Rand Paul wants to spark a "transformation" of the GOP

The libertarian-ish Republican told Glenn Beck "a little tweaking at the edges" won't do

By Elias Isquith
Published February 14, 2014 10:01PM (EST)
Rand Paul                         (AP/Timothy D. Easley)
Rand Paul (AP/Timothy D. Easley)

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul thinks someone needs to utterly transform the Republican Party — and he knows just the man to do it.

Joining Glenn Beck on Thursday, Paul tried to deflect the right-wing pundit's pleas to run for the White House in 2016 and focus instead on the state of the Republican Party overall. And far as Paul's concerned, things aren't looking too good.

“I think Republicans will not win again in my lifetime for the presidency unless they become a new GOP, a new Republican Party,” Paul said to Beck. "And it has to be a transformation. Not just a little tweaking at the edges."

While Paul refrained from explicitly claiming he intended to usher in such transformational change, he did say there was "a struggle going on within the Republican Party" and that he intended to "struggle to make the Republican Party a different party, a bigger party, a more diverse party and a party that can win national elections again."

Paul would go on to implicitly compare himself to Ronald Reagan, saying, "But I was there in 1976, when Reagan fought Ford. I was at the convention as a 13-year-old kid. And everyone told Reagan to sit back and shut up, they told him it wasn't his time and it wasn't going to be his time and the establishment wanted Ford. And it was an evenly divided party, it was bitterly fought; but in the end, Reagan won and the party became a better place — at least for a while."

Paul wasn't too specific on just what this new Republican Party would look like, but he did say the GOP needed "a better message and a better presentation" when reaching out to minority communities. "To me," Paul continued, "it's the ideas of liberty and presenting them to everyone, not just white folks with ties on."

Whether a revamped message and presentation would include new policies was left unclear. (Paul's voting record, however, would suggest the answer to be: not so much.)

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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