Rand Paul has had a good year.
Last April, the Kentucky Republican made it onto Time’s list of the 100 most influential people with an endorsement from Sarah Palin, who noted that she “sent him some caribou jerky from Alaska” to help give him strength.
This year, Paul appears on the Time 100 again. But instead of getting an entry written by a politician on the decline, Paul’s endorsement comes from the lawmaker who leads the Republican Party in the Senate, and could well wind up as the chamber’s majority leader in less than a year.
Paul, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell writes, is “beating the bushes for anyone who prizes liberty, and he’s forcing people to rethink the Republican Party.” McConnell also got in a semi-veiled dig at one of Paul’s potential 2016 competitors, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, by praising Paul for not speaking ill of his fellow Republicans. McConnell’s come a long way from supporting Paul’s primary opponent in 2010. The Time entry itself is titled “The libertarian champion,” and is just about as raving a review as you’d ever see one politician give another.
It’s especially raving compared with how Paul endorsed McConnell for his Senate campaign this year. Because, while McConnell may need Paul in his reelection fight, Paul isn’t necessarily publicly pleading for the leader’s support.
In Paul’s telling, McConnell isn’t quite beating any shrubbery of freedom. When asked by Glenn Beck back in February why Paul was endorsing the minority leader in his GOP primary, Paul said he was going to campaign for McConnell because “he asked me when there was nobody else in the race.” Paul later clarified that he sees McConnell as “an important ally and a conservative voice in Washington.” Paul followed up that endorsement by dodging a question about it at a community forum last week in Kentucky.
In response to the Time 100 endorsement, a spokesperson for Rand Paul said that the senator “is excited to be a part of the national debate and is very appreciative of the kind words from his friend and colleague Sen. McConnell.”
As Paul spends more and more time crafting his national image ahead of a possible presidential campaign, it’s clear that he’s interested in more power and influence than McConnell could possibly give him in the Senate. But McConnell, in his courtship of the libertarian wing of his party, still has a lot to gain from Paul. Writing glowing tributes in a major national magazine may be a good start.
This article was updated with comment on Time 100 from Sen. Paul’s office.
What We're Following See More »
The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.
"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."
No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."
"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."