards of one of the largest and most successful grass roots movement in the history of the Grand Old Party.

The one candidate that, in my opinion, demonstrates the most consistent adherence to Tea Party principles perfectly described the GOP dilemma in Iowa on Sunday:

Its not enough just to be a Republican (Rand Paul told the crowd) Its not enough just for the Republican parties to exist. Political parties are empty vessels unless we imbue them with values. We have to stand for something and we have to mean it.

Even Ronald Reagan never put it more clearly or plainly. While ruling class Republicans continue to practice 20th century deferential Republican politics, a few Tea Party favorites consistently stand on principle and, not surprisingly, those candidates are raising funds briskly. It would have been unthinkable in 2008 that Michelle Bachmann would be out-raising Mitt Romney thus far. With Romney's strategy appearing to be to lay low and assume what one of his spokesmen described as a "statesmanlike" position, Mitt is looking more and more like just another pretty face.

The Tea Party conservatives who will drive the 2012 Republican nomination are not interested in a low-key, reach-across-the-aisle statesman. Look how well that turned out for us in 2008. The Republican candidates drawing all the love from Tea Partiers are consistently vocal and unafraid of ruffling feathers. Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and even Donald Trump are all verbalizing issues and taking stances that the mainstream media expect to be anathema to a successful Republican candidate.

Compare the clear positions of Rand Paul with Mitch Daniels' desire for a truce on social issues or his unwavering support for his far-too-liberal friend Dick Lugar. There is simply no way the Tea Party will settle for ideological compromisers. The rest of the ruling class Republicans will fare no better this election. Mike Huckabee seems to want to be all things to all people, was decidedly soft on crime as Arkansas governor and is rapidly degenerating into the Republican version of Joe Biden.

Newt Gingrich is an excellent idea man and was a great Speaker of the House, but these aren't your father's Republican primaries. If Newt thinks he's having a hard time living down his messy divorce, just wait until he has to explain his teaming up with Hillary Clinton in 2005 on her proposed health-care legislation. Can you say toast?

Now let's get back to that fund-raising issue. The leading Republican fundraiser thus far in 2011 is Ron Paul. I have never been a fan of the Texas congressman. Despite his solid conservative record, particularly his stance on gun rights, abortion, the Fed, education and fiscal conservatism in general, he has been portrayed in the media as something of an odd-ball.

The elder Paul's successful fund raising is no accident, as he is a consistent winner of Republican party straw-polls including victories at the CPAC convention in 2010 and 2011. While Ron Paul will never be a palatable Republican presidential nominee, there is a way to tap into the near rabid support he generates among libertarians and fiscal conservatives.

His son, Rand Paul is, in my opinion, the logical choice for the 2012 Republican party presidential nomination. He is an absolute budget-cutting hawk, a forceful and uncompromising speaker, and on the Tea Party side of nearly every issue. He is avowedly anti-abortion, demonstrably in favor of major education reforms (including shuttering the Department of Education), and calls for additional security on our border with Mexico and elimination of birth-right citizenship. Rand Paul opposes all gun-control legislation and same-sex marriage. Furthermore, he is decidedly in favor of major reform to the out-of-control Federal Reserve and wants America to eliminate the issuance of visas to citizens of "about ten rogue nations." What's not to like?

It's refreshing to see Senator Paul taking time out from tying Harry Reid in knots with his forceful Senate floor speeches and strategic use of amendments to float his potential candidacy for the 2012 Presidential nomination. This is the one we have been waiting for to replace the one they were hoping for.

Ralph Alter is a regular contributor to American Thinker. He blogs at www.rightot.blogspot.com