Rand Paul's role in the 2016 Republican primary is to peel off prospective young voters and disenfranchised liberals. So today's spate of stories about how Rand Paul is being left out in the cold by his billionaires, leaving him short on cash should be viewed for the cynical manipulations they are.
We begin with
In a presidential campaign defined by billionaire sugar daddy donors, Rand Paul has a problem: He doesn’t seem to have one.
While his rivals cultivate wealthy backers who will pump millions of dollars into their candidacies, Paul has struggled to find a similar lifeline. It’s led to considerable frustration in his campaign, which, amid rising concerns that it will not be able to compete financially, finds itself leaning heavily on the network of small donors who powered his father’s insurgent White House bids.
It hasn’t been for lack of trying. In recent months, Paul has sought to woo a string of powerful Republican megadonors — from Silicon Valley executives to a Kentucky coal mogul to the billionaire Koch brothers — who, it was believed, would be philosophically aligned with his free-market views. In each case, he met disappointment.
The author goes on to name Peter Thiel, Sean Parker and Larry Ellison as three billionaires Rand was counting on for financial help. Alas, Larry Ellison fell in love with Marco Rubio, Thiel is staying out of things for unknown reasons, and Parker is leaning toward Hillary Clinton.
I don't buy the schtick. Mainstream Republicans wouldn't let Rand Paul close to the nomination ever, because he doesn't support the war machine. Given that, they really just want to use him to peel off those younger voters and liberal libertarians. This is why they're tolerating his "the GOP sucks" nonsense and pretending it's perfectly all right for him to play Democrat running in the Republican primaries.
Moving on to CNN, whose headline is "Rand Paul: The GOP's Punching Bag." This story is also framed for its intended purpose -- to appeal to the less-mainstream types in the Republican party and independent category.
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Rand Paul has a "kick me" sign on his back -- and he put it there himself.
The Kentucky senator and Republican presidential candidate is thrilling his libertarian-leaning base with a campaign against the NSA and stinging criticism of his party's history of Middle East meddling. But the moves are enraging other Republicans eyeing the White House with his opponents zeroing in on Paul's comments this week that "ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party."
Are we feeling sorry for that poor sad-sack politician yet? Piling on that way, shame on them.
And of course, the Patriot Act reauthorization plays into things here too.
The Paul-hating could come to a head this weekend when the Senate convenes for a rare Sunday session in a last-ditch attempt to prevent key NSA surveillance tactics from lapsing at midnight -- something both President Barack Obama and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have sought to avoid.
Paul hasn't hesitated to deploy every procedural tool available to thwart Senate action, leaving him with no friends on the issue among GOP presidential contenders.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is emerging as Paul's top antagonist on the NSA and said such a strategy could result in "dangerous and severe consequences."
On Twitter, the governor slammed "misguided ideologues who have no real world experience in fighting terrorism."
This is what happens when you're a hardcore Republican and you pretend you're not. Yes, the libertarian piece is real, and it's possible to applaud Rand Paul's stance on that without actually supporting a guy who has no problem with big government sticking their probes in women's vaginas.
Finally, we come to Fox News, who actually cut Paul out of their poll graphic even though he ranked higher than the bottom five shown.
Rand Paul may not have a billionaire, but I doubt he really wants one. They'll come through right after he does. Produce those crossover votes, and Rand will get more billionaire bucks than he knows what to do with.