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.”
It was, as the press called it, “a stunt” — a desperate cry for attention. 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.
Then he read mean tweets about himself. This was preceded by an August attempt to take on Donald Trump that made such little buzz that I actually did not even realize it. About the only thing that happened was Rand became a punching bag for Donald Trump in the debates.
The reality TV star, no doubt, will next bring up Rand Paul’s stint as an second rate internet star.
The whole thing is embarrassing.
One of Rand Paul’s Super PAC’s has already closed up shop. Paul himself raised $2.5 million, outraised by Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and others. In fact, Paul had raised only $6.9 million in the prior quarter and “the Paul campaign insist[ed] its financials [were] healthy and on an upward trajectory and that the Kentucky senator is ‘in it for the long haul.'”
Paul’s “upward trajectory” is only upward in an upside down world. For two consecutive quarters, Ben Carson has individually beaten Rand Paul and his Super PACs combined.
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. He has been hampered by a group of Republicans who think he is the second coming of his father and hampered by a separate group of Republicans who realize he is not the second coming of his father.
Paul’s strategic choices have been muddled and have all the hallmarks of a candidate micromanaging a campaign staff that will neither stand up to him, nor guide him, but can apparently bully him into a “dumb ass live stream.” When other candidates went to Iowa, Rand went to Alaska and Wyoming. He has marched to the beat of not just his own drummer, but a drummer no one else can hear.
It is rumored in D.C. that his campaign has serious turmoil between staffers who do not get along and it appears Paul either has too much conflicting advice or is ignoring competent advice all while paying out big bucks to consultants who, at this point, appear to be profiting from a reality TV star making a fool of himself. His campaign has all the hallmarks of a profit motivated staff or a micro-managerial candidate unwilling to take advice.
Rand Paul should be a candidate reflecting on serious issues within the Republican Party. Though I do not necessarily agree with him on all of his core issues, Paul has been a critical voice on the scope of national security surveillance of Americans, the role of government in civil rights, and federalism. But he has failed to get traction on any of those issues, has failed to stand out on any debate stage except to look stoned or serve as plaything for Donald Trump, and has failed to raise a competitive amount of money.
The Paul campaign has about $2 million cash on hand, according to [Paul’s spokesman]. Given that the campaign finished the previous quarter with $4.1 million cash on hand, that suggests the campaign spent more than it took in these past three months. Having spent $4.6 million and taken in $2.5 million, the Paul campaign spent at almost double the rate it earned these past three months.
Rand Paul, on God only knows whose advice, made an early disastrous error by fighting against the Washington GOP in his 2010 election only to go to DC and try not just to work with them, but to do so at the expense of Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. Paul became the Republican “outsider” who his Kentucky colleague Mitch McConnell relied on to throw Cruz and Mike Lee under the bus. That alienated Paul with tea party voters. His failure to aggressively pick up his father’s platform alienated Paul to more hardcore libertarian Ron Paul voters. And Paul has never been able to find a new base of support, having burned bridges will his past coalition.
At this point, if Paul stays in, he is staying in as a candidate to subsidize political consultants, which is something Paul ran against in 2010. He is, in short, becoming the very sort of candidate he fought against in 2010. It is still not clear if he will get on stage in Boulder, CO, at the end of this month given his anemic polling.
About the only thing Rand Paul is now doing in the race is serving as a future George Washington University campaign management class hypothetical in how not to run a Presidential campaign. A man who should be setting the agenda of a new GOP reform path is now, at best, an asterisk, headed toward being a polling asterisk.
And in other news, the head of the Rand Paul Super PAC that has not thrown in the towel already is under indictment.
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.