Amid the ever-growing field of Republican US presidential candidates for 2016, Rand Paul already stands out for his libertarian leanings and for the fact that he seems to resent the traditional GOP powers that be as much as he does President Obama.
But the US Senator from Kentucky, who formally announced his candidacy this week, also may stand out from the gaggle of Midwestern governors, major politicos from Florida, and other GOP hopefuls for another reason: Paul is a brander.
No sooner had the 52-year-old son of Ron Paul—also a former Kentucky senator who ran for president a few times as a Libertarian and Republican—declared for the presidency than his campaign website revealed an e-commerce store with of branded items for his fans and supporters.
Among the car accessories, Beats headphone skins and other items, CNN’s John King the NSA Spy Cam Blocker to place over a laptop’s camera hole for just $15, a campaign eye chart (Paul is an ophthalmologist by profession) and a pair of flip-flops that state “I Stand with Rand.”
That last item “could be a bit more of a risk” than some of the other Paul swag, King quipped, because the senator is someone “who people say has changed his position on the [US southern] border fence or changed his position on foreign aid to Israel.”
At the very least, it’s fodder for late night TV hosts and cable news commentators.