After watching Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announce his intention to seek the Republican nomination for President, I was reminded of an old Japanese saying,
“A man is whatever room he is in.”
Today, Senator Paul was a man articulating his vision by nostalgically reminding those watching of the past. His announcement speech was a rousing call for restoration. A restoration of the federal government to it’s former size after the ratification of the Constitution. A restoration of civil liberties that have been tragically desecrated by power hungry neoconservatives and frightened voters.
A restoration of George Washington’s advice to America upon leaving office when he said, “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have as little political connection as possible.”
All in all, Senator Paul’s message is a restoration of the all encompassing and inclusive “American Dream”.
However, what finally became clear to me after Senator Paul’s speech, is that his restorative message, is a restoration of conservatism to its original meaning: exercising caution and not being tied down with philosophical principles.
I do not mean that he is unprincipled, because I believe him to be the only GOP candidate whose political and philosophical principles are logically consistent, but what I mean to say, is that Rand Paul represents a restoration of conservative pragmatism.
It was not so long ago when William F. Buckley said of conservatives, “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling STOP, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”
So, after watching Senator Paul’s announcement today in a room full of individuals supporting him for the Republican Presidential nomination, he was without doubt, the most conservative man in a Republican room…
But I imagine at dinner tonight, with his libertarian father in the room, he will be the principled libertarian he has always been.
The only question that remains is:
Which man would he be in the White House?