Rand Paul looks to lead in the Senate
On Tuesday, Politico ran a mostly great story about Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), outlining some of his more libertarian-leanings on issues that dogged the Republican Party in the most recent election cycle:
In the wake of Barack Obama’s reelection win and ahead of a possible 2016 White House bid of his own, the Kentucky Republican plans to mix his hard-line tea party conservatism with more moderate policies that could woo younger voters and minorities largely absent from the GOP coalition. It’s the latest tactic of the freshman senator to inject the Libertarian-minded views shared by his retiring father into mainstream Republican thinking as the party grapples with its future.
In an interview with POLITICO, Paul said he’ll return to Congress this week pushing measures long avoided by his party. He wants to work with liberal Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Republicans to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for pot possession. He wants to carve a compromise immigration plan with an “eventual path” to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a proposal he believes could be palatable to conservatives. And he believes his ideas — along with pushing for less U.S. military intervention in conflicts overseas — could help the GOP broaden its tent and appeal to crucial voting blocs that handed Democrats big wins in the West Coast, the Northeast and along the Great Lakes.
“We have three big regions where we’re not competitive,” Paul said. “And we have to be competitive in those regions.”
Sen. Paul plans to be active in the debate of immigration reform, but his thoughts on that are mixed in terms of viability. He wants to “assimilate” immigrants already in the country and provide a path to citizenship, which is great. However, Paul wants a moratorium on legal immigration as a trade off. That’s probably not going to win much support, nor should it.
Sen. Paul is also planning to work across the aisle with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on reforming some of the nation’s drug laws, noting that mandatory minimum sentence do little more than ruin people’s lives.
What Sen. Paul is providing is a path for Tea Party activists, libertarians, and conservative to follow that could increase their appeal. They’re political solution, so they’re not perfect, and some of these ideas are no doubt anathema to what conservatives traditionally believe, but these are mostly grounded ideas on how we should look at issues as they approach the 2014 and 2016 election.