Rand Paul

Ted Cruz Beat Rand Paul on Strategy, Not Substance

Paul never found a way to tap into visceral anti-establishmentarianism, Matt Welch argues at CNN

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He's gonna tack so libertarian! ||| Getty Images
Getty Images

I have a post-mortem of Rand Paul's presidential campaign up over at CNN Opinion that begins with the observation that GOP voters are more fiscally conservative than their politicians, and ends with some observations about Paul's vanquisher, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Here's how it ends:

Fellow tea party senator and Iowa winner Ted Cruz has been very effective so far this campaign in doing what Rand Paul could not: converting that visceral anti-Washington sentiment into support. For his fans, Cruz's long enemies list and off-putting demeanor are features, not bugs. Sadly for libertarians, that political canniness also involves blatant reversals on criminal justice reform, gratuitous calls to "carpet bomb" ISIS, and public vows to fight the alleged "crisis" of same-sex marriage.

Will Cruz pick up the banner of fiscal conservatism from his vanquished tea party opponent? He will most certainly try. Whether it can work, or whether he really means it, are different questions altogether.

Read the whole thing here. Reason on Rand Paul here.

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  1. Maybe more people genuinely prefer Cruz’s bullshit over Rand’s road apples?

    1. The world is less scary when seen through Welch’s rose-tints.

  2. This is a much better analysis than the notion that Trump stole Rand’s thunder. That idea just doesn’t hold up. If it were true Cruz would not be where he is.

    1. Paul was first in, so he got the early attention. He peaked out below 20%, if I recall. He got the early and rather heated negative attention from the proggies too. A lot of their irrational hatred of libertarians was directed at Rand. All of that negative campaigning had to do some damage, as there was basically no positive message available to balance it for most of the last year.

      Listening to the first debate, Cruz was clearly the best non-Paul if you are listening for someone with a constitutionally limited view of federal powers. Sure, you had to wade through about 20 questions about whether God was telling them what to do, but I came away thinking Cruz might be a decent second choice to Rand – despite the over-the-top religious frosting spread across his rhetoric.

      I don’t see Trump and Paul as being in the same bucket in any way. Trump is a blowhard populist who is going to appeal to emotional voters. Paul is rather tepid as a rhetorician and mostly appeals to reasoned libertarians and constitutional conservatives. Not exactly Trump’s forte. But definitely the kind of folks that Cruz’ somewhat creepy-cold intellectual persona might not put off.

      BTW – the wife is full-on anti-Cruz. 100% because of his appearance and demeanor. She finds him creepy. He might be unelectable for the same reason that Rubio is a contender – looking the part.

  3. GOP voters are more fiscally conservative than their politicians

    More Welchian disingenuousness since he thinks that the Republican ought to cave to the Democrats on spending even more then they already do.

    1. https://reason.com/archives/201…..osts-of-96

      I mean if the Republicans just caved to avoid the shutdown then that wouldn’t count as a libertarian purge too wouldn’t it?

      1. So when Matt argued that Team Red throwing a childish tantrum hurt rather than helped their public perception, the only alternative to that is unchecked budgetary diarrhea? At least I think that’s what you’re trying to say. It could just be a misguided expression of the sexual feelings for Matt that you’re too terrified to acknowledge.

        1. So that’s who left that love letter in Matt’s locker!

          1. Actually it was a mix CD where all the tracks were “#1 Crush” by Garbage, and then the locker was taped shut and filled with pigs blood from the butcher. Matt had to transfer to a different school.

            1. If someone made me listen to that much Garbage, I’d transfer too. The pig blood I’d just drink.

              1. Not to crap on your joke, but you can’t drink it. Unless you chelate all the calcium it’ll just congeal into a clotty mess, with sickly-looking, sticky serum of an off-yellow color running everywhere. And there’s no way he’d be savvy enough to add a bunch of heparin to the batch.

        2. So when Matt argued that Team Red throwing a childish tantrum hurt rather than helped their public perception, the only alternative to that is unchecked budgetary diarrhea?

          It’s simple: either cave or have a shutdown. If a shutdown is “childish tantrum hurt rather than helped their public perception” then the only alternative is to cave which I belive is exactly what libertarians want the Republicans to do. Or do you have another alternative to caving?

          1. Yeah, it’s called negotiation. Give the opposition something they want in exchange for getting something you want, with the mutual goal of keeping the government running and not looking like a gaggle of incompetent spoiled children.

            1. Yeah, it’s called negotiation.

              Hey, look at Donald J. Trump over here!

              1. Yeah cuz libertarians love it when it Democrats and Republicans negotiate budgets.

            2. Incredible hypocrisy Hugh. Aren’t these the sorts of negotiations libertarians attack all the time? Not to mention that in order to negotiate the Republicans need some leverage. If the Democrats can simply refuse any spending cuts and cause a shutdown that will be blamed on childish Republicans then it is no wonder the Republicans don’t even bother trying, not they have in decades.

              1. Even if Republicans were fiscally conservative they would have trouble passing any spending cut since the Democrats would refuse it and cause a shutdown that they would get blamed for. The only alternative is cave which means they are sellouts. This is the sort of dynamic there is in Washington and Welch and Hugh can only respond to this my saying “Libertarian Moment!”

            3. The incompetent spoiled children are the ones that kept the government running. You,know, the ones that blockaded national monuments instead of leaving them open without employees.

              The GOP could have used that, and the recent snowstorm, to show how much of government is,unnecessary and could easily disappear without it hurting the country. But nooooooooo. They had to let the media paint them as the babies instead of jamming it up the asshole of big government pants-shitters and actually shrinking slowing the massive growth of government

            4. Didn’t Republicans gain more positions after their tantrum though?

              1. They did. Also one of the ringleaders of the shutdown has a legitimate shot at the presidency. If the GOP could stop stepping on their dicks for half a second they might notice that a whole lot of people in America rewarded them for opposing the ACA and supported them in their lame attempt to reign in the budget. Sure, everyone said they hated them for it, but they elected more of them to office; stated vs. releaved preferences maybe?

                1. Welch won’t notice that. He has his head resolutely shoved up his ass on this issue, as does Suderman.

                2. Everyone didn’t say anything. The people in the media responsible for telling Republicans what people think said that they hated it. But usually competent polling tells you more about what the pollster wants you to think than what those polled think.

  4. “Fiscal conservatism” is that thing where the government spends trillions of dollars on unnecessary wars and welfare for old people and the middle class, right?

    1. Matt Welch’s definition of “fiscal conservatism” seems to be to spend more money until you get a veto-proof majority and then cut. Which is totally different from what Republican leaders will say…

    2. HANDS OFF MY MEDI-WAR, HUGH!

    3. Don’t forget farmers, team red loves them some farmers.

      1. Not all of them. Cruz won Iowa even though he’s openly against ethanol subsidies.

        Baby steps.

      2. Team Blue also has an affection for farmers, if you take time to notice.

  5. Will Cruz pick up the banner of fiscal conservatism from his vanquished tea party opponent?

    That doesn’t buy votes, no matter how you slice it.

    1. Libertarian Moment!

    2. You know who else had banners and vanquished opponents?

      1. Sun Tzu?

        1. Since nobody else is playing, I’ll accept that answer for the win. However, the answer I was looking for was “Google”.

  6. “GOP voters are more fiscally conservative than their politicians,”

    This is untrue. GOP voters love to tell pollsters how they’re fiscally conservative. However, they love their Big Government programs just as much as people who claim they’re not fiscally conservative and when push comes to shove, they’ll at best shrug when massive expansions of the government are pushed through by the Republican Party. It’s only bad spending when the Democrats do it.

    1. “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”
      Fr?d?ric Bastiat

      Hence the bipartisan love of government spending.

    2. Yes, correct.

      Here’s the deal with Rand. Either:
      1. He was a libertarian, in which case he had nothing to say to Republicans.
      2. He was not a libertarian, in which case he just wasn’t very interesting.

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