Despite Bipartisan Efforts, Rand Paul Still Media Target

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Senator Rand Paul occupies a unique space in the GOP primary.  That’s because he strives to be, in his own words, “a different kind of Republican.”  On several issues, most notably surveillance and sentencing, Rand has an almost infamous reputation for working across the aisle.  A new article in The Hill lists just a few of his bipartisan accomplishments:

He has rejected torture, renounced perpetual war, championed alternative energy, fought against mandatory minimums, targeted the militarization of our police forces, worked with numerous Democratic senators in a bipartisan fashion, and he’s garnered the ire of the neocons, who fester like an open wound on the side of the GOP.

One would think that all this, plus his stand on environmental protections, would make him a near hero to a media that has increasingly called for an end to “gridlock” in Washington.  As the article later notes, however, no good deed goes unpunished:

Yet despite this, he’s frequently assailed across both broadsheets and social media alike. Michael Eric Dyson has compared him to George Wallace. ABC news shamelessly asked if Paul’s latest book was a cash grab, while having just weeks earlier hailed Sen. Warren’s (D-Mass.) own publication. The New York Times has branded Paul’s efforts as “sloganeering,” as the outlet simultaneously celebrated a “surging” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). CNN’s Don Lemon has asked if Paul “is black enough” to win the votes of African Americans.

…But it gets worse; He’s been called a political “terrorist” and a “pissant” by Chris Matthews. MSNBC has labeled Paul a “misogynist, sexist hypocrite” for challenging Hillary Clinton. GQ ranked him in the top tier of their list of the “20 craziest politicians” (only 3 of which were Democrats of course). Salon has written that his candidacy is a “Dunce off,” between him and Ted Cruz, while having further maligned him as “dim and divisive.”

Why the massive animosity for a man who, by all accounts, is willing to work with Democrats on more issues than any other candidate in the top tier?  The author brushes, but doesn’t fully explore, the probable cause while recounting another tale of media animosity toward Rand:

When pressed on specifics for his abortion policies, Paul proposed a similar question to DNC chairman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz (Fla.). When her answer was so far beyond the pale of mainstream American views, there was no condemnation, or even further exploration of her retort.

And that, right there, is likely where the liberal elites got off the fence and decided Rand needed to go.  A candidate with views that appeal to a lot of Democrats’ better instincts on criminal justice, foreign policy and privacy could be very, very dangerous to the party’s electoral prospects in the future, especially if he can make a convincing argument on life.

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.