Political Animal


May 07, 2013 10:49 AM Rand Paul as Joshua

By Ed Kilgore

The implicit calculation behind the buzz for a 2016 Rand Paul presidential bid is that he begins with his father’s intense base of support (most everywhere) and fundraising network, and can crucially add to that via personal characteristics (and superior timing) which lift him over an intangible but very real threshold of credibility.

National Review’s Robert Costa, one of the best analysts of conservative movement politics, sees this working already in Iowa, where Paul will be the keynote speaker at the state party’s annual fundraiser later this week (the event is already sold out):

A year ago, Ron Paul finished third in the caucuses after pouring considerable resources and time into the state — a major disappointment. But it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Paul never had the early, unofficial blessing that his son is being given. Social conservatives and business leaders were firmly in other camps, and national publications barely covered the congressman’s early trips to Sioux City and Waterloo. These days, Iowa’s Republican grandees may not be working for the younger Paul, but they’ve cheered his ascent.

It’s a mixed blessing for Rand Paul that his father’s acolytes won control of the Iowa GOP state party apparatus after the Caucuses; they’ve often rubbed other Republicans the wrong way, but on the other hand, they can pretty much make sure Paul has a seat at every table.

I have no idea if the Paulites actually use this terminology, but it’s pretty clear that while Ron Paul was their movement’s Moses, he was never going to reach the Promised Land of a presidential nomination. There were too many lonely “no” votes, too much association with racists and other crazy people; too many abrasive foreign policy speeches. In Rand Paul, the Joshua Generation of the Ron Paul Revolution is coming to the fore very rapidly. No wonder the guy’s all but running for president three years after his first run for any office.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on May 07, 2013 11:20 AM:

    Hopefully, Rand will continue his grandstanding tour, and keep opening his ignorant fat yap.

    After a few more pratfalls, like after his oh-so principled filibuster on drones, then having to reverse himself a little later on, some of his followers may decide that going back to Pharoah's not-so-loving arms, may be the smart thing to do, because the only thing this Prophet is interested in, is the profit that power as a US Senator, and possible Presidential candidate, can bring him.

    I guarantee you, that when he inevitably runs, and he's put under the white-hot spot-light the MSM starts to shine on him - the kind of light that buckled even the sturdy and experienced knees of that "Mouth From Dee South," Newt, when he said some stupid sh*t, will turn this intellectual feather-weight into a puddle of oily goo - with a moptop sticking up.

  • Peter C on May 07, 2013 11:38 AM:

    While I just can’t see the Republicans deciding to go all-in on the ‘Aqua-Buddha’-guy, if they’d like to, that’s fine with me.

  • N.Wells on May 07, 2013 11:48 AM:

    CUND, Yeah, but I would have made the same bet about Bush The Lesser saying some really stupid crap on the campaign trail. He did, and look how little it affected his electability.

  • Mimikatz on May 07, 2013 12:32 PM:

    N. Wells, the difference is that Bush was lazy and intellectually indifferent and dependent on his advisers, which is to say the kingmakers knew he could be controlled. He also had a kind of charm that appealed to many voters, which Paul lacks.

    Rand Paul is smarter, and it is clear he thinks highly of his brains. But he does have that weird upbringing and every now and then it comes out. In addition, he is on most issues a Libertarian, and has an independent and contrarian streak. So he is less controllable, and that is going to matter to the big money people. And he doesn't have as much of his father's isolationism, which accounted for most of his appeal to less informed young lefties.

    If the choice is Paul or Cruz, I guess Paul might look preferable. But no telling who will come out of that crazy clown car in a couple of years.

  • jjm on May 07, 2013 12:42 PM:

    For all of Ron Paul's "support" he netted how many states in the primaries? None, wasn't it?

    These libertarian loudmouths yell to cover up their cravenness, their fears of anything bigger than themselves.

  • serita on May 07, 2013 12:43 PM:

    Well, shucks, even I'd vote for Handsome Randsom Paul if he promises to don a little green elf suit that matches his ears.