Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Political Strategy Behind Rand Paul's Immigration Plan

I know there are some conservatives who are upset with Rand Paul's immigration plan, calling him a sellout  just like they did after he voted "yes" on Chuck Hagel (despite the fact that he voted to continue the filibuster against him twice).  At the time, I thought then that there was probably something behind that, that he might have voted yes in order to increase the chances that he would get support from someone like Ron Wyden in his battle against Brennan, who was nominated for CIA, who was clearly his ultimate target.  Lo and behold, we get his historic 13 hour filibuster with Ron Wyden joining in and civil libertarian progressives lauding Rand Paul and damning Democrats for not being as supportive as Wyden was.  I know we aren't used to this but Rand Paul seems to be a politician who actually THINKS THINGS THROUGH.

So why did Rand Paul come out with his immigration plan, one that probably has little chance of actually being passed?  Two reasons.  First, if you haven't noticed, Rand Paul has been focusing on his beliefs that many on the left can agree with.  This has given him an enormous amount of positive press from many publications across the political spectrum.  This positive press will likely be the first impression that many voters have of him, and first impressions can be hard to shake.  People's first impressions of Mitt Romney were of an unprincipled stuffy out-of-touch rich guy and no amount of spin or stories of personal charity could change that. Conversely, Rand Paul will look like someone who is inclusive, who fights the establishment of both parties and is highly principled.   It will help him get a pass for some of his beliefs that are decidedly less attractive to the liberal media (i.e. his entire economic and fiscal platform).  Second, and this is probably more a tactic than a strategy, by proposing his own comprehensive immigration reform plan, he now has the cover to vote No on the gang of 8 plan which immediately grants amnesty without border security.  Without his own plan, Rand Paul would have been labelled anti-Latino and anti-immigrant by the MSM, that is much harder to do now, especially after his heart felt speech about growing up amongst immigrants in Texas.

In other words, please stop flipping out about every move that Rand Paul makes, there is a method to it, one that will reap huge benefits down the line.

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