It’s getting harder and harder to deny that Senator Rand Paul has an uncanny ability to talk to a mainstream media elite who are almost genetically geared to call him out as a racist/bigot/homophobe in any way that they can.
If you followed the political news at all in late April you probably noticed that Senator Paul visited Chicago and Milwaukee and headlined two separate events on School Choice and education reform.
At the Milwaukee event he answered some questions directly after that had little to do with education and more to do with making sure he knew his place and that the media needed an explanation as to why he would dare leave his supposed comfort zone of Tea Party fanatics and dare to show up in inner cities and talk about policies that they care about. He answered directly and succinctly about why liberty and choice is central to all Americans.
In Chicago, he also took a few minutes to talk to the Chicago Institute of Politics, and I was impressed with his answers (mainly because they are roughly what we believe here at the ACP), and then you notice when the camera pans and you see that the person asking the question is none other than David Axelrod.
If you notice the very end of the video, David says “I’m not eager to run the experiment,” in response to Senator Paul’s assertion that nobody would really even notice if the entire Department of Education simply went away.
It is this mentality — of limiting the role of government being an experiment, of the absence of government being the real risk — that we are fighting. Gone is the notion that an agency has to defend and justify its existence. The onus falls firmly on the reformer to prove that life as we know it will not cease to exist if some department, agency, program, or regulation were to no disappear. Senator Paul seems to debunk and chip away at this notion almost every time he speaks.
This does not mean that Senator Paul is necessarily the right guy to occupy the White House. But politically, at least in the area of engagement and rhetoric, we should learn from Senator Paul and hope that whoever does emerge in a couple years as the blessed opposition of the Democratic machine (presumably the nominee of the Republican Party) is at least as effective as Senator Paul at explaining why Liberty is not just for Tea Partiers.