Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), as a more libertarian member of the Republican Party, has long advocated reforms for both the criminal justice system and for drug laws in particular. Primarily he has pushed to lessen the punishments levied to non-violent drug (mostly marijuana) offenders. In a recent conversation on reforming our nation’s drug laws, Senator Paul was asked about his personal interaction with marijuana – to which Senator Paul responded that he’d made some mistakes in his younger days… while also pointing out that they were some of the same mistakes made by our last three Presidents!
“Let’s just say I wasn’t a choir boy when I was in college, and that I can recognize that kids make mistakes, and I can say that I made mistakes when I was a kid.”
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Senator Paul then attacked Republican Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush for his current views on the marijuana issue. In a recent profile of Bush in the Boston Globe, it’s revealed that the former Florida Governor spent a lot of time in High School getting drunk and getting high. Senator Paul used the profile to point out the hypocrisy that exists in Bush’s support for strict drug laws.
He was even opposed to medical marijuana. This is a guy who now admits he smoked marijuana but he wants to put people in jail who do.
I think that’s the real hypocrisy, is that people on our side, which include a lot of people who made mistakes growing up, admit their mistakes but now still want to put people in jail for that. Had he been caught at Andover, he’d have never been governor, he’d probably never have a chance to run for the presidency.”
This is a bold strategy that Rand Paul is exploiting. The drug law reform and marijuana legalization issues are not generally winners within the Republican Party. Also, Bush is much more susceptible to other attacks when it comes to GOP voters. Senator Paul should probably be hitting at Jeb Bush’s recent comments on gay marriage, his backing of amnesty for illegal aliens and his full-throated support for the Common Core… not drug reform.
However, I do think that Senator Paul’s stance on drug and criminal reform is a winner come general election time. If Rand Paul were facing Hillary Clinton, he would come off as the more liberal of the two on those two issues, and that would be a big deal for some Democrat voters. In fact, while Republicans may not like Paul’s stance on drugs, criminal justice reform or his foreign-policy dovishness, those are exactly the issues that could broaden his support and win him Democrat votes. These issues should be relatively small problems for conservatives to overcome when considering who they should vote for in a general election, because Senator Paul is a staunch conservative on almost every issue that matters to conservative voters.
(Senator Paul scored a 93% on Heritage Action’s Scorecard for the 113th Congress… the GOP Senate Average was 63%. Paul’s lifetime average is a 95%… he’s as conservative as it gets.)
I guess we’ll see how this plays out over the next few months…
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com