In the wake of the ghastly events in Ferguson, Missouri, Rand Paul, almost alone among politicians of national prominence, called for the demilitarization of the police. It was a more courageous response than we got from Barack Obama, who called for calm, or Hillary Clinton, who said nothing.
Instantly liberal pundits started trying to discount Rand’s statements, reminding us that he once had doubts, on ideological libertarian grounds, about provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and calling his current position opportunistic. In fact, Rand has been speaking out about the disproportionate persecution of blacks by the police for months.
Liberal pundits are deeply threatened by acts of political courage by conservatives, probably because they know how appealing they are to the public at large in this age of liberal pusillanimity and downright cowardice. In the latest poll about possible match-ups in the 2016 Presidential race, Hillary now leads Rand by only 6 points. Not long ago she led him by 12 points.
That trend will continue. Hillary is playing not to lose — a losing strategy, as any poker player will tell you. Rand is putting his chips in play. He’s driving the game — Hillary is just trying to run out the clock and stay in it. She’s the fish at the table.
Rand is not doing as well against his Republican rivals for the nomination, but the debates could change that. In debates between the principled Paul and the mealymouthed Clinton, it would be no contest.