As I said in the case of Ted Cruz, so I say now about Rand Paul: In God's name, why?:
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky entered the campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination Tuesday with a declaration that he's running for the White House to "return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government."
Well, that's all fine and good, and certainly the country needs that desperately, but Senator Paul, you are not - clearly - the man to bring that about....
Rand is his father's son. He's Ron with a perm and a modicum of PR discretion. And like his dad, he has zero chance at the 2016 GOP nomination, which I think he knows, since according to Kentucky election law, he can't run for POTUS and re-election to his Senate seat at the same time, and I don't think he'd sacrifice the latter on a doomed presidential run.
- Me, six months ago
Some of us can see things coming months in advance; others of us have to wait for it to happen, but are both realistic and courageous enough to see and heed the handwriting on the wall; and the vast majority are just stubbornly delusional.
Red State's Erick Erickson is in that middle category:
What is the most endearing moment of Rand Paul’s presidential campaign is also the most embarrassing. The senator live streamed his entire day yesterday and took questions from people online. At one point, he referred to it as a “dumb ass live stream.”
Maybe we should start referring to him as "Senator Truman". Or his campaign as "The Paul Show".
It was, as the press called it, “a stunt” — a desperate cry for attention.
Now, actually a very, very inexpensive one.
What is worse is that Rand Paul did not even like it. “I’ve been saying, I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this. And now we’re doing this,” Paul told a reporter.
And it wasn't his first online "stunt," either; remember when he tried to ape the Sprint "cut your current cell phone bill in half" ad campaign by taking a chain saw to the U.S. tax code?
As I wrote at the time:
I get the point of it, but Rand's performance is pretty thin gruel. To be honest, it looks like outtakes from those "switch for half the price" Sprint commercials where people are doing grisly things to their other-carrier cell phone bills - which was probably the inspiration for Senator Paul's vid.
However, this is the "fun" kind of ad that augments an already-top-tier campaign, not vaults a third-rate campaign into the top tier. Maybe if Rand had done the ad stark naked, and made "peeing on the tax code" one of several multiple-choice options, it might have served its assumed attention-grabbing purpose.
This latest "A Day In The Life Of Rand Paul" gimmick is no different.
But it's symptomatic of the Paul campaign's two terminal weaknesses, the first being money:
Which begs the rhetorical question of whether Senator Paul believed that he could hide his congenital umbilical to his father's loopy ideas as a Ronulan trojan horse within the GOP long enough to actually make it all the way to Cleveland next summer, and the bona fide question of why he thought that possible when he has now conclusively proven that he doesn't possess anywhere near that level of discretion. Rand Paul is a libertarian ideologue and he wears it proudly, like a hairlip. Which is fine for him, but not when you need the open wallets of the party in which you're concealing yourself in order to vicariously fulfill your progenitor's lifelong dream.
Senator Paul is spouting the usual line of cash-strapped, long-shot candidates - he's "counting on small-dollar donations raised primarily online" from "outside the usual Republican circles, particularly from college-aged voters with a distaste for military engagement and others who put civil liberties at the forefront of their concerns" - or, in other words, people without very much, if any, disposable income. Or, instead of tapping proven gushers, Rand is trying to squeeze a whole bunch of little dry wells. Running an "unconventional" campaign without cash but on a highly energized "live wire" shoe string. Well, good luck with that, Senator, because you're going to need as much good fortune as you lack in your campaign bank account. Remember how Barack Obama also had such a campaign in 2008? He also had a billion dollars in which for it to wallow naked.
You simply cannot piss in the face of your entire party on a critical issue - national security - embrace the Middle East foreign policy of Barack Obama, smear your ostensibly fellow Republicans as "creators of the Islamic State," and expect deep-pocketed GOP donors to line up outside your door. If Rand Paul thought otherwise, that doesn't say much about his political judgment. If that was always his plan, then his was never a serious candidacy in the first place.
Rand has never succeeded in raising more than a comparative pittance - heck, one of his SuperPACS has already gone tits-up, and the head of the other has been indicted. And while I'm the first one to acknowledge that money isn't everything in a political campaign, it sure as shinola isn't irrelevant to it, either. Remember the Pevensie Principal? "Numbers do not win a battle, sire." "No; but I bet they help." Senator Paul doesn't have and has never had the numbers, and he's gotten curb-stomped. The reason he hasn't gotten the numbers is because he went out of his way to alienate those from whom the numbers come. And since then, at least according to Double-E, Paul has "taken to bashing Ted Cruz for daring to challenge Washington and has otherwise stood shoulder to shoulder with the Washington insiders the rest of the party is fighting" - without that about-face shaking loose any additional cash. I think he'd be doing better if he'd run as a capital-L Libertarian than as a Republican, frankly.
That brings us to Rand's other terminal weakness: no "fire in the belly". In the same way that Ben Carson doesn't appear to truly want to be POTUS, so Kentucky's junior senator gives every indication of his campaign being not out of his own ambitions for power and national change, but to allow his father to vicariously realize his dreams of same through his curly-topped offspring. The presidency is like Homer Simpson's description of Duff beer: You have to be willing to run over your own mother to attain it. Metaphorically speaking, of course. It requires complete, tunnel-vision, monomaniacal, borderline-obsessive focus and commitment. That isn't going to come from, in Dr. Carson's case, everybody else telling him to run, and in Senator Paul's, doing it for dear old Dad. The difference between the two being that Gentle Ben didn't start out his campaign by going out of his way to bite all the fundraising hands that he needed to feed him, and his candidacy's strategy hasn't resembled a Little Billy from the Family Circus navigational chart.
It's as I said on the day Rand Paul entered the GOP race: He had zero shot at the nomination, and the past six months have resoundingly proved it.
See, I told you so.
If Erick Erickson had not fallen under the "Stand With Rand" spell, he could have concluded the following and saved himself a lot of time and disappointment:
Rand Paul, this was an interesting run and I am a fan of yours. But your campaign is a bloody embarrassment that needs to be taken out back and put out of its misery. Go home to Kentucky, Senator, and save your Senate seat before Kentucky’s voters take the incompetence of your presidential campaign as a reflection on you and your Senate campaign.
Exit observation: Look at the pic of Senator Paul up top and then this one of Stuart Bloom, the comic book store owner from the Big Bang Theory.
Twins separated at birth?