The ship is sinking fast. What started with such promise is ending with a whimper. Every day brings another analysis of the Titanic that is the SS Rand Paul for President candidacy (HT Target Liberty):
Rand Paul took a left turn on his journey to the Republican nomination, and now his hopes seem to be headed south.
The most recent national poll, by Fox News, has Paul in sixth place, with 7 percent, trailing Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio. Paul averages only about half the support he had late in 2013. Paul doesn’t appear to be winning over young voters…
“Half the support”; instead of building on the base left by his father (as many apologists for Rand’s compromising positions were certain he would do), he has spent the legacy, like the Prodigal Son.
Regarding his marathon session last week to bring attention to government bulk surveillance programs, and comparing this session to his 2013 filibuster:
As The Post’s Philip Bump reported, it got only about one-tenth of the Twitter attention that his first effort did.
What wasn’t mentioned, but easily could have been: Rand isn’t raising money the way his father did. People cared about supporting Ron; Rand offers little to get excited about. He had the opportunity to offer a unique selling proposition (uncompromising positions within a constitutional framework), but instead decided to be more or less like the competition.
Now, wasn’t this a likely end to the decisions Rand made, beginning with his endorsement of Mitt Romney three years ago while his father was still in the race? As I wrote at the time:
In the words of Marlon Brando, Rand could have been a contender, instead of a bum…
Instead, he is offering a real-time demonstration of the hopelessness of change through traditional political methods:
In the meantime, Rand has done a tremendous service in the cause of those who view playing politics is a hopeless cause. If his actions end up pulling the rug out from under the movement that Ron Paul germinated, it will deal a significant blow to the idea that change will come from politics, especially national politics.
Many people have worked tirelessly for Ron Paul. They have seen abuse from the Republican Party establishment as payback for their efforts. They have been ignored, marginalized, and physically abused. Now they see that the natural replacement for the focal point of their cause has turned the other way. Many will disavow national politics forever.
For this, we can thank Rand Paul. In the end, it is not a bad outcome.
Despite this compromising position by Rand, I felt he had a shot to win if he stuck close enough to libertarian / constitutional positions. Needless to say – and by now it must be obvious to almost all who are paying attention – he has not; the nuance required is beyond the ability of human capacity.
Rand had supporters, certain that he would surpass anything done by his father. For example, Mark Skousen; compared to the lack of success (defined in terms of politics) of Ron, Skousen offered:
His father, Ron Paul, set the stage by maintaining a strict dogma. Senator Paul will have to compromise to achieve success, but I think half success is better than no success at all.
I wonder what Skousen thinks: is half destruction better than no success?
Then there was Ron Holland:
Yes, I feel the same [enthusiasm] about his son Rand [as I do for Ron]. Ron Paul is more doctrinaire in his views and this is crucial for educational success. [Regarding Rand’s endorsement of Romney], Rand is more of a politician and he understands the necessity of building coalitions within a broader freedom or liberty movement if we are to have political success.
Sixth place – that’s some “political success”; great coalition building.
There are those in the libertarian camp who felt a watered-down Ron (in the body of Rand) could mount a successful challenge and advance the dialogue of freedom – Justin Raimondo and Walter Block (here and here) come to mind.
That didn’t work out so well.
What Ron Paul accomplished – far greater than anyone thought possible – was to expand the libertarian / non-intervention movement and dialogue far beyond anything seen since around 1776. He also created momentum, great momentum – available to be built upon by another.
What was also obvious is why. Why did Ron have this success? It is this “why” that the Raimondos and Blocks of the world missed. Ron’s success was because of his message, and the consistency by which he stuck to his message. Rand could have carried this torch, but thought he could grab more by being less.
That didn’t work out so well, either.
Rand tried to win an election by out-politicianing the politicians. This was a hopeless strategy; the system cannot be beat by playing the same game as those who have mastered the system.
Ron Paul knew this. Rand should have learned. He had the opportunity – learning every day from the greatest teacher.
* But for the few remaining Rand supporters…I could be wrong! It's still early....