NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – What is wrong with the people who don't understand why conservatism works, and why liberty is so important?
Even with a doctorate in human development, WND's Gina Loudon was puzzled.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., had the answer to her question.
"I tell people it's the 'big heart, small brain syndrome.' Liberals have big hearts, but they're not using all their brain capacity," explained the senator in his exclusive interview with WND at CPAC, the annual convention for conservatives, just outside of Washington.
Paul indirectly referred to the famous definition of insanity as trying something again and again while expecting a different result.
"I don't know," he said. "Liberals don't seem to get the point that if you're trying something and the objective evidence shows that it's not working, why not try something different?"
The Kentuckian used the example of "what we've done for the people of Appalachia in my state. For 40 years, we've been sending money there but it's still very poor.
"So, what I've been saying is, 'Why don't we do something different? Why don't we dramatically cut the taxes in Eastern Kentucky, in Detroit and other places that are suffering?"
Paul explained how tax deductions are particularly effective in helping people "because they go directly to people who have businesses and create jobs."
Loudon then touched upon a hot-button issue at this year's CPAC. Many conservatives are upset that social issues seem to have been neglected by the organizers and most of the speakers.
"I personally think that faith and tradition and virtue are important parts of all of our issues," said Paul, a devout Christian.
"But I also know that our country is somewhat divided on some of these issues, and even our party is (divided)," he said. "So, I think sometimes, we will have to agree to disagree.
"Ultimately, a democracy needs that stability," he added.
Paul explained how the difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution was instructive.
"We had the underpinnings of our religion and our families (while) the French sort of descended into chaos.
"Don't tell the French I said this stuff, will you?" he kidded.
Loudon also delved into what makes the senator tick by asking what makes him a conservative.
Paul, who is now the frontrunner among possible GOP candidates for president in 2016, according to the most recent polls, told WND, while he was born into a conservative family and an independent spirit is probably part of his DNA, he was not necessarily born a conservative.
When he was younger, Paul did a lot of research into political theory, reading such heavyweight thinkers as John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.
Paul told Loudon that one of the key principles he came to embrace was that "freedom creates more prosperity than coercion."
More than that, Paul found that freedom is the real key to spreading the wealth among the so-called "haves" and the "have-nots."
Turning to foreign policy, Loudon asked Paul how his approach would differ from President Obama's in dealing with the crisis with Russia over the Ukraine.
Paul said the first problem is, "[Obama] has damaged our credibility by saying, 'Here's a red line' in Syria, then sort of moving the line.
"Once you draw a line – I think you have to be very careful when you draw lines, period. But then if you draw a line, you should stick to it. Otherwise, you lose your credibility."
And that, he said, has led to a situation in which Russia believes the U.S. won't respond in any meaningful way.
As for Russian President Vladimir Putin's "violation of the integrity of Ukraine" by placing troops there, Paul recommended stronger measures than Obama has taken.
"I think [Putin] should be isolated," Paul said. "If he's going to act like a rogue nation, he should be isolated from civilized nations."
Loudon asked the senator something she said people have asked her, "Is Rand Paul a Ron Paul-lite?"
The presidential frontrunner took the question in the spirit of good humor in which it was offered and expressed his love for his father, which is always readily apparent whenever the two share a stage.
But, he added, "I always have to be careful what I say about my dad because I want to sit at the adult table at Thanksgiving."
On a serious note, Paul pointed out he has been in the Senate for three years, given thousands of speeches, "and I just need to be judged for who I am."