Rand Paul’s Campaign Seems To Be Fizzling

Rand Paul's Presidential campaign isn't going so well at the moment.

Rand Paul Campaign Rally

The Wall Street Journal’s Reid Epstein takes note of something that I’ve been noticing myself over the past several months, namely that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s Presidential campaign seems to be fizzling:

Sen. Rand Paul had counted on building from the grass-roots base of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, and winning enough support from the Republican mainstream to compete for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

Instead, the Kentucky lawmaker is slipping in the polls, lagging in fundraising and losing some of his father’s loyalists over foreign-policy disagreements. Campaign metrics suggest he’s no longer a first-tier candidate after falling behind the front-runners on all those measures.

The crowded Republican field—Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be the 16th major candidate when he announces his campaign next week—and Donald Trump’s surge in recent polls have made it tougher for Mr. Paul to win media attention. No billionaire donor has emerged to singularly fund his super PAC, leaving Mr. Paul more dependent than any other GOP candidate on small donors.

aul campaign officials said they are meeting their fundraising goals and are satisfied with their current standing in the polls because he is still among the top candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire, home to the nation’s first two nominating contests. Though Mr. Paul has lost ground in national polling, he remains likely to qualify for the first two presidential debates. Those platforms will give a broad audience of voters an unfiltered look at their candidate. Mr. Paul’s aides declined to make him available for an interview.

Like his father, Mr. Paul finds the sort of schmoozing required to court big donors unpleasant. While his top rivals spent the past year making inroads with wealthy Republicans who are now helping their campaigns, Mr. Paul didn’t. “He finds the fundraising distasteful and hasn’t put in the investment,” said a source familiar with Mr. Paul’s political operation.

The result was a second-quarter fundraising number that has Mr. Paul looking more like his father’s idealistic-but-doomed-to-lose campaign than a serious contender for the nomination.

He raised $2.1 million in this year’s second quarter from donors who gave $200 or more, less than the $2.3 million his father received in same period in 2012. Mr. Paul also transferred $1.6 million from his Senate campaign accounts to boost his total fundraising to $6.9 million.

“Rand Paul should be doing much better,” conservative pundit Erick Erickson wrote Thursday. “He actually has positions that set him apart from the GOP field. He has a built in base of support from his father. But remarkably it appears Rand Paul will be less a factor on 2016 than his dad was in 2012.”

Mr. Paul’s campaign maintains it is less critical for him to match the fundraising pace set by others because of his small-donor base. That was the bright spot in his financial disclosure report that showed he received $3.2 million from donors who gave less than $200. That is about $1 million more than his father raised during the same period four years ago from an army of small donors who ultimately generated $41 million for his 2012 race.

“Rand’s fundraising surged with grass-roots supporters because average Americans know he’s the candidate who will stand up to the Washington machine. His median donation was $25 because he’s funded by Main Street, not the special interests,” said Chip Englander, Mr. Paul’s campaign manager.

Drew Ivers, who was the Iowa chairman for Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, is uncommitted so far in the 2016 race. He said Rand Paul has lost a substantial portion of his father’s following because he has deviated from his father’s isolationist foreign-policy view.

While Ron Paul backs the nuclear agreement with Iran, Rand Paul is opposed. Ron Paul called for decreasing military spending; Rand Paul is for increasing the military’s budget. Ron Paul blames the U.S. and European powers for the troubles in Ukraine; Rand Paul last year wrote an op-ed in Time magazine saying “Putin must be punished.”

“Rand needs to be articulating the negatives of our foreign policy. But he has chosen not to articulate that,” Mr. Ivers said. “These kinds of things would energize his base but he has moved away from them.”

NBC’s First Read makes a similar observation:

Remember Rand Paul?

Just a year ago, if he wasn’t considered a leading prospective presidential candidate, he certainly was an interesting one — given his libertarianism and less-hawkish views on foreign policy.

But now that the presidential contest is well under way, Rand Paul has gone missing — both figuratively and literally — from a big part of the 2016 conversation.

“What the hell happened to Rand Paul?” asked prominent conservative writerErick Erickson.

But Paul’s campaign team argues that this absence from the campaign conversation is by design — to play the long delegate game, and to avoid sharing the crowded space with other Republican presidential candidates.

For Paul, there have been two kinds of absences. The first has been away from the candidate “cattle calls” other presidential hopefuls have attended.

For instance, back in June, seven GOP hopefuls (Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham) were in Iowa attending Senator Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride, but Paul ditched the event to be in New Hampshire to host four “Stand with Rand” meet and greets across the Granite State.

Later in the month, Walker, Perry, Huckabee, Carson, Santorum, Pataki were in Colorado at the Western Conservative Summit, but Paul was fundraising andmeeting with winners of his campaign’s “Hackathon” in Monterey, California.

And this Saturday, Paul will be a no-show — again — at the Family Leader summit in Iowa, where Walker, Rubio, Carson, Ted Cruz, Huckabee and Donald Trump will speak. Instead, Paul is campaigning Friday in Houston.

Why the different campaign scheduling? According to multiple conversations with the Paul campaign, the candidate is playing the long delegate game — thus campaigning in states beyond the early contests of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

(…)

The second absence for Paul has been away from the political conversation of the day, especially on subjects tricky for the libertarian-leaning candidate who wants to reach out to minorities, and who holds less hawkish foreign-policy views in an increasingly hawkish Republican Party.

He was late to weigh in on removing the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s statehouse grounds (he eventually said it should be removed); on the Supreme Court’s opinion legalizing gay marriage (he eventually said government shouldn’t be in the marriage business at all); and on President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal (he eventually said he opposed it).

Yet Paul’s team says its strategy is standing apart from the pack. While the responses to various events from rival Republican candidates get lumped together in articles and television segments, the campaign believes that Paul’s responses (despite being delayed) get their own coverage — without having to share the page or screen time with rivals.

It also stresses that there’s an advantage to taking time to respond to complicated issues.

“No one takes bolder stands than Senator Rand Paul,” said Doug Stafford, the Paul campaign’s chief strategist. “Whether it’s scrapping the entire tax code, taking on the Washington machine, filibustering for his principles, Sen. Rand Paul has led on issue after issue during his time in DC.”

Stafford added, “He also believes in being thoughtful, reading bills or decisions, and generally not reducing complicated policy matters to knee-jerk reactions or bumper-sticker solutions. There’s something to be said for making sure he has both the right diagnosis and prescription on an issue, instead of racing to see who can tweet about it first.”

Perhaps the best example of Paul’s fall from the top tier can be found in the polls. Whereas the Kentucky Senator used to show up in the top tier of national polling and in the early primary states, he has steadily declined as more candidates have entered the race and the campaigning has begun in earnest. Nationally, for example, Senator Paul is in fourth place behind Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker in a second tier that has him basically tied with candidates such as Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz. Going by the poll average, he’s arguably in better shape in Iowa, where he’s essentially tied for second with Jeb Bush but the important thing there seems to be the fact that he has been stuck at basically the same poll numbers for the better part of the past six months, which suggests he does not have much upward potential in the Hawkeye State, especially given Scott Walker’s momentum there. In New Hampshire, he’s slipped into fourth place behind Bush, Trump, and Walker, but the most significant thing there is that his numbers have steadily fallen in the Granite State since he entered the race in April. In South Carolina, Paul comes in at eighth place, which is roughly where he’s been stuck for months now. Finally, in Florida, Paul is in sixth place in the polling at the moment, and given the fact that this is likely Rubio and Bush territory next February it seems unlikely that he will get very far in the Sunshine State.

Paul’s fundraising hasn’t been much better. As noted, he raised a total of $7,000,000 in the quarter than ended June 30th, which isn’t an entirely impressive figure when you consider the fact that his campaign was active for almost the entire quarter, and yet he still raised less than Jeb Bush did in just sixteen days. Additionally, the fact that Ben Carson, who didn’t enter the race until a month after Paul, raised more money than he did is not a good sign either. Finally, unlike most of the other candidates, we have not seen any report of fundraising by the principal SuperPAC supporting Paul’s candidacy. This would suggest that their numbers are indeed rather disappointing, because otherwise they would have released them already with a triumphant press release.

Added all together, the poll numbers and the fundraising don’t paint an optimistic picture for Senator Paul, but it goes beyond that. As Epstein and First Read both mention in their pieces, Paul has largely faded from the political conversations surrounding the Presidential race at this point. To some degree, of course, this is because of the same problem that many other Republican candidates are facing, the over-sized presence of Donald Trump in the race. In addition to that, though, Paul’s campaign has been making some odd choices lately. In addition to missing the events noted above, Paul was also a no-show at last weekend’s Freedom Fest event in Las Vegas, a libertarian conference that would have seemingly been the perfect place for him to speak and get coverage from friendly media. Considering that other candidates for President such as Marco Rubio showed up to speak, his absence seemed notable.

The biggest issue for Paul, of course, is that in many ways he is out of step with the Republican base voters that show up on Election Day, most notably on issues such as foreign policy, civil liberties, and criminal justice reform. While Paul has made some efforts over the past year or more to reach out to social conservatives on issues such as same-sex marriage, much of his campaign strategy seems to be reliant upon getting younger voters who typically don’t vote in Republican primaries to come out for him. As I noted when he began his campaign, if he could do this it’s a plan that might actually work but it’s a risky one that seems unlikely to succeed. So far, that risk seems apparent. Paul will have a chance to sell himself to voters in the upcoming debates, but he’s also likely to get attacked on several fronts from other candidates. If he can do well in those debates, then he may be able to revive what has been to date a rather lackluster campaign. If not, then he may need to think about heading back to Kentucky and concentrating on getting re-elected to the Senate.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Yep, it’s the incredible shrinking Rand Paul, the Ant-Man of GOP politics. Off the top of my head I’d say his best is probably fourth in Iowa, maybe third in NH, and then bye bye.

    And what of the young Mr. Rubio? Made a little splash, then leveled off in the second tier.

  2. Lynn Eggers says:

    Were I to vote for someone based only on foreign policy, I might consider Rand Paul; however, there are a few domestic issues on which he and I disagree a bit.

  3. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    And what of the young Mr. Rubio?

    Rubio is toast because he had the temerity to float an immigration reform plan. Base Rs don’t like any plan that is not mass deportation conducted in the nastiest manner possible. Basically, if you’re not nasty, you’re a squishy RINO in the 27%’ers eyes. (Plus, the water bottle lunge video during his R response to the SOTU had that tinge of Dukakis in a tank wearing silly headgear feeling to it.)

    But you never know, if 2016 plays out like 2012, we may shuffle through a whole slew of not-Bush candidates before we settle into the inevitable Bush or Walker nomination. Hell, if the 9-9-9 guy and Newt and Santorum can surge as the next not-Romey, maybe Rubio can be the not-Bush at some point. I doubt it (see, RINO squishiness).

    Like the points raised in the OP, Paul’s main issue is that he is not like his dad enough to automatically inherit those voters, but he is different enough from the R core so that those folks are leery of him. He tried to thread the needle, but ended up alienating both sets of voters.

  4. de stijl says:

    Also, Rand Paul does not have Presidential hair. It’s an obviously silly thing, but I believe that hair has a big determining factor in who is deemed to be a first tier candidate.

  5. anjin-san says:

    @de stijl:

    If hair is important, Walker is toast…

  6. CSK says:

    Trump told the 27% that he was going to build a 1575 mile-long wall on the southern border and make Mexico pay for it. Apparently they believe him. Apparently they also believe that he’s going to expel every brown-skinned undocumented person from the country, despite the fact that he told TMZ on June 27, 2015 that he’d let the hardworking ones stay.

    This “base” of “principled conservatives,” as they like to call themselves, is the most easily suckered bunch on the planet. First Palin was going to save them. Then it was Cruz. Now it’s Trump.

    Whoever blusters the loudest is the New Messiah for this crew.

  7. wr says:

    @anjin-san: “If hair is important, Walker is toast…”

    And Trump…?

  8. Moosebreath says:

    @anjin-san:

    “If hair is important, Walker is toast”

    By those standards, Trump should be dental records (burned beyond all recognition). I don’t think it works that way.

  9. CSK says:

    @wr:

    I am not altogether sure if what Trump wears on his head is hair. Whatever it is, it appears to be trying desperately to get away from him.

  10. ernieyeball says:

    “No one takes bolder stands than Senator Rand Paul,” said Doug Stafford, the Paul campaign’s chief strategist.

    See It Now! Dandy Randy Paul’s courageous stand when approached by the Dream Weavers in Okoboji, Iowa last summer.
    It’s a new dance craze sweeping the country! The Libertarian Leap!
    http://www.politico.com/multimedia/video/2014/08/dreamers-greet-rand-paul-steve-king.html

  11. de stijl says:

    We flirt with candidates who have non-Presidential hair, but we nominate candidates with Presidential hair.

    Trump will not be the nominee, nor will Paul. Rubio is thinning, so he ain’t going to win. Walker doesn’t have unacceptable hair. Hell, Perry got where he got in 2012 mostly on his hair. Isn’t one of his nicknames Governor Goodhair?

  12. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    We flirt with candidates who have non-Presidential hair, but we nominate candidates with Presidential hair.

    It’s the Nixon Effect. Tricky Dick was the last elected President with bad hair; the voting public has learned a lesson from that, but not the correct lesson.

  13. DrDaveT says:

    This is the beauty of the current Republican race — all of the players who planned to lure enough of the Crazy vote to be viable have been (ahem) trumped.

  14. Paul Hooson says:

    Rand Paul and Marco Rubio both appear to rapidly fading. I’m not sure how long some voters with flirt with the goofy Donald Trump, but at some point he fades or withdraws before Jeb Bush becomes the nominee…

  15. edmondo says:

    As noted, he raised a total of $7,000,000 in the quarter than ended June 30th, ….less than Jeb Bush did in just sixteen days.

    Yeah but Jeb! still doesn’t have one idea on which to run. Money is important…ideas are critical.

  16. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: When I saw the headline, I immediately wanted to comment “Is it because he’s a poodle-headed Daddy’s boy?” But, I think poodle hair is probably fine so long as it is kept nearly trimmed.

    It’s distinctive, unlike half the field, without being unattractive, unlike most of the other half.

    I really dislike Bush’s hair. And Walker’s. And whatever that thing on Trump’s head is just amuses me — although it probably whispers racist comments in his ear while he sleeps.

  17. de stijl says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I was thinking a bit about Nixon when I was writing that first comment.

    In 1960, the apocryphal conventional wisdom was that Nixon “won” the debate amongst those who listened on radio, but Kennedy “won” amongst those who watched on TV.

    BTW, I’d like to slightly modify my initial hypothesis.

    I believe that hair has a big determining factor in who is deemed to be a first tier candidate electable.

    In 1968, Wallace arguably had the best hair ( a bit oleaginous, but passable), but he was only ever going to win the core of the old Confederacy. If Humphrey had Rick Perry-quality hair he would have won ; -).

    Good hair is not the determinant factor, but it is a contributing factor.

  18. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    But, I think poodle hair is probably fine so long as it is kept nearly trimmed.

    I think it would be barely acceptable if it was actually well-trimmed poodle hair.

    But looking like pubic hair was transplanted to your scalp and let to grow to ’70s porno, jungle length is a poor aesthetic decision if one wants to elected.

    If he wants to be the not-Bush, perhaps his head shouldn’t look like ’70’s bush.

  19. ernieyeball says:

    @de stijl:..In 1968, George Wallace arguably had the best hair…

    It was the unibrow that did him in!
    http://www.eurweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/george-wallace.jpg

  20. de stijl says:

    @ernieyeball:

    What? You can’t tell one George Wallace from another?

    They all look alike to you? 😉

    (Actually, I having a laugh thinking about the politician George Wallace sporting a Kangol.)

    In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.

    My fever dream addendum to his his most famous statement:

    Eff the po-lice

    .

  21. David M says:

    I think the end if the rationale for his campaign was when Rand Paul came out against the Iran deal. Of course there’s no actual policy reason for any of them to oppose it, so I’m not sure why he’s running if he’s just going to mindlessly follow the rest of the clowns.

  22. Scott F. says:

    The biggest issue for Paul, of course, is that in many ways he is out of step with the Republican base voters that show up on Election Day, most notably on issues such as foreign policy, civil liberties, and criminal justice reform.

    One day (I’m not holding my breath), self-proclaimed libertarians will discover that throwing their lot in with the Republicans has been monumentally stupid. Beyond the “taxes are slavery” canard, the libertatarians share no common cause the Republicans. The GOP doesn’t want smaller government, just government that is big in other areas (read military spending and corporate subsidy), and the Right is fine and dandy with regulation as long as it’s on the poors and the different.

    Now, I don’t think the libertatarians share much with the Democrats either, but if they’d just stop teaming up with the GOP for the lip service they get on taxes, the country could go back to ignoring them as it should be doing.

  23. Scott F. says:

    @David M:

    Precisely.

    There is a non-interventionist element in the GOP (his dad’s people) and he could have had them to himself, but Rand just lacks the stones to buck the GOP base.

  24. ernieyeball says:

    @de stijl:..What? You can’t tell one George Wallace from another? They all look alike to you?

    I like to think I am colorblind.

  25. C. Clavin says:

    @edmondo:

    Yeah but Jeb! still doesn’t have one idea on which to run. Money is important…ideas are critical.

    In the Republican Party? Their only ideas are to cut the taxes of the rich, limit the rights of everyone who isn’t a rich white male, fence in the US, and bomb everyone outside the fence.
    People with other ideas need not apply.

  26. Tillman says:

    @de stijl: Just you wait, Rubio’s psychopath shell is becoming thin and cracked. Soon he will hatch, fully-formed and adult, capable of taking the head off a rhino and winning high office.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl:

    Rand Paul does not have Presidential hair

    As someone observed years ago, we don’t hire a President to do the job, we cast someone to play the part.

    Paul has the same problem as Trump. Sooner or later, he’s going to be wearing a ball cap at an outdoor rally on a windy day, and someone’s going to strike up The Star Spangled Banner.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1362611/Donald-Trump-hair-encounter-fans-wind-catches-out.html

  28. MarkedMan says:

    Only in the bizarre Republican world of politics is this conversation about Pauls chances even possible. The Paul’s, father and son, profited to the tune of many hundreds of thousands of dollars from a newsletter bearing the father’s name that was horrendously racist. I mean, crazy, conspiracy theory, Mud People racist. Their defense? “We only took the money, we didn’t pay any attention to what was being written.” But of course the writers hung around with the Pauls and invited them to give speeches and so forth. Rand Paul himself started out this campaign with a senior staffer who started out as a racist shock jock. Now, Republicans will not directly call out a racist amongst their own because they need the 15-20% racist primary vote to win. But it is absurd to think either Paul could last five seconds in a general.

  29. He said Rand Paul has lost a substantial portion of his father’s following because he has deviated from his father’s isolationist foreign-policy view.

    While Ron Paul backs the nuclear agreement with Iran, Rand Paul is opposed.

    The fact that supporting a multinational treaty that would allow us to resume diplomatic and economic ties with Iran is being described as an “isolationist” position pretty much underlines how screwed up our foreign policy vocabulary has become.

  30. de stijl says:

    @Tillman:

    So Marco Rubio is some sort of demonic pupal kaiju?

    When his metamorphosis is complete he will ravage greater Miami? Perhaps battle Bushzilla?

  31. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: I SAID we needed to demand to see the birth certificate for whatever it is that lives on Trump’s head…

  32. Moderate Mom says:

    The heck with hair. What about voices? Voice discounts Ted Cruz and Rand Paul right out of the gate. If I had to listen to Ted Cruz’s Texas twang, or Rand Paul’s high pitched voice, for the next four years…

  33. ernieyeball says:

    What about voices?

    I thought U meant the voices that the candidates claim to hear. This is a far more telling aspect of a candidates personality than bad hair.

    I pray believing that God will speak to me.
    Republican Candidate Bachmann

    I suspect her hair can be fixed but it will take a lot of medication to correct for the voices.
    I should know. My mom was diagnosed schizophrenic in the 50’s when I was 8 years old.

  34. Mu says:

    I think Paul and Rubio know they still have long political careers in front of them if they don’t blow it too badly in this fight. They’re not going to go all in on the turn and risk losing their shirt by making the necessary noises to be noticed in this battle. Walker, Christie, Jindall etc know they have peaked in their states, and have to break through onto the national stage or they’re out for good. My money is on Bush simply because he’s got the money and name recognition to make it through the primaries without a cement block around his neck for Hillary to drown him with.

  35. michael reynolds says:

    Have you people seen this bit of genius from Scott Walker?

    “I believe that a president shouldn’t wait to act until they put a cabinet together or an extended period of time, I believe they should be prepared to act on the very first day they take office,” he said. “It’s very possible, God forbid that this would happen, but very possible, that the next president could be called to take aggressive actions, including military actions, on their very first day in office.”

    Jeb and he both agree they will create the need for a war by tearing up the Iran treaty on Day One, but poor old stick-in-the-mud Jeb wants to take a couple weeks to set up his cabinet, be briefed, you know, all that boring stuff, before he starts blowing things up. But not Scotty, by God, there’ll be no shilly-shallying there.

    Yay! War on Day One.

    Should he get the nomination he just wrote Hillary’s first attack ad. Scott Walker: War on Day One.

    Amateur.

  36. Pinky says:

    I still don’t know why we’re assuming that sons share the ideology of their fathers, or that sons are entitled to their fathers’ supporters. This isn’t the Bourbon Restoration.

  37. Pete S says:

    @michael reynolds: This might be the worst part of Rand Paul’s campaign “fizzling”. He could distinguish himself from a field that is crying to start an illegal war that almost nobody wants. He has to honestly believe that would make him unelectable with the Republican base. Simply pathetic. He is not fit to lead if he is going to back down on an issue in his wheelhouse.

  38. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “I believe that a president shouldn’t wait to act until they put a cabinet together or an extended period of time, I believe they should be prepared to act on the very first day they take office,” he said. “It’s very possible, God forbid that this would happen, but very possible, that the next president could be called to take aggressive actions, including military actions, on their very first day in office.”

    Is that wrong?

  39. LWA says:

    @Pinky:

    Its only wrong if you salivate while contemplating it.

  40. Pete S says:

    @Pinky: Generically, no it is not wrong. But Mr. Walker was clearly speaking about Iran when he said it. There is no way that Iran poses enough of a threat to the US that they need to be attacked the first day a Republican president enters office. At least not based on what we know now. To speak this way is evidence of stupidity, or pandering to stupidity.

  41. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    If someone was responsible enough to be trusted with that decision, they would be also be wise enough not to say something that dumb, especially regarding Iran and the recent agreement.

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @Pete S: @David M:

    Not to mention the sheer, amateur hour political stupidity of saying it out loud in a context that clearly boils down to the possibility that this clown could intend to start a war before he’s even located his desk in the Oval Office.

    It’s political malpractice. It’s handing your balls to your opponent. A year from now not one voter in 50 will give a crap about the treaty but that blustery threat of his will be all over the place causing voters to wonder just what the hell the Wisconsin Wonder is talking about. War? With Iran? Why?

  43. Pete S says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It’s political malpractice.

    In a general election it certainly is, or should be. This is the danger of the Republican primary. There seem to be enough people in the base who resent experts that Walker believes it is to his benefit to brag that he will decide about going to war before he even has advisors. Who does this?

    These clowns are messing with people’s lives. If Iran was half as crazy as these idiots claim to believe, there would already be a war as just about every Republican candidate has been carrying on about ripping up a treaty and backing that up with military action.

  44. Lenoxus says:

    @LWA: How dare you accuse him of metaphorically salivating? He said “God forbid” and everything!

    In seriousness: Yet another implication of the quote is that if some kind of crisis requiring military intervention occurred between now and Walker’s inauguration, Obama would just be sitting on his hands.

    Obama: “Thank God you’re here, President-Elect Walker, you know those violent radicals have me terrified and/or swooning in secret admiration! With you in charge, this country can do all the drone-powered bombing I should have been doing for eight years!”

    Unless Walker is simply speculating about the highly unlikely coincidence whereby disaster strikes on the day of his inauguration?

  45. michael reynolds says:

    New WaPo poll:

    Businessman Donald Trump surged into the lead for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, with almost twice the support of his closest rival, just as he ignited a new controversy after making disparaging remarks about Sen. John McCain’s Vietnam War service, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    Support for Trump fell sharply on the one night that voters were surveyed following those comments. Telephone interviewing for the poll began Thursday, and most calls were completed before the news about the remarks was widely reported.

    Although the sample size for the final day was small, the decline was statistically significant. Still, it is difficult to predict what could happen to Trump’s support in the coming days and weeks as the controversy plays out.

    Even with the drop in support on the final night of the survey, Trump was the favorite of 24 percent of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. That is the highest percentage and biggest lead recorded by any GOP candidate this year in Post-ABC News polls and marks a sixfold increase in his support since late May, shortly before he formally joined the race.

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who announced his candidacy a week ago, is in second place, at 13 percent, followed by former Florida governor Jeb Bush, at 12 percent. Walker’s support is strongest among those who describe themselves as “very conservative.”

    24%! But that’s not what makes me happy. The happy number is 12% for Jeb.

    12%. Twelve. A one and a two. For the only current candidate who even has a prayer of beating Hillary. I wish I knew where to find Mr. Romney’s equivalent poll number at this stage.

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Well, here it is, you idiot.

    Romney was riding along at 24 points with Bachman and Perry each with half as much. His all-time low was 16%. He lost the lead twice, to Perry and later Gingrich, each for about 6 weeks.

  47. Lenoxus says:

    @michael reynolds: So Trump right now is in the Romney Zone? Huh. Maybe the rule for success in this area isn’t “base-pleasing loudmouth” as many have been assuming, but rather “ultra-rich jerk”.

  48. michael reynolds says:

    Oh thank God, Rush Limbaugh is defending Trump!

  49. Pinky says:

    Walker definitely got the best of that exchange. Saying that you have to be ready from Day One wouldn’t normally be something that people would complain about, so maybe you guys are looking to tear down Walker. It’s “old painty can Ned”.

  50. Lenoxus says:

    @Pinky: In an earlier comment I presented a dichotomy (perhaps false) about what Walker might have in mind.

    So, do you think he’s talking about a Day One need to respond to an attack that had only just occurred, or to a need to respond to something that the White House had been doing too little about up to that point? Or is there another possibility I’m ignoring?

  51. Pinky says:

    @Lenoxus: As I understand it, first he said that he’d throw out the Iran deal on Day One, then when Bush said that a president needs time to set up his staff, Walker said that a president has to be ready to act from Day One. I wouldn’t put any importance on the fact that he used military action as an example, because it’s an agreed-upon example of something a president has to be ready for. It’s analogous to Hillary’s 3 am call, or Biden’s statement that Obama would be challenged by a foreign entity in his first six months. Every presidential candidate wants to be perceived as competent with the economy, the law, et cetera, but the classic example of executive decision-making is with the military. No one talks about Kennedy’s economic successes and failures; it’s always Cuban Missile Crisis and Bay of Pigs.

  52. Pinky says:

    @Lenoxus: There’s one other possibility that’s so remote I probably shouldn’t mention it, but I will anyway. There are some, mostly on the left, who say that GWB wasn’t ready for 9/11. Could Walker have been undercutting the Bush family foreign policy credentials by saying that a president has to be ready on Day One? Like I said, it’s only a remote possibility, but governors have to figure out how to project foreign-policy expertise, and Jeb has certainly banked on his last name in that regard.

  53. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    I am amazed at how far you’ll go to be reasonable to conservatives making ridiculous statements. Truly, truly amazed.

  54. Pinky says:

    @David M: You’d be surprised how many ridiculous statements by liberals I let go by uncriticized, too.

  55. Lenoxus says:

    Pinky: You make a point here and here. But I have to emphasize that what’s noteworthy about Walker’s words here is that he’s not talking about being generally ready for whatever may come in the four years of his first term, but specifically about doing something on day one, which strongly implies a desire to hit the ground running with a brand-new conflict of some sort.

  56. Steve V says:

    @Pinky: Yeah, I hear Charles Manson said a few unreasonable things. Tell us all about them, will ya? (This is a reference to another thread fyi)

  57. Steve V says:

    Walker and the rest of them are engaged in a race to the bottom, as far as I can tell, with respect to their willingness to throw America’s military around and generally come across as tough guys for the audience that consumes that kind of talk (again, the right wing talk radio audience, as far as I can tell.) Although I’m sure Pinky has a much more nuanced and charitable reading of these comments.

  58. stonetools says:

    Soon Trump will come out with a statement saying that he is prepared to take action against Iran BEFORE he is inaugurated, and not wait till Inauguration Day like those losers Walker and Bush. Pinky will have a reasonable defense for that statement, too.

  59. Lenoxus says:

    @stonetools: Maybe Trump can argue that once someone is elected president, it’s obviously wrong and unconstitutional for anyone else to have the job, and the transition of power should be immediate. That sounds like something the base would consume (and pretend they have always consumed).

  60. Pinky says:

    @Lenoxus: Except he didn’t say that. He said that he’d rip up the treaty on Day One. Then Bush said he’d have other things to do on Day One, and that led to the tangent. At least that’s my understanding of the sequence of statements.

  61. ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky:.. Except he didn’t say that.

    Who didn’t say what?
    I’m trying to keep track of this.

  62. Pinky says:

    @ernieyeball: Sorry. I was responding to Lenoxus’s comment

    …which strongly implies a desire to hit the ground running with a brand-new conflict of some sort.

    Lenoxux may believe that Walker strongly implied it, but he has no reason to, given that Walker didn’t say that, and his comments make sense given his first statement and Bush’s response.

  63. Lenoxus says:

    Pinky: Are you saying that this:

    Aggressive actions, including military actions, on their very first day in office

    could refer to simply ripping up the treaty? (Or actually, to undoing the US commitments in the agreement, such as sanction reduction).

  64. Pinky says:

    @Lenoxus: No.

  65. BLounttruth says:

    I think Paul’s strategy is a good one. Allow the other posers to out themselves as did Cain with his womanizing, Perry who couldn’t remember what federal departments he was going to close, Romney’s 10,000 dollar bet that made most working class American’s cringe, Gingrich’s plan to attack the Klingon’s from our moon bases, and Santorum stating that the constitution does not provide privacy from government, even in the bedroom.

    Why would Paul spend money or time when 16 candidates self destruct, then it will be time to take the spotlight once again, not spending time telling the media what he thinks about everything Trump says.

  66. ernieyeball says:

    @BLounttruth:..?????.

    Per Politics and Elections Portal
    http://2016.republican-candidates.org/#Declared-Republican-Candidates
    There are 32 declared GOP POTUS wannabees.
    Don’t see Mittens or Goober Gingrich.
    Maybe U know something everyone else has missed.

  67. Lenoxus says:

    @ernieyeball: All the incidents BLounttruth mentioned happened in the 2012 campaign season. The point was that Paul could hope for similar events this time around, not that those exact ones have happened with respect to 2016.

    @Pinky: Okay then.

  68. Andrew says:

    How would you kill the tax code?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtglptO4v34

  69. ernieyeball says:

    Oh my gawd! Must be the Alzheimers kicking in again! 2012 elections! I will go back and review!
    So Dandy Randy Paul wants other candidates to all crash and burn and he will then rise from the ashes to carry the Republican Standard to Victory. At least according to Btruth.

    Paul’s team says its strategy is standing apart from the pack.

    Maybe this will work if the Fox Not Debates turn out to be a circular firing squad.

  70. ernieyeball says:

    So it begins. Totally meaningless campaign commercials.
    Thanks for nothing Andrew.
    I give U the STAG Party (Straight Talk American Government Party)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDmvhQ-aZEE