Last week, Rich Lowry wrote that, while he is “far from a Rand Paul-ite,” anyone “underestimating him in 2016 does so at their peril”:
At least for some stretch of 2015, Rand Paul could well be the Republican front-runner, tapping into grass-roots enthusiasm on the model of Howard Dean in 2003. And it’s not inconceivable that he could go further than that famous representative of “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” although the field will presumably be very crowded on the right.
But Ramesh doubts that voters will warmly receive his economic platform:
Paul’s economic plan includes a 17 percent flat tax to replace the current income tax. The effect of such a policy would be a bigger bill for a lot of middle-class households. The median income for a family of four is $65,000, and under the current tax code — assuming the family takes the standard deduction — its federal income-tax bill would be about $2,700. Under the plan Paul sketches, it would be about $3,500.
A single mother of one making $35,000 a year would see her tax liability rise, too. If she uses the standard deduction, she pays about $1,500 today. She’d probably pay $2,100 if Paul had his way.
The very richest Americans, on the other hand, would see their taxes decrease a lot. The journalists buzzing about Paul have rarely discussed this. They want to talk to him about foreign policy or marijuana. I suspect that if he were a presidential nominee, however, voters would see a lot more Democratic ads about his views on taxes. And he wouldn’t come across as the candidate who wants to keep the government out of their wallets.
Francis Wilkinson focuses instead on “Paul’s ‘crunchy con’ persona”:
At a Reagan library event, he extolled the virtues of composting. This is anything but trivial. Conservatism in recent years has defined itself largely by what it hates: Obama, liberals, government. Environmentalism is high on that list, as a toxic stream of votes in the House of Representatives confirms. Paul’s embrace of composting is brilliant: It suggests a thoughtfulness about the environment (along with an absence of hatred) without in any way challenging Republican petro-donors.
Paul’s fiscal policy, including a flat tax and a grim reaper approach to federal departments and the federal budget, should be enough to keep him penned in on Congress’s end of Pennsylvania Avenue. But a Paul presidential run might begin to liberate his party from other orthodoxies.
Earlier Dish on Rand here.