WASHINGTON, March 16, 2013 – While he doesn’t exactly make the lame walk, Senator Rand Paul excels at getting them to talk, and to answer difficult questions essential to the life and liberty of all Americans. The Senator’s most recent principled stand, voiced during his epic filibuster, targeted the Obama Administration’s policy on dishing out the same quick and hasty deaths without charge or trial here at home as they have been overseas.
Daring to challenge Attorney General Eric Holder to a duel of wits instantly endeared Senator Paul to countless concerned Americans who are fed up with politics as usual, feel betrayed by the Party Machine, and fear that the United States is on an irreversible course similar to that of the Titanic—or Greece.
The energy level at CPAC-2013 was through the roof on its kickoff day due to Senator Paul’s much-anticipated afternoon speech. The primarily young, energetic crowd sported eye-catching “Stand With Rand” stickers along with wide smiles. The venue was swimming with matching red shirts and placards, certainly the largest presence of swag in support of any speaker or candidate.
Incidentally, the Rand swag at CPAC is not affiliated with the Rand Paul 2016 campaign. He did not hire anyone to campaign to help him win the coveted CPAC Presidential Straw Poll. Paul’s lack of concern for the title is most likely going to pay off—the general consensus is that he has it in the bag in his trademark, effortlessly organic way.
Just prior to the conference, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) put out a national call on Facebook seeking volunteers to distribute the Rand swag. The response was overwhelming. Many YAL members were active in the GOP for years before they understood the liberty message, realized how well it resonates, and committed to passionately fight to preserve it. Others were “victims” of “Google Ron Paul signs” on freeway overpasses in 2008. At CPAC, they gladly swap testimonies of political enlightenment with a fervor nostalgic of a tent revival meeting.
Interestingly, Senator Paul had even less of a CPAC presence this year than last. In 2012, his book The Tea Party Goes to Washington sold out in less than five minutes at his signing event. He spoke to disappointed supporters lined up around the room and promised he would sign their pocket Constitutions or even one of his father’s books. While his latest book Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds is also currently available at the CPAC store, Elvis has left the building—a least for now.
Freedom is popular, it seems, and the Bill of Rights is back en vogue with a new generation of American rebels. This energy threatens to change the go-along-to-get-along Republican establishment, which is why the party profiteers are so quick to strike back at the resurgence of old school conservatism.
Senator Paul addressed the 2013 CPAC crowd with the precision of an eye surgeon, encouraging the hearty standing ovation to cease and desist so as to not slice into his allotted time. In contrast to last year’s speech, each of his major points were met with enthusiastic and vocal support, including his solid, calmly-presented reasoning for needed defense cuts.
He is increasingly recognized for his ability to unite a very fractured conservative base. It seems the only things between Rand Paul and the 2016 GOP nomination are the ruthless talons of an elitist Republican Party power structure that would rather keep their positions and lose the country. But he’s “not naming any names” perhaps in an effort to hush them up while they fight the inevitable growth of the Party.
The vibrant, liberty-leaning “Under 40” crowd that has wrestled its way into the GOP seems to be the only fresh blood coursing through the Party’s very old veins. Ironically, they have an elderly, retired obstetrician to thank for delivering hundreds of thousands of new members to the GOP.
Perhaps the current Republican Party leadership is not the right body from which to expect kind words of Big Tent gratitude. The crowds who now stand with Rand don’t seem to care. Their vision is clear. They remain steadfastly focused on lifesaving measures for these United States thanks to two doctors named Paul.
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