You have to give Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) credit for recognizing Republicans should be embarrassed by their stand on a woman’s right to choose.
While promoting his Life at Conception Act last year, Paul told CNN that “there are thousands of exceptions” to his bill, which would make all abortions and some forms of birth control illegal. His chief of staff later clarified that the “thousands of exceptions” the senator was referring to were individual cases where the life of the mother might be threatened. So there was one exception, really. And no other exceptions, even in cases of rape or incest.
Now, as the 2016 campaign begins, Paul wants Republicans to hide their obsession with social issues.
“I think that the Republican Party, in order to get bigger, will have to agree to disagree on social issues,” he said. He went on to reference “traditional marriage” as an issue young people may feel “festooned” by — using that slang the kids dig so much these days. But in the subtext of words, Republicans heard hints of the so-called “truce” former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels once called for, in favor of focusing on economic issues in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Daniels’ plea for a truce came before birth control suddenly became a presidential election issue and it seemed as if Republicans wanted to refight battles many thought were settled in the early 1960s.
Even though Rand Paul’s truce didn’t explicitly mention abortion, it sounds a lot like what CNN’s S.E. Cupp recently said:
We, of course, want to make abortion illegal. We can’t be afraid to talk about that, but I think politically right now it’s probably more beneficial for our candidates to say, ‘Look, I’m not going to Washington to overturn decades-old legislation. I’m going to fight to keep abortion safe and rare.’ That’s how we get pro-life candidates elected and in positions of power to actually do something about abortion, to roll it back.
Why would it be to Paul’s advantage to not talk about reproductive rights?
The senator is currently in the process of trying to sell the world on the idea that he can appeal to voters who have refused to consider the GOP in the past, by focusing on privacy and the NSA.
“So my goal in being here is to say that, ‘look, maybe I’m the Republican that can attract votes even at Berkeley,” he said, sitting in Philz Coffee after a recent speech at UC Berkeley.