Rand Paul’s Campaign in Apparently Disarray

Lost in all of the coverage of Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz is Rand Paul, who seems to have gone from serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination (though I never really thought he had much chance of winning) to irrelevant afterthought. Politico has an inside look at his floundering campaign.

Rand Paul, once seen as a top-tier contender, finds his presidential hopes fading fast as he grapples with deep fundraising and organizational problems that have left his campaign badly hobbled.

Interviews with more than a dozen sources close to the Kentucky senator, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity, painted a picture of an underfunded and understaffed campaign beaten down by low morale.

They described an operation that pitted a cerebral chief strategist against an intense campaign manager who once got into a physical altercation with the candidate’s bodyguard. And they portrayed an undisciplined politician who wasn’t willing to do what it took to win — a man who obsessed over trivial matters like flight times, peppered aides with demands for more time off from campaigning and once chose to go on a spring-break jaunt rather than woo a powerful donor.

They sketched a portrait of a candidate who, as he fell further behind in polls, no longer seemed able to break through. Paul, lionized as “the most interesting man in politics” in a Time magazine cover story last year, was supposed to reinvent the Republican Party with his message of free-market libertarianism, his vision of a restrained foreign policy and his outreach to minorities.

He’s raising very little money:

Easily the biggest problem confronting Paul is his fundraising — or lack thereof. Paul has taken in just $13 million, a fraction of what all of his major rivals for the Republican nomination have raised and far less than Paul hoped.

Those close to Paul say there’s a simple reason for his lack of success: He’s simply not willing to do the stroking and courting that powerful donors expect. He’s downright allergic, they say, to the idea of forging relationships with the goal of pumping people for dough. And while he’s had no shortage of opportunities to mix and mingle with some of the Republican Party’s wealthiest figures, Paul has expressed frustration that donors want so much face time.

He’s even turned away the Koch brothers. When the billionaire industrialists convene their network of conservative benefactors in Southern California this week, Republican candidates like Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker will be in attendance. But Paul won’t be. The senator, the Koch summit’s baffled organizers said, turned down an invitation. Paul has said he will instead be campaigning in Iowa.

While rival presidential candidates cultivate “sugar daddy” contributors, Paul doesn’t yet have one. Peter Thiel, the eccentric Northern California venture capitalist, had once been seen as the the kind of person who could give millions. But Thiel, who helped to fund Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign, is now unlikely to be a major contributor. The senator had once lavished attention on the billionaire — the two had a long lunch meeting at the 2012 Republican National Convention — but no longer does. Since Paul launched his presidential campaign in April, one source said, his personal contacts with Thiel have been few and far between.

At times, Paul has simply seemed uninterested in playing the donor game. Earlier this year, the senator had agreed to speak at the Dialog Retreat, a gathering hosted by Auren Hoffman, a prominent investor with deep ties in the well-heeled Silicon Valley world. But just before he was to appear at Hoffman’s, Paul pulled out so that he could take his family on a spring-break excursion to Florida. Paul’s aides were aghast, realizing they’d missed an opportunity to cultivate the very type of donors likely to be receptive to his small-government philosophy.

It’s a very long article that goes into a lot more of the problems inside the campaign. I think it’s safe to say Rand Paul isn’t going to last long in the primary process. At this point, I doubt he even makes it to Iowa, and certainly not to Super Tuesday.

"And as in the cartoon, which is which?"

Republican Wants to Take Over Congress ..."
"In the absence of knowledge that I don't really want to look for I might ..."

The History of ‘Blood and Soil’
"If the "new" is meant to completely replace the "old" the distinction should have already ..."

Yes, the Bible Does Say to ..."
"And Isaac Abra(ha)m's son assuming that counts?"

Swanson Thinks Burning Man Wants to ..."
Follow Us!
POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Alverant

    Too bad I was really hoping he’d…

    Sorry I can’t finish that because I am laughing too hard! I’m glad his campaign is in disarray. Maybe he’ll realize his ideas are worthless and drop out of politics completely.

  • dingojack

    “Paul, lionized as “the most interesting man in politics” in a Time magazine cover story last year, was supposed to reinvent the Republican Party with his message of free-market libertarianism, his vision of a restrained foreign policy and his outreach to minorities.” [Emphasis mine].

    But instead the GoP went with: ‘The Party of Stupid’.*

    Dingo

    ———

    * Not that that’s Paul’s fault, his inability to run a campaign (shades of the McCain bid) however are entirely his own fault.

  • raven

    Rand has already presented his economic policy.

    It would destroy the USA and rather quickly.

    Basically it cut taxes drastically and devolved a lot of powers to the states.

    No taxes = No central government. No central government = No USA.

    This is roughly what happened to the Soviet Union. When the central government collapsed, the fragments went their own way. It wasn’t much fun. Poverty increased to the point that both lifespans and birth rates dropped a lot. They’ve since had a few civil wars.

    I really don’t want to spend my last years in a failed state rooting for one faction or another is a series of civil wars. (Although, this might help the California water crisis. Colorado, Utah, and Arizona might have the Colorado river and Oregon and Washington might have the Snake and Columbia rivers. But we have….38 million people and a lot of aggressive farmers.)

  • wesleyelsberry

    Strike the “ly” from the end of “Apparently” in the title, please.

    So the “invisible hand” doesn’t work well for campaigns? Who could have guessed?

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    “The amateurs discuss tactics: the professionals discuss logistics.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

  • raven

    We know what makes a functional nation. We are running 220 experiments right now, the number of countries. From the book, Why Nations Fail you need:

    1. A strong central government.

    2. Taxes of at least 10% GDP.

    3. Rule of law. A level playing field.

    The third is where Loonytarianism fails. Without a strong government enforcing a level playing field, everyone cheats. You end up with oligarchies and monopolies backed up by force and violence. This is what happens in the Third World and why they are…the Third World.

    This is empircally determined without reference to ideology. AKA pragmatism.

  • eric

    Well it sounds like Paul’s campaign problems are more internal than external, and The Donald had nothing to do with them. But the first sentence got me thinking; if Trump causes funding for other marginal candidates to dry up (simply because they aren’t getting the media attention they need to attract donors), and this results in the GOP field going from 14 to 3-5 candidates, he will actually have been of benefit to the party. Add one crazy to get rid of 10? That’s a bargain.

  • StevoR

    Meh. Still too early.

    Probably maybe.

  • Trebuchet

    Am I the only one who actually thinks better of Rand Paul after reading that?

  • colnago80

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #5

    The difference between Grant/Sherman and Lee.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    He’s simply not willing to do the stroking and courting that powerful donors expect. He’s downright allergic, they say, to the idea of forging relationships with the goal of pumping people for dough.

    Prob’ly just the reaction of a lifelong spoiled brat – but this is the first time I’ve ever felt tempted to give Rand Paul a little respect for his personal character.

  • moarscienceplz

    Trebuchet #9

    Yeah, I do have admiration for someone who’s willing to give the Kook brothers the finger. Of course, for Paul to even be considered for an invitation entails that he is either a nut or an asshole, or preferably both, so I can’t work up any tears to shed for him.

  • colnago80

    Re moarscienceplz

    I some fairness, the Koches are evil men but kooks they ain’t.

  • dingojack

    SLC – Lee was a master of logistics?!? Was that why his ‘team’ lost?

    Dingo

  • http://teethofthebuzzsaw.blogspot.com Leo Buzalsky

    @9 Trebuchet:

    I do find this part about not wooing big donors interesting. Does Paul not like the idea of big donors in politics? I guess I can’t remember. I would initially think “free market!!!” so obviously big donors are just a cog in the free market wheel, right? But could this conflict with the part about libertarianism that is supposed to be about individual freedom? ‘Cuz big money donors drown out all those individuals without money?

    Or maybe I just shouldn’t try to make sense of libertarian ideas (because that would need to assume that they should make sense).

    I guess, as it stands, I’m not sure I actually think better of Paul from this. It all resides in the “Why is he ‘uninterested in playing the donor game’?” for which the answer is not clear.

  • colnago80

    Re dingojack @ #14

    Not a bit of it, Grant and Sherman were masters of logistics, Lee was not. As General Fuller points out, warehouses in Richmond were stuffed with shoes and boots while Lee’s men 30 miles away walked around barefoot. The reason the Lee undertook the invasions of the North in 1862 and 1863 was he was unable to provision his men in Central Virginia.

  • dingojack

    Yes, I am aware of this.

    Look at Marcus Ranum (#5) & yours (#10). Note the phrase/word order in each.

    😉 Dingo

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    dingojack “But instead the GoP went with: ‘The Party of Stupid’.”

    Went? Wrong. As Conservatives we didn’t move at all.

  • StevoR

    @ ^ Modusoperandi : Wyell, that does explain those constipated expressions ..

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Why aren’t libertarians rejecting Rand Paul’s fight against Planned Parenthood?

    By David Weigel

    “The fundamental question is about the moral status of the fetus,” said Megan McArdle, a libertarian-leaning columnist for Bloomberg View. “If nothing is done, then in three or six or eight months, that fetus will be a person, who has a right to be protected from the use of force…”

    “If nothing is done, then in a month the egg will be a chicken…”

    “If nothing is done, then in a year the acorn will be an oak tree…”

  • kaelik

    “If nothing is done (EXCEPT allow the fetus to forcibly use the woman’s organs as its own at great personal risk) then in three or six or eight months, that fetus will be a person (who still won’t have the unilateral right to forcibly take possession of the woman’s organs and use them for his own gain).”

    If Libertarians were consistent, at least they would be pro abortion.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    Who is John Galt?

    Oh, he’s the guy who took the family to Disney World instead of doing his job.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    “Paul, lionized as “the most interesting man in politics” in a Time magazine cover story last year, was supposed to reinvent the Republican Party with his message of free-market libertarianism, his vision of a restrained foreign policy and his outreach to minorities.” [Emphasis mine]. But instead the GoP went with: ‘A Different Wing of The Party of Stupid’.

    There, FIFY.

  • StevoR

    @ ^ fifthdentist : Actually I believe he was a third rate, poorly written lead character in a fifth rate crappy novel that somehow gained a lot of fans because .. well, beats me.

  • StevoR

    @20. Reginald Selkirk : I see certain pedantic timescale issues there in terms of growth rates of chooks and oak trees. But yeah.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I do find this part about not wooing big donors interesting. Does Paul not like the idea of big donors in politics?

    Most likely he’s a spoiled brat who never learned how to deal with other people as equals; and who just took it for granted that he was entitled to other people’s support and money because of who he was.

    It must really suck when the people who raised you with a sense of entitlement suddenly stop going along with the ruse.

  • sugarfrosted

    Peter Thiel is a scary person. He’s a big player in the neoreactionary movement, I almost think he supported Ron Paul to speed up the end of modern society and return to having monarchy. In addition to essentially bankrolling Rand Paul, he also funds Elizar Yudkowski’s doomsday cult: The Machine Intelligence Research Institute.

  • http://cycleninja.blogspot.com cycleninja

    @Raging Bee #26

    That’s certainly how I’m reading the article…

    Shortly before attending an event in Monterey, California, last month, he griped about having to do a photo line with supporters even though it had been on his schedule for weeks.

    Go back to Kentucky, you big baby–those are the people giving you money to run for president. The least you can do is suck it up for an hour and pretend you’re grateful.

  • zippythepinhead

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED, to find that an also-ran is also running. Wait, WAIT, there’s a pun in there … Rand Paul is an also-RAND!!!

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    sugarfrosted: I just had a look at MIRI’s web page. Funny how their logo can be seen either as a bird spreading its wings, or as a hole in space that will suck in anything that gets too close.

    One question though: on what basis do you call MIRI a “doomsday cult?”

  • doublereed

    In my own discussions with libertarians, I’ve found abortion (and women’s rights in general) to be pretty contentious. Many arguing that you cannot be libertarian with being pro-choice/pro-life.

    Libertarianism will never catch on because women tend to be turned off by it, even moreso than conservativism. I’ve seen some libertarian feminists but I usually get the impression that they won’t be libertarians for very long.

  • doublereed

    I think it may be that libertarians tend to never speak about families and communities which appeal to more conservative women.

  • http://www.chris-winter.com/ caseloweraz

    Sugarfrosted: In addition to essentially bankrolling Rand Paul, he also funds Elizar Yudkowski’s doomsday cult: The Machine Intelligence Research Institute.

    MIRI’s motto: “We do foundational mathematical research to ensure smarter-than-human artificial intelligence has a positive impact.”

    Sounds right to me — something to do with implementing the Three Laws of Robotics, perhaps.

  • Numenaster

    @raven #3:

    I agree with you that Paul’s plan could be the end of the United version of the States.

    You also said “Colorado, Utah, and Arizona might have the Colorado river and Oregon and Washington might have the Snake and Columbia rivers. But we have….38 million people and a lot of aggressive farmers.” Considering that the Columbia runs along the NORTHERN border of Oregon, I assume you envision a 38-million person bucket brigade then? I think most of the aggressive farmers would get as far as the Sacramento River and just decide to take up farming there and eliminate the wildlife refuge. It sure beats starting the 4000-foot climb to get to the Oregon border.

  • sugarfrosted

    @30 It has all the trappings of it. At the very least it’s a personality cult. What pushes it to doomsday cult is the inclusion of things like Roko’s basilisk. Also interaction I had with one of their “researchers”, his response to anyone disagreeing with the notion that an hyperintelligent AI is likely to destroy us if you don’t work with them to advert it is: “if you just think rationally”. This a fairly common way of thinking among their members.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Roko%27s_basilisk Thought experiment turned recruitment/control tool that I mentioned.

  • abb3w

    As an alternative to the “spoiled brat” notion, he may be planning another approach less dependent on money.

    Money is damn useful, but it’s an imperfect substitute for voting supporters. He might be trying for a parliamentarian approach, much like his father’s disciples were famous for. A narrow base of fanatic obsessive-compulsives might allow that. The drawback to that is that while it might suffice to get him legal title to the Republican Nomination, the GOP brand, and perhaps even the RNC treasury, at the next step he would have to deal with the backlash from the imposition of such “consensus”, and the associated loss of financial and personal support from everyone who wasn’t die-hard in his camp.

    I’m picturing a diabolical virus, that infiltrates the skull, central nervous system, and spine, but when it attempts to control the body can’t extend any further, and rips those loose to go around Borg Queen style. Oh, and is then told “You’re fired, Bill; good luck with unemployment” by the guy who used to sign paychecks.

  • samgardner

    Well, in fairness, none of the Republican candidates have a chance of winning the primaries. . . but one of them will eventually beat the odds…

  • lorn

    A couple of thoughts:

    Being reluctant to pump donors for money almost sounds like a principled stance, and a good thing.

    I suspect that the oligarchs are less interested in the Libertarians because they know that the GOP is fully behind, and slightly more effective, at crippling and shrinking government as an end in itself. The GOP used to have a good governance side that the money people couldn’t trust. Not any more.

    The oligarchs never really liked the goody-two-shoes, principled, and above corruption stripe of the Libertarian party. Oligarchs like a certain amount of corruption. It gives them leverage. The GOP candidates are easier to predict and control, they are consistently greedy and willing to do anything at all for power. The oligarchs can work with that.

    The big money has already won. If you have real money you can, if you care to, live in what amounts to a Libertarian paradise right now. Why give Libertarian candidates money when they will just waste it extending the finer points of freedom to the little people?

  • addicted44

    Paul isn’t against getting money from big donors. He is just pissed off that they demand so much of his time.

    He doesn’t dislike big donors. He’s just lazy.

  • dingojack

    lorn – strange. I see it more as:

    ‘Big Money’ has left the crazy theocratic GoP to dive into electoral oblivion, opting instead for the Democratic Party (The Dems can get them what they want while making them look like ‘the good guys’ by throwing a few unimportant crumbs to the peons).

    Libetarians have neither the policies nor the will to develop policies that suit the long-term goals of business – a population rich and happy enough to consume ever increasing amounts of the unnecessary junk they produce – nor will they ever manage more than a fringe following (in the immediate sense).

    It makes more sense to spend money on projects that have a reasonable chance of return over longshots that might not get you much of anything. It’s called ‘playing the odds’.

    Dingo

  • dingojack

    Plus I think ‘Big Money’ senses that they can work with Hillary, she’ll negotiate. They’ll not get everything they want, but they’ll get enough.

    The Pauls are too inflexible and dogmatic. They don’t want do business, they just want to win at all costs. It’s cult-like ideological purity, masquerading as economic pragmatism.

    Dingo

  • lorn

    I left the Democrats out of my piece because they are a completely different culture. The dynamics of funding, oligarchs, party loyalties and reflexes, and their cultural imperatives didn’t require bringing in the Democrats.

    In a nutshell the difference between the democrats and Republicans come down to governing:

    “There’s a scene in Boogie Man, the terrific Lee Atwater documentary, where Robert Novak says that the difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats truly believe in governing, and Republicans just want power.

    From: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/news/a8753/lee-atwater-wins-again/

    The documentary Boogie Man is well worth the time to find it and view. My local library has a copy. Most public libraries can order it in if they don’t have a copy.

    Back to the issue as hand … the oligarchs are never going to be comfortable with any party that wants to govern, because they want to control things without bothering to be accountable or subject to rules. Democrats are never going to be entirely comfortable around oligarchs, contrary to what is said about the Clintons, because they really do want things to work for most people.

    No, Democrats are not saints. They are not adverse to making a profit. But they still believe in democracy within rough bounds and that government is both necessary, and potentially as efficient as any other system. Of course, not being saints Democrats are willing to sell out portions of what government does. Sometimes for profit, sometimes because they buy arguments that private industry might be more efficient, sometimes because they find themselves cornered. For the same set of reasons they sometimes sell out constituencies and potential allies.

    They hold to the good in aggregate, not necessarily in detail. The wheels aren’t always round and the deals aren’t always square but they are never so imperfect that they don’t work. Governing is about getting things to work. Not perfection.

    But they aren’t going to give up on the idea that government will always have a roll keeping the playing field roughly level, protecting the environment, and both providing and maintaining physical, social, and technological infrastructure.

    The main thing going for them is that on these core issues they are right. Private enterprise and free markets do not, have not, will never, self regulate. This understanding keeps them as odds with the oligarchs and their self-serving, self-policing, self-cleaning, peace-be-to-the-markets cargo-cult faith.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “Being reluctant to pump donors for money almost sounds like a principled stance, and a good thing.”

    Paul is neither a good person or a principled one in any way that I can discern.

  • dingojack

    lorn — Dear oh dear – who knew everyone who owns a businesses is called ‘Snidely Whiplash’, wears a opera cape and stovepipe hat, grows their mustachios into fiercely waxed points for easy twiddling at moments of evildoing and cries ‘nyahhahaha’ after tying innocent Penny Goodheart (or whom ever) to the local railway tracks…

    @@

    Businesses will work with the Democratic Party , as I said earlier (as an antithesis), because they tend to give businesses a favourable environment in which to work (as do the Republicans, when they’re not busily disappearing down some theocratic rabbit hole of their own choosing [which was the secondary point]), it’s the Libertarians who seem incapable of grasping that, for long-term success, businesses need customers with money in their pockets and a desire to buy business’ products, not some weird rigid cult-like idolatry of the business practices of Ebenezer Scrooge.

    The inability of Libertarian leaders to grasp the idea that the world has radically changed since the ‘Gilded Age’ makes them as unsaleable to the business world specifically, as they are to the voting public in general.

    @@ Dingo

  • lorn

    Let’s not conflate business[men] with oligarchs. Businessmen live and die within markets and they make it, or not, based upon their ability to compete in offering better products and services at lower prices within an established regimen of regulations, taxes, and consumer protections.

    Most oligarchs have made their money by either inheriting it and/or they use creative finance as a casino. Once they have the ante they can focus on locking in profits by manipulating markets, regulations, taxes, injecting themselves as middle men in existing money flows, and otherwise riding the creative energy of others.

    There is some overlay, the business of all business is showing a profit, but the methods and reflexes are different.

  • dingojack

    Well you may be right* but remember: even the most diehard ‘oligarch’ knows a collapsing market has few opportunities for profit. Libertarian/’Moneymen’ needs only slightly intersect…

    Dingo

    ———

    * “lorn — Dear oh dear – who knew everyone who owns a businesses is what you are pleased to call ‘an oligarch’ is called ‘Snidely Whiplash’, wears a opera cape and stovepipe hat, grows their mustachios into fiercely waxed points for easy twiddling at moments of evildoing and cries ‘nyahhahaha’ after tying innocent Penny Goodheart (or whom ever) to the local railway tracks…”

    Better?