As the next expected GOP presidential candidate, the sort-of-libertarian lawmaker — and by Tuesday the likely second 2016 presidential hopeful — Rand Paul released his campaign slogan to Politico on Monday. "Defeat the Washington machine. Unleash the American dream" will be officially unveiled to the American public on Tuesday at his announcement.
As Politico described, the words are positioned beneath the RAND PAC logo of a torch flame; invoking "populist, anti-establishment themes" that would appeal to large swathes of the voting population in the Republican primaries and general election.
Paul's 2016 campaign team will attempt to paint the conservative Kentucky senator as a "different kind of Republican" candidate, as illustrated in a campaign video he released on Sunday teasing his announcement. In a clip taken from his February speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the video shows Paul advocating to "fix" Washington, calling on Congress members hold themselves accountable to their actions and to set active examples for the laws they support.
To fix Washington, we can't have business as usual. Congress should read every bill. Congress should also live under the laws they pass. If they won't listen, we should limit all their terms and send the career politicians packing.
The concept of Paul being a political outlier of sorts who differs from other presidential hopefuls is one that the senator has played on throughout his career, and is expected to be a theme in his presidential campaign. A political adviser to Paul told Politico that the slogan is a sly wink at potential 2016 candidates with long political careers, hinting at their role as part of the establishment:
You could say that is a hat tip to Hillary — a subtle contrast to Hillary. But why wouldn’t that also apply to Jeb? Or someone who has never had a [recent] job outside elected office — Scott Walker?
Elected to office during the Tea Party's wave of success in 2010, Paul is the son of staunch libertarian Ron Paul who ran for president three times before, most recently in 2008 and 2012. Paul continues his father's presidential ambitions; while similar in a number of ways, the senator has proven to be a different kind of politician on topics ranging from foreign policy to government surveillance. Paul has sometimes been labeled as a libertarian — thanks to certain positions he has taken — but he's mostly considered to be "libertarian-ish."
Whether or not he is a true libertarian is probably irrelevant, as Paul, running as a Republican, will have to stretch his appeal to conservative voters ranging from the extreme right to the moderate. It will be a contrast to first GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who will, by a long shot, mostly be banking on the far right to propel him to the White House.