by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Scott Greer muses for the Daily Caller about the implications of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s decision to end his presidential campaign.
While the majority of reports were gleefully declaring Donald Trump the biggest loser in Iowa Monday night, Paul was a much better choice for that honor.
Ever since his father conceded defeat to Mitt Romney and the 2012 Republican nominee went on to lose the general election, it was thought Rand was poised to become a serious contender for the 2016 race. He was said to be the “electable” version of Ron Paul, a libertarian who was willing to “play the game” and do the necessary outreach to prove he wasn’t as kooky as his dad.
On top of his mainstream appeal, Rand would inherit the expansive infrastructure and energy which the elder Paul forged during his two presidential campaigns and could count on hundreds of dedicated volunteers to spread his message to the masses.
It’s worth remembering how Ron Paul was able to create a lasting grassroots movement with his 2008 campaign and which spawned several groups — such as Young Americans for Liberty and Campaign for Liberty — that were designed to promote the libertarian message. Several activists who got their start in politics campaigning for Paul were able to march through the institutions of the conservative movement and the Republican Party in order to gain prominent positions to help out Rand’s 2016 bid. …
… From 2013 onwards, Paul made many moves calculated to make him look more respectable in the eyes of the Republican old guard. To those who thought of him as an isolationist, the libertarian senator made it clear an attack on Israel would be an attack on America. He also sounded bellicose when it came to Russia’s moves in Ukraine (a stark contrast with his father on the subject) and firmly opposed the Iran nuclear deal.
However, the respectable Paul received far fewer votes in Iowa than the kooky Paul who wanted to end the fed and eliminate aid to Israel.