NYT: The Reason to Take Rand Paul Seriously

Rand Paul
The Associated Press

From Jim Rutenberg writing for the New York Times:

Although Rand Paul — who declared his bid for the presidency on Tuesday — has spent several years now inching toward the Republican mainstream, there is still a tendency among the political classes to view him as a sideshow candidate. The crankiness of his announcement-week interviews certainly suggests that he’s still getting a handle on retail politics. And though his policy views — calls for more rational sentencing guidelines, a less intrusive national-security apparatus and a restrained foreign policy — give him potential appeal with young, minority and libertarian-leaning voters, they also make him an outlier in the field of declared or likely Republican contenders.

Paul’s (relative) unorthodoxy makes him that rare candidate whose policy views draw gobs of media attention: He’s teaming up with Democrats to scale back mandatory-minimum drug sentencing and likens the war on drugs to Jim Crow? (The same Rand Paul who once said he opposed parts of the Civil Rights Act?) He’s in the same party as Senator John McCain, and yet he opposed arming the Syrian rebels?

But in fact, it’s the boring details of the organization that Paul is building that provide the best reason to take him seriously. If Paul’s views are unusually idealistic, the ground game that his team is planning is pure realpolitik. His staff is focused on the delegate math and party rules that could determine the next Republican nominee — a game-theory style of presidential politics at which the Paul team is particularly adept.

Read the rest of the story at the New York Times.