CPAC 2013: Rand Paul's Jeans Prove He's One Of Us

At the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was one of the most popular speakers and his face is now plastered on the face of news headlines for “transforming the GOP,” and “Stealing the Show” at the gathering.

But something seemingly insignificant hasn't been reported yet: as Rand Paul walked to the podium to give his speech to the tune of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” he wore a pair of blue jeans. Maybe he learned a valuable lesson in wearing comfortable clothes from his 13-hour filibuster, but jokes aside, these jeans are simply Paul being himself. And while for some, this choice of clothing might be trivial, his jeans are incredibly important because they show us that Paul, the likely face of the new Republican Party, is one of us.

Like us, he does not wish to stand a head above his neighbors — he doesn't need a thousand dollar suit and fancy shoes to gain political favoritism: he is happy to live with his jeans and cowboy boots. Like most of us, and unlike our friends in Congress, Paul is not a big-shot lawyer or a career politician: he is a doctor who established his own clinic in Bowling Green, Ky., after working at “Downing McPeak Vision Centers.”

And like us, Paul wants greater freedom from the government: whether it’s gaining the freedom to keep a larger portion of your paycheck, decide what you and your children eat or choose who you marry; Paul’s goal is, simply, to expand liberty.

Just like us, Paul’s frustration with government restriction led him to fight for liberty. So, in 1994, Paul founded Kentucky Taxpayers United to try to expand our liberty by allowing us to keep more of our paycheck. Then, in 2010, Paul was elected to the U.S. Senate and his liberty-based message hasn't changed — he still lives like a regular citizen to the extent that he can.

I point out Paul’s jeans to show that he is still one of us - a hard-working man who wants to live a good life and help others; and believes that he can do without big government’s help. This is reflected both in what he wears and in the freedom he desires.

As Paul has been declared the winner of the 2013 CPAC straw poll, it is vital that the Republican Party listen to the future of conservatism: one that is full of liberty and popular support. If the GOP can find more down-to-earth leaders like Rand Paul — if they can find candidates who are more like us — they might be able to climb their way out of their cave of political defeat into the light of success.

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Christian Rice

Christian is a senior at Georgetown University pursuing a double-major in government and philosophy. He has worked as a research assistant on Economic Liberty and a legislative analyst on economic development, communication and technology policy for a non-profit in Washington, D.C.

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