Who is Rand Paul?

He’s the guy named Rand who launched his campaign at the Galt House Hotel.

He’s not named after Ayn Rand, says his father. And the Galt House is named after Dr. W.C. Galt, not John, says the hotel’s website.

But, he does have a strong libertarian streak.

Rand Paul is an eye doctor from Kentucky, who didn’t intend on running for Senate until his father’s supporters drafted him to run in 2010 to replace the longtime Republican from Kentucky, Jim Bunning.

Rand caught the interest of Ron Paul’s rabid rebel rousers as the younger Paul showed up to stump for his father’s dark horse campaign. He was also a keynote speaker at Faneuil Hall on December 16, 2007, for the very first modern Tea Party. On that day, Rand helped raise $6.5 million in a single day for his father, the only anti-war, anti-Patriot Act, pro-civil liberties candidate on the Republican stage.

After being drafted to run for the Senate, Rand Paul wowed the political establishment relatively quickly by demolishing his opponent, the insiders’ favorite and then Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, in what was cleverly coined a “Rand Slide” victory.

So what has he done since he took office just 5 years ago?

Besides making the liberty-loving hardliners throw up when he does anti-Ron things like vote for oversees spending or signs a letter to the Iranian president alongside a bunch of “pro-war against anyone except Israel” Republicans, he has given a middle finger to the rest of the establishment by doing things like:

1. Filibustering the nomination of John Brennan for CIA director;

2. Filing a successful lawsuit against the NSA for its mass surveillance program; and

3. Teaming up with Democratic U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to address voting rights for ex-felons, the use of police powers in urban communities, and medical marijuana reform.

In doing so, Rand has also taken some more traditional Republican positions, winning over the Republican base voters who wouldn’t dare vote for dad:

1. He’s teetered on the edge of denying man-made climate change;

2. He’s says that the First Amendment keeps the government out of religion, but not vice versa.

3. He’s opposed immigration reforms; and

4. He hates Obamacare.

Then again, he has reached back into his libertarian pocketbook on a few issues that might cause moderate Republicans concern, like:

1. He supports the right to NOT have your kids vaccinated;

2. He wants to Audit the Federal Reserve, or better, End the Fed; and

3. He wants to end the drug war.

Rand has also authored a few books of his own, including:

1. The Tea Party Goes to Washington

2. Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds

3. Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America

In short, Rand Paul is an amalgamation of libertarianism, conservatism, and independence.

And like him or not, his candidacy has to be taken seriously.

Photo Source: Reuters