Let’s be clear: Anyone who thinks Rand Paul can’t win the GOP nomination for president of the United States is foolish. He can. And if he wins, his “jeans” will be the reason. The jeans symbolize something that no other potential candidate for president possesses. Let’s explore.
You see, Rand Paul likes to wear jeans. While other politicians are wearing a suit and tie, Paul is different. At the recent CPAC event, all the other politicians went with the traditional look. Not Paul. Jeans were in order.
Some conservative commentators were upset. Peggy Noonan remarked that, “it’s not unusual for a man to wear jeans with a tie and jacket. They look like happy farmers, or cable TV anchors whose desks don’t show their legs. That being said, could we not wear grown-up suits when we are running for high office?”
But Noonan fails to grasp the deeper meaning.
Paul’s choice of leg attire represents something. Whether the senator from Kentucky knows it or not, it’s his calling card to say he’s unique, different, and a trendsetter within the Republican Party. His libertarian “genes” are represented in those blue jeans.
What we are witnessing is a man who has no desire to use the same tired old GOP playbook that’s been trotted out for decades. He’s creating a new playbook and trying to create a new, younger, more diverse GOP voting constituency.
Have you noticed where Rand Paul takes his libertarian leaning message? He’s going to places that Republicans just don’t frequent. I mean, UC Berkley? He got a standing ovation from a young liberal crowd when he waxed poetic about the abuse of civil liberties and a U.S. intelligence community that is “drunk with power.”
He’s at Howard University as he attempts (some will say in vain) to convince young African-American voters that his constitutional conservative policies will be beneficial to them. And then he goes to Detroit pushing ‘economic freedom zones” as a way of reviving a devastated city.
Do you get the picture? Rand Paul is different than every other Republican who may run for president. Heck, one of his favorite musical artists is Indie-Pop singer Aimee Allen. That’s the way Rand Paul rolls. Sunglasses, jeans, and Indie-Pop.
So when he wears those blue jeans, it neatly fits in with his persona. After all, his libertarian “genes” fit perfectly inside those blue jeans. It’s non-traditional, just like libertarians. He’s not waiting around for others to figure out what the Republican Party needs to do and be. He’s stepping to the plate first. He’s leading.
To coin a boxing term, some may say he may be, “leading with his chin” because he might just walk into a sucker punch.
Why? Well, look, when you aren’t conventional, people get in a bit of a tizzy. The truth is Rand Paul will have a few significant challenges in securing the GOP nomination for president. First of all, he doesn’t necessarily go along with the traditional GOP neo-conservative views on foreign policy. Those folks are gunning for him and they will be a thorn in his side.
He’s not like his father who had more isolationist (some will say non-interventionist) views but he will have to convince conservative skeptics within his own party.
Additionally, while Rand Paul is a socially conservative Christian, he’ll still have to convince some in the pro-family crowd who were alarmed at his recent comments about how the GOP needs to “agree to disagree on social issues.”
Can Rand Paul figure out a way to maneuver through all of the potholes ahead? Yes, he’s a smart guy who knows how to play the Washington political game. He’s not a grenade thrower. He understands how the game is played.
He also understands that the traditional Republican orthodoxy of the past needs to change in order to win future elections. Does that mean those conservative principles need to change? No, of course not. But a fresh, different approach is needed.
And Rand Paul is going to do his best to walk that new path…in a pair of blue jeans that could take him into straight into The White House.