Monday, May 4, 2015

Rand Paul and the Rest of the Republican Also-Rans

He's the choice of the gra$$ roots:

"Rand Paul wins CPAC straw poll for president" Bloomberg News  March 01, 2015

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — For the third conservative year, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s presidential straw poll Saturday.

Paul won 25.7 percent of the 3,007 votes cast, down slightly from 2014, when the 2,459 attendees gave him 31 percent of the vote.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who placed fifth in 2014’s poll, floated to a strong second place — 21.4 percent — continuing a run of successes with conservative activists that started last month at the Iowa Freedom Summit.

The days of potential candidates barreling into CPAC with full campaigns, buying up blocks of tickets for straw-poll voters, are largely past.

Paul, Walker, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz all had street teams of various sizes; Paul was supported by Young Americans for Liberty, Carson by an unofficial draft presidential campaign. But Santorum, Walker, and Paul focused more on barnstorming events in the conference hotel than on making an obvious show of support on the convention floor.

“Rand believes in limited government,” said Charles Barr, a student at New Jersey’s Montclair State University, walking the convention clad in one of the Rand shirts provided by Young Americans for Liberty. “I knew I was voting for Rand when I came here; I actually picked Rand Paul for my second choice, too.”

He's not mine, first, second, or third. I've got one requirement for president: will he/she stand up to Israel? So far the answer has been no from past, current, and potential future candidates. The current crop has all been vetted by Israel, Democrat and Republican.


Gotta run, right?

"Paul launches GOP bid, aiming to expand reach; Expected to take message to young voters, minorities" by Jeremy W. Peters New York Times  April 08, 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Senator Rand Paul’s entry Tuesday into the race for the White House said as much about his own political aspirations as it did about a vexing truth for Republicans: Many of them believe their party is simply not big enough to elect a president in 2016.

Offering a conservative message threaded with a contrarian strain of libertarianism that he hopes will appeal to minority and younger voters, Paul is taking perhaps the most unconventional and untested route to assembling the broader coalition that many Republicans say they will need next year. 

Untested? His dad did it twice. Didn't work. 

Libertarianism has its good points; however, it also allows for continued corporate rape. 

Addressing an animated crowd of 1,500 people of all ages who stood shoulder to shoulder in a downtown hotel ballroom, Paul said his message “is for all Americans, whether you wear a suit, a uniform or overalls, whether you’re white or black, rich or poor.”

“It’s time for a new way,” he continued, “a way predicated on justice, opportunity and freedom. Those of us who have enjoyed the American dream must break down the wall that separates us from the other America.”

As the only GOP candidate who supports less-punitive drug laws, more probing oversight of the nation’s intelligence agencies, and a reduced military footprint abroad, Paul raises questions for a party whose nominating process increasingly demands that candidates align themselves with conservative dogma.

I'm for ending the double-cro$$ing

He drew one of his biggest rumbles from the crowd Tuesday when he vowed to dismantle the government’s domestic phone data-collection program, the issue that may separate him most from his rivals.

“As president,” he said, “on day one, I will immediately end this unconstitutional surveillance.”


Paul is joining what is expected to be a crowded Republican field, with several current and former governors, two other US senators, and some who have run for president before. But his campaign will test whether one of the most enduring conventions of Republican politics — the Reagan idea of conservatism as a three-legged stool comprising social issues, fiscal policy, and national security — still stands.

Paul will not be the only candidate whose message to voters assumes that Republicans cannot win the White House with a strategy that depends on attracting a larger percentage of a shrinking share of the electorate: white voters.

Republicans generally agree that their party needs to get bigger. But there are significant differences about how to grow. Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida aim to expand the party’s appeal by reconnecting with Hispanic voters.

Meanwhile, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is basing his campaign not on softening the party’s image so it can better resonate with minorities, but on winning over disaffected conservatives and evangelical Christians who have not voted.

Whoever the Republican nominee is “has to send a signal to people who have not voted for a Republican recently that we want them as part of the center-right coalition,” said Whit Ayres, a longtime Republican strategist who is expected to work for Rubio. “It’s a tone and an attitude of inclusion and acceptance.”

You going to let his father in the building this time?

If the party’s next nominee received the same portion of the white vote that Mitt Romney won in 2012 — 59 percent — he would need to win 30 percent of the nonwhite vote to be elected, Ayres writes in his new book, “2016 and Beyond.”

Romney received 17 percent of the nonwhite vote, and George W. Bush won 26 percent in 2004.

I'm getting kind of sick of a ma$$ media pushing diversity at every turn, then turning around and dividing us all up into race, gender, and sex groups. 

Both Paul’s words Tuesday and the scene that played out on stage before he spoke showed how he is working to get black voters to give him a closer look. He pledged to repeal “any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color,” and he invoked the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s description of “two Americas,” one rich with opportunity, the other marked by “daily ugliness.”

Did he really listen to him, though?

His cross-country campaign swing over the next week reflects Paul’s buffet-style approach. In New Hampshire on Wednesday, he will appear at the town hall in Milford, a setting intended to symbolize his belief in the importance of direct, local governance.

I'm tired of symbolism, illusion, imagery, and all the other deceitful delusions pushed by politicians and the propaganda pre$$. Sorry.


"Rand Paul’s tough task in N.H.: expanding on father’s appeal" by James Pindell Globe Staff  April 09, 2015

I'm not falling for that again, sorry.

MILFORD, N.H. — There were no “Revolution” T-shirts or homemade “End the Fed” signs that filled his father’s New Hampshire town halls four years ago.

Senator Rand Paul’s path to the Republican presidential nomination goes something like this: He rallies supporters of his father — former representative and libertarian Ron Paul — from his last two presidential campaigns, while appealing to new, younger, and more mainstream party voters on his own.

But on the ground, there are already signs this strategy may not work as planned.

In New Hampshire, some Ron Paul supporters don’t see Rand as politically pure. In Iowa, key Ron Paul staffers have signed up with other candidates like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. In South Carolina, Ron Paul’s 2012 state campaign chairman said he is likely to sign up for Rand — but with reservations.

Rand Paul has twin challenges in preserving his father’s network. First, as he woos more traditional Republican primary voters, he risks losing support from his father’s backers. Secondly, with nearly 20 Republican hopefuls looking at the presidential race, previous Ron Paul voters have more options to register their discontent with the GOP establishment.

On Tuesday, Rand Paul’s campaign announcement started his delicate dance of retaining his dad’s following while becoming more palatable to other Republicans. And New Hampshire might be the place where Paul’s gamble has more risk than reward.

“Is Rand Paul in my top four or five candidates? Sure,” said New Hampshire state Senator Ray White. “But just because I supported his father doesn’t mean I am supporting the son. There are lots of good candidates this time around.”

In the 2012 primary, Ron Paul finished second to Mitt Romney with 23 percent of the vote. 

Should have finished first, but.... strung us all along just a bit further. I'm not saying who sits in the office is unimportant; I'm just saying I given up hope for change after these last six+ years.

Recent polling in the Granite State puts Rand Paul in third place, barely reaching double digits and trailing Jeb Bush and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconson. With that math, Paul could erase his base by turning off his father’s troops.

Paul strategists and supporters acknowledge the risk of losing his father’s coalition, but they argue it’s worth it.

According to interviews with supporters and staff, the campaign expects 30 percent of Ron Paul supporters might be upset with Rand Paul’s shift from his father’s positions. But they also estimate they can make up ground by extending his appeal to other parts of the GOP electorate. What’s more, they believe that while that third of Ron Paul’s base voters are upset now, they will eventually support the younger Paul in the primary.

“Yes, the events and the environment is different from his father,” said state Senator Andy Sanborn, who co-chaired Ron Paul’s state campaign in 2012 and is expected to have a similar role for Rand Paul this year. “Ron was preaching to disciples. Rand is speaking to inquisitive skeptics of all kinds. But this is the only way we can grow.”

Nowhere is Rand Paul’s challenge more apparent than his foreign policy. Paul has struck a more hawkish view on foreign policy compared to his father, putting him more in line with other Republicans.

They should be called Republikuds.

Four years ago, Ron Paul, a Texan, told an Iowa voter that Iran does not “threaten our national security.” His son told voters in New Hampshire Wednesday that Iran is “increasingly becoming a threat” and US military should be built up — as he vowed to “end the threat of radical Islam.”

He's drunk the CIA-Duh Kool-Aid and that is not where we need to be going.

But Rand Paul has also presented himself as more of a team player than his father by eventually endorsing Mitt Romney for president in 2012 and Scott Brown in his New Hampshire Senate race last fall — despite objections from many in his father’s base.

“For many liberty-minded New Hampshire Republicans the moment that Paul sold them out is when he endorsed Scott Brown,” said Jeff Chidester, a conservative talk radio host from Dover. “There is a lot of questions about how much he is willing to go to the center for his own ambition.”

This sentiment is echoed by former Republican New Hampshire representative George Lambert, a leading libertarian activist who backed Ron Paul in 2012.

“My daughter held signs in mid-winter 2008 to be sure our values were heard in the debate,” Lambert said. “With Ron those would be guaranteed topics in the debate; Rand brings no such guarantee.”

Beyond New Hampshire, three members of Iowa’s grass-roots liberty movement — typically Ron Paul supporters — are backing Cruz, the Texas senator.

Nope. Gun rights can't save that religious nutty here.

Ron Paul’s 2012 South Carolina chairman, Dr. Michael Vasovski, said he doesn’t like Rand Paul’s more hawkish viewpoint on foreign policy. He’s especially concerned since Rand signed on to a letter with 46 other Republican senators telling Iranian leaders that any nuclear agreement reached without the approval of Congress could be revoked by the next president.

“I was very disappointed in Rand. It think it was wrong,” said Vasovski. “I think what they are doing now is wrong. It is a good deal, not a bad one, if it can keep us out of another war.”

Except Americans are pretty much pro-war, right?

New Hampshire state Representative J.R. Hoell, a Republican, said Rand Paul does have a lot of advantages from the groundwork laid down by his father, but there is still work to do.

“It would be foolish to underestimate the amount of carryover from father to son, given the network that was created,” Hoell said. “But Rand cannot assume these people are automatically behind him either.”


He did impress someone:

"Rand Paul’s impressive Granite State start" by Scot Lehigh Globe Columnist  April 10, 2015

SAY THIS for Rand Paul, the Tea Party Republican who declared for president this week: The brand of libertarian politics he’s pitching is not the eccentric-uncle-in-the-attic variety offered up by his father, Ron. That makes him someone to watch in New Hampshire. After all, Ron Paul finished second there in 2012, quirks and all.

Son Rand looks well positioned to build on his father’s base. Certainly the crowd at his Milford announcement on Wednesday was an eclectic one. Yes, there were some pronounced characters in attendance. And some cranks. But the Kentucky senator also attracted an interesting cross section of Republicans and independents, of software engineers, consultants, homemakers, and veterans.

As a philosophy for coherent national governance, pure libertarianism has crippling real-world shortcomings. Yet in some areas, it has had a salutary effect on American thinking. For example, the notion, a la John Stuart Mill, that self-directed conduct shouldn’t be penalized helps inform the pro-legalization arguments on marijuana, as well the view that possession of more serious drugs shouldn’t carry prison time unless others crimes are involved. On the grass-roots level, at least, libertarianism’s live-and-let-live outlook has helped foster acceptance of gay marriage.

The philosophical difficulty comes at the point where a singular focus on individual liberty collides with the need for government action to accomplish an important societal good. Think, for example, of laws and regulations to prevent pollution or promote food safety.

Already thought about it.

Ron Paul always seemed ready — indeed, even eager — to chase the rabbit of libertarian purity deep into the warren of hare-brained conclusions; remember his contention that air-traffic control services could be privatized? 

Is that really a bad idea?

Rand Paul, however, is taking pains to avoid the collisions with common sense that occur when libertarianism is pursued to its logical ends. Domestically, his presidential pitch has the potential to play well in a state with a strong leave-me-alone streak: big tax cuts, via a flat tax, and reduced federal spending; an end to NSA’s mass collection of phone records; a rejection of the Common Core; a balanced-budget amendment; term limits for Congress; “economic freedom zones” with a flat 5 percent rate for individual and corporate tax rates for economically depressed areas; and very favorable tax treatment to induce firms to bring home profits held off-shore and invest them in growth-creating activities here in the United States.

Nor does his message fit neatly within the usual partisan narrative.

He blasted not just the Obama administration but the previous Republican team as well for increasing the national debt. Similarly, in rejecting the Common Core educational standards, he had sharp words not only for Democrats but also for those in the GOP who have pushed for a larger federal role in education. Meanwhile, this statement — “Let’s quit building bridges over there and build bridges over here” — is the kind of thing one might have heard from Howard Dean a few years back.

During this campaign, Paul will surely be confronted with controversial past stands and comments. Indeed, that’s already happening in foreign affairs, where he is under attack by a super PAC for his comparatively less hawkish stance on Iran. On the international front, Paul strived to present himself not as a neo-isolationist, but rather as a dedicated defender of American interests who simply doesn’t believe in nation building.

He also offered some refreshing candor: Given the libertarian leanings of New Hampshire Republicans, he said, “I do think we do need to win New Hampshire.”

Watching his skillful performance on Wednesday, I wouldn’t rule that out.


What does he think on the issue of the day?

"The emerging presidential field has been tested by the startling wave of rage that swept the streets of Baltimore. With smoke still rising from the city’s burnt buildings, many struggle to calibrate their political response. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who pushed for sentencing changes in Congress, blamed the unrest on a ‘‘breakdown of the family structure’’ while joking that he was glad a train he was traveling on through downtown Baltimore ‘‘didn’t stop.’’

(Blog editor shakes head; that's the end of his candidacy)

Also see:

Ben Carson launches 2016 exploratory committee

Carson launches outsider bid for Republican presidential nomination

He's a black guy who, if drafted, would be a real Trump card. Kind of reminds me of ’88.

Decided to listen to the radio show today; that's why I came back.


"GOP field grows as Fiorina, Carson launch presidential bids" by Steve Peoples Associated Press  May 05, 2015

WASHINGTON — Former technology executive Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson jumped into the race for the Republican presidential nomination Monday, both longshots who nevertheless have the potential to attract a more diverse group of supporters to the party.

Fiorina is likely to be the only prominent woman to seek the GOP nomination, with Carson the only likely African-American. They are both also political outsiders in a field expected to be dominated by governors, former governors, and senators.

The two are not considered political allies and the timing of their announcements, planned weeks ago, was coincidental.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is expected to announce his entry into the Republican race Tuesday in his native Hope, Ark. It will be his second presidential effort.

Please, not Buckahee again.

SeeIn Ark., a complex divide on religious freedom, gay rights

Fox is already calling it for him. 

Fiorina, 60, chose a nationally broadcast morning network show to announce her candidacy, and she also posted a video.

The former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co., appearing on ABC’s ‘‘Good Morning America,’’ said she understands ‘‘executive decision-making.’’ 

She drove HP into the ground, but....

She also criticized Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for her party’s nomination, for a lack of transparency, including the use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state and foreign donations to her family’s charitable foundation.

‘‘I have a lot of admiration for Hillary Clinton, but she clearly is not trustworthy,’’ Fiorina said.

We know that. 

Related: Clinton Caravan to 2016 Democratic Nomination 

And I never even mentioned the gun-running and drug shipments into mean airbase as part of the Iran-Contra operation in my criticism. That's why we have had Bush I-Clinton I-Bush II-OBush, and soon to be either Clinton II or Bush III, 'eh? Ugh!

Carson, 63, got ahead of himself on Sunday, confirming his plans to run in an interview on an Ohio television station. He declared his candidacy in his hometown of Detroit on Monday, telling supporters the nation is ‘‘a place of dreams’’ where people can thrive when freed from an overbearing government. ‘‘It’s time for people to rise up and take the government back,’’ he said. ‘‘The political class won’t like me saying things like that. The political class comes from both parties.’’

He's right about the political class. I do0n't know what the rest of that means.

Both candidates begin the race as underdogs in a campaign expected to feature several seasoned politicians, among them former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

So those are the top four candidates after having been vetted by Adelson and Israel?

Yet while these candidates have claimed much of the early attention and favor from donors, the GOP race is a wide-open contest that could ultimately feature up to a dozen notable candidates.

The field is already more diverse than it was four years ago. Still, Republicans have acknowledged a pressing need to broaden the party’s appeal beyond its traditional base of older, white men.

I hate myself.


Raised in Detroit by a single mother, Carson has established a strong base of vocal support among Tea Party-backers, yet he has stumbled at times in the glare of national politics.


He has suggested the Affordable Care Act is the worst thing since slavery, compared present-day America to Nazi Germany, and called problems at the nation’s Veterans Affairs hospitals ‘‘a gift from God’’ because they revealed holes in the country’s effort to care for former members of the military.

At least he wasn't protesting funerals with signs that say God hates f**s; the Nazi comparison right in some ways, way, way wrong in others; and maybe he needs to see a doctor regarding the health slavery. That is in no way an endorsement of the awful corporate health care of Obummer. I wanted a "Sicko"-type plan. Pick one. Didn't get it.

Carson attributes his opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion rights to his interpretation of Judeo-Christian scriptures. ‘‘One can choose God’s word or the gay marriage agenda,’’ he wrote in 2014.

Okay. Enough with the Christian nutties pushing the social distractions. We got way bigger problems right now.

Fiorina has a resume more likely to draw support among the Republican establishment. The former business executive became a prominent figure in Republican politics in 2010, when she ran for Senate in California and lost to incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer by 10 points. 

Yes, I remember. I pimped for all the female Repug candidates that year, even the Rove-hated O'Donnell. I'll explain why momentarily. 

Fiorina supports equal rights under the law for gay couples. At HP, committed gay couples received the same benefits as traditionally married men and women.

The big issue of the campaign (I thought it was going to be wealth inequality).

"As we see the blacks pitted against the whites, gays against straights, men against women, and so forth, it is important to remember that these social schisms are engineered by the government in a divide-and-conquer strategy to keep us fighting with each other so that we cannot united against the real cause of our suffering, which is Wall Street and Washington DC. It is worthwhile studying the history of COINTELPRO, the one moment in US history when these dirty tricks were exposed to public scrutiny. -- 

I agree with that. That is exactly what we are seeing right now, all across the board. 


Nothing about the wars or anything, huh?

I'm a registered independent so I will likely grab a Republican ballot again and vote Fiorina. That's not an endorsement in any way, shape, or form (although she did look good in the Globe photo); it's simply monkey-wrenching the $y$tem on that side. 

For those saying I'm not taking the vote seriously, two things: There are no serious candidates, and every time I shove that ballot into the optical scanner I'm thinking rigged election. Results have often confirmed it to a certain degree (I will always remember the college professor stunned that Romney beat O'Brien. In Massachusetts. That was about the time Diebold machines started taking over AmeriKan elections).

UPDATE: Ohio Governor John Kasich’s positive politics, even with Hillary Clinton