Late Night Open Thread: Little Prince Rand in His Political Winter

Dave Weigel and Ben Terris, in the Washington Post, say “‘The most interesting man in politics’ isn’t drawing much interest in New Hampshire“:

… “[It] depends on which polls you look at, you know,” Paul said when asked by the Boston Globe’s James Pindell about his sliding standing in the state. When asked about why he had fallen behind so many of his Republican opponents, Paul dodged.

“We actually have many polls where we actually lead Hillary Clinton,” he said. “So I think actually that some of our polling news is actually pretty good.”…

Last fall, Time magazine dubbed Paul “the most interesting man in politics.” But it has been a year since he led a national poll and months since he led in New Hampshire, a state where his father made strong stands in two presidential campaigns. According to the data firm Crimson Hexagon, roughly a third of all Republican-primary news articles in May were about Paul. In July, it’s been closer to 1 in 10.

Paul entered the presidential race on an unusually robust cloud of hype. When he is swarmed by autograph seekers, he is occasionally asked to sign the Time magazine cover. That cover appeared in October. This summer, the Wall Street Journal has dubbed him “no longer a first-tier candidate”; the Atlantic has politely described him as “struggling.”

The press sees a candidate slipping out of the conversation….

Politico‘s Alex Isenstadt, “Inside Rand Paul’s downward spiral“:

Rand Paul, once seen as a top-tier contender, finds his presidential hopes fading fast as he grapples with deep fundraising and organizational problems that have left his campaign badly hobbled.

Interviews with more than a dozen sources close to the Kentucky senator, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity, painted a picture of an underfunded and understaffed campaign beaten down by low morale.

They described an operation that pitted a cerebral chief strategist against an intense campaign manager who once got into a physical altercation with the candidate’s bodyguard. And they portrayed an undisciplined politician who wasn’t willing to do what it took to win — a man who obsessed over trivial matters like flight times, peppered aides with demands for more time off from campaigning and once chose to go on a spring-break jaunt rather than woo a powerful donor…

I think we’ve all known middle managers who drove the entire division crazy by quibbling over every supply request and sending out blast emails about the shameful waste of copier paper. The inherent response of an “executive” who’s reached his Peter Principle level is an obsessive attention to those minutiae he can control…

They sketched a portrait of a candidate who, as he fell further behind in polls, no longer seemed able to break through. Paul, lionized as “the most interesting man in politics” in a Time magazine cover story last year, was supposed to reinvent the Republican Party with his message of free-market libertarianism, his vision of a restrained foreign policy and his outreach to minorities.

Instead, he has been overshadowed by louder voices like Donald Trump’s and better-funded figures like Jeb Bush. His theory of the 2016 primary — that Republican voters would reward a candidate who promised fresh ideas and an unconventional approach — has not been borne out in reality…

Those close to Paul say there’s a simple reason for his lack of success: He’s simply not willing to do the stroking and courting that powerful donors expect. He’s downright allergic, they say, to the idea of forging relationships with the goal of pumping people for dough. And while he’s had no shortage of opportunities to mix and mingle with some of the Republican Party’s wealthiest figures, Paul has expressed frustration that donors want so much face time…

Those tasked with crafting Paul’s schedule say the process is like playing a game of three-dimensional chess. Rather than letting his campaign team determine his travel schedule, as is customary for busy presidential candidates, Paul often demands sign-off on minute details, going so far as to request detailed lists of possible flight schedules and routes. Paul — who has complained that running for president is “not really a lot of fun” — can be prone to asking for time off the campaign trail and can be prickly about the most mundane commitments. Shortly before attending an event in Monterey, California, last month, he griped about having to do a photo line with supporters even though it had been on his schedule for weeks…

He’s Prince Rand. Why does he have to waste his beautiful mind grin’n’gripping with every loser in Iowa, New Hampshire, and the floating press corps?

Said it before, will no doubt say it again: This is a man who mistook being the heir apparent to his old man’s fringe fiefdom for charisma.

63 replies
  1. 1
    bluehill says:

    Who would have thought you actually had to work to become the President? I guess Rand’s laziness is stronger than his ambition – lucky for us.

  2. 2
    John Revolta says:

    running for president is “not really a lot of fun”

    Awwwwww. Maybe he could try, you know, being a Senator?

  3. 3
    Redshift says:

    His theory of the 2016 primary — that Republican voters would reward a candidate who promised fresh ideas and an unconventional approach — has not been borne out in reality…

    It being Politico, they somehow fail to mention that he also abandoned most of his “fresh ideas” and, with a few minor exceptions, now espouses the same hard-right party line as all the rest of them.

  4. 4
    Ruckus says:

    Fresh ideas was a tag line, never had one millisecond of ideas, fresh, stale or truthful about it.

    Of course this could be said of every clown in the car.

  5. 5
    FlyingToaster says:

    Somehow, it’s not surprising that the New Hamsters just aren’t that into Rand. They want candidates to come and eat at their diners and quelle horreur talk to them, face to face. And worship their maple syrup, not that imported stuff from Quebec or that lame-ass syrup from Vermont.

    I suspect that he’ll have just as much problem in Iowa, where they want him to eat their “traditional” foods so they can take pictures of him. And there he’ll be required to worship corn (maize to the rest of the world).

    If Massachusetts mattered (and, we don’t), I think we could get at least a third of the candidates to kiss a cod.

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @FlyingToaster: I believe that cod-kissing is more of a Newfie thing.

  7. 7
    Mary G says:

    This is the laziness of a man who couldn’t be bothered to do the work and study to become board-certified in his first profession, so he started his own board. Seems to work for him in the Senate, since so little legislating is getting done, but not at the presidential level.

  8. 8
    Richard Shindledecker says:

    Oh – that hair – with a little wax and kerosene…What a show!

  9. 9
    Mandalay says:

    I hope Clinton doesn’t repeat this point blank refusal to answer a very specific and very reasonable question:

    The day after Mrs. Clinton put forth a detailed plan that would go further than any president in using the government to protect the environment and produce solar and wind energy, she found herself once again stumped on the question of whether or not she would support the Keystone XL Pipeline project, which would bring Canadian oil to Texas.

    A voter at a Nashua town hall, Bruce Blodgett, a software engineer in Amherst, asked Mrs. Clinton to give a “yes or no” answer to whether she would support the pipeline, which liberals and environmentalists abhor. Mrs. Clinton demurred.

    This is President Obama’s decision and I’m not going to second-guess him,” she said. “If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.”

    TBF, Clinton mightily pissed of the Administration last summer by sticking the boot in to President Obama over his Syria policy, so maybe she is now being loyal and treading very carefully. If so, good for her. But either way she has to do better than say she will only give an answer when she becomes president – that is just an unacceptable response.

  10. 10
    RepubAnon says:

    Shouldn’t the headline be: “The Liar in Winter”?

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mary G: He actually was board certified but left over a disagreement with the board.

  12. 12
    Calouste says:

    Rand Paul made the mistake that he started believing he could actually run, rather than just continue the family grift he has inherited from his dad. Having to sign of on minute details is to ensure that the money goes to the family grift empire, rather than somewhere else.

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    Also, his political distinctiveness has faded. Hard to distinguish him from the pack– who is in his constituency now?

  14. 14
    Brachiator says:

    Questions unasked and unanswered.’

    Jonathan Pollard is set to be release. Will the GOP accuse Obama of being weak and naive for releasing a man who gave classified information to Israel? Because, you know, Obama hates America.

    Will Israel thank the Obama Administration for not standing in the way of the release or commenting negatively about it? Or will they accuse Obama of being weak for cravenly seeking to do a favor for Israel?

    Will anyone in the upcoming debate ask the 16 GOP Vestals what they think of Pollard’s release and what they would do if they were president?

    Does anyone have the guts to tempt Trump into saying something stupid about this?

  15. 15
    Calouste says:

    @Mandalay: Clinton should word it differently. She could just say that she assumes that the question will be decided during the current administration and that it is President Obama’s decision at the moment.

  16. 16
    Calouste says:

    @MattF: See above, Paul went “mainstream” GOP because he was deluded he could win, alienating the Paulistas who have been reliable contributors to the family fortune his dad’s campaigns.

  17. 17
    MattF says:

    @Brachiator: Pollard’s release is somewhat surprising. The intel agencies have always been dead set against it.

  18. 18
    MattF says:

    @Calouste: With 16 candidates, “I could win this thing” has reached the level of an episode in “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds.”

  19. 19
    Gian says:


    this kind of “I won’t give a straight answer” things always remind me of the chapter in The Prince about being a true friend or true enemy. I feel like failing to take a real stand invited people to project their fears on her more than their hopes.
    Since Machiavelli wasn’t related to Walt Disney you can read the who thing on line, but here’s the quote

    A prince is also respected when he is either a true friend or a downright enemy, that is to say, when, without any reservation, he declares himself in favour of one party against the other; which course will always be more advantageous than standing neutral; because if two of your powerful neighbours come to blows, they are of such a character that, if one of them conquers, you have either to fear him or not. In either case it will always be more advantageous for you to declare yourself and to make war strenuously; because, in the first case, if you do not declare yourself, you will invariably fall a prey to the conqueror, to the pleasure and satisfaction of him who has been conquered, and you will have no reasons to offer, nor anything to protect or to shelter you. Because he who conquers does not want doubtful friends who will not aid him in the time of trial; and he who loses will not harbour you because you did not willingly, sword in hand, court his fate.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Calouste: That is what she said.

  21. 21
    RK says:

    Her non-position on Keystone earned derision from environmentalist Bill McKibben, whose organization has been at the forefront of opposition to the pipeline.

    “I think it’s bogus,” he said in an email. “Look, the notion that she can’t talk about it because the State Dept. is still working on it makes no sense. By that test, she shouldn’t be talking about Benghazi or Iran or anything else either. The more she tries to duck the question, the more the whole thing smells.”

    Sen. Bernie Sanders sees a big gaping hole in Hillary Clinton’s newly released climate-change proposals: the Keystone pipeline.
    “It is hard for me to understand how one can be concerned about climate change but not vigorously oppose the Keystone pipeline,”

  22. 22
    Calouste says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Well, she didn’t put enough emphasis IMO on the fact that it most likely will be decided under the current administration, so it won’t be her decision to make.

  23. 23
    askew says:


    Her staff has already gone out and spun that answer as great leadership. She isn’t going to answer period. However, Tom Steyner and other environmental activists are giving her a pass on it. It’s pathetic to see them fall all over themselves making excuses for such a mediocre candidate. But, they’ve clearly decided she is most electable and are going to back her regardless of what she does or doesn’t take a position on.

  24. 24
    Amir Khalid says:

    At some point, the weaker candidates have to start falling by the wayside. When you’re not keen on doing what a candidate has to do, as Rand Paul is not, that’s you. But I was expecting “this is too much like work” to take out The Donald before anyone else.

    I wonder how long Rand will take to pull the plug on his failing candidacy. And who will be next to give up.

  25. 25
    wasabi gasp says:

    You wear cowboy boots, you don’t get to be president.

  26. 26
    Mandalay says:


    Clinton should word it differently.

    Right. Not that I buy it, but if she wanted to “legitimately” duck the question she could have clarified that it was inappropriate for her to be voicing her opinion at this time on that specific issue, while the decision was still under review by the Administration. At least that response would not sound so curt and dismissive.

    But to say “If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.” was competely tone deaf and condescending, and will surely reinforce the perception that she is arrogant, aloof and inaccessible. She really shouldn’t give that response ever again.

  27. 27
    Brachiator says:


    Pollard’s release is somewhat surprising. The intel agencies have always been dead set against it.

    Perhaps. But I vaguely recall hearing last year that the Obama Administration would no longer oppose his release. And Pollard qualified for parole. Some background from the NBC story:

    Though parole no longer exists in the federal system, it was still in effect in 1985, when Pollard was sentenced and continues to apply to his case. It makes him eligible for mandatory parole after 30 years unless the Parole Commission found that he committed serious violations of prison rules or showed a probability that he would commit crimes after his release.

    On July 1, the Justice Department notified the Parole Commission that it would not oppose the scheduled release on Nov. 21. The commission held a hearing July 7 at the North Carolina prison where Pollard is held, and its vote approving release was announced Tuesday.

    The GOP’s ball washing of Netanyahu lets the Obama get this done now, rather than later via a presidential pardon. I think a deal has been in the works for some time, as a gesture of good faith towards Israel. Of course, if the GOP wants to criticize Obama for not opposing release, they are free to do so.

  28. 28
    Suzanne says:

    With any luck, the collapse of Rand indicates that the whole libertarian wing is collapsing in on itself and now will curl up in the corner and die. I hate libertarians. I don’t know if they’re as crazy or as dangerous as the teabaggers or the fundigelicals, but I might hate them even more for their arrogance.

  29. 29
    Mandalay says:

    When he is swarmed by autograph seekers, he is occasionally asked to sign the Time magazine cover.

    His web site is selling autographed copies of the magazine for $1,000.

    He might be a lousy politician, but what a grifter!

  30. 30
    JustRuss says:

    Bobic has a point: The fact that “serious” politicians are expected to spend a good portion of their time kissing wealthy donor’s posteriors is a huge problem.

  31. 31
    Lamh36 says:

    ugh… Rand Paul…bleh.

    found a better story to end my night.

    Good night BJ.

    8-year-old becomes 1st child to get double hand transplant via @cbsnews

  32. 32
    bluehill says:


    Unfortunately, I think the libertarian wing will continue because they won’t be confronted with the reality of actually trying to run the country based on their principles; it’s much easier to maintain purity from the peanut gallery.

    On the plus side, maybe this means some of his millennial fan base is growing up.

  33. 33
    Brachiator says:


    It’s pathetic to see them fall all over themselves making excuses for such a mediocre candidate.

    You got a better one in mind?

    And please don’t say Bernie Sanders, who may be a nice guy and all that, but has not yet demonstrated that he is a bona fide contender.

  34. 34
    Mike J says:

    Not a good night of racing for me. Actually, not a good night of race results, but I was on a sailboat on the lake and hung out with the guys and the one race where I had the stick we won the start. Even if the results weren’t in our favor, hard to say it was a bad night.

    My problem is I spend so much time setting up and making sure everyone has a boat and the course is set and the race committee has been ferried out to the committee boat that by the time the races are starting, I’m just hopping on whatever boat is still tied up with whatever crew is there. And I was with a great crew tonight, but I took the boat from three to four on board and probably killed any chance of winning. On the plus side, it was taco Tuesday at the bar at which we debrief.

    And now I have my weekly problem of being hyper because I’ve been going full tilt since 4pm and even tacos and Mac & Jack’s can’t calm me after competition, even meaningless competition.

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mike J: Even the best have bad days. Chill out. You know your mistake; don’t make it again.

  36. 36
    Redshift says:

    @Brachiator: He’s been posting nonstop Hillary-hate since he showed up here, so I don’t think an open-minded assessment of the relative merits of the candidates is likely to be in the cards.

  37. 37
    NotMax says:

    As he created his own licensing board for his medical specialty, the answer is staring him in the face.

    Create his own electoral college.

    Voila! Insta-prez!

  38. 38
    NotMax says:

    Gotta say it has been rather refreshing to not have so many late night threads get Caligula-jacked.

  39. 39
    Amir Khalid says:

    I see a wee problemette for Rand if he goes that route, though: he’s going to have to create his own personal US of A to be president of. And if meeting donors and doing the grunt work of campaigning in the real USA is already too much work for his liking …

  40. 40
    David Koch says:

    unfortunately Baby Doc will run for president again in 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032, 2036

    and every 4 years there will be people who should know better who will actually say, “this time he’ll be formidable”.

  41. 41
    Jeff Spender says:

    I very much enjoyed this post and the comments. An old high school friend of mine (my best friend, actually) recently revealed that he is a huge supporter of Rand Paul.

    So he went to a Rand Paul campaign stop and I asked if someone asked Paul if he had a plan to replace the lost revenue our state would suffer if, as Paul would like, the state parks were sold off to private concerns.

    My friend’s reply was: “Are you off your meds again?”

    I don’t recall saying anything insulting, though I once did point out that the Democrats could put up a soggy turd and it would win against Paul. It seems to me that people who support Rand Paul suddenly become incapable of talking about these things without lobbing a random insult.

  42. 42
    Jewish Steel says:

    “We actually have many polls where we actually lead Hillary Clinton,” he said. “So I think actually that some of our polling news is actually pretty good.”

    I’m sure there are any number of excellent reasons for keeping these “many polls” a secret.

  43. 43
    magurakurin says:

    @Mandalay: fuck, tell it to the Unions. The AFL-CIO is all for it and when Trumka came out for Sanders the little green robin hood hats hit the ceiling in joy. What part of not fucking with a sitting president, who is the leader of your party and your former boss don’t people get? Keystone just isn’t all that in terms of fucked up shit in the world. The goddamn oil trains that are carrying the tar sands oil right at this moment seem worse. And with Iranian sweet light crude only months away from the market, the Canadians might find themselves holding the bag on their dirty and expensive tar sands.

  44. 44
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    “We actually have many polls where we actually lead Hillary Clinton,” he said. “So I think actually that some of our polling news is actually pretty good.”

  45. 45
    Pie Happens (opiejeanne) says:

    @NotMax: I am embarrassed to say that a couple of days ago I almost posted that I missed Omni (hadn’t seen him but probably just didn’t read the right threads), but I realized how that would sound.


  46. 46
    Keith G says:


    But, they’ve clearly decided she is most electable and are going to back her regardless of what she does or doesn’t take a position on.

    (My emphasis)

    Best morning laugh in quite a while. You have moved into parody. Good show!

  47. 47
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @bluehill: And most of that “work” involves courting donors. Paul’s vocal opposition to the Civil Rights Act makes him unlikable to me so I’m glad his campaign is a nonstarter.

  48. 48
  49. 49
    chopper says:

    like all libertarian douchebros, he hates actual work and yet thinks the world owes him whatever awesome life he can imagine for himself.

  50. 50
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @bluehill: Harder than trolling. Who could have predicted?

  51. 51
    Another Holocene Human says:


    And worship their maple syrup, not that imported stuff from Quebec or that lame-ass syrup from Vermont.

    I buy mine from Mass. Neener-neener.

    (The weirdest thing in the world to me is that sugar maples can survive in New England but also in Gainesville’s sub-tropical climate. UF’s plant people have several of them growing around campus and apparently they’re recommended locally. However most people chose to go with cheap easy exotic invasive Crape Myrtles. You cannot kill those damn things.)

  52. 52
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Gian: But let’s say you have a defensible position. Say…. Switzerland. Staying neutral and slightly shady worked for them for centuries.

  53. 53
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @magurakurin: It just shows which unions have Trumka’s ear. I had to tell a “brother” to back the hell off the railroad worker unions last year over this very topic.

    (Most of the oil train risk is bad carriages which are under-rated to the load and risk. The gov’t knows this but mandating immediate change would bring those trains and a serious chunk of our economy to a halt. The US car manufacturers went out of business some time ago, making rapid compliance really difficult. Of course, with a different congress maybe the gov’t could wave billions around to “make it so”, but we don’t have that.)

    AFL-CIO also came out pro-SOPA/PIPA until the rest of the AFL-CIO members found out about it and flooded the international with emails and calls.

    Trumka has been a decent president but he’s been too prone to allowing special interests within the labor movement dictate the AFL’s position without considering what interests all the stakeholders have, even solely within the unions.

  54. 54
    Jeffro says:

    @chopper: this, absolutely. Hard to believe an (air quote) “Libertarian” can’t run an organized campaign (i.e., get something accomplished)

  55. 55
    low-tech cyclist says:

    I’ll go ahead and predict that the bowhunting Minnesota dentist that killed the lion will poll high enough to make the first GOP debate.

    It’s funny because it’s almost true. If he was running, you know he’d be polling at at least 3%, because enough Republicans would think, “a guy who kills endangered species with bow and arrow? That’s my kind of guy!”

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @David Koch:

    unfortunately Baby Doc will run for president again in 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032, 2036

    Baby Doc…

    Love it!

  57. 57
    JosieJ says:

    @Mandalay: Which is probably the reason he got into the race in the first place: massive opportunity for grifting. Many other occupants of the clown car aren’t in it to win it, but to fill their pockets and score a nice media contract or think-tank sinecure. If Paul actually did think he had a shot, he’s more delusional than I thought.

  58. 58
    karen marie says:

    @askew: My assumption is they don’t want to damage her at this early date because they believe she is at least persuadable, and the prospect of a Republican administration is unacceptable.

  59. 59
    Paul in KY says:

    @Brachiator: Not happy with that traitor being paroled. I feel he should serve out till death.

    Anyway, parole seems to have been an option in his sentence, so I understand why he’s getting out. I hope we escort him to the nearest plane for deportation.

  60. 60
    Paul in KY says:

    @NotMax: You know he has already explored that option.

  61. 61
    Jewish Steel says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Haha! Good catch. Actually.

  62. 62
    Bokonon says:

    Shorter Rand Paul – “T’is only a flesh wound!”

    Rest of the world ‘ “Your bloody leg’s off!”

  63. 63
    The Pale Scot says:

    Jonathan Pollard is set to be release

    That is BS, Pollard gave Mossad the ID of intelligence assets in the USSR. Mossad gave that to the soviets in exchange for increased immigration of Jews to Isreal.

    Pollard is responsible for the deaths of those agents.

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