Rand Paul's Potential Presidential Juggernaut Rolls On, Fundraising Division

Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post has some interesting backroom reporting and analysis on Rand Paul's rise to GOP prominence. Paul, Cillizza notes:

is still regarded as a sort of amusing sideshow by many  "serious" political practitioners....[but] Republicans (and even some Democrats) who would dismiss Paul as simply a clone of his father -- both in terms of his policies and his political skills -- are badly misjudging him and his potential.

Cillizza then quoted the Lexington Herald-Leader reporting on an Atlanta fundraiser for Paul, in which he pulled $150,000 for his next Senate campaign. Important detail: "Among the 35 investors in attendance was Jack Oliver, who ran George W. Bush's fundraising operations in 2000 and 2004."

Rand Paul, then, has mainstream money appeal his dad never had. Cillizza's analysis of the meaning of this:

Paul undoubtedly hopes that some of these whales -- the major donors and bundlers of campaign cash -- sign on with him. But, even if they don't, he wants to make clear to them -- as well as to the broader Republican establishment -- that he is a) not his father and b) not scary.  Paul knows he won't ever be the "establishment" candidate (that will be either Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal or Marco Rubio) but he also knows that there is a big difference between the establishment being vehemently opposed to him as the nominee and being neutral about that prospect. Paul is working to allay fears from the establishment so that in the event he is the pick, there won't be any problem in uniting the party behind his candidacy.

The buildup to the 2016 race is going to be a tense and vexing one for libertarian-leaning folk who still care about electoral politics; it seems likely that Paul will be the presidential candidate of our lifetime combining strong libertarian leanings and the actual possibility of success.

But the more he scrabbles for that success, the more likely he is to upset his libertarian fans by refusing to take the most hardcore possible line against empire or against government in general. Will it be a great thing that someone as good on so many issues as Paul is actually catching serious fire with a major party? Or will it just be a maddening thing to see a "great libertarian hope" disappoint libertarians in all the ways he likely will have to on the path to trying to win a major party presidential nomination? (See for some possible areas of purist conflict: Iran sanctions, Edward Snowden

My Sunday New York Times article from last year on Rand Paul and the liberty wing as the future of the Republican Party.

UPDATE: Politico today with report on the specifics of Paul's Senate fundraising, money that could be shifted to a presidential campaign if necessary. Paul has:

raised over a million dollars for his Senate campaign fund in the last quarter of 2013, leaving him with $1.7 million in a federal account that could be transferred over for a presidential run....

In addition to the $1.7 million Paul has in the 2016 account, his political action committee, RAND PAC, also has $500,000 on hand....

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  • Enough About Palin||

    NEWSLETTERS! HE MUST HAVE READ THEM!!!!1!11

  • BakedPenguin||

    So far, I think he's done a pretty good job walking the line between his libertarian supporters and dealing with the reality of modern day US politics.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Even if he disappointed us a lot as president, he'd still be better than Reagan, and Reagan was, for all his flaws, a godsend.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    If Rand gets elected, how many more big giant libertarian office buildings will be added to the DC skyline?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I wonder if he'll nationalize the bourbon industry?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    I am betting no. However, I doubt he will be able to get the regulation and licensing out of it either.

  • Sudden||

    One regulation that must remain no matter what: the regulation the prevents a second use of bourbon barrels. If that regulation is overturned, the prices of my (far superior choice) scotch whisky will skyrocket.

    Cannot have that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Scotch? Ewwww.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    ^This.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Reagan was not an extreme social conservative like both Pauls. He was defending gays as school teachers in 1978, and helped bring down the nationwide anti-gay Anita Bryant Crusade. Back when the GOP had a REAL libertarian wing.

    Rand, like his father, is Rick Santorum with spending cuts.

  • ||

    Potential Presidential Juggernaut

    I'm not sure which is more disconcerting, the wish projection, the extreme hyperbole, or the delusion.

    Can we tone it down just a tad? I really don't need to feel like I should wash my monitor because Doherty just jizzed all over it.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    If he is such a great doctor, why can't he clone himself to replace my commie Senators Alexander and Corker? I don't dream much, but when I do...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Does this mean if RoPaul had mainstream money tossed his way, in addition to the KABOOM money bombs regularly going off around him, he would be president right now? Or, former one-term president right now?

  • Fluffy||

    We'd be hunting each other for food in the ruins of our cities if Ron had been elected President.

  • ||

    So Ron is Donald Sutherland from The Hunger Games? It all makes sense now!

  • CE||

    +1 Somalian warlord

  • Fluffy||

    But the more he scrabbles for that success, the more likely he is to upset his libertarian fans by refusing to take the most hardcore possible line against empire or against government in general?

    I'm pretty radical ("You, Fluffy? NO! NO WAY!") but if Rand Paul were the GOP nominee and made "disappointing" or "upsetting" statements, I'd just smile and nod and clap louder.

    Because maybe it's self-delusion, but my ear can hear the difference between his real position and the occasional BS pander. I can tell which is which.

  • robc||

    I expect to be disappointed by politicians. Even more so, ones I support.

  • prolefeed||

    Because maybe it's self-delusion, but my ear can hear the difference between his real position and the occasional BS pander. I can tell which is which.

    A lot of Obama voters felt that way in 2008. Prepare for some rude shocks should Paul get elected.

  • CE||

    Unless he totally sells out, this anarchist would still consider him the best president of the past century.

  • Sudden||

    Coolidge will still be within the last century. Thats a hard act to follow

  • Loki||

    the best president of the past century.

    That's not really that high of a bar. With a few exceptions (see Coolidge, Calvin) most were horrible.

  • Fluffy||

    I'm prepared.

    Think of the last two Presidents, and ask yourself, "How bad could Paul be?"

  • Todd Walton||

    I'm glad you can hear the difference, because I can't. When he starts talking about no fetus left behind or same-sex marriage I'm just not sure. I could imagine him not caring about the marriage issue much, but I've always found it better policy to believe a politician when they say they're against my civil rights.

  • ||

    I don't vote, I won't be voting for Paul (or anyone) should he make it to the final presidential ballot, but I have to say that even a Paul that disappoints libertarians by "compromising" and the like is almost assuredly going to be light years ahead of any other candidate in terms of dedication to liberty. They would be wise not to go purity-happy on him. That's like kicking Alison Brie out of bed because she isn't a supermodel. Don't be that stupid.

  • prolefeed||

    Not sure if I'll be voting. Kind of off the government's radar since I moved to the Mainland, don't want to have the local or state bureaucrats getting my address and using that to conscript me for jury duty or whatnot.

  • PapayaSF||

    They can get you via your automobile registration.

  • prolefeed||

    I don't have my car registered here in Texas, or at all any more.

    Might be kinda tense if I get pulled over, but fuck voluntarily putting myself on the government's list of whether their serfs reside. As far as they know if they pull me over, I am a tourist from Hawaii with Hawaii plates and an expired registration.

  • prolefeed||

    ... WHERE their serfs reside.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Why worry. Tell the truth and they'll never pick you. That's the only perk to being a libertarian.

  • ||

    My last time at jury duty didn't get me seated, but it did leave me worried. Telling the truth is not always such a hot idea.

  • prolefeed||

    If they somehow track me down and force me into a courtroom after I toss the initial jury notices, when they tell me during voir dire to raise my hand and swear to tell the truth, I'm fucking asserting my Fifth Amendment right to not talk to government officials.

  • ||

    I have to say I will be going this route myself in future.

    I idiotically swore to tell the truth, and then did so, and the judge got really, really mad...it was bad. I was legit worried I was going to be arrested.

  • Sudden||

    I usually just brag about my adherence to nullification. No D.A. will let me sit on a criminal jury.

  • ||

    Yeah, I didn't go anywhere near that far but practically caused a mass quarantine of potential jurors and general courtroom freakout which led to my being sat in a corner for the rest of the day so as not to contaminate anyone else. But I'm pretty sure I was about this close to contempt charges so...

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    For what?

  • ||

    For saying that I might not be able to follow jury instructions, and then after being berated about why and so forth, saying, "I'm an anarchist." I wasn't looking to say it, but at a certain point I was at a loss and the judge just kept escalating things.

    Then it was like shit everyone has to go pow-wow about how bad nicole just fucked up your voir dire.

    I'll tell ya, though, all of a sudden after I said that people started developing qualms about following jury instructions.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Good for you.

    He asked...fuck him.

  • ||

    She was...not too bright. She basically wanted to just bully everyone into agreeing it was absurd to have qualms about promising to follow instructions before you even knew what they were. And was totally unprepared for anyone to actually not go along.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    This. But I'd like to draw jury duty and potentially save some schmuck who's "guilty" of a victimless crime.

  • Fluffy||

    I always lie my ass off trying to seem like a solid "system" juror.

    I want my chance to nullify!

    The problem is that nothing in my county ever actually goes to trial.

  • BLeeBoy||

    They know what device you are using now and where it is.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    That's like kicking Alison Brie out of bed because she isn't a supermodel.

    Very well said.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    She does have a weird face. I didn't even know who that is until I just looked her up, and I will probably soon forget.

  • ||

    Are...are you retarded?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    She looks strange.

  • Sudden||

    Peter Campbell?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Not as strange as that bitch from The Shining, but the same kind of strange.

  • ||

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Saw that. Butterface. And skinny.

  • DJK||

    Gonna have to agree with the first comment. Paper bagger. The second, not so much.

  • DJK||

    Btw...this is why there are no libertarian women...

  • ||

    Who the hell would be stupid enough to do that?

  • prolefeed||

    Or will it just be a maddening thing to see a "great libertarian hope" disappoint libertarians in all the ways he likely will have to on the path to trying to win a major party presidential nomination?

    You can't spell "politician" without using many of the letters in "disappoint".

    It's just the degree to which he will pander to base people relative to the other choices. How much, not if.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "I in capitol" is an anagram of politician. As is "Coital, I nip."

  • Drake||

    Team Hillary just kneecapped Christie. Paul better have his head on a swivel and erase the kiddy porn.

  • Loki||

    With Paul it's gonna be PLAJARIZM!!!!1111!!!! and CRA!!!111!!!!!! with 24/7 clips of his infamous Maddow interview from 2010 interspersed with clips of his "plagiarized" speeches. With a few breaks to remind people that he's batshit crazy because... ISOLASHUNIZM!!!!11!!!... HIS DAD'S NOOZLETTERZ!!!111!!!!

  • Rasilio||

    I don't really care if he compromises and isn't ideologically pure, It is what he chooses to compromise on that I care about.

    For example, I know he is personally very socially conservative but if he starts talking about new morality laws or backtracking on gay marriage or attempts to restrict abortion then I am going to have a problem with him

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Much more likely he'll simply say to leave those issues to the states. America's not ready for a real libertarian yet. Let him help build up to it.

  • Rasilio||

    Which is what I would hope he would say.

    I fear however that he will allow his personal views to come out more strongly in an effort to court evangelicals and show he is better on social issues than a Huckabee or Santorum

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Rand Paul never seemed to me as self constraining as Ron Paul.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    What I mean is, Ron Paul would bluntly talk about his principles, but Rand Paul tends to say a lot of shit to try to make the party happy.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I pray that someday, libertarians won't need to pander to conservative voters.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    He doesn't have to go on and on and on like Ron Paul did, but he could use the shut up option in regards to some subjects. For example, after the convention, rather than acting like the party was perfectly ethical in its treatment of Ron Paul, he could have said nothing. Telling the truth might have been a bad idea, but not saying anything at all would have been not that bad of an idea. Playing down what the GOP did made him look extremely spineless, to me.

  • SusanM||

    http://americanprinciplesproje.....blue-gala/

    Good fucking luck with that...

  • Michael Hihn||

    The states have no powers in those areas. See the "libertarian" amendment in the Bill of Rights. The Ninth Amendment.

  • BardMetal||

    What if he just follows the constitution, and makes abortion a state's rights issue?

  • Rasilio||

    Well, HE could not do that. However if he stated that was his preferred solution and left it at that I'd be good with it

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    Then he'd be guilty of waging WAR ON WOMEN, of course.

  • BardMetal||

    That will be the democrat message too.

    It was amazing last election watching how putting a stop to government forcing Catholic groups to pay for birth control, somehow became "Republicans want to outlaw birth control!!!"

    More amazing still is that a lot people actually believed it.

  • Fluffy||

    I'm very pro-choice, militantly so, but I would just have to accept that Paul wasn't, to get the rest of the package.

  • ||

    Say whatever it takes to get elected. Then be a good president.

  • PapayaSF||

    Libertarians should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. As I regularly say around here, the country did not get into the bankrupt, semi-socialist mess it's in because the Socialist Party won elections. It got here because socialist ideas and solutions eventually permeated the Democratic Party (and the GOP, too). Fabian socialism got us into this mess, and Fabian libertarianism can get us out.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    Any enthusiasm for his running must be tempered by the fact that if the Republicans fail to nominate someone who can win the general election, then it means at least four years of President Hillary. So you get the worst of both worlds - empire building abroad and knee-jerk authoritarian nanny-statism at home.

  • robc||

    You werent a perfect president either, but were good enough.

  • BardMetal||

    I would love to have another Calvin Coolidge.

    We don't need a Libertarian, just someone who has actually read the constitution, and understands that it gives the federal government very limited powers.

    If you could get the feds out of the way, then the libertarians could push for their ideas at the state level, and probably have a lot of success doing so.

  • CE||

    I'm expecting John Kerry 2.0, not Hillary C.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Christie is dead! Long live Paul!

  • BardMetal||

    A few compromises don't worry me. I would rather have libertarian-lite then another god damned progressive.

    A Rand Paul victory would at least move the country in the right direction, and might signal to at least one of the major parties, that a more libertarian minded candidate can win over another so called "moderate"

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I'm not sure he is libertarian-lite. I may be wrong, but I think he may be a libertarian as we are. But, he knows if he's going to be elected, there are limits to how far you can go and still obtain votes. Love to see what his second term looks like.

  • BardMetal||

    Well instead of "libertarian-lite" how about "most libertarian candidate electable"?

  • kinnath||

    For anyone that cares, the caucus season in Iowa starts next week. It is likely that the establishment will do everything in their power to replace the Paulites that took over the state organization in 2012.

    The establishment has made it clear that they don't want the leftovers from Paul's campaign to influence the Republican nominee to run for Harkin's empty seat, and they want to prevent Rand from ermerging as the leading candidate in 2016.

  • robc||

    Are the Paulites as organized as last time to make sure they hold on to their gains?

  • kinnath||

    I don't know. I quit going to the county meetings half a year or so after the election. I found it too difficult to keep quiet when I had to sit next to so many people that behave like protestant taliban (an extremely vocal and extremely active, but very small minority of the local party).

    I know that the sitting governor (Branstad) has a highly antagonistic relationship with AJ Spiker, the current state chairman.

    I know that the RNC is trying to impose a new rule that says the delegates to the national convention have to match the percentages of the straw poll on caucus night in 2016. {we can hold our silly caucus and convention system, but we better produce results like a primary or something "bad" might happen to us}

    I plan to be at the precinct caucus next Tuesday. We'll see how bad it really is. I imagine the turnout will be very, very low and limited to a handful of people. This gives that extremely vocal, extremely active minority a huge advantage in the off year.

  • CE||

    States where Ron Paul earned 20+ percent of the vote in 2012:

    Iowa 21
    New Hampshire 23
    Minnesota 27
    Maine 36
    Wyoming 21
    Washington 25
    Alaska 24
    North Dakota 28
    Vermont 25
    Virginia 40 (2-man race)
    Rhode Island 24

    Mostly rural, low population states, but a good base to start from for Rand. Tack on 10-15 percent in each of those and you have a serious contender.

  • ||

    Four out of six New England states? Wow. Go Paul.

  • CE||

    More like a nuclear heavy cruiser than a true juggernaut, but a serious contender nonetheless. Fundraising was not one of Ron Paul's problems as a candidate, but being scary to the Establishment was. Believe me, Rand Paul is just as scary to them, because he's much more likely to win, even if he won't do as much damage to them.

    If Rand Paul does win the Republican nomination, look for former third-party bashers to call for a "mainstream, reasonable" independent bid, featuring a fascist like Giuliani, Huckabee, Bloomberg or McCain.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    McCain won't do it. He will always be in the republican party, just bitching about it the whole time.

  • PapayaSF||

    One reason I expect (and hope for) a Scott Walker/Rand Paul ticket.

  • brokencycle||

    I fully expect Paul to disappoint.

    I didn't vote for either major candidate in 2012 because I felt like the Romney cure would be just as bad if not worse than the D disease. That is not because I think his policies would be worse, I just thought his policies would be only a marginal improvement, but the cost of that improvement would be eliminating the possibility of a real improvement in 2016 (we all know the D's aren't going to put up anyone good).

    With that being said, Paul won't be ideal, but he will be enough of an improvement over the current President and anyone the D's nominate that he would be worth voting for.

  • eyeroller||

    it seems likely that Paul will be the presidential candidate of our lifetime combining strong libertarian leanings and the actual possibility of success.

    Well you're forgetting super-government-shrinker Ronald Reagan! Humph!

  • Michael Hihn||

    He's also ignoring Paul's extreme social conservatism. Neither he nor his dad are libertarian, once we see their history and positions on social issues Apparently, Reason needs us to believe the GOP even has a libertarian wing these days.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Did you vote for Obama once or twice?

  • Michael Hihn||

    (snicker) Yeah, libertarians vote for Obama.

    I'll go slowly.

    1) First, go to my website archive libertyissues.com
    Pick any link to read my work, especially Taxes, Healthcare or Governing.

    2) Google for "Mike Hihn libertarian" ... ummm, over 4,000 hits.

    3) Now go to the history of the Libertarian Party, do a page search for my name. Mike Hihn. It's there twice.

    http://bit.ly/1diJC3X

    4) Now go to my Voter Description, Libertarian Party candidate, Washington State Insurance Commissioner. I'm the third one down. Read my platform

    http://1.usa.gov/17ciBjg

    5) Learn what "libertarian" means - fiscally conservative and socially liberal -- for over four decades now (I was there)

    Any more questions?

  • ||

    raised over a million dollars for his Senate campaign fund in the last quarter of 2013, leaving him with $1.7 million in a federal account that could be transferred over for a presidential run....

    $1.7 million is like one week of aggressive campaigning in Iowa. He'll need to really lobby the libertarian techies in Silicon Valley.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Somebody needs to set up some kind of Rand Paul / Bourbon Trail fundraiser. That is all.

  • RishJoMo||

    Thats the way the cookies crumble sometimes.

    www.AnonGlobal.tk

  • Michael Hihn||

    Barry Goldwater famously warned that the Moral Majority would destroy the GOP, which may have already happened.

    Nominating Rand Paul would be the final nail in the coffin, for both the GOP and the libertarian movement. His extreme social conservatism which, like his father's, is carefully ignored by Doherty and the so-called "libertarian era." Rand would get hung out to dry on social issues. (But don't tell Reason)

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