I have not figured out if Rand Paul is truly a genius yet, or if he's just extraordinarily lucky. The Republican ne Libertarian candidate for the nomination for President on the GOP ticket has made some right moves to score points across the political spectrum. By reaching out to communities that are not traditionally within the GOP's big tent, but doing so with a message that does not alienate ideological conservatives, he has managed to garner support in some surprising places. What I'm trying to say is... black people know who Rand Paul is. Don't underestimate that level of name recognition.
Those efforts are months behind us, and well before Paul was outed as a potential runner. But in the hours after his announcement, Rand has managed to do something very clever. He has managed to generate media attention, cater to the base, appear strong and set up a battle of words with someone he won't ever have to run against (or potentially with). It started like this:
In an interview with the Associated Press, Rand was asked about his abortion position. Rand's response didn't give the reporter the kind of click-bait one-liner headline fodder she was looking for.
"The thing is about abortion -- and about a lot of things -- is that I think people get tied up in all these details of, sort of, you're this or this or that, or you're hard and fast [on] one thing or the other. I've supported both bills with and without [exceptions], you know. In general, I am pro-life. So I will support legislation that advances and shows that life is special and deserves protection."So to the pro-life crowd, Rand has flatly stated that he will protect life. To the pro-choice crowd, Rand has stated that he's willing to support exceptions. But what the reporter was looking for is a specific statement on exceptions to drive a narrative. She didn't get one. The headline on HuffPo, predictably, is "Rand Paul Refuses To Detail Abortion Position". Meanwhile, the Daily Caller is trumpeting Rand for garnering a boost among Pro-Life organizations.
Later, when pressed on the issue by another reporter from AP at a press conference, Rand responded:
"Why don’t we ask the DNC: Is it okay to kill a seven-pound baby in the uterus? You go back and you ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she's OK with killing a seven-pound baby that is not born yet. Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when it's okay to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, get back to me."To be clear, Schultz is not running for President. Schultz isn't even a significant figure in the current leadership team. She's trotted out for the Sunday talk shows, where her bloopers are manifold, and her on-air spats with Rand Paul, legendary. Rand didn't call out a fellow GOPer, avoiding the spectre of infighting. He didn't call out the Presumptive DNC candidate, Hillary Clinton (or the popular counter-candidate, Elizabeth Warren), thus denying them the media spotlight. Instead, it's Rand Paul vs the Press, because nobody really knows who the heck Debbie Wasserman Schultz is. More importantly, they don't know her stance on the issue, which places her well outside the majority of popular opinion on the issue. And Schultz, for her part, fell for it hook, line and sinker. Her response:
“Here’s an answer. I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story. Now your turn, Senator Paul. We know you want to allow government officials like yourself to make this decision for women — but do you stand by your opposition to any exceptions, even when it comes to rape, incest, or life of the mother? Or do we just have different definitions of ‘personal liberty’? And I’d appreciate it if you could respond without ’shushing’ me.”Let me explain this metaphorically. Schultz just farted in church, then tried to blame the nun sitting next to her. She is now the straw-woman who represents the Democrat Party, and she is having a very public and - dare I say it - caddy fight with Rand in which he will come out looking like the gentlemen, and she will come out looking like the bat-shit-crazy racoon-eyed wench who needs to pop some more mothers little helper.
In the past 24 hours, the DNC, the left-wing media, the right wing-media and the GOP establishment have pivoted toward Rand Paul. Ted Cr-who? The first announced candidate just saw an end to his fifteen minutes of fame, and has to claw back his hard won and dearly purchased media attention. Rand can bask in the spotlight, dodge mud pies, and enjoy free media exposure at least through the weekend.
If this can be attributed to strategery on the part of Senator Paul, then I say well played, sir. Well played.