Election 2016

Rand Paul Is Never Winning Lindsey Graham's Vote, So Why Try?

'Behind leading from behind'

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Sen. Lindsey Graham again slammed the libertarian-leaning senator from Kentucky on Monday's Morning Joe. He claimed that Paul has an "isolationist view of the world that I don't share," according to Mediaite:

Rand Paul is one step behind leading from behind. So yes, even Obama is more aggressive. Obama believes you can kill Anwar al-Awlaki, without getting a court order. Obama believes you can hold enemy combatants, unlawful enemy combatants at Gitmo, without a criminal trial because this is law-of-war detention. So Rand Paul is behind Obama, not just Hillary Clinton.

As always, Graham greatly mischaracterizes Paul's views (it's somehow "isolationist" to consistently apply the rule of law?). But bear in mind that Paul has been perceived by many libertarians as moving to the right on foreign policy matters over the last few months—ostensibly to give him a better shot at attracting a broader array of Republican primary voters and avoiding the wrath of neoconservatives (all six of them!).

But this strategy might be misguided—because no amount of posturing is going to convince the Lindsey Grahams of the world to recant their unfair criticisms. They aren't interested in good-faith arguing, anyway. On the other hand, Paul could conceivably isolate his base by neglecting one of the main issues that makes him interesting to libertarians, independents, and principled anti-war liberals.

A better bet for Paul might be to answer Graham's criticisms by explaining why a libertarian foreign policy would make the U.S. safer, leading from behind (or behind leading from behind, or whatever) be damned. (Related: Keep Rand Paul Weird.)

Relevant viewing from Reason TV, below.

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  1. My Neo-Consevative friends hate the Pauls with a passion.

    1. You should buy one of those little mini drones and take it over to one of their homes and say ‘Hey, you know there are some of those brown fureners down the street there? Just yesterday I saw one of them outside with a towel on his head. Look, I got this here drone, I think we can take them out tonight. You in?’.

      1. And when they refuse, call them isolationists.

        1. Or peacenazis.

          1. If they act like total a-holes about it and resort to fallacious arguments, then yes.

            1. Maybe Cyto is Lindsey Graham?

    2. That ain’t hate…it’s fear.

  2. Obama believes you can hold enemy combatants, unlawful enemy combatants at Gitmo, without a criminal trial

    Obama also agrees that you can hold Lindsey Graham without a criminal trial, or for that matter, just take you out with a drone anytime, you stupid piece of statist dung.

    1. Can you believe that any American, anywhere, let alone a sitting Senator could openly say that imprisoning people without a trial is a good thing?

      What the fuck happened to this country? It’s beyond absurd.

      1. He said as much right on the Senate floor. He’s a total idiot. I think he has some sort of complex because he’s so non-masculine looking, he wants to imagine he’s some sort of tough guy. I bet he sits around in his jammies at home playing with army toys.

      2. They’re not people. They’re terrorists.

        1. If true, that shouldn’t be too hard to prove.

          1. Authority says they’re terrorists, therefore they’re terrorists!

      3. Those rights only belong to citizens… blah blah blah.

        Also because FYTW!

        1. Anwar al walaki and his son were both US citizens.

      4. Pretty much the Patriot Act. Something Obama’s completely reversed positions on.

  3. (it’s somehow “isolationist” to consistently apply the rule of law?)

    That’s a *coincidence*, Robby, and you know it!

  4. I’m sure that Rand views Graham as a non-threat, which he should. I don’t know what’s in the water in SC, but I don’t see that little baby face weasel ever being popular outside of SC.

    1. I don’t know about that. I saw him on one of the news shows this weekend and I disagree with almost every political statement he makes, but he doesn’t come across as unlikable and actually articulates his views very well(doesn’t mean he is right on the merits). He almost made Chris Wallace cry.

        1. That didn’t make me hate that scumbag any less.

    2. I don’t know what’s in the water in SC

      A mix of nuclear waste, coal ash and landfill runoff.

    3. SC is a state with lots of military and vets and Graham brings in the ‘right kind’ of federal spending for them. Also, the anti-Graham groups were too fractured to unite against a good candidate for beating him in the primaries.

  5. A better bet for Paul might be to answer Graham’s criticisms by explaining why a libertarian foreign policy would make the U.S. safer

    I expect there will be amble opportunity for this in the upcoming months.

    1. *ample*

      *** gambles across plain for coffee ***

      1. That was Graham imagining being in a Nork military uniform, and an excellent horse like woman ambling along beside him.

      2. I bet there will be PRE amble opportunities.

      3. gambols?

        What?

        Are you afraid to use the proper spelling? It’s only dangerous if you spell it in the mirror 3 times.

        1. Are you afraid to use the proper spelling? It’s only dangerous if you spell it in the mirror 3 times.

          Considering the potential horrors, I wouldn’t want to risk it.

  6. Rand has shown himself to be an excellent communicator for liberty. He does not back down from slamming the surveillance state or the war on drugs.

    On foreign policy a simple but necessary tack is showing himself to be willing to defend American interests and allies but in a way that’s less irresponsible and bellicose than neocon warmongers like Graham and McCain. He’s already made the argument that stretching our military thin across the globe and bogging it down in protracted wars actually weakens the nation’s standing and makes America vulnerable. It should be sufficient to deflect Graham’s efforts.

    1. One would think that just looking at today’s status quo, after 13 years of bombing and killing, would be sufficient to make Graham’s views, and interventionist thinking in general, a laughingstock. One would be wrong.

      1. If we just hang in there 5 or 10 more years, we can certainly win this thing.

        1. Six months away from turning a corner.

          1. And just after that we’ll experience “the” libertarian moment.

          2. Twenty years from controlled fusion.

      2. One would think that just looking at today’s status quo, after 13 years of bombing and killing, would be sufficient to make Graham’s views, and interventionist thinking in general, a laughingstock.

        No sorry critical thinking doesn’t work that way. Just because one set of interventions were terribly misdirected and badly executed doesn’t damn all interventions. Again, most of America’s interventions have been positive or neutral in outcome.

        1. Again, most of America’s interventions have been positive or neutral in outcome

          I guess the ends justify the means, eh? When did you turn prog?

          You just don’t get it, you Canadian chickenhawk. I hope you die of a maple syrup overdose.

  7. It took an economist to make me understand how our presidents are chosen. I’m starting to think that the country would be better off if Rand continued his father’s education of the electorate, rather than attempt his his 1% chance of winning the oval office.

    “Suppose that you are charged with selling a single food item to at least a hundred million people in a highly diverse society. You can pick whatever item you wish, but you can pick only one.”

    http://cafehayek.com/2015/04/i…..nteed.html

    1. I think you are seriously underestimating his chances of winning.

      If he wins the Republican nomination I’d give him about a 75% chance of winning the white house.

      Winning the Nomination will be much harder but at this point I would say his only real competition are Jeb Bush and Scott Walker and given that he has a very large existing grassroots organization that neither of the other two have I’d give Rand about a 30% chance of taking the nomination

      1. I think this is probably right

        Rand’s problem is winning the GOP nom. The primary voters are not his people. They are too driven by this need for conformity on key issues like immigration, god-stuff, making the right National-Security Tough-Talk noises….

        I think if he wins the nom, he will crush Hillary. But that winning the nomination will require some of the other candidates dropping out early, and others making ‘errors’. He needs to survive the long haul and maintain funding sources.

        1. If he didn’t get it and, say, a Bush or socon type does, could Rand go indy and get enough votes to make a difference?

          THAT would be something I would pay to watch.

          1. No. He is paying for a presidential caucus in KY so he can run for senate primary. He isn’t giving up Senate to run Indy.

          2. “Make a difference?” I don’t understand what you’re suggesting.

            My inner bookmaker tells me Jeb, despite name recognition, will be the first to fall. When it comes time to pull a lever, people will change their mind. They will want something ‘new’.

            “new” means = Walker, Rubio, or Paul. How they split the early primaries will make all the difference.

            1. I meant impact, not difference.

          3. I highly doubt he’d go independent. Even if he could pull enough support to impact the race it would effectively be the end of his political career and even if he loses this time around chances are he’d be even stronger in 4 more years

      2. I agree. He wins the nomination, I am betting he’s our next potus. And we very seriously need a Rand Paul right now.

        8 years of Hillary and our Republic will be beyond reclaiming.

        I wonder how much cash Jeb is getting from the Clinton foundation?

    2. I’m starting to think that the country would be better off if Rand continued his father’s education of the electorate

      Didn’t his father’s education of the electorate include running for POTUS?

      1. My point was that Ron (love him or hate him) used his campaign to put ideas into the public discussion. He didn’t think he would win, therefore there was no pandering. I think a lot of people listened to him — a lot of people who wouldn’t have ordered a Murray Rothbard book off Amazon.

    3. I’m starting to think that the country would be better off if Rand continued his father’s education of the electorate

      Didn’t his father’s education of the electorate include running for POTUS?

    4. Ron Paul’s ‘education’ of the electorate amounted to creating a personality cult and lying about foreign affairs. There’s not much ‘there’ there.

      1. I disagree — for the obvious reason that he didn’t display a lot of “personality”. How many times did I sit there, watching a debate, and scream at him to do something a little flamboyant. It’s my belief that a different candidate — saying the exact same things Ron said — but with a few colorful turns of phrase (say, Mark Steyn) could have really gained a heck of a following.

  8. Maybe, just maybe Paul is a realist(like he’s always claimed to be). Furthermore, maybe he’s pursuing what he thinks is the best foreign policy and one that a lot of people happen to agree with. Nah, that’s crazy talk. Everyone is either a strict non-interventionist, or a boner-stroking war hawk.

    1. Nice to see another Reason commentariat with perspective and the ability to be honest wrt to foreign affairs.

  9. Although he doesn’t pass all the purity tests of Lew Rockwell anarchists and the craziest of the Reason commentariat, I support Rand Paul. However, if McCain’s effeminate Mini-Me were to support Rand Paul, I’d have to reconsider whether I’d vote for Gary Johnson … or not at all.

  10. “But this strategy might be misguided?because no amount of posturing is going to convince the Lindsey Grahams of the world to recant their unfair criticisms.”

    Rand Paul isn’t trying to convince the Lindsey Grahams of the world.

    He’s trying to convince the primary voters and their donors.

  11. Rand Paul is one step behind leading from behind.

    And here I thought it was Graham who always wants to lead from behind.

    1. Rumor has it he prefers to be “lead” if you know what I mean.

      1. Never good enough to be a pitcher huh.

    2. Topping from the bottom?

      1. According to Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia the correct term is “Power Bottom”

  12. “isolationist view of the world that I don’t share,”

    Right. That’s why in the almost fourteen years since 9/11, you’ve

    A) resigned your seat and requested assignment on active duty
    B) requested a branch transfer to one of the combat arms
    C) served in your current branch on a full 1 year deployment
    D) arranged CODELs as your “annual training”

    1. You know you’ve ceded the point when you have to resort to this kind of non-argument right?

      1. It’s a valid argument against asshole politicians.

      2. Graham is an Army officer who has yet to put his money where his mouth is despite many opportunities to do so. It’s entirely the point.

  13. Any candidate who is going in the opposite direction of Lindsey “FIRE-AIM-READY!!!” Graham is going to get my attention.

    Graham is an embarrassment.

  14. Here’s a question for the next Ron Paul interview:

    If you are elected, what will you and your attorney general do about the Wisconsin John Doe “investigation” and SWAT raids?

    Same for any candidate yelling “Constitution” or “American values”.

    If they don’t have something strong and specific to say, to hell with them.

    1. HOMPLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE

    2. “Ron”?

      1. “Ron”. An epic mistake, among many, on my part.

        1. Easy mistake to make (I’ve done it myself). If only his dad had named him “Ayndy” instead.

  15. I don’t think Paul’s position is about “winning Lindsey Graham’s vote”. I think it’s got a lot more to do with isolating (pardon the turn of phrase) Graham’s extremist views within the party. A strict non-interventionist attacking Graham is going to get the support of traditional libertarians. And beyond that? On the other hand, if you can position yourself as someone who takes what really is a traditional Republican view of foreign policy (which is really what Paul’s foreign policy harkens to), it’s a lot easier to convince a lot of conservatives and Republicans that Graham’s “all-war-all-the-time” policy agenda doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    1. Exactly.

      Rand Paul just needs to win the support of a certain amount of primary voters and their donors. It’s really the primary voters he’s most concerned about, and he has to convince them that he’s not a an all-out anti-War guy like his father was painted to be.

      In regards to the donors, when Mitch “The Establishment” McConnell endorses Rand Paul (which he will almost certainly do), what Lindsey Graham says about Rand Paul won’t be any more important to donors outside of South Carolina than what Graham says about anything else.

      Inside South Carolina, this might be a big problem–but not if Rand Paul wins in New Hampshire and finishes in the top three in Iowa. South Carolina tends to consolidate support behind the winners in New Hampshire and South Carolina. It probably won’t knock Rand Paul off his perch if he wins in New Hampshire.

      1. yep.

        Everything is basically bullshit until the first 2 primaries are over and the field gets entirely re-evaluated.

      2. Gaining McConnel’s backing was Rand Paul’s smartest move ever, whether we want to admit it or not.

  16. Rand Paul is never winning more than 10% of the black vote, so why try?

    1. Because that isn’t a true statement.

      Paul could EASILY take 10% or more of the black vote if he’s up against Hillary.

      He won’t get a majority of it but even a fairly small shift would sink Hillary’s chances of winning to near 0

      1. Paul could EASILY take 10% or more of the black vote if he’s up against Hillary.

        What makes you think that? In such a scenario the Democratic machine would just shout the sound-bite concerning Rand’s statements on the CRA from the hilltops.

        1. Does your vote count? Count as half?

    2. Who said anything about the black vote?

      Also, I think Paul is taking a long-term approach in some respects with that. If the Republicans could ever get back to even the vote patterns of the pre-CRA era, where the Democrats usually won the black vote in presidential elections about 75-25 (between 1936 and 1960), that would be a major improvement for them. At the moment, with Dems getting 90-95% of the black vote, that’s a 10-12% advantage in the national vote that they’re starting off with before looking at any other demographics. If the gap gets cut down to 50%, that advantage shrinks to about 6%, which is a pretty big difference in most elections.

      1. i believe his comment was an ironic comparison to the headline, and you weren’t expected to read it at face value.

        e.g. “concede Paul will never win over Hawks” (same as) “concede Paul will never win over minorities” (same as) “concede paul will never win”

        Its a pre-emptive declaration of defeat that a certain segment of the vote is ‘not worth’ appealing to. Either because they’re assumed to be too ‘in the bag’ against a certain candidate, or that appealing to them will require the candidate to ‘compromise too much’.

        Its a way of avoiding more complex discussion about how a candidate *can* win. Talking about what they ‘can’t win’ is simply a self-fulfilling prophesy.

  17. Re: Lindsey Graham

    What is the opposite of a power bottom?

    1. Flaccid top?

      1. Curse you.

      2. No, I mean more like he has no “power.” And not just a regular bottom.

        If there isn’t one, I would like to suggest: Lindsey Graham, Sex Toilet

        1. What if someone wants to perform an upper decker? what would that entail?

          1. Pooping in his mouth, obviously.

      3. “Rope pusher”

        1. I can’t believe i had to look that up.

    2. impotent top?

    3. Muffin Top

    4. What do you call someone who just lays there and sweats?

      1. Tantric?

      2. I think for women it’s “pillow princess,” that based on for-the-lulz reading of CL classifieds.

  18. I heard a totally true rumor that Rand Paul once held, HELD, the evil Chthonic texts known as “TEH NEWSLETTERS.” Not only did he hold this physical manifestation of all evils in the world, but he nodded approvingly as he held them.

    Rand Paul. Not ready for primetime.

    /Hillary’s Future Email Campaign

    1. Rand Paul thinks he can see Aqua Buddha from his kitchen window!

      1. No, Rand is the Aqua Buddha! And the curls are fake! He has a curling iron, a curling iron I tell you! The curls have come to deceive us! To lead us astray!

  19. Light the Hihnsignal to call the Hihnmost!

    1. He’s still playing with the bold tag in the Christie thread.

      1. Wow, the Hihnfestation in that thread is magnificent.

        1. I think he might have had a stroke.

          1. It does read as if someone is banging their head against the keyboard over and over.

          2. It’s a Hihnspiracy

        2. Sorry for contributing but I just can’t stop mocking him. I’m addicted to it.

          1. You’ve been HIHNFECTED.

  20. Lindsey Graham thinks it’s okay to murder drone an American citizen without due process.

    This is my shocked face.

    (Also, fuck you, you piece of human filth.)

  21. Obama believes you can hold enemy combatants, unlawful enemy combatants at Gitmo, without a criminal trial because this is law-of-war detention

    Huh?
    Obama tried to shut down Gitmo on his first day in office.
    I don’t think his position has really changed.

  22. It’s happening.

    You didn’t listen. Why didn’t you listen? You didn’t see it coming. You could have prevented this. You asked for this, and now you can’t stop it.

    It’s too late. Don’t be sad. This is the future you chose.

    It’s happening.

    1. I am still not sure what to make of this guy, but i suspect there’s some genius involved.

    2. I have no idea what that man was talking about.

  23. I think a lot of people are underestimating Rand’s influence even within the GOP establishment. He’s going to get the Senate majority leader’s endorsement and I think that’s going to put a lot more momentum behind him. Mitch may be a turtlehead, but he’s a smart turtlehead.

  24. I’m already a supporter of Rand Paul, but I would like him even more if he just told Lindsey Graham to fuck off.

    -jcr

  25. Will whoever runs into Lindsay pass along a message from me? You can state it verbatim or paraphrase as you like:

    “Blow it out your ass, you goddamned warmongering chickenhawk sissy.”

    -jcr

  26. I’m not surprised to see establishment Repubs joining the progs in slagging Paul, since they have far more in common with each other than either has with even a moderate libertarian. I’m certain that if Paul or any other candidate who’s even slightly libertarian ever gets into the White House, the Reps and Dems in Congress will join together in true bipartisan fashion to sabotage his entire term in order to “prove” that libertarianism “can’t work”.

  27. I highly doubt Rand Paul’s entirely reasonable foreign policy evolution is going to alienate his base. Reason writers will get butthurt over it, but there’s no greater possibility of avoiding that than there is of winning over the Lindsey’s of the world.

  28. As always, Graham greatly mischaracterizes Paul’s views

    He is a conservative. They lie more than others do.

    APOLOGY TOUR! SURRENDER TO IRAN!

    1. They only lie 8% as much as progs.

    2. BUUUUTTTPPPLLLLLUUUUUUUUUUUGG

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