Rand Paul

Rand Paul Campaign, SuperPAC Speak on Iowa and What's Next

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With no last minute surprise, Rand Paul's vote in the Iowa caucus tonight could have been roughly predicted from the most recent polling. It was discouraging for those who hoped for a last-minute surge to third driven by student turnout and over a million voter I.D. and GOTV [get out the vote] calls.

Paul's campaign issued a statement tonight trying to spin the results positively, which read in part:

Rand Paul had a strong top-five finish by placing ahead of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and the last two Iowa Caucus winners tonight. The voters spoke for the first time, and they showed that they believe everyone in our country should have the liberty to make the most of their lives, not just the well-connected and the political establishment.Whether the issue is constitutional government, a balanced budget, a rational foreign policy, or preserving the entire Bill of Rights for all citizens, Rand Paul is the only one standing up for conservatives and liberty-loving Americans. 
Tonight's vote reveals that the race for the White House is wide open. Dr. Rand Paul believes his voice is important to the debate, and calls on ABC and the RNC to make sure he is on the stage next weekend in New Hampshire. The results today demand it. "Every election we are told by the party establishment that the times are too dire or risky to try freedom as a solution. They say that the message of liberty and personal responsibility must wait until next election.  But tonight, the people of Iowa proved that the time is now. We have never been more hungry for personal freedom and a restrained government. I'm grateful to my supporters here in the Hawkeye state, and I look forward to continuing the fight for liberty in New Hampshire," said Dr. Rand Paul.

I also spoke by phone tonight with Matt Kibbe, formerly of Tea Party-identified liberty activist group FreedomWorks and now with the Paul-supporting unaffiliated SuperPAC Concerned American Voters [CAV], which also worked on GOTV for Paul in Iowa.

While "we wanted Rand to do better, given where he has been it was a credible showing. I do think that Cruz and Donald Trump and even oddly enough Bernie Sanders were eating away at Rand's potential voting bloc," Kibbe says. "It heightens the now obvious divide between the liberty vote and the anti-establishment populist vote."

Kibbe interprets Cruz' victory as "people voting for the anti-establishment candidate that they believe will stand up for them" and that compared to Trump, "Cruz is more credible as a constitutional conservative."

Kibbe is not as viscerally turned off by Cruz as many libertarians are. "If you look at Ted Cruz' background, his training as a classical liberal is impressive," Kibbe says. "He's read Mises and Hayek, he's read all the books [libertarians] have read and I believe he deeply understands those ideas."

Kibbe admits that "I'm more ambivalent today because he has flip flopped on criminal justice and he's flip flopped on surveillance and most worrisome is, what is his foreign policy?" Cruz seems to have "neoconservative foreign policy ideas, things like 'make the sand glow'–that's dangerous rhetoric and I'm not sure what he means by it."

Cruz or no, Kibbe says that "there is still momentum to move forward [with Paul], it was a very credible performance tonight and we [CAV] will be in it as long as Rand is in it." They are currently involved in social networking efforts in New Hampshire and ground work in Nevada.

When I wonder whether it seems likely now that a significant portion of the Ron Paul Revolution in 2012 really incorporated the roots of the libertarian vision (though it is still by no means certain where the "Ron Paul vote" has gone, and much of it may have just returned to the vast hordes of nonvoters), Kibbe says that even voters who are never going to embrace the full vision of movement libertarianism in an intellectual, bookish manner are still capturable by libertarian-leaning politicians.

"Ron [Paul] did an incredible amount of education to a huge new population and if you look at younger guys like [congressmen] Justin Amash and Thomas Massie, I see tremendous opportunity for what I call libertarian populism, a combination of rage against the machine overlaid with serious ideas, solutions and principles and that to me is the answer. This is not an academic affair," Kibbe says. "I think if we go back to citing footnotes from Mises we've failed the liberty movement."

NEXT: Hillary Clinton Wins/Loses in Dead Heat Against Bernie Sanders in Iowa

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  1. Is it true that Carson’s called it a day?

    Related to the actual article, what’s the surveillance flip-flop that Cruz is supposed to have done? I get the sentencing beef, and would like to know more as to the substance, but what’s the surveillance one? That he thinks Snowden is a traitor or some such? That he thinks the NSA, or other agency’s, TIA-like program is kosher?

    1. No clue, but Huckabee’s confirmed as MIA. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, and coming from a Christian: him and his ilk is why I loathe most clergymen with the fissionable energy of the Hiroshima nuke.

      1. Amen to that.

        Looks like CNN, and a few Cruz staffers, jumped the gun in declaring Carson dead. And telling caucus participants in Iowa that Carson was thinking of dropping out, so why not vote for Ted?

        Shitty. Taking advantage of the well meaning and stupid—how hard it is to use a smart phone to check if your candidate’s still in the race?—but shitty all the same.

        It’s hard to blame pundits who’ve declared Carson dead; every time I listen to the man speak, it’s like he’s dead already. I’m racking my brain, trying to think of a candidate with less personal public speaking verve, drive, and charisma than Ben Carson and I can’t think of one. Dude makes Nicolae Ceausescu sound like Martin Luther King Jr.

  2. “We have never been more hungry for personal freedom and a restrained government.”

    Who’s “we”, kemo sabe?

    Freedom and restrained government is a minority viewpoint. Sorry, Rand, we just aint gonna win.

    1. Freedom and restrained government is a minority viewpoint. Sorry, Rand, we just aint gonna win.

      Shit, tell me about it. And this is before the mass casualty event that I’m still surprised that ISIS didn’t inflict on us this last holiday season. Have one of those, and the 4th and 5th Amendments vanish like a fart in a tornado.

      Jesus, can you imagine the freakout here if the U.S. had an Intifada circa-2000 level of suicide bombings? We’d imprison if not kill everyone that had a beard, a tan, and a long coat.

      Anyway, returning to Rand, at least he’ll be a good Senator for a long as he wants to hold the office. That ain’t nothing, and it’s a damned sight more than, say, Cruz will look forward too if he loses the the Presidential run. Paul, I think, plays well with others. Cruz has pissed off a lot of people. Or would have, if they’d bothered to listen to his speeches denouncing them.

  3. Go home, Paul. You’re wasting our time which could be better served in the Senate doing the good things you do there. Someone should have given that advice to Gary Johnson for that NM Senate seat, and I really wouldn’t want to see Rand Paul lose his Senate seat just because he wants to keep the fantasy alive.

    Endorse Cruz or someone with some modicum of respect for classical liberal values and go home.

    1. Disagree. Rand shouldn’t have any problem keeping his seat regardless of the POTUS race, so why not take it as far as he can?

      The fact that he’s promoting things from a libertarian standpoint is better than just about anything related to the current dumpster fire we’re watching. I don’t understand the benefit of Rand going home yet.

  4. “I think if we go back to citing footnotes from Mises we’ve failed the liberty movement.”

    Yeah. Take that shit outside, eggheads.

  5. Kibbe is not as viscerally turned off by Cruz as many libertarians are.

    I looked up “rationalization” in the dictionary. Yep, Kibbe’s pic.

    I miss Guy Kibbe.

  6. Kibbe is not as viscerally turned off by Cruz as many libertarians are. “If you look at Ted Cruz’ background, his training as a classical liberal is impressive,” Kibbe says. “He’s read Mises and Hayek, he’s read all the books [libertarians] have read and I believe he deeply understands those ideas.”

    He may understand those ideas, I just doubt he believes in them.

    1. Nice catch. I suspect he also “deeply understands” the ideas in the Communist Manifesto.

  7. Not as good a showing as we might hope, but he should stay in it at least through the next couple primaries. Let’s see how he performs in a smaller field.

    In the Senate he is 1 of 100 with almost no media coverage. In the race he at least has a pulpit, even if it is smaller than other candidates. After the last debate there were a few standard issue progressives in my Facebook feed with positive things to say about him. That’s important, and more than he can get in the Senate.

    1. On the plus side, the liberty vote stayed in the Paul family.
      On the minus side, the liberty vote is still less than 5 percent, and the rest of the Ron Paul vote went to Trump.

  8. Top five finish — I called it.
    Rand Paul beats Bush, Christie, Kasich, Fiorina, Santorum, Huckabee, and Gilmore.
    Huckabee drops out. Gilmore is finished. Santorum is finished.
    Christie, Kasich and Fiorina will limp on to New Hampshire, after which 2 of them will likely drop out.
    Carson beat Paul but has no upside — Iowa’s 9 percent was his high water mark. He’s done.

    That leaves Trump (whacko), Cruz (unlikeable) and Rubio (flip-flopper).
    Rand Paul starts to look pretty good against that group.

  9. Rand did not do nearly as well as his father in Iowa in 2012. Ron took third with 21.5% (26,036 votes). Rand lost the liberty vote at the beginning of his campaign by committing military support to Isreal (an entangling alliance), and support for increased military spending. Standing armies are a violation of Article I Section VIII:

    “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years.”

    In this election cycle, all of the candidates are further to the north than in 2012.

    The elder Paul took second in New Hampshire in 2012. To beat that, Rand will need to show himself to be even MORE libertarian than his father. (Huntsman took third there.) The next debate will present the best opportunity for Rand to redeem himself.

  10. Kibbe seems a bit confused. If their strategy, as seems evident, was to appeal to the Cruz right-wing authoritarians, then why would libertarians go out of their way to vote for Rand? And why would Cruz right-wing authoritarians vote for Rand when they could vote for Cruz?
    It was Rand Paul’s right-wing plutocratic tendencies that soured me on him. It sounded like ‘liberty’, (government subsidies and special interest policies) for plutocrats, authoritarianism for everyone else. Not as bad as any of the other republican candidates, but more of a I’d vote for him given the other bad choices than I want to vote for him.

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