5 things you didn’t know about Rand Paul

A fluffy profile in Vogue reveals almost nothing about the senator, except that he loves trees

Topics: Rand Paul, Vogue, GOP, Republican, Ayn Rand, libertarian,

Rand Paul, a potential GOP presidential hopeful and the dummy who shares the title of Ayn Rand’s biggest fanboy along with columnist Harry Binswanger, got the Vogue treatment in a five-page puff piece that did an impressive job of profiling the senator without revealing anything insightful about him at all.

Except!

Readers learned a bit about the senator’s “notoriously sartorial” wardrobe:

He wears “dad jeans, a snail-patterned tie, and cuff links fashioned from gold coins given to him by his mother and father.” Other times, “Paul is in quilt-patterned shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, and brown fisherman sandals.”

And that he can’t feign interest even when he is the subject of conversation:

During our interview at the senator’s expansive brick home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, he makes no secret of his boredom or bemusement, bouncing his knee, checking his watch, even springing up to the fridge—looking not entirely unlike a know-it-all college kid home for summer break.

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The Pauls have some family photos. Their sons hate posing for them (how precious):

[His wife] shows me family photos, pointing out one portrait from her husband’s swearing-in with Vice President Joe Biden, which she sent out as a Christmas card. “I got so much grief about that,” she says. “It was just pure laziness on my part. I have three boys who hate to pose for pictures.”

The Republican senator has a “softer side.” His wife brings it out. Also, trees:

At a recent event at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, Paul described himself as a crunchy conservative who kayaks, composts, and has “a giant sequoia I’m trying to grow in Kentucky.”

“It’s not quite a giant,” Paul demurs when I ask to see the tree. He leads me onto the deck, where against the wall stands the sequoia, a two-foot-tall potted plant with protective wax candles and cups and wire surrounding the stem.

“The squirrels are eating the damn roots,” the senator says. “We hate squirrels. Don’t put that in the article,” he jokes. “But we hate ’em. Animal lovers will get us on that.”

Kelley, now next to him laughing, remarks that this is not her husband’s first attempt at growing a redwood in a Kentucky backyard.

“It died, and he preserved the trunk in our garage,” she says.

But alas, cruel irony! Paul has no skills in making furniture:

“It was a pretty good tree,” he says with something like regret as we stand in the garage. “And I couldn’t part with it, so I cut it down and brought it in here, and I’ve been thinking about chopping it up and doing something with it.” He turns off the light. “But I really don’t have any skills in making furniture.”

Also, Rand Paul is a libertarian (of religious fervor, Vogue notes) and this is going to radicalize the GOP, in case you didn’t know.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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