DOUGLAS V. GIBBS             RADIO             BOOKS             CONSTITUTION             CONTACT/FOLLOW             DONATE

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Rand Paul Cannot Take A Hint

by JASmius

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.

- Me, 206 days ago

As I've said many times, Senator Paul is running in the wrong party. His non-fiscal domestic policies are Libertarian (i.e. moral/social issues like abortion and sodomarriage on which he's squishy at best, and border control, at least until a year or so ago), and his neoisolationist foreign policy is Democrat. Neither makes him any kind of fit for the Republican presidential nomination, to say nothing of his lack of a resume, but those two respective policy bents are fundamentally incompatible, so he had no choice but to infiltrate the GOP under deep cover and try to put them over here. He failed, doubled down on that failure, and now he's got empty campaign coffers and, for all intents and purposes, the same narrow base his dad did, which never got him anywhere. The result is a mid-single-digit polling ceiling and effective irrelevancy, with no practical way to change it.

- Me, 156 days ago

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.

- Me, seventy days ago

 You may be noticing a pattern here.  Red State's Erick Erickson finally conceded it two months back:

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.

Has Senator Paul finally, or ever, acknowledged the handwriting that was on the metaphorical wall way back in April when his sorry-assed cavalcade kicked off?  Of course not.  Indeed, he refuses to even accept a demotion to the next debate "kiddie table":

“I won’t participate in any kind of second-tier debate,” the Kentucky senator said on Kilmeade and Friends. “We’ve got a first-tier campaign. I’ve got eight hundred precinct chairman in Iowa. I’ve got a hundred people on the ground working for me. I’ve raised twenty five million dollars. I’m not gonna let any network or anybody tell me we’re not a first-tier campaign.

It's far from just Fox Business Network telling you that, Senator.

If you tell a campaign with three weeks to go that they’re in the second-tier, you destroy the campaign. This isn’t the job of the media to pick who wins. The voters ought to get a chance.” 

And they're dropping hints the size of adolescent pachyderms in your polling.  That is that off of which FBN is going.

Paul said limiting the number of candidates lays “it up in a lap” for Donald Trump....

Actually, you have that 180 degrees backwards, Senator.  Trump has been able to dominate the race up to now precisely because there are two many Goddamned candidates with no shot cluttering up and fragmenting the field (and the debate stages), allowing sheer hype and his universal name recognition to vault him to the lead he most definitely does not deserve.  Winnow that down, as the voters, via the polls, have already done, to a couple - your colleagues from Texas and Florida - and the contest stops being about hype and name recognition and can start being about leadership and substance and contrasts.  It can finally become serious, which is entirely to Trump's disadvantage.

....adding that he is the only candidate who would challenge the businessman.

And you've been SO effective at that up to now. <eyeroll>

He said the network relegating him to the second-tier debate is a designation as an unserious campaign, and attacked the use of what he called imprecise polling to determine which candidates get on the stage.

Uh-huh.  "The polls are all wrong, I'm REALLY way out in front" argument.  Which is what all unserious losing campaigns insist.

Let's remember some core truths about polling, Senator.  Other than under seventy-two hours from the actual election, any specific poll numbers are indeed far from "gospel," and even those can be off - ask Kentucky Governor Jack Conway (oh, wait.....).  But they are useful in terms of trends.  And in a dreadfully overcrowded race like the GOP presidential nomination scrum has been pretty much all year long, this boils down to a two-sides-of-the-same-coin question: (1) Have you been a "flavor of the month", and (2) are you the most recent "flavor of the month"?  i.e. At any point over the past, in your case, over eight months have you had a single significant polling surge, and if so, when did it take place?  Ben Carson, for example, shot to the moon in August and September and was the frontrunner through Halloween or so.  Then the ISIS attacks in Paris and San Bernardino struck and all of a sudden having a meek rookie at the helm of the ship of state didn't look so appealing anymore, and his campaign has collapsed to where yours has always been.  More recently, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have wafted up, mainly on Dr. C's lost support, and Cruz is now co-frontrunning with the pompadoured slumlord, and may be uniquely positioned to syphon off his support and let George Will go back to sleeping at night (and he's not the only one).  That meets both criteria above.

But you, Rand?  Your campaign has never gotten off the bottom, never even been out of single-digits,  It's even more pathetic than that of Jeb Bush, because at least Jeb (1) had an actual distance to fall and (2) did manage to raise serious coin (over $100 million, for whatever good it's done him, which ain't much).  The truth - and irony - is that you don't belong on either debate stage at all.

“I frankly just won’t be told by the media which tier I’m in, and we’re not willing to accept that, because we’re a first-tier campaign and we’re in it to win it and we won’t be told that we’re in a tier that can’t win,” he said.

It doesn't matter what you will or will not accept, Senator.  The numbers will make that determination, and they already have.  And if you try to crash the main debate, I imagine FBN will have security backstage guarding the doors.

It's sad, really.  I don't know that I've ever seen a more strident display of delusional denial.  It fairly shrieks "Methinks he dost protest too much".  It's the kind of foot-stomping tantrum that oftentimes precedes and intervention.  I wouldn't be surprised of Paul drops out of the race before, or not too long after, New Year's.

Asked about high viewership for the undercard debate, Paul said it was about the perception of not being a competitor. “It’s the kids table and at that table you’re not considered to be a competitor,” Paul said. “Not considered to be having a chance.”


Although the six FBN is looking at for the "main event" are still too many, frankly, as Carson, Bush III, and Chris Christie aren't going anywhere except home, either.  The longer this "Let everybody play"/"Everybody's a winner" codswallop is allowed to go on, the longer it'll be until Republican voters are forced to focus and choose, and the greater the chances are of a Donald Trump nomination disaster.

Enough, already, Senator Paul, Jeb, Governor Christie, Carly, Doc, Governor Kasich, etc., etc., etc.  In the words of Joseph Welch to Joe McCarthy sixty-two years ago, "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?  In the name of God, go!"

UPDATE: Huckles takes the hint.

No comments: