In the November mid-term elections Senator Rand Paul(R-Kentucky), son of GOP presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul(R-Texas) proved that the Tea Party was a nationwide political force with the ability to win statewide elections. He beat Trey Grayson, the GOP establishment favorite, in the Republican primary. And then he beat the Democrat Jack Conway in the general election by ten points. Since then Rand Paul has become a fixture on cable news shows as the voice of the fiscally conservative Tea Party. He has proven to be a divisive figure, drawing high praise from even establishment GOP politicians and media figures, but he is also often the subject of harsh criticism from Democratic politicians in Washington and left leaning personalities in the media. Media figures on the right that once laughed at his father found themselves cheering on and defending Rand, legitimizing Ron Paul by proxy. Yet, so far, Rand Paul has not played a large role in his father's presidential campaign for the GOP nomination.
Heavy campaigning for his father while Congress is in session may not be looked upon kindly in Kentucky, the state he was elected to represent in Washington. However once the Congressional Christmas recess begins I would not be surprised to see Rand take a through tour of Iowa stumping for his father leading right up to the Iowa caucuses. Rand is an extremely valuable surrogate because he is so deeply engrained into the current political discussion in this country on the nation's debt and potential spending cuts. Rand's rhetoric tends to have a softer, some would say more mainline delivery than his father. For instance when it comes to foreign policy, Rand focuses on the lack of ability to afford the military adventures and the lack of approval by Congress of military deployments. While his father Ron is straightforward in his accusation that American foreign policies have lead to a more dangerous world for the United States, and contributed to violent attacks carried out against Americans and US troops.
Rand is not only a surrogate on the stump but also as a fundraiser. He can tap into the nationwide Tea Party movement as well as his father's Liberty movement and act as a bridge between the two movements, dulling the edge on any disagreements the two factions may have on foreign policy or social issues.
It is likely that eventually Rand Paul will have presidential ambitions of his own. He stated that he considered running for the GOP nomination in 2012 but would not run against his father. So campaigning in Iowa and possibly New Hampshire will have the added benefit of exposing himself to the Iowa GOP electorate.
Rand Paul is now using his political clout to help other candidates even outside of his own family. Recently he endorsed Mark Neumann for Wisconsin's US Senate seat. Raind said he believes that Neumann is the most conservative candidate in the race over former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson. Thompson has been out of politics for over ten years and surprised Wisconsinites when he first expressed interest in running and then announcing his candidacy for the US Senate seat formerly held by Democrat Herb Kohl.
About the Author: William is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee. His areas of focus include politics and economics.