The winner of Tuesday's news cycle has undoubtedly been Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the latest entrant into the 2016 presidential race. In jumping into the campaign season, Paul joined Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz Monday as the only two officially declared 2016 candidates, committing himself to an at least slightly longer time under the microscope, and some early headlines as a benefit. But not everything bodes well for him in the long run. If you're wondering why Rand Paul won't be president, well, there are quite a few illustrative examples.
Of course, the simplest way to argue Randal Howard Paul won't be our next Republican president is the basic numbers game. Whether an establishment-friendly old face (Jeb Bush), a Governor with conservative activist-level street cred (Scott Walker), or a compellingly charismatic-yet-flawed Senator like Paul himself (Marco Rubio), there are going to be plenty of options that seem every bit as plausible to ascend. Hell, maybe Donald Trump's pretend campaign will actually endure a vote this time? It'll be fascinating to see how the polls start to shake out once more candidates finally jump in.
But when you take a second look at some of the controversies and stresses throughout Paul's time in the Senate, it does make you wonder if he faces some obstacles unique to himself. Here are some examples of why Rand Paul won't win the White House, if you ever thought he might.
His Civil Rights Act Snafu
His inaugural fumble, if you will, although it seemed like a reflection of his true ideals. When speaking to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow as a Senate candidate back in 2008, the MSNBC host cornered Paul on his opinion about the Civil Rights Act, asking him to explain an old newspaper interview which suggested he had some issues with the Civil Rights Act.
A testy Paul explained that he supported the Civil Rights Act, and abhorred prejudice, but that he didn't think the government should be able to desegregate privately owned business — which, as it happens, was a crucial tenet of the law. Considering how poorly it went when a similar principle was attempted in Indiana last month, an issue he's been noticeably avoiding, it's no shock that he's since claimed the Civil Rights Act dustup was a mischaracterization.
His Plagiarism Scandal
Pretty much the primary scandal of Rand Paul's relatively short political career, and yet one more reason he has to dislike Rachel Maddow. Back in 2013, the MSNBC host noticed something that was equal parts embarrassing, silly, and serious — Paul had seemingly plagiarized a description of the movie Gattaca he was using in a speech from the film's Wikipedia page.
And while it may not have seemed like much at the time — just a left-wing cable news host trying to take Rand down a peg, right? — the resultant coverage over the Gattaca affair turned up more plagiarism problems for the Kentucky Republican. He also plagiarized over 1,300 words in his book, cribbing a report from a right-wing think tank as though it was his own words, as exposed by BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski.
... And His Response To It
The plagiarism scandal was enough of a red-eye to Paul's reputation on it's own, even if many conservatives may be willing to forgive. But what was maybe most illuminating about the problems presidential candidate Paul could face was how he chose to react to being found out. Rather than cop to any of it in any meaningful way — he derided his critics as "hacks an
I take it as an insult, and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting. If dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, it'd be a duel challenge.
Stop digging, man. Taken in full, Paul's profoundly bad excuses for the swiped material are a troubling episode for anyone backing him for President. Simply put, when he got caught dead to rights on something, he did an underratedly awful job at responding. If he were to get caught up in a similar situation on the national stage, the stakes could be sky-high.
His Conspiracy-Theory Sympathizing
It's no secret that the Paul family brand has, in addition to their more mainstream appeal, been favored by a lot of conspiracy theorist types. In fact, both father and son have been warmly interviewed by reigning conspiracy-monger and NWO-fearer Alex Jones, which likely isn't something Rand would like you to remember as the year rolls on. As detailed by Media Matters, the younger Paul appeared on Jones' far-right conspiracy show Infowars in 2009, stoking fears about vaccinations in a way that foreshadowed his gaffe back in February.
But wait, there's more! As detailed by Talking Points Memo, Rand also has a problematic YouTube clip floating around which speaks to this point — back in 2007, while campaigning for his father, he spoke extemporaneously with a questioner about the NAFTA Superhighway conspiracy theory, and the (imagined) fear of a Euro-style currency taking hold. Basically, there's no telling if more troublesome footage could come to light in the heat of a campaign, and given the red flags, conservatives should fear that greatly.
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