Matt Forney
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The Rand Paul Devolution

NOTE: This article was originally published at Right On on January 29, 2016. I’m re-posting it here as the site is now defunct.

Rand Paul inherited one of the most enduring, dedicated, and influential Right-wing political movements in modern America. He destroyed it by pandering to the Left, and his presidential campaign is a pathetic shadow of his father’s.

Nothing sums up the comedy of errors that is the Rand Paul presidential campaign better than Marx’s quip about history repeating itself first as tragedy, then as farce. Ron Paul was an obscure congressman from Texas who lacked money and political connections, yet he led two influential grassroots presidential campaigns by using the Internet to connect with his supporters. Unfortunately, the GOP establishment was so spooked by the Ron Paul Revolutionaries that during the 2012 convention they changed the rules at the last minute to prevent his delegates from being seated.

Ron Paul’s Libertarianism had wide appeal because it was a revolt against both the excesses of the Bush-era neocons, who never saw a war they didn’t like, and the excesses of the Left, whose solution to every problem is to feed the government beast. Additionally, by financing his campaigns with individual contributions, Paul was able to remain independent from the K Street leviathan. While his inability to dress himself and general quirkiness would always handicap him, his successes provided a blueprint for the insurgent campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

With the elder Paul now retired, his son Rand should have been able to grab the baton and take it all the way to the White House. Instead, he’s tripped and fallen flat on his face, and after attending his Iowa 10,000 rally at Drake University in Des Moines, I can immediately see why. Rand Paul has spat in his father’s face in a desperate attempt to cuddle up with the Left—and like every cuckservative attempt to mollify the Marxists, it’s blown up in his face.

Although, to make a (very) mild defense of Sonny Paul, Libertarianism itself has been invaded by social justice warriors. As Leftism becomes increasingly tainted in the eyes of moderates, sneakier Leftoids have begun to rebrand as “left-Libertarians” or “cultural Libertarians.” The liberty movement has also seen an influx of vapid attention whores like Julie Borowski and Cathy Reisenwitz, who attract countless beta orbiters for regurgitating entry-level Rothbard or Mises.

Lest you doubt that the fish is decomposing from the head down, check out this article by a woman claiming that Libertarian men are “disgusting.” You could post it on a feminist website and it would fit right in. In fact, “Libertarian feminism” is a thing now, because an ideology that’s about maximizing individual liberty isn’t enough for these girls.

With these clowns rampaging through Libertarianism like HIV through a Fire Island power bottom, Rand Paul was effectively hobbled right out of the gate. Even still, he could have tapped into his father’s Ludwig von Mises Institute network and built it up into a truly fearsome organization. Instead, he’s chosen to shoot himself in both feet by buddying up with Black race pimps like Al Sharpton in a quixotic quest to build a pan-racial alliance against police brutality.

Expecting Blacks to defect to the GOP over Michael Brown and Eric Garner is like expecting Jews and Muslims to team up because they both hate pork. Libertarianism is and always will be an ideology that appeals primarily to Whites. Poll after poll and election after election show that non-Whites are overwhelmingly in favor of higher taxes, stricter gun laws, and more expansive welfare programs. Rand Paul’s overtures to Leftists haven’t convinced any to take his side, but they’ve turned off Libertarians who might have supported his father in the past.

The rally I went to at Drake was depressing proof of this. It took place in a tiny venue that could only seat about a hundred; there were about a hundred more people who would later pack in and stand at the back. The demographics skewed young, thankfully: suit-wearing popped-collar collective members, geeky hardcore types, and a few chicks. Aside from a few token Asians, the entire crowd was White.

Paul took the stage at three to cheers of “PRESIDENT PAUL! PRESIDENT PAUL!” Beyond the fact that he looks like a little kid playing dress-up in daddy’s clothes, I noticed something else horribly wrong with Rand Paul. Try to see if you can spot it in this video I recorded (I apologize for the low quality):

See the teleprompters on each side of his podium? Rand Paul is the worst public speaker in the presidential race, by a country mile. He has the mannerisms of an autistic kid playing with his own feces; he keeps his eyes glued to the ‘prompters, rarely looks at the crowd, and barely responds to their cheers and jeers. Maybe that explains Paul’s appeal to da yoof: the Obama generation associates staring at a glass pacifier with leadership.

On the other hand, maybe Paul decided to skip Toastmasters because his fans think everything he says is a hoot anyway. The Randinistas cheered so enthusiastically for the man that it felt like I was being inducted into the world’s nerdiest cult. Beyond their spontaneous cries of “PRESIDENT PAUL!”, they erupted into spasmodic applause every time he made a point, and when he started talking about auditing the Federal Reserve, the room was taken over with chants of “END THE FED! END THE FED!”

Paul’s flying monkeys were so fanatical that they would devolve into boos and angry screams every time he mentioned one of his opponents—the only time I’ve seen a candidate’s fans do this. In particular, the crowd went apoplectic with rage at Ted Cruz dropping the ball on the Fed and at Donald Trump’s supposed abuses of eminent domain. I’m half-convinced the Randinistas would try to stab the Donald to death with ballpoint pens if their swami so commanded them.

Unfortunately, there won’t be many Rand Paul revolutionaries. The structure of Paul’s speech shows how much he’s kowtowed to the Left. His father’s signature issue of ending the Fed was shuffled to the end, while Paul spent the first few minutes repeating Leftist cant on how fighting our enemies in the Middle East will just make them hate us more. That’s the last thing a nation demoralized by eight years of Obama needs to hear. And when Paul started waxing maudlin about the War on Drugs, his pubic-hair mop-top and pothead pandering made him come off like a redneck Justin Trudeau.

Rand Paul’s presidential campaign will pass from the public consciousness as inconsequentially as a mouse fart in an elephant pen. By diluting Ron Paul’s message for the Tumblr crowd, Rand has alienated most of Libertarianism’s core supporters while failing to pry away voters from the Left. The true heir to the Ron Paul Revolution is Donald Trump, who’s solved the central problem with Paul’s campaign: his lack of charisma and persuasiveness.

You coulda been a contendah, Rand. You’ve chosen to be a bum.

Read Next: Iowa Campaign Dispatch, Day 7: My Time with the Rand Paul Cult

  • ray

    Cogent and informative.