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Rand Paul Loses Support Over 'Mainstream' Positions -- And By That, We Mean Slightly Less Extreme

As Rand enters the mainstream, his supporters exit stage right.
Rand Paul Loses Support Over 'Mainstream' Positions -- And By That, We Mean Slightly Less Extreme
Image from: Gage Skidmore

Yeah, I don't really see this change working for Rand Paul, former Prince of Liberty. What his supporters liked about him was his absolutism, the white-hot ideological purity that lifted him above the grubby politicians! Because now he's entering the ranks of the GOP's "mainstream" extremist wing (if that even makes sense) and he's lost what made him stand out: That sheer, wack-a-doodle joy of saying whatever popped into his head. Oh well, maybe he can hold onto the white nationalist vote:

As he pulls together his expected presidential campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sen. Rand Paul is confronted by defections from an unexpected quarter: the die-hard idealists whose energy powered his father’s campaigns.

That network of committed supporters was expected to convey to Paul, the natural successor to Ron Paul’s libertarian movement, providing him with a plug-and-play ground organization in the make-or-break early voting states. But instead of embracing the Kentucky senator, many of those grass-roots activists are turning their backs on him, disillusioned by the younger Paul’s concessions to mainstream politics.

One of the most prominent defectors is Drew Ivers, chairman of Ron Paul’s 2012 Iowa campaign, who says he will not endorse Rand Paul for president. On Tuesday, three members of Iowa’s Ron Paul-aligned Liberty movement — state Sen. Jason Shultz and former Iowa Republican Party central committee members Chad Steenhoek and Joel Kurtinitis — announced the same, adding that they will support Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Ivers said he does not plan to endorse any candidate.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, center, accompanied by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, right, express their frustration after the Senate passed a bill to fund the government, but stripped it of the defund 'Obamacare' language as crafted by House Republicans, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate are at an impasse as Congress continues to struggle over how to prevent a possible shutdown of the federal government when it runs out of money in three days. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)


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“Sen. Rand Paul continues to have tremendous support from the vast majority of the liberty movement,” said Sergio Gor, communications director for the Paul campaign.

Shultz had endorsed Ron Paul in 2012 and Kurtinitis served as his Iowa regional director. Steenhoek worked for Newt Gingrich’s Iowa campaign but was sympathetic to Ron Paul, who endorsed Steenhoek’s subsequent bid to serve on the state central committee.

Ivers, who had dinner with Rand Paul in August, said the Kentucky senator has abandoned many of the stances that made Ivers loyal to his father.

“He’s moderating on most of them, not taking a real clear stance on a number of them,” said Ivers. “The strategy of sending a blended message is one that has risk.”

That was never an issue for Ron Paul, whose uncompromising ways and willingness to operate on the margins relegated him to the sidelines of national politics. Even at the height of his national influence and popularity in 2012, the Texas congressman proved unable to win the popular vote in a single state and never seriously contended for the GOP nomination in several tries.

Rand Paul, by contrast, won statewide office in his first try and has established himself as a viable presidential candidate with a talent for taking the movement’s liberty message to a broader audience.

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