rand paul

Rand Paul is “El Hombre!”

by Rick Sanchez, FOX News Latino  |  published on March 28, 2013

Rand Paul isn’t rehearsed. He’s plainspoken. He rarely reads his speeches and sounds a lot like that unassuming guy we meet at the local supermarket who’s carrying a clipboard. You know the type — the guy who wants you to sign a petition to support a law, repeal a law or save an animal of some kind. The senator from Kentucky is by all outward appearances very un-senatorial and unsensational.

But you can never judge a book by its cover. And despite outward appearances, Rand Paul may be the most powerful voice in the Senate today. Why? Because he can do what no other Republican can do: he can unify. At a time when Republicans seem as splintered as the Democrats did in the ‘80s, Paul seems more capable of bridging the divide on big issues than almost anyone else.

This week, on immigration, Paul has taken the GOP where few —including me— ever imagined it could go: a real public discussion about allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. for good. Even Marco Rubio, the Senate’s highest profile Latino and the seeming “Golden Boy” for 2016, has hemmed and hawed on immigration and failed to substantively distinguish himself. And prominent pro-immigration Republicans like Newt Gingrich couldn’t move the needle the way that Rand Paul has in just one week.

Let’s remember that just six months ago, the prevailing Republican thinking on immigration was, essentially, “we want you to leave.” In the now infamous words and muddled philosophy of GOP candidate Mitt Romney, “the answer is self-deportation.”

Say what you will about Romney’s words and how they may not have been chosen wisely, but you can’t say they didn’t work for their intended purpose. In fact, they propelled him to the nomination by providing the GOP base with just the amount of red meat that he needed to prove he was not a weak-kneed liberal in Republican clothing.

In October, after the nomination was locked up and in response to the president’s public stance on the DREAM Act, Mitt Romney —seemingly reluctantly— said he’d support the DREAM Act too. But “self-deportation” was still part of the picture and still in everyone’s mind.

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