It is quite an understatement to say that I am not Rand Paul’s target audience. Still, I couldn’t help notice something about his brief acceptance speech and I’m curious to hear whether any of you had a similar take. I don’t think I’d ever seen Paul speak at any length. Or if I did I don’t have a clear recollection of it. And he came off to me as arrogant, bellicose and even a little messianic in his demeanor. To put it baldly, he sounded like a jerk.
When I watched it on replay later it didn’t sound quite as jarring to me. But maybe that’s because my impression from the first viewing was so negative that a second look couldn’t live up to my first impression. (see some video highlights here.)
In any case, that’s actually quite different from his father. I find Ron Paul’s politics awful and he’s a classic ideologue. But as a person he comes off as pretty humble and even unassuming, which I’ve always thought is the reason he manages to have a certain degree of crossover popularity despite his draconian and often ugly politics.
Now does any of that matter? Not necessarily, I guess. And when I mentioned this in the newsroom this evening a couple members of our team pointed out, rightly, that that sort of attitude is part and parcel of the Tea Party movement and really any anti-establishment movement for that matter. But even in a conservative state like Kentucky some measure of pivoting is necessary in a general election. And I wondered after seeing Paul whether he’s constitutionally capable of it.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.