'Leave us alone' at the heart of Paul's message to try to widen GOP's appeal

02/23/2014 08:42 AM

Not only is U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s “leave me alone” brand of libertarianism at the core of his brand within the Republican Party, it’s the foundation of his message to broaden the appeal of the party.

Perhaps at no time was that more apparent than Friday night at the Jefferson County Republican Party’s “Party for the Party” event aimed at bringing in people who have been under-represented in many GOP events at the past: young people and African Americans, particularly.

Paul said he believes the party can form a “leave me alone coalition” of people who are upset at government agencies like the NSA for snooping into emails and cell phone data or authorities sending accused terrorists to Guantanamo Bay without a trial. Paul urged Republicans to use a louder voice to support “the entire Bill of Rights.”

“If you want to be for the 2nd Amendment, you’ve got to be for the 4th Amendment,” Paul told the crowd of several hundred Republicans on Friday night.

Waymen Eddings, a member of the Jefferson County Republican Party executive committee, said he switched from being a Democrat after the 2012 Democratic National Convention in which the delegates fought over whether to include a reference to God in the party’s platform.

And he said the Republicans have a chance to pick up support among African Americans, but they have to make an effort and show that they’re listening.

Paul has been making that effort, speaking last year at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and making several trips to the west end of Louisville. Paul is scheduled to attend an event Monday at Simmons College, a historically black college in Louisville. It will mark his second trip to the college in less than a year.

Speaking to reporters before the event, Paul also said enforcement of drug laws and sentencing unfairly affects African Americans — something he believes must stop.

Paul was among many big-name Kentucky Republican speakers to address the event Friday night, which was organized by Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman Nathan Haney. Serving as bookends for the speaking were the two U.S. Senators. Paul closed the event while U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell offered brief remarks to open the speaking portion of the rally.

McConnell, however, didn’t mention policies or new approaches to try to widen the party’s appeal.

Calling the event “a party building exercise,” McConnell instead spent more than half of his four-and-a-half-minute speech offering a brief history of how the Republican Party has won more elections before giving a a concise version of his election stump speech.


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