Rand Paul’s Weak Spots

Joshua Green thinks he’s “too sensitive.” One example:

Rand Paul has always seemed annoyed by questions about his dad. When I interviewed him last year, Senators Discuss Balanced Budget Amendmenthe waved off that line of inquiry and focused on dead Fed chairmen. Now Paul is attempting to put the subject officially off limits. Via Slate’s Dave Weigel, Paul declared yesterday that he has “quit answering” questions about his father. “I’ve been in the Senate three years, and I have created a record of myself,” he said. “And I have my opinions.”

As Weigel points out, this is a laughable double standard, since Paul recently tried to associate another politician-with-a-record—Hillary Clinton—to a family member’s “predatory behavior.”

The bigger problem for Paul is that this is like putting up a flashing neon sign that reads “Controversy Guaranteed!” to the political press corps. If there’s one thing reporters are great at, it’s asking the same question over and over again until a politician flips his lid. Paul’s history suggests it may not take very long. If he doesn’t develop a way to answer questions about his dad, his time among the top tier of GOP presidential hopefuls won’t last long, either.

Tomasky points out that, despite some millennials’ libertarian leanings, the divide between them and Paul is immense:

Paul opposes same-sex marriage. So how’s he going to talk about that to voters of the generation that supports it to the tune of 68 percent. He is against marijuana legalization and even backs a bill that recently passed the House that would allow Congress to sue the president for failing to faithfully enforce federal laws. This is aimed in part at states that have legalized pot. The problem for Paul is that 69 percent of Millennials back legalization. Paul is against abortion in virtually all cases, but 56 percent of Millennials say it should be legal “in all or most cases.” And finally, Paul has been against immigration reform, and 55 percent of Millennials favor legal status and a path to citizenship (again, they’re the only group above 50 percent).

In sum, on issue after issue, Paul is not merely at odds with Millennials. He’s about eight or nine area codes away.

(Photo from Getty)