Monday, May 13, 2013

Rand Paul keeps 'em laughin'

By Richard K. Barry

Sen. Rand Paul was in Iowa on Friday to deliver a speech at the Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner in Cedar Rapids. Apparently Iowa has something do to with securing a party's nomination for the presidency, or perhaps Paul just likes the weather in the Hawkeye State this time of year.

Chris Cillizza notes that the The Washington Post currently rates him as "the third most likely candidate to wind up as the GOP’s presidential nominee."    

Part of the speech was used to mock former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya in which four Americans were killed, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. 

NBC Politics writes:

Speaking at the Iowa GOP’s annual Lincoln Dinner, Paul questioned the initial response to the attacks and asked, "First question to Hillary Clinton: Where in the hell were the Marines?"
"It was inexcusable, it was a dereliction of duty, and it should preclude her from holding higher office," the Kentucky Republican added to loud applause.

They also say this:
Paul's speech doubled at times as a comedy scene, as he seemed at ease before the crowd, stepping away from the podium, microphone in hand, to project a casual demeanor. He rattled off jokes about absurd pork-barrel projects, recalling the campaign style of Arizona Sen. John McCain as he ran for president in 2008.

As a matter of style, I am not sure I would choose McCain's approach, given how that worked out. I am also uncertain that this kind of smart ass attitude is likely to work with American voters. "Funny" works, "smarmy,"  not so much. I'm sure it amuses the already committed, but whether it broadens the base, I don't know. 

Not that reality impresses Republicans, but, as an added bonus, the second clip is an interview with former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who sees much of the Benghazi criticism as based on a "cartoonish" view of military capability. 

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