So today at noon Rand Paul released the white smoke from the chimney of his holy place and announced he would be running for the Republican nomination to be its candidate for the 2016 presidential race. The yawner was not a surprise, in fact I thought with the attention he has been receiving recently from the Randbots, he had already announced his intentions to run, win, and save the nation from the clutches of Washington politicians.
It is the last thing that provides me with amusement and flummox. Rand Paul, much like Barack Obama before him, speaks about himself as being outside Washington looking in with disgust on the corruption, secrecy, and elitism. However, I fail to see any difference between Senator Paul and many other Washington politicians who claim to be "outside" the system, yet live and breath the stale air of political opportunism that swirls around this nation's capital.
If you have surmised that I am not one of Rand Paul's glassy-eyed, slobbering devotees, you are correct. He has been soft on immigration and has supported President Obama's goal of allowing Iran to be admitted to the council of the world's civilized nations. He has also taken a very hands-off, almost isolationist approach to U.S. foreign policy in general. And domestically he has supported the legalization of marijuana, something no self-respecting doctor could abide unless he were also a senator looking to capture the youth vote.
It is this capturing of votes from different blocks of voters that distresses me most about Rand Paul. He openly admits to being a purveyor of identity politics. His supposition is that Americans have divided themselves into groups, so therefore anyone running for high office must appeal to them all. This characterization of Americans as not having a common culture and common values belies a loss of American exceptionalism that many conservatives are not willing to accept as easily as Mr. Paul seems willing to accept it.
It seems that Senator Paul believes the United States of America has become so balkanized that it is impossible for any president to be elected without having malleable values that will appeal to disparate groups at the same time. Rand Paul thinks the lesson from the two presidential wins by Barack Obama is that a candidate can no longer be a complete picture containing the bright colors of his convictions. That the successful candidate in the new millennium must be s sketch that the voter can themselves complete with whatever they wish their candidate to be. Mr. Paul is hoping that no one voter will look too closely at him, but that enough will see him as the complete picture of a president that they have in their mind.