The Truth About Rand Paul
Especially in the aftermath of the recent controversy over Guantanamo Bay (but even before that), I have seen comments by a few of Ron Paul's supporters around the Internet like at RonPaulForums.com or on my own blog, that go along the lines of this comment someone recently left on my website:
I believe Rand Paul is another manuevering politician and my impression is he is not in this because he believes deeply in libertarian principles -- he's in this for more selfish reasons. It makes no difference to me who his father is, he must prove himself apart from his father, who has spent a lifetime proving and demonstrating his character. Rand is a sell out on the prisoner/detainee issue and a few other issues as well.
Folks, however you may feel or disagree about Guantanamo Bay, or Rand Paul's approach to that issue in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, let me share with you my personal experiences with Rand Paul to erase from your minds any shadow of a doubt that this man is truly in this for the right reasons and earnestly wants to lead America back to her founding principles.
I live in Nashville, TN where I am finishing up my final semester of undergraduate study, just a short one-hour car trip from Rand's home, ophthalmology practice, and campaign hub. When I learned as far back as February from my colleague and fellow Nashville resident Matt Collins, that he had heard directly from Ron Paul's son, Rand Paul that Rand was definitely considering a run, I was elated!
I immediately contacted the two guys in San Diego who had started the campaign to draft Rand Paul with Rand2010.com and asked how I could get involved and what I could do to make Rand's run a reality. I told them that I live in Nashville, work with Matt Collins, and know Kentucky very well (my entire family is from the commonwealth). From that point forward, until Rand's exploratory committee announcement in May, then finally his official campaign announcement in August, I had a unique little window into the development of this grassroots liberty campaign.
During these months, over several frustrated phone conversations with Chad in San Diego, Matt Collins here in Middle Tennessee, and Rand Paul's unofficial manager at the time (now his spokesperson), Chris Hightower- an amazing picture emerged: Rand Paul didn't really want it! He was too humble, too conservative, too focused on his family and his business practice. The notion of Rand Paul as some ambitious opportunist trading on his father's name for personal benefit is a pure fiction, and I can tell you so with 100% certainty as a firsthand witness.
Rand Paul has not seized some opportunity for personal gain- history and opportunity have seized him! I cannot properly articulate how many agonized conversations I had with activists here in Tennessee and Kentucky about how perfect this opportunity was to put a true Constitutionalist in the US Senate, and how frustratingly reluctant Rand was to seize that opportunity. In the end, with the patient goading and persuading of Rand's associates and the grassroots community, and with the impelling call of duty to his country, Rand relented and decided to make a bid for US Senate because his country and commonwealth needed him.
It is so incredibly easy with Rand leading Trey Grayson in the polls, to look back in hindsight through a lens of inevitability, but things were so uncertain just a few months ago. Here was a guy with very little name recognition in Kentucky and no political experience holding an elected office. His opponent, Trey Grayson was the establishment's favorite, with lots of deep-pocketed friends in Washington, and already a well-known name among Kentucky voters as the commonwealth's Secretary of State.
Rand meanwhile, had no guarantees of support or success, a small-business practice to run, and three kids and a wife to take care of. This Senate bid was and still is incredibly risky for Rand. He and his family are taking a major personal risk for Rand to go out campaigning endlessly and meeting the people of Kentucky instead of seeing patients and performing surgeries at his ophthalmology practice in Bowling Green.
That's why it angers me to read comments like these. Rand Paul is definitely not in this for himself. He is too much like his father, too quiet, conservative, and humble, too much of a family man. So please disabuse yourself of any half-baked speculation that this man is anything less than the real deal: a principled, grassroots patriot who had an extraordinary opportunity to make a difference, and who reluctantly, but with a firm conviction of his duty to country, is taking that opportunity and running with it.
W. E. Messamore blogs at http://www.humblelibertarian.com