Monday, May 13, 2013

Washington Post: Rand Paul Aggressively Courting Evangelicals

An interesting article on Rand Paul and evangelicals.  I especially like how he frames his position on gay marriage.  Letting states decide is not a surrender, it's actually a strategy to allow for more time to defend traditional marriage:

The first step for Paul is to make clear who he is and who he is not. For instance, he embraces support for Israel and does not, as Ron Paul did during a memorable moment in a 2011 debate, deliver impassioned defenses for letting people use heroin if they want.

At a lunch Friday with about a dozen evangelical pastors in a Cedar Rapids hotel, the younger Paul assured the group that he disagrees with libertarians who support legalizing drugs. When one pastor inquired about ideological ties between Paul and his father, the senator asked that he be judged as his own man.

Several pastors who attended the meeting said they came away impressed, though some remained unconvinced. "I don't know that my concern has gone away, but I appreciated how he responded to the question," said the Rev. Clegguart Mitchell, senior pastor of the Leon Bible Church in Leon, Iowa.

In an interview a day before his Iowa trip, Paul, 50, also tried to make clear just what kind of politician he is. "To some, 'libertarian' scares people," he said. "Some of them come up to me and they say, 'I kind of like you, but I don't like legalizing heroin.' And I say, 'Well, that's not my position.' "
Paul said he believes in freedom and wants a "virtuous society" where people practice "self-restraint." Yet he believes in laws and limits as well. Instead of advocating for legalized drugs, for example, he pushes for reduced penalties for many drug offenses.

"I'm not advocating everyone go out and run around with no clothes on and smoke pot," he said. "I'm not a libertarian. I'm a libertarian Republican. I'm a constitutional conservative."

The rollout of the new Paul brand continued Friday night in Iowa, home to the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, where he headlined a sold-out Republican Party dinner and drew repeated applause from GOP activists.


His approach was evident in the full access he and his family granted to Christian Broadcasting Network correspondent David Brody and a TV crew at their Bowling Green, Ky., home. The network is popular with evangelical voters, and the appearance offered Paul and his wife, who have three sons, a chance to present themselves as an all-American family.

Kelley talked about her reliance on her faith during difficult times. Rand said he composts "because I care about the environment."

On marriage, a matter in which many libertarians believe the government should have no role, Paul used the CBN interview to lay out a more careful position.

He said he's not ready to "give up on" the traditional family unit. But he added that it is a mistake for conservatives to support a federal ban on same-sex marriage, saying, "We're going to lose that battle because the country is going the other way right now."

"If we're to say each state can decide, I think a good 25 or 30 states still do believe in traditional marriage, and maybe we allow that debate to go on for another couple of decades and see if we can still win back the hearts and minds of people," he said.

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