After last week’s Republican debate, I gave my initial impressions from a libertarian perspective. Looking back, I think I gauged it pretty well.
Despite the talking heads in the mainstream press, Donald Trump continues to poll well. When the Fox News “moderators” were attacking him, it was actually good for Trump. The few times he was answering normal policy questions are the times he didn’t look good.
I was right about Carson doing well. He is up in the latest polls. The one person I didn’t judge correctly is Ted Cruz. More precisely, I did not judge some Republican’s views on Cruz correctly.
I thought Cruz was a dud. He is one of the biggest war hawks in the race, which is really saying something. Maybe that is why some Republicans like him so much.
Cruz’s poll numbers actually went up after the debate. I think there are Tea Party conservatives who are looking for someone to support, and they are turning to Cruz. He sounds like a fiscal conservative and he is pro war. This mostly sums up a good portion of the Tea Party.
These same conservatives are definitely not flocking to Rand Paul. The Paul campaign is a disaster. It is a disaster from the perspective of social conservatives. It is a disaster from my perspective as a libertarian. It should be seen as a disaster by Rand Paul.
As I have said, Rand Paul is trying to play both sides of the fence. He is trying to get supporters of his father, while also trying to gain supporters from more establishment Republicans. He couldn’t have had a better strategy for driving away as many people as possible.
The guy just cannot take a principled stand on anything. He had his opportunities during the debate and he ran away from principle like a scared kitten. As I said, he had to justify not wanting to send foreign aid to Israel because “we” have to borrow the money from China. I still can’t believe he actually said on the debate stage that it would be ok to send money to Israel during a time of surplus.
At least most of the war hawk candidates in the Republican race take a coherent stand on the issue, which is to continually send money to Israel. It is a bad position, but they are consistent. One could view it as principled. Then there is Rand Paul just flapping in the wind.
Now it is Paul’s strategy to attack Donald Trump. He started this immediately at the start of the debate when Trump wouldn’t pledge to support the eventual nominee. Ironically, it was Ron Paul – Rand’s father – who refused to support the eventual nominee in his last two runs as a Republican.
If Rand Paul is going to attack Trump, it would be so easy to do so on policy. Trump is talking a bunch of nonsense on trading with Mexico and China. Trump is terrible on economics and it could be exploited by someone who does know economics. But maybe there is nobody in this race who can challenge him.
Rand Paul’s campaign is pretty much done. I don’t know that there is anything that could revive it at this point. He tried to play the political game. He tried to be different from his father by carefully calculating his political moves. Meanwhile, he will likely end up getting far fewer votes than his father, if Rand even makes it to the voting at this point.
When Ron Paul ran for president in 2007/ 2008, and again in 2011/ 2012, he converted probably a million people or more to libertarianism. Even for those that didn’t fully convert, they may have been brought a step closer. Some people heard arguments that they had never really heard before.
Ron Paul has educated more people on the benefits of liberty than probably any other person in history. He is certainly at the top when dealing with just this era.
Meanwhile, Rand Paul has done no such thing. The best you can say about the debate is that he was not memorable. Unfortunately, I do remember many of the weak things that he said.
I know he made a comment that he doesn’t want the federal government licensing his marriage or his guns. It was a slogan. He had it planned all along. Worse, he delivered the line as if he had it planned all along.
If that is the most radical statement I am going to get out of Rand Paul, then he deserves to go down hard in this race.
While I did find Donald Trump to be entertaining, despite his terrible policy positions, I sure do miss the last 2 presidential cycles. Ron Paul stood up there and told the truth. He held to his principles. Millions of people heard the truth whether they knew it or not.
Unfortunately, that will not happen this time around.