Bowling Green, Kentucky
First, immigration, and now, he’s done a one-eighty on drones.
What’s wrong with him?
I think I have the answer. For those of you who have read this space regularly over the past several months, you already know what my theory is.
When Rand Paul first announced that he was running for Senate from Kentucky in 2009, only after Jim Bunning announced his own retirement, (and RP made it clear all along that he was only going to run if Bunning was retiring), one of the things he communicated to tuned in people like your blogmeister is that he wasn’t entering the race and going into electoral politics merely to be his father’s son and clone. His goal all along was to try to be a bridge between his father’s worldview and the worldview of lamestream conservatives like Rush Limbaugh. Or, to put it more accurately, he wanted to triangulate between the two in order to form a new paradigm.
The problem with that goal is that there is no natural constituency for a halfway between Ron and Rush ideology, either for the purposes of motivating boots on the ground or raising money. That became clear in RP’s primary campaign versus the man who was considered a shoo-in for the Kentucky Senate race, both primary and general, until RP got in himself, that being Kentucky AG Trey Grayson. Rand might have wanted to triangulate, but he had to rely on his father’s name and fundraising machine to get money. At the same time, while his father’s people were good at getting and giving money, they weren’t good at actually getting boots on the ground to win elections, as even to this day, Ron Paul has never won a statewide election of any sort. So for energy, Rand had to rely on the Tea Party Movement, which is basically warmed over Reagan conservatism with something of a hard baked right-libertarian edge. So while he wanted to triangulate, he needed money and boots from either end against which he was trying to split the middle.
The flawed game wasn’t flawed enough to preclude him from going to the Senate. But now that he wants to become President, those flaws are far magnified. It takes a lot more money and a lot more boots to win the Republican nomination for President than it does to win a Senate seat, then many more to carry you across the finish line in the general election.
Netting it out: Why is Rand Paul so politically schizophrenic these days? The answer is that he has probably suddenly discovered that he can’t triangulate new political ground, so he’s frantically going back and forth trying to be the servant of two masters that really don’t like each other, those being the lamestream conservative establishment (which is more and more being brought into the fold of the RINO establishment) and his father’s loyalists. And both sides know it, and neither side really trusts him for trying to serve both sides.