Photos Notwithstanding, Rand Paul Can Deliver

Posted: December 14, 2015 | By: Iowa Caucus Project Staff Tagged: Blog

When I went to a Rand Paul event in Waukee on Dec. 4, I admittedly had low expectations. Paul, well, has yet to excite the Drake community and really does not seem that excited himself. But, when you live in Iowa, you go to political events. I made my way to the side room in the Waukee Public Library where the event was being held, and saw a diverse group of young business people and the classic old Iowa farmer, representative of both Waukee itself but also the rural/city divide in Iowa as a whole. The crowd seemed excited to meet this candidate and the libertarian views he represents.

Ryan Tunink and Rand Paul being awkward together.

Ryan Tunink and Rand Paul being awkward together.

Naturally, I jumped to the front of the photo line. I wasn’t expecting much (I’ve heard the horror stories that are Rand Paul photos), but it was more of an ordeal than I thought. Normally when you meet a candidate you greet each other and you put your hands on each other backs or stay shaking hands for the photo. Not so for Paul. I tried to put my hand on his shoulder, but Paul had already turned slightly away from me, so I awkwardly lowered my hand hoping no one had noticed. Ultimately the photo looked like two high schoolers who are afraid to speak to one another going off to a school dance.

The photo really brought my spirits and expectations down. However, once Paul actually began speaking the event began to regain its energy. He went on his usual anti-establishment talking points, landing a few jokes that even seemed to brighten up himself a little. Once he hit the question and answer section, Paul really took off. Answering questions on eminent domain, auditing the Federal Reserve, and other issues that play directly into his campaign, he clearly had regained command of the issues, speaking with an ease that brought a sense of legitimacy while also seeming like a guy you just want to get to know. It was the first time I had seen him and really thought he seemed presidential. Now all he needs to do is figure out how to take a photo, preferably before the next debate. Paul has managed to make the main stage of all the Republican debates thus far, usually receiving mediocre reviews. Maybe this new found energy can translate into better stage performance? For Paul’s sake, I sure hope so. I can’t go through another awkward photo line with him.

IMG_1214Tunink is a sophomore political science and law, politics, and society major from Waukee, Iowa. He enjoys running on the Drake cross country team and binging on Netflix. Follow him on Twitter.