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Rand Paul Just Alienated Even More Voters

Rand Paul Just Alienated Even More Voters

Counterculture goes counterproductive

Yesterday, I posed the conundrum of Rand Paul as an investment for major donors. From my perspective, the ratio of risk to reward tilts too heavily toward the former, and is a major cause of Paul’s fundraising troubles. I floated the idea that, contrary to some commentary from the pro-Paul camp, these troubles aren’t necessarily due to policy differences, but are a direct result of just how different Paul is from other candidates on a personal level.

One of my commenters decided to keep it 150% more real when he said, Let me make this simple–he’s a jerk.

I gave that a well-reasoned high five, because I don’t feel like we give simple, decisive judgment calls like the one my friend in the comments made enough credit. It’s easy to get carried away with a hyperanalysis of why a candidate succeeds, or fails, or loses relevancy in the middle of the pool—why not just say it? It’s not us—it’s you.

Yesterday, Paul proved just how true that platitude rings when he accused his colleagues and peers on the Hill of “secretly wanting there to be an attack on the United States” out of spite over policy differences.

The Daily Caller had it first. Watch:

[Emphasis mine]

People here in town think I’m making a huge mistake. Some of them, I think, secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can blame it on me.

Seriously, man?

One of the people in the media the other day came up to me and said, “oh, when there’s a great attack aren’t you going to feel guilty that you caused this great attack?”

It’s like, the people who attack us are responsible for attacks on us. Do we blame the police chief for the attack of the Boston bombers? The thing is that there can be attacks even if we use the Constitution, but there have been attacks while collecting your bulk data. So the ones who say when an attack occurs it’s going to be all your fault, are any of them willing to accept the blame? We have bulk collection now, are any of them willing to accept the blame for the Boston bombing, for the recent shooting in Garland? No, but they’ll be the first to point fingers and say, “oh, yeah it’s all your fault, we never should have given up on this great program.”

I’m completely convinced that we can obey the Constitution, use the Fourth Amendment as intended, spirit and letter of the law, and catch terrorists.

I’ve heard a lot of garbage come out of the mouths of politicians, but nothing—literally nothing—pisses me off more than an “I bet you hope everyone DIES” tantrum.

It’s lazy. It’s cheap. It detracts from your point—which I can’t imagine he would want unless achieving a Constitutionally-friendly method of conducting surveillance wasn’t really the point of this whole thing.


Paul—and others who have gone down this road before him—knows that he’s turning the crank on a rhetorical strife machine: [emphasis mine]

Still, by standing apart from the rest of the Senate—even from his allies—Paul became a punching bag for supporters of surveillance. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters that Paul and his fans were basically misled and misguided.

“Edward Snowden has done a huge disservice to citizens of our nation,” he said. “Those who furthered the myth of how this program is being utilized, the folks saying phone calls are being listened to—it’s sad.”

North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, scarcely concealed his irritation when asked if there’d been conversations about Paul’s suggested changes to surveillance policy.

“The time to negotiate was a week ago last Thursday, when he turned down every rational offer that was made to him,” said Burr. “I can tell you this: There won’t be any negotiations with Rand Paul from this point forward.”

Paul acknowledged the anger from his colleagues. Before the vote on the USA Freedom Act, he chatted with Massie and Amash and generally ignored fellow senators. He did not attend a pre-vote caucus with Republicans.

“You may have noticed, there was a little bit of tension on the floor,” he told reporters later. “I didn’t think it was going to be that collegial.”

Turn the crank, distribute lather, and market the hell out of it. Going into this, Paul knew that he could make a speech, lose on the vote, and still declare victory because his goal was never to move an alternative policy through the chamber.

He got exactly what he wanted in the short-term. Did he get a return on investment, though? Take a look at his fundraising numbers and you’ll get your answer.


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I’m pretty sure Graham and McCain would be on TV blaming Paul for a terror attack for the bombs even finished exploding, if one happens during this period.

But HotAir suggested that the NSA is going to keep the metadata collection going, even though the claimed statutory justification has expired.

    Skookum in reply to JWB. | June 1, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    If the phone companies voluntarily share their metadata with the NSA, what’s the problem? I think the Randites are missing the point. They seem to trust the phone companies to collect and analyze our metatdata, but object to the government having a peek. If our phone metadata is so precisely private, then why are the phone companies allowed to gather them? And, if the phone companies are forbidden to collect metadata, are we all prohibited from noticing what others do when they leave their homes?

American Human | June 1, 2015 at 11:54 am

I have never intended that I would vote for Rand Paul. Libertarians are too weird for me. However:
– No one has ever demonstrated that bulk collection of the meta data has ever made anyone more safe.
– Just because the Senate passes a law saying they can collect data on me without just cause or a warrant doesn’t mean it is right.
– Since 1980 there have been terrorist activities in this country e.g. Boston, New York, Ft. Hood
– I’m sorry if it makes the federal authorities jobs harder to track terrorist activities now but this reminds me of how police can stop me with no just cause and ask me if I’ve been drinking or sniff in my car to see if I have just because they’re stopping everyone.
– If you need to snoop on me, get a warrant for some probable cause (or whatever the correct term is).
– I don’t trust any government to have my best interest at heart but I especially don’t trust THIS government to have anyone’s best interest at heart other than their own. At risk of being labeled a kook conspiracy theorist, I believe if Obama COULD figure a way to stay in charge, he WOULD!!

AMEN, Amy!! He and Poppy Ron are far closer, I suspect, in their views than he and his supporters wish to state.

The Infantile Defiance is a maturity and behavioral ‘Tell’, but the foreign policy views and (flabby) muscles to the Left of Obama are more than enough to disqualify him for seriousness an a world aflame–much of it due to 6+years of American retreat, tepidity, limp-wristed idiocy, lying and wishful thinking. Good God, our enemies & potential enemies are snickering and flexing. Our friends are hugely alarmed and don’t trust our behavior or our word. Rand would keep it going.

I hope he won’t siphon off “Independent Presidential Candidate” votes when he gets kicked in the Republican Primaries. That would be Infantile Defiance on Steroids and a weakening of the 2016 Repubican Candidate vote. Unforgivable.

nothing—literally nothing—pisses me off more than an “I bet you hope everyone DIES” tantrum.

And I get a bit torqued when someone accuses even a politician of something he didn’t actually say.

It’s the cheapest of cheap shots. Worse, it’s a characteristically liberal tactic.

    Browndog in reply to tom swift. | June 1, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Worse, in my opinion, is to impugn the man’s motives.

    Reasonable people can disagree with Paul on the substance.

    unreasonable people dismiss out of hand he actually believes what he is saying, and is acting on conscience.

I suspect his speculation is accurate (concerning the finger being pointed at him in the event of…) because we’ve seen Republicans form the circular firing squad too many times already, but I hate straw man arguments from anyone. They are the only arguments the left makes and adopting their methods is unseemly at best.

    MikeE in reply to Daiwa. | June 1, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    As the Left has so amply demonstrated, straw man arguments work. I hate them as much as anyone, but this is simply the truth in the early 21st Century.

What concerns me more than what Rand Paul has to say about any given issue is the establishment Republican propensity to behave in a condescending manner to anyone who dares question the government’s authority to collect data from citizens private conversations absent a warrant. “Because I said so” might have worked when I was 10 years old but those days are long gone.

9thDistrictNeighbor | June 1, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Amy doesn’t like Rand, check. Kemberlee doesn’t like Ted, check.

DINORightMarie | June 1, 2015 at 1:01 pm

I am not a Paul-ite – not Rand or Ron – but I do think he is stating a fact, however ill-advised it is to state it.

The left and the MSM have been salivating for a long time for something to happen to attack and tear down “target” Rand; and, of course, we know the RINO establishment is champing at the bit, too, to destroy this upstart, insubordinate, TEA Party supported newbie.

I don’t agree with him on much, but I do believe Obama’s expansion of the Patriot Act has made it unconstitutional. That said, Paul won’t make any rich (i.e. donor) friends this way……..

Subotai Bahadur | June 1, 2015 at 1:28 pm

First, let us grant that RON Paul is not tightly wrapped.

Second, that RAND Paul is different from RON Paul. He still is not all that tightly wrapped, the acorn has not fallen all that far from the tree; but he is different. Many don’t agree with all his stands [me for one], but there are some that are acceptable. YMMV

Third, I note that he is a collaborator with Mitch McConnell on too many things to be considered part of the Liberty Caucus.

Fourth, notwithstanding there are some important issues where he is right, AND unlike every other Republican not part of the Liberty Caucus, he will stand up and fight for them. Seeing a Republican stand up and fight for the Constitution is sufficiently novel that it needs to be encouraged.

Fifth, his willingness to fight at least sometimes is for some enough to garner their support. It may not be the deepest analysis, but given the fact that Pierre Laval is the Republican role model it is understandable.

Sixth, his statement in this case is absolutely true. And the people involved are on both sides of the aisle. The interests of the nation are below politics in the government and has been so for a long time now. We are dealing with the politics and government officials [elected and appointed] that we have, not some Jeffersonian ideals. Public wishes of death are normal with Democrats, and private ones with Republicans. We are closer to the Roman transition to the Principate, or perhaps the rise of the Jacobins to “the mountain” than to what the Founders intended.

Seventh, there are those who find him an acceptable, if far from ideal, candidate for president. He is on the list I could see myself holding my nose for while voting in any putative 2016 election. He is not my ideal, and is close to slipping off the list completely with his comment about our being responsible for ISIS; but he is under consideration. His stand against the metadata collection on citizens without warrant is a plus in my book. Which is not true of any of the typical DIABLO’s being pushed by the RNC. I will not vote for a DIABLO.

    David R. Graham in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | June 1, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Eloquently put, concur, thank you.

    PhillyGuy in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | June 1, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    He could do great harm to the country with his foreign policy ideas. Different than Obama of course. But I find him to be a tough guy to get behind. I’d like to see him actually lead on an issue and carry it all the way through to the finish line. You know, like Hillary. Oh wait, scratch that. He’s perfect!

David R. Graham | June 1, 2015 at 1:35 pm

This post is remarkably low. The Paulistas represent the sixth wave of socialism to spread over the USA and socialism I do so abominate. Still, the man has a valid and verifiable point on this particular. It’s called schadenfreude and he accurately says some hope, cruelly, to experience it with respect to his actions and beliefs.

Man is made of Reason but he is not reasonable.

What poster at LI has not experienced schadenfreude over some development that embarrasses a socialist? This commenter certainly has, more than once.

That said, I very much doubt NSA is suspending operations and I very much doubt Susan Rice has told them they must.

It is human to become angry, but not to act in anger. Anger clouds one’s judgement. Also, anger does not excuse an action, any action, including fulmination on a blog post.

Freddie Sykes | June 1, 2015 at 1:39 pm

I think that Rand Paul is better suited for the Senate than the Oval Office.

That said I wonder if there is truth in his statement that he would end his blocking of the bill if the Senate held roll call votes on his two amendments. If the PA is so important, why not allow those votes?

    Another Ed in reply to Freddie Sykes. | June 2, 2015 at 12:06 am

    “I think that Rand Paul is better suited for the Senate than the Oval Office.”

    And I think that Barack Obama is better suited for the Senate than the Oval Office, but many voters disagreed with me.

I couldn’t care less about Paul’s political ambitions. But on the matter of killing off an unnecessary/redundant government intrusion/collection program of citizen information (given all the phone metadata can be made available via warrants), count me in, regardless of what he said.

And anything that ticks off McCain/Graham & Co. Is just a bonus.

America’s Liberty PAC, the only PAC that is truly allied with Rand Paul, came out with an ad that calls Ted Cruz “The Canadian.” Certainly that ad is met with Rand Paul’s approval, otherwise he has a responsibility to distance himself from that.

“Second, that RAND Paul is different from RON Paul. He still is not all that tightly wrapped, the acorn has not fallen all that far from the tree; but he is different. Many don’t agree with all his stands [me for one], but there are some that are acceptable. YMMV”

Do not agree. Ron Paul was my Congressional Representative for years until redistricting. I watched as he got more and more unhinged as the years went on. Rand seems to be no different, and I promise you, the acorn has not fallen far from the tree. Rand, like Ron, will do what ever it takes to garner attention, even if it is coming off like a lunatic all the while talking to yuppies who nod in agreement. To allow his super PAC to go the “birther” route shows that he is getting desperate, unless he denounces the ad.

Rand will garner those who supported his dad. And we all know how that worked out for Ron.

    PhillyGuy in reply to retire05. | June 1, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    After living down there for a while. I came to the same conclusion as you. And Paul has done an excellent job of papering that over.

“Rand Paul alienates even more voters’. Nice headline. So, are you saying that that is a bad thing? Are you saying that politicians should rather vote the way polls tell them to vote?

Rand Paul should be applauded for taking a position on the issues — in this case, fighting Big Brother monitoring and data collection — rather than poll-watching. Yay, Rand !!

In the hands of George Bush, the Patriot Act is an anti-terrorism tool. In the hands of Barack Obama, it is a fascist tool of oppression.

Let the government get warrants.

Paul is a hero in this. Period. McConnell, McCain, Graham and the rest can rot in hell where, I hope, all of their digital communications will be recorded without probable cause or a warrant.

He gets smaller by the day. We already have a POTUS who stomps his foot and screeches petty nonsense. We do not need another.

I’m ready for a grown-up in the White House. For a change.

PersonFromPorlock | June 2, 2015 at 2:20 pm

Let me throw in the stock comment I make when yet another senator decides to ‘move up’: why is the presidency ‘up’ for a senator? Don’t senators know that the Congress is a co-equal branch, and that ‘up’, for them, is committee chairmanships and leadership positions?

This business of congress members running for president denigrates the importance of the legislative branch.