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Five Things You Should Know About Rand Paul

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul announced yesterday that he is running for president. Paul is the second major Republican candidate to enter the 2016 presidential race, but what he’s running from is at least as important as the office he’s running for.

Coming on the heels of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s announcement last month, Paul’s announcement may give him a slight fundraising advantage. (Ted Cruz raised $500,000 within one day of his announcement, and $4 million just over a week later.)

It also gives Paul a chance to define — or redefine — himself as the GOP field fills up and the race really begins. That’s the advantage Paul probably seeks, because running from his record is going to be just as hard as running for president.

Rand Paul is one of the biggest flip-floppers in Congress.

If you don’t like Rand Paul’s position on any given issue, just wait a while and he’ll choose another one, and claim that it was really his position all along. Or as one Democratic strategist put it, “Rand Paul takes more positions than the Kama Sutra.”

Paul’s reasons for flip-flopping are probably as myriad as his positions themselves. Paul crafts his position to suit his audience, and tries to distance himself from his scariest positions.

Rand Paul’s ideological acrobatics will prove problematic. The rest of the GOP pack will have a grand old time picking him apart. Voters will see him as all over the map, leaving him nowhere at all.

Rand Paul is a major conspiracy theorist.

Rand Paul has serious “daddy issues.”

Like most scions of nepotistic dynasties, Rand Paul finds his heritage both a blessing and a burden. Former congressman Ron Paul won’t be officially involved in his son’s campaign, but the campaign will be haunted by him.

Heritage may ultimately hobble Sen. Paul’s candidacy. He’s inherited some of his dad’s unusually passionate supporters. Growing up steeped in Ron Paul’s hard-right-leaning “paleo-libertarianism” will make it nearly impossible for Rand Paul to hold on to that support and broaden his appeal to reach non-wingnut voters in the general election — if he survives the primaries.

Rand Paul has race problems.

One of the most troubling things Rand Paul inherited from his father is his race problem.

Jonathan Chait summed it up best:

The deep connection between the Pauls and the neo-Confederate movement doesn’t discredit their ideas, but it’s also not just an indiscretion. It’s a reflection of the fact that white supremacy is a much more important historical constituency for anti-government ideas than libertarians like to admit.

Rand Paul has woman problems.

Back in February, Sen. Paul resurrected the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair during an appearance on “Meet The Press” to accuse President Clinton of “predatory behavior.” Even his fellow conservatives thought it bizarre, but it was in line with Paul’s odd problems with women’s issues.

And then there’s Aqua Buddha.

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