If offered, Rand Paul should decline VP slot

I was more than a little frustrated with our very own Jason Pye last week. During my lunch break on Monday, I was sitting in a Chick-fil-A working on an idea for a post about the possibility of Rand Paul on the GOP ballot this fall as a Vice President candidate. The rumors flying about the alleged Romney-Paul alliance have also included the thought that Mitt would get Dr. Paul’s support if Rand were the VP on the ticket, and that’s an interesting possibility to consider.

My rough draft and basic outline were scrawled on that napkin, and I was going to finish the post Monday night. Before I sat down to write it, I took some time to catch up on the blogs I read regularly and found that Jason had already written the same content I had just drafted at lunch. It’s like he had eyes in Chick-fil-A reading over my shoulder. (If you know Jason, you’ll know that’s not too far outside the realm of probability.)

I don’t want to just kill the post idea, because it’s a good discussion to have. I also don’t want to plagiarize what Jason wrote. (I’d never hear the end of that.) So I’ve decided to make this post a follow up to Jason’s. To recap Jason’s post, Jason said he likes Rand Paul but doesn’t think he should be a VP candidate because Paul doesn’t have national influence and is still “rough around the edges” politically.

Rand Paul is a great senator, and not just because he is Ron Paul’s son. He can be counted on to regularly stand firmly for principles of limited government. That’s about all I ever ask for in a politician. I know he’s not perfect, but when it comes time to take a stand and show some backbone, Rand does a great job. One day I hope to see Rand Paul run for VP (or even President), but I’ve got to agree with Jason: it’s not yet Rand’s time.

Beyond the reasons Jason listed, there are at least two other reasons Rand Paul should decline the VP nomination if it’s offered to him.

First, nobody likes nepotism, and you’ve got to figure that whether it’s true or not, Team Obama (and the neocon wing of the anti-Romney crowd) would say that Rand was only picked for VP because of his father’s influence in this year’s race. Never mind his solid fiscal foundation or the fact that he has a backbone. He’d be “Ron’s son,” and it’d hurt him politically in discussions of presidential races for many years to come.

Second, Rand is still brand new in the Senate. He’s still, as Jason said, “rough around the edges” on some things, but even more than spending time becoming a polished statesman, he needs time in the Senate to establish himself as a strong conservative. Right now all he has is a record of a couple years voting as a member of the minority party. Sure, his voting record is good, but it’s not strong; it’s not mature. He needs a couple terms in the senate to even out those rough edges, but more than that, he needs the time to prove he can be the conservative leader people expect him to be.

When will it be Rand’s turn? We’ve heard rumors of 2016 (because we’ll need an actual conservative to run against Rick Santorum), but I think even that would be too early. I think that by 2020 (but maybe not until 2024) he should be able to give serious consideration to a presidential campaign. Until then, I’m glad to know he’s standing up for what’s right in the Senate.

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