Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul just made a move that may signal a slowing down and eventual stop to his run for the presidency. The senator officially announced on Monday that he would be seeking reelection for his state's Senate seat in 2016. But how has Paul the senator compared to Paul the potential president? Has his campaign held true to the policies he supported and opposed while working in the Senate?
Paul insists that this latest development does not mean he's admitted defeat in his presidential run — which has been less than stellar, with current polls placing him at a 2.8 percent of support when compared with his rivals. There have, however, been other shifts within his time from senator to presidential candidate, which showthat his current campaign may not always perfectly align with the past.
Paul was an early learner of the science behind global warming, and was once one of the few Republican candidates to acknowledge the existence of climate change. At an early 2015 forum on climate change conducted by U.S. senators, Paul was one of 15 Republicans to admit a human role in the phenomenon.
However, this position switched just seven months into his presidential candidacy. Though his campaign website talks of his support of clean energy and development, he downplayed humanity's role in climate change in a November debate:
Man may have a role in our climate, but I think nature may also have a role.
The Civil Rights Act
During his run for senate in 2010, Paul firmly stated that portions of the Civil Rights Act infringed upon the rights of businesses.
This was seen as a stance against the Civil Rights Act in general, and Paul has since done his best, though somewhat shoddily, to recant that statement, both before and during his presidential candidacy.
The War Against ISIS
As a senator, Paul was often staunchly anti-war compared to his fellow Republicans, despite once introducing a declaration of war against ISIS (it was mostly a political move to challenge the Obama administration's presence in Iraq and Syria). A couple of months prior to launching his campaign for the presidency, Paul opposed sending U.S. troops to fight ISIS while speaking on the Senate floor:
Intervention created this chaos. To those who wish unlimited intervention and boots on the ground everywhere, remember the smiling poses of politicians pontificating about so-called freedom fighters and heroes in Libya, in Syria, and in Iraq. Unaware that the so-called freedom fighters may well have been allied with kidnappers and are killers and jihadists.
Just a couple of weeks before announcing his candidacy, Paul proposed an increase in defense spending, even though he vehemently opposed it in 2011.
Admittedly, Paul's flip-flopping on the issues presumably has something to do with the far-right candidates he's been placed up against. When some of his biggest contenders are known for taking Republican ideals and pushing them to the extreme, the Kentucky senator may feel the need to keep up. Still, if he continues with his presidential campaign or puts his full efforts in running for Senate reelection, he'll certainly have some 'splaining to do by the end of it.