California Republicans hoping to be fired up and inspired by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, the keynote speaker at Saturday’s GOP convention, instead were given a limp, meandering ramble, in which the prospective presidential candidate took recycled shots at President Obama and Hillary Clinton, while largely avoiding anything of substance.
It was weak sauce.
Paul, whose libertarian friends are angry about his increasing willingness to use U.S. force in the Middle East; who has enraged conservatives by falsely linking Sen. John McCain to ISIS members, and who allied himself with pacifist Democratic liberals by voting against Obama’s plan to attack ISIS, said little about foreign affairs. Except to attack Clinton — the most likely Democratic nominee for president — for allegedly spending State Department money frivolously instead of beefing up U.S. facilities in Benghazi before the mission there was attacked.
In what is a certain refrain if he and she both seek the presidency, Paul said of Clinton: “If you can’t defend our embassies and you won’t send the assets there, you preclude yourself from being considered for Commander in Chief.”
He charged that Clinton failed to read critical cables requesting support. “I think she had a 3 a.m. moment. She didn’t answer the phone. And I think it absolutely should preclude her from being considered,” he said to applause.
Picking Winners and Losers Calbuzz had hoped to hear his views on foreign policy, along with key social issues for California voters: a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage and universal health care. But while Paul made private interview time available to the loathsome Breitbart News and Fox, along with MSM must-dos like the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle, he and his callow staff stiffed Calbuzz and, more mysteriously, the Sacramento Bee – and why not? why would a Republican want to reach voters that covers California’s red-tinged Central Valley?
Paul paid lip service to building a “bigger, better, bolder party” (wasn’t that an old marketing slogan for Tide?) and “reaching out” beyond the GOP’s reliable base of white men and Southerners. But amid his insistence that the Republicans not change their fundamental message, the only such “reaching out” example he could muster was a brief reference to “let’s expand voter rights,” which received a tepid response from the 373 partisans munching on seared breast of oregano chicken, herb roasted potatoes, chopped salad and berry tart. Now there’s something to reach out for
Imaginary Friends Republicans are excited to the point of delusion about Paul’s appeal to younger voters because his civil libertarian defense of privacy rights in the face of the intelligence establishment’s Big Brotherism has some genuine appeal.”What you say on your cell phone is none of the government’s damn business,” he said at one point, pulling his phone from his pocket.
But when contrasted to his opposition to abortion and gay marriage, it’s a stretch to see how Paul can appeal broadly to younger voters, even if his laconic raspy Southern voice recalls a bit of Bill Clinton.
Calbuzz found it just a bit mind-bending that after a briefing with California Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, in which Huff said “We’re not a lock-step, right-wing, knee-jerk organization” (ouch!) Paul’s introduction was preceded by high-production value campaign video that, among other things, featured props from, among others, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.