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Rand Paul Has Seen the Future of the GOP -- And It's Him

Following his father's tradition, Paul won the CPAC presidential straw poll. The Republican Party needs to change, the Kentucky senator said, and he's aiming to change it in his own image.

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Today's 20-year-olds will then be out of college and struggling with their debt, and Paul is betting that his mix of neo-libertarian and subtle cultural identity politics will bring them his way. By talking up his opposition to the drug war and drones, and omitting any reference to his virulent  anti-abortion viewsanti-gay positions or contempt for applying  racial-desegregation laws to business owners, Paul aims to win them.

"The Facebook generation can detect falseness and hypocrisy a mile away. I know; I have kids," Paul said. "They are the core, though, of the 'Leave Me Alone' coalition. They doubt Social Security will be there for them."

Interestingly, Paul is not a fan of Social Security's very existence, once famously dubbing it " a Ponzi scheme."

"They worry about jobs and money and rent and student loans," he continued. "They want leaders that won’t feed them a lot of crap, or sell them short."

Note the use of the word "crap."

"They aren’t afraid of individual liberty. Ask the Facebook generation if we should but a kid in jail for the non-violent crime of drug use, and you’ll hear a resounding ‘no,’" Paul asserted. "Ask the Facebook generation if they want to bail out too-big-to-fail banks with their tax dollars, and you’ll hear a “hell, no!’ There is nothing conservative about bailing out Wall Street. Likewise, there is nothing progressive about billion-dollar loans to millionaires to build solar panels."

Ah, a bone to the  bro-gressives who cheered on his filibuster, falling all over themselves to  #StandWithRand.

"The Republican party has to change by moving forward the timeless and classical ideas enshrined in our Constitution," Paul concluded. "When we understand that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then we’ll become the dominant national party again. It’s time for us to revive Reagan’s Law: For liberty to expand, government must shrink."

Poor Little Marco

Paul was preceded on the podium by Marco Rubio, another youthful presidential contender, the one who  Time magazine deemed the potential "savior" of the G.O.P., which is telling in and of itself. As was once said of Al Gore during the 1992 presidential campaign, he may prove to be an old person's idea of a young person. He may have been birthed by the Tea Party, but he's a protegé of the Bushes. His positions track more closely with those of the old men of the Grand Old Party than with the yearnings of the party's 20-something progeny.

Had he not been followed by Paul, Rubio would have had a very good outing with exactly the same speech he delivered today. But Paul has the momentum. And a horde of young, white millennials eager to pound the pavement for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adele M. Stan is a journalist based in Washington, D.C., who specializes in covering the intersection of religion and politics. She is RH Reality Check's senior Washington correspondent.

 
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