By Richard Cohen
, WashPost, Monday, April 14, 6:39 PM
Not to put too fine a point on it, but what has Rand Paul ever done? Oh, sure, he’s a member of the U.S. Senate, but only a freshman, and it’s the only political office he has held. He’s an ophthalmologist, a father, a husband and the son of Ron Paul, who used to run for president. So now it is son Rand who is doing so. Aside from family tradition, the question is why?
Last month, Paul won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll with 31 percent of the vote
. Second in the hearts of conservatives that day was Sen. Ted Cruz, yet another right-wing darling whose record is unblemished by significant achievement. He, too, is a Senate freshman and by virtue of inexperience feels he knows so much more than his colleagues.
At the moment Paul has the momentum. He just appeared at the Freedom Summit in Manchester
, N.H., where, according to The Post, he generated the most excitement. Cruz also attended the event, as did Mike Huckabee (back from the politically dead), Donald Trump, running or not running for the umpteenth time, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who may or may not be seeking the White House.
Either way, the result will be the same. All this might seem something of a joke. Blackburn is probably not a household name on her own block. Huckabee has failed before and will undoubtedly fail again. Trump would probably prefer to run for president than actually be one. But it is Paul who commands attention. A fair number of Republicans are drawn to his putative candidacy on the basis, it seems, of what he opposes — big government, the Federal Reserve, foreign aid, federal education programs and, of course, abortion — more than anything he has done.