David Frum

02.09.12

Rand Paul is Not Like His Father

Senator Rand Paul was introduced to the CPAC audience as "the only opponent to sustaining the PATRIOT Act", as someone who is "continuing to fight TSA abuses every day" and as "true champion of liberty" as opposed to the fake ones.

An introduction like that sets you up to attack Republican Party positions and Paul chose to take on...no Republican sacred cows. It was primarily a speech about Barack Obama, the Solyndra scandal, and an attack on Obama's donors. ("Is anyone else tired of hearing about Warren Buffet's secretary?")

To be sure, there was some scolding of the Republican Party, but very little. He warned that "The Republican Party is an empty vessel unless we imbue it with values" and that the GOP presidential race needs to "take someone who can turn the coldness of austerity into the warm embrace of prosperity."

It is a far cry from his father's speech at CPAC last year about how "Neo-Jacobins" are ruining America's foreign policy.

This is the key to Rand Paul's success as a politician and how he will expand on his father's legacy: his supporters know what he stands for and are convinced he is one of them, but in his speeches and public communications he will eschew the language that his father would use.