Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Rand Paul Presidency: RIP*

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....


  1. Skousen so smitten by Nelson Hultberg's idiotic book thinks half success is the virtuous mean. Maybe we will be safe from the so called limited government types after all.

    I take minor issue with your point about Rand's success or lack there of. He could have been successful by focusing on the cult of personality and being a slithering degenerate. His mistake is trying to have his cake and eat it to.

  2. "the system cannot be beat by playing the same game as those who have mastered the system". And who have mastered the game? Power lusting psychopathic gangsters, that is who. You play according to their rules.

  3. The American people must exercise the only peaceful option left to restore the federal republic which is rapidly being transformed into a unitary style government like much of Europe. On November 8, 2016, the nation must stay home and not give its consent to continue being abused by the plutocracy of puppets bribed by the global bankers, multinational corporations and foreign state lobbyists.

    Abstinence is not benign as some would believe, it is a very powerful check on government when it becomes so infested with opportunists who pursue their own self-serving aggrandizement through the passage of law and regulation to benefit themselves and their criminal syndicate. Without a democratic mandate the cabal cannot hold power and therefore the legislative function of law making is extinguished. The bureaucracy remains in place until the fiscal budget ends in October of the following year which means social security payments will still be made, Medicare claims will still be processed and other central government functions will continue. During those 10 months, the people must demand from the governors of each of their respective States new elections with
    candidates who are independent of the two-party dogma that has corrupted Washington, DC.

    An implied vote of 'No Confidence" or "None of the Above" is the only sensible way to end this long running nightmare of tyrannical fascism and nationalism that is destroying the country.

    The motto of new liberty must be, "Dissolve it, start over!"

    1. Why would you want to restore the republic? It will lead right back to where we are now, only faster. Limited government is a fallacy. The motto of new liberty should simply be "Dissolve it" and leave it at that.

    2. Well said Kanuuker. To paraphrase Edmund Burke, "the thing, the thing itself is the evil." The State is power, "legalized" theft and redistribution. Pokethetruth said that the "nation" is being abused by the "plutocracy of puppets bribed by the global bankers, multinational corporations, and foreign state lobbyists." True as it may be the "nation" is also being abused by everyone within it. All the individuals and special interest groups that call for more regulations, subsidies, welfare, handouts, protections, feel good emotional therapy, and control and power over their professions and businesses to keep competition out. Its the plunder of all on all, as Bastiat said. The trough is big and there are a lot of pigs fighting to get to it. They will play the system because the system allows them through the State to do things they can't do as individuals, take other peoples stuff through force i.e. steal. The strength of the State is the masterstroke that if you dress up "theft" with all these pretty words and pomp ceremonies and allow everyone of a certain age to participate (at least in "representative democracies" ) that somehow its no longer theft to force someone else to pay for what you want.

    3. I'm quite unconvinced there is anything to restore. Sometimes anarchy seems a bit scary to me, but I at least can set that beside the terrors inflicted by governments and the moral basis of the NAP/ZAP to conclude that anarchy must be the target.

      As for not voting, I'm coming to think that if you care, going to vote and then submitting a (nearly) blank ballot may be far more effective than staying home at de-legitemizing the system. Staying home will be taken as "I don't much care", whereas the growth of empty votes can only be taken as "I care a great deal, but all of you are snakes who don't deserve to be in office".

      What would people think if the president were elected with a mere 30% of the vote, with another 29% to the next candidate, but "no vote" actually won the race at 35%? I doubt we could get that far in time to make a real difference, but it is an interesting thought.

  4. Shortly before Ron Paul's popular rise, I drove 3 hours down to Charleston, SC to hear him speak to some Citadel Libertarians. We were in this large hall with banquet tables, and there were about 70 people scattered throughout. Dr. Paul gave a good speech. Afterwards, I walked up to him, shook his hand, thanked him for his work and his message, then headed home.

    I went to see him again, only this time it was 3 hours up to Greenville after he had found political fame. The place was standing room only. The shouts of praise were deafening. I didn't shake his hand that time - couldn't get near him. People had found their liberty champion. Over the next year, I watched in horrific confirmation as the system took him down. From the loathsome operatives at the GOP breaking their own rules, to canned laughter at the debates, to the fourth estate's media blackout (and then constant psyop from the intellectual prostitutes), and ultimately down the memory hole.

    We were called Nazis, terrorists, and every other ad hominem they could sling at us. But we were united for liberty. We were Knock's remnant. It seemed like we could be the vanguard of a new body politic. We had the first-ever money bomb, which turned greedy heads. We started the tea party only to watch the aptly-named Dick Armey swoop in and wrench it away.

    Sadly, the reality is that a large swath of America prefers imperial hubris and stolen table scraps to the blessings of freedom. I think we can still effect change but we will never have a POTUS representing us. That puppet position is too well guarded by the oligarchs. Rand Paul's attempt at moving to the middle only served to alienate his Dad's followers and alienate many conservatives. The former is pretty much done with the neocon GOP (I know I am), and the latter will not throw us even the most picked-over bone as it moves to the left to chase the bread-and-circus voter base.

    I'm looking for the next Ron Paul, but I'm looking outside of his immediate family.

    1. Brutus, thank you for this wonderful history, and appropriate representation of reality.

  5. At least he'll be out of Washington upon losing.

  6. Holland's point should read ". . . he understands the necessity [of surrendering principles and selling out his father’s legacy] building coalitions within a broader freedom or liberty movement if we are to have political success."

    Brutus, your points are well articulated and well-taken. My guess is that Ron understood the game going in in 2012. He anticipated the attacks but knew, too, that getting the message of freedom out while indicting the state's morality was too important an opportunity to pass up. Ron Paul's moral message against the state was the coup de grace. No other politician charged the state with such crimes. Talk about transparency.

    And to your point, Brutus, that "America prefers imperial hubris and stolen table scraps to the blessings of freedom," true that. The patriotic war fervor appeals to the average joe to become a kind of sacrificial Christ or a Roman soldier or a Roman slave or a gladiator. And where feminism, LBGT, and social justice runs amok in our local schools and self-defense treated as a liability, the boys turned men are left, if they survive the drugs in their neighborhoods, to grandiose forms of self-expression and heroism where the state waits with open arms [that was an accidental pun but I'll run with it] to sign them up and make them follow orders from father-like sadists. There are ethics in the military. And the kids will learn something. Just seems to me that so much of it is built on the doctrine of not owning yourself.

    1. "Ron Paul's moral message against the state was the coup de grace. No other politician charged the state with such crimes."

      Here in my home state of South Carolina I can still recall his harsh treatment at the debate. As a political enthusiast, I can only marvel at a scenario wherein a bible-belt state cheers death, boos the golden rule, then overwhelmingly votes for an adulterer who left office under ethics violations (Newt).

      "There are ethics in the military. And the kids will learn something. Just seems to me that so much of it is built on the doctrine of not owning yourself."

      And yet owning oneself is a daunting thought, which is why many prefer to be owned instead. Whenever the thought of state ethics gets brought up, I'm reminded of this quote by Thomas Davidson: "That which is not free is not responsible, and that which is not responsible is not moral. In other words, freedom is the condition of morality." I would much rather have large groups of freedom-taught individuals with the requisite personal morals to establish societal ethics. It's been repeatedly proven throughout history that state ethics degenerate over time as its power grows, and both society and the military follow suit. What starts with a little stealing can ultimately lead to mass graves.

  7. My first impression of Rand Paul was a more youthful and telegenic version of his father. It didn't take him long to disappoint.

    1. Coattails are a curious thing. Why people were so quick to embrace a candidate sporting the Paulian name rather than others with a stricter adherence to the Paulian message, to me, speaks volumes about republicans and their hollowed-out bromides. I ran into a friend of mine the other day who is a dyed-in-the-wool Taft Republican. He no longer votes because, in his words, "They're all some degree of democrat."