When I asked Senator Rand Paul at our Johns Hopkins SAIS Center on Politics and Foreign Relations breakfast on June 8th if he would consider running as vice president on a ticket with his father Rep. Ron Paul, his answer was, "I've told people I think that would just be too weird. So that's my best answer to that."
Unique in American political history, having a son in the senate and a father in the House, Senator Rand Paul told me he would wait and see what happens in the Republican presidential primaries before supporting a candidate for president.
If one were looking for the wave of the future in the Republican Party, it might be found in the junior senator from Kentucky. With East Coast liberals having disappeared from the GOP years ago and moderates fading into the sunset, Senator Paul might just be the new breed of Republicans we will be seeing running for president in 2016 and beyond.
With our budget deficit and financial crisis having led to the creation of the Tea Party movement, the Kentucky ophthalmologist is a leading spokesman for a debt-free limited government and a limited foreign policy.
Speaking out in favor of "A Conservative Constitutional Foreign Policy" at our breakfast, the newly elected senator from Kentucky says, "We are out of money. Our foreign policy, an expansionist foreign policy, will end."
Senator Rand Paul, the leader of the new Tea Party caucus in the Senate and the author of the book The Tea Party Goes to Washington, may not come off as naïve as the character played by Jimmy Stewart in the movie Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, but he certainly comes off as a citizen-legislator and not a professional politician.
While he may be low key in his overall appearance and attitude, he believes strongly in his views and feels he represents the views of our Founding Fathers by making every issue a reference back to the US Constitution.
Saying Congress has the power to make war under the Constitution, he argues against Obama's taking military action in Libya without consulting Congress.
"I'd argue that a more restrained foreign policy is the true conservative foreign policy, as it includes two basic tenets of true conservatism: respect for the Constitution and fiscal discipline. Neither have been at the top of the list of concerns in foreign policy recently."
Going on, the senator states, "In our foreign policy, Congress has become not even a rubber stamp, but an irrelevancy." Senator Paul spoke out against the president's decision to work with NATO in Libya to protect the civilians trying to overthrow Gadhafi.
Paul says Obama "flagrantly defies] the law" by not coming to Congress to ask for a declaration of war for our military involvement in Libya. He points out the administration does not even call what is happening in Libya a war but now refers to it as "kinetic intermittent activity."
The senator adds, "I would disengage from Libya," and "the US broke the law and the War Powers Act was violated."
The low-key but opinionated senator also wants to see "a full blown debate on Afghanistan" and feels we have been in that country too long and should let the Afghans take more responsibility for the war in their nation.
The senator feels in these bad economic times that everything is on the table to look at chopping, including the defense budget. He asked that his own party not approve everything that the Pentagon asks for in their budget requests.
When we briefly spoke after his talk I asked how long he felt the Tea Party movement would be around, and he responded: "The Tea Party will survive as long as there is a debt problem."
Senator Rand Paul is a politician to watch, as he is on a mission to bring the country back to its roots by obeying the US Constitution in all of our domestic and foreign policies and his goal of reducing our massive debt.
You may not agree with the new senator from Kentucky, but anyone who quotes my political hero, Thomas Jefferson, in many of his sentences is a person to watch. Rand Paul is a person who is quickly making himself known in the United States Senate as an outspoken opponent of much of Obama's foreign policy -- and we haven't even mentioned his strong opposition to health care!