Senator Rand Paul announced what we already knew: He is running for president. Even though he didn’t mention that he was starting a 2016 campaign until the end of his speech today, everyone had a feeling the news was coming. It might have been the never-ending number of speakers who introduced Paul, like Kelley Paul, who first ignored her future husband when he was 26 because she thought he was 18. Or it could have been the flags.
Or it could have been the fact that Rand Paul seemed to be planning a presidential campaign forever.
Like any good presidential announcement, it was rife with catchphrases and lines designed to test certain parts of a potential platform. Some of the lines sounded familiar. In 2010, Rand Paul celebrated his tea-party-aided primary win by saying, “We have come to take our government back.” He began his speech today by saying, “We have come to take our country back.”
He vowed to fight the “Washington machine that gobbles up our freedoms and invades every nook and cranny of our lives.”
The candidate, an eye doctor who changed his name on Twitter from Sen. Rand Paul to Dr. Rand Paul this weekend, also talked about his vision for America.
The biggest applause lines in the speech dealt with the NSA, which Paul has spent a bulk of his political career excoriating, and foreign policy, which the Republican Party has spent a bulk of its time disagreeing with Paul about. In the past few months, however, the major differences between Paul and other conservative Republican presidential candidates have evaporated. Paul simply frames the issues in a way that he hopes will resonate with demographics traditionally less than enamored with the GOP.
On foreign policy, Paul said, “I envision an America with a national defense unparalleled, undefeatable, and unencumbered by overseas nation-building.” He tweeted one of his biggest applause lines on the subject, which looks somewhat odd out of context.
Earlier Rand’s Twitter feed retweeted images of supporters bragging that they were on team #StandWithRand. This sometimes had unfortunate consequences.
There were several jokers over at Rand Paul’s fancy new website, too. His campaign has already collected tens of thousands of dollars in the last few hours, sometimes from donors with a sense of humor.
Colbert would be proud.
The website also featured an unfortunate error, which has since been fixed.
Despite the snafus, Rand Paul’s supporters seemed to approve of the spectacle.
It wasn’t so bright in D.C., as the power went out across downtown shortly before the speech ended, leaving everyone to conclude that Rand Paul had already won before he even said he was running.