Rand Paul on Ted Cruz: We need a conservative nominee with “winnability”

posted at 2:41 pm on March 24, 2015 by Allahpundit

I did … not think we’d be seeing Rand, of all people, making electability arguments at the expense of other candidates, but if there’s any guy in the field whom Democrats would demagogue more gleefully than they would him, I suppose it’s Cruz.

The money line here comes when he talks about “not just throwing out red meat, but throwing out something intellectually enticing to people who haven’t been listening to our message before.” That’ll be his core attack on Cruz throughout the primaries, partly of necessity since there’s not much that divides them on policy (by Paul’s own admission). If you want a guy who’ll preach to the choir and only to the choir, vote Cruz; if you want a guy who’ll preach to a skeptical audience at Howard University about the virtues of liberty, vote Rand. That’s been Paul’s message for two years now — that he can make the party bigger like no one else because he’s willing and able to advance a right-wing agenda which, on certain matters like medical marijuana, overlaps with traditionally “moderate” or even liberal positions. Cruz’s reply to that will be his favored line about painting in “bold colors, not pale pastels,” which holds that a traditional conservative agenda, championed in hopeful, unapologetic terms by a master rhetorician, will sway moderates today just as it did when Reagan took that approach 35 years ago. Compare those two messages, “big libertarian-ish tent” versus “return to Reagan,” and you see why Cruz’s candidacy is such a thorn in Rand’s side. If Paul’s big argument against Cruz for right-wing votes is that he’s relatively more electable, what happens to that argument once Bush and Walker and Rubio start going to work on Rand for his own perceived unelectability? If you’re a Reagan conservative and you become convinced that you’ve got a 15 percent chance of beating Hillary with Paul versus a 10 percent chance with Cruz, you might as well roll the dice on Cruz, right? Especially if you’re a hawk who’s more comfortable with his approach to foreign policy.

Paul’s counter to all of the above is that he’s not unelectable and that the polls bear it out. Is that true? Sort of yes, sort of no. It’s true that he’s occasionally polled better head-to-head against Hillary than the competition, most recently in CNN’s latest survey. What he’s not telling you is that, even in that poll, he trailed her by double digits. And if you average the results of the last five or so national polls showing head-to-head matchups with Clinton, you’ll find that Paul’s actually slightly behind Rubio and Walker and only very slightly ahead of Jeb Bush. The good news for Rand fans, in other words, is that he’s no worse at this point than the other top contenders, not that he’s much better. Also, if you dig into the crosstabs, you’ll find that his numbers among black voters and young adults — two core Democratic constituencies that he’s been targeting to demonstrate his electability — really are no warmer to him than they are to the rest of the field. In this Marist poll taken a few weeks ago, for instance, both Walker and Bush do better than Paul versus Hillary in both demographics. McClatchy found Paul holding Hillary to an 11-point advantage among the 18-29 group … but Chris Christie held her to a six-point lead. Paul wasn’t much better against Clinton than Christie or Bush among young adults in PPP’s poll either — and among black voters he was absolutely swamped at 88/1. So far, the only poll I’ve seen showing Paul with obvious strength among young voters vis-a-vis the rest of the GOP is this one from Fox News, which was taken two months ago and didn’t include Walker, Rubio, or Cruz. If you’re a Rand fan, you can shrug all of that off on grounds that it’s early and he hasn’t introduced himself to most black voters and young voters, which is true — but the competition’s oppo researchers haven’t gone to work on him yet either.

Electability arguments are fine but ultimately the “Cruz or Paul?” question will be settled by how you react to their very different personal styles and how much you trust Rand as commander-in-chief. If you’re a righty who wants to try something different this time and/or you find that Cruz’s public persona gets under your skin, you’ve got Rand. If you find Cruz’s oratory inspiring and fear that Rand’ll be unpredictable (a.k.a. too libertarian) in office, you’ve got Cruz.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

While I am okay on weed legalization, I can’t get behind the quasi-anarchist Libertarians. What they fundamentally don’t understand is when you have no law or enforcement, you create a power vacuum and somebody is going to fill it. And it is probably going to be tribal and worse.

melle1228 on March 25, 2015 at 2:58 PM

Actually, we do understand that. That is why we favor devoting the entire resources of the government towards preventing crimes that actually have a victim.

TBSchemer on March 25, 2015 at 4:38 PM

Usually, it starts with minor drug charges. Our incarceration system takes teenagers committing youthful indiscretions and turns them into murderers.
TBSchemer on March 25, 2015 at 4:33 PM

I think you are talking to the wrong person and I find your anecdotes silly. I deal with youth every day, and being charged with a pot offense is going to still happen even if it is legalized, because there is no state that is legalizing it for anyone under the age of 18. So then what, just ignore it and it will go away. You and your Libertarian brothers are simplistic. You may be sincere in your simplistic beliefs, but you are still simplistic.

And only a disingenuous person with no experience in working with juveniles and trying to make a political point would seriously argue that teenagers being arrested for pot are turned into murderers. You probably argue that pot is not a gateway drug, but being arrested for it is a gateway to being a lifelong criminal or murderer. Absurd.

The argument that pot arrest is a tragedy is specious and absurd.

Neitherleftorright on March 25, 2015 at 5:06 PM

Neitherleftorright on March 25, 2015 at 5:06 PM

I grew up in Los Angeles, where gang violence has dominated the homicide rates for decades. My brother joined a gang, and once he grew up and no longer wanted to be a part it, had to enlist in the military to get out. Gangs form to create organized protection for members who are engaged in illegal activity (such as the drug trade). The more people who are interested in illegal activities, the more people are willing to join gangs. As this entire country learned during the era of alcohol prohibition, and should have learned again during the drug war, illegalizing recreational drugs does not stop substance abuse- it merely drives up the prices of those substances and encourages more people to join gangs and skirt the law to feed their habits or line their pockets.

Incarceration (especially at the felony level) worsens this process by raising the stakes on the drug game, hardening the criminals who are trapped inside, and leaving them no way to remake their lives after they serve their time, because they are eternally branded as criminals. When the stakes are this high, people are willing to kill to avoid getting caught.

Maybe you work with a lot of youths who have been caught for drug offenses and haven’t gone violent, but how many murderers have you asked about why they pulled the trigger? Often, the targets of gang violence are people who might have ratted out drug activities to the police.

If you like ruining kids’ lives by throwing them in jail for a significant portion of their lives, and giving them a reason to kill to avoid it, then yeah go ahead and keep favoring drug prohibition. But if you want to actually help these kids, then lower the stakes, get the police out of it, and work on educating rather than punishing them.

TBSchemer on March 25, 2015 at 6:30 PM

Your very literal tlaloc…you must be a blast at parties. F – – – – – !!!

elvis lives on March 24, 2015 at 10:24 PM

So that was supposed to be a symbolic grade?

Are you sure you aren’t just confused again?

Tlaloc on March 25, 2015 at 9:11 PM

So you should be excited for Cruz to run then, given that this means that Warren would be a shoe-in for you.

Star Bird on March 24, 2015 at 10:38 PM

A) Warren won’t be the dem candidate

B) I’d rather the GOP stop going full-ret*rd.

Tlaloc on March 25, 2015 at 9:14 PM

Across all the states, conservative turnout to vote for Cruz will be much higher because we will be motivated. Romney lost states because he backed down from fighting against liberalism, and disaffected conservative voters, causing millions to stay home.

dominigan on March 25, 2015 at 10:15 AM

\

That never actually happened. Conservative turn out was not down in 2012. You’re going of those idiotic posts in the righty media that said romney got fewer votes than mccain, except he didn’t. The people writing that were just too dumb to know the vote tally on election night is not the final tally because of absentee voters.

Tlaloc on March 25, 2015 at 9:16 PM

I have to agree with Tlaloc here. The idea that conservative turnout was down in 2012 is ridiculous. Everybody in a battleground state who couldn’t stomach another Obama term turned out for Romney in 2012 (including me…ugh). Turnout among Republicans (and especially conservatives) was through the roof in every state where it mattered.
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324352004578133120431803606

If you’re banking on the idea that a “true conservative” will bring up turnout among your ideological twins enough to beat the Democrats, you’re going to be sorely disappointed when you find out how few of you there really are. And those numbers are only dropping over time as younger people become less religious and more tolerant of alternative ways of life.

If you want to win in 2016 and beyond, you need to face the fact that you must form a coalition with other ideologies and focus on the issues that you have in common. If you want smaller government, then libertarians are your perfect match. But to make that work, you can’t go around talking about how you want to ban abortions, gays, and Mexicans.

TBSchemer on March 25, 2015 at 10:28 PM

But to make that work, you can’t go around talking about how you want to ban abortions, gays, and Mexicans.

TBSchemer on March 25, 2015 at 10:28 PM

NO DEAL! That’s the trifecta of the three worst things EVER! /every so-con communitarian infesting this site

(not kidding)

Daikokuco on March 25, 2015 at 10:32 PM

A) Warren won’t be the dem candidate

B) I’d rather the GOP stop going full-ret*rd.

Tlaloc on March 25, 2015 at 9:14 PM

A) But she will.

B) That’s the exclusive domain of the left.

Star Bird on March 26, 2015 at 9:35 AM

So that was supposed to be a symbolic grade?

Are you sure you aren’t just confused again?

Tlaloc on March 25, 2015 at 9:11 PM

G-

Star Bird on March 26, 2015 at 9:35 AM

But to make that work, you can’t go around talking about how you want to ban abortions, gays, and Mexicans.
TBSchemer on March 25, 2015 at 10:28 PM

Clearly you aren’t a conservative. I am guessing you consider yourself a Libertarian, perhaps even a rather strict Libertarian. Conservatives are not Libertarians, nor do we want to be. If we did we would join the Libertarian party. It seems Libertarians mean to hijack the Conservative movement of the Republican party.

If Libertarianism is so good, why do you not stick with the Libertarian party and/or join the Democrats as more of what you espouse aligns with their beliefs than it does with conservative beliefs?

There are elements of Libertarian thought that are good. Less laws, less government. But it is absurd to think we can just let everyone do as they please and have a hands off government that has no social boundaries. Laissez-faire economic laws, absolutely, but allowing people to do as they please, that is anarchy and we are already approaching that, which then leads to totalitarian methods to stop it.

The big mistake that liberals and libertarians make is, believing that others will think and act just like they do. Doesn’t happen, never will.

Neitherleftorright on March 26, 2015 at 12:05 PM

Neitherleftorright on March 26, 2015 at 12:05 PM

Why are you trying to drive libertarians away? You can’t win without us. Social conservatives are a dying breed, and libertarianism is ascendent.

Do you want smaller government? Or do you want the the government to expand unchecked because you were too hateful of non-religious folks to work with them on a common goal?

TBSchemer on March 26, 2015 at 5:48 PM

Do you want smaller government? Or do you want the the government to expand unchecked because you were too hateful of non-religious folks to work with them on a common goal?
TBSchemer on March 26, 2015 at 5:48 PM

Even your wording of this question puts you in the liberal camp. Stop with the masquerade. Just like a liberal when someone disagrees with your position, they must be a hater.

Are you espousing the same foolishness that that john galt character did, that the ends justifies the means so long as the “right” get power? If so, count me out.

Neitherleftorright on March 26, 2015 at 6:31 PM

Neitherleftorright on March 26, 2015 at 6:31 PM

My goal is to shrink government in both size and scope so that we can all have more liberty. If you think that makes me a liberal, well, your diction is about a century out of date.

I’m not saying the ends justify the means. I’m saying don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. With Rand Paul, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a majority of voters, and even the media, back on your side, learning and teaching the merits of small government. This would be a generational shift, using the 21st century to reverse the socialism that took hold throughout the 20th. We can undo the legacies of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, and overturn Wickard v. Filburn.

So what’s more important to you: Turning back the slow, ceaseless march towards totalitarianism? Or making sure everyone know how much you want to stop abortions, gay marriages, and illegal immigrants, as 51% of the country calls you racist, homophobic, and sexist, and then votes against you?

TBSchemer on March 26, 2015 at 7:25 PM

Will your feeble protest matter when we end up with Democrat after Democrat in the Oval Office, giving us abortions, gay marriages, open borders, AND a totalitarian welfare state?

TBSchemer on March 26, 2015 at 8:22 PM

It’s simple: Explain to me how it “picks your pocket or breaks your leg.”

Can’t do that? Well then your strongest argument for having a law against it just vanished like morning mist. And that applies equally to laws against murder and theft as it does to who can and who cannot contract among themselves, who can come here and how, and whether or not they can stay, or whatever.

Border security? Yeah, I can make a good “pick your pocket/break your leg” argument for why the border should be secure. Those millions of people? If they had come here legally I’d have no problem with them. The point of border security and immigration law isn’t to keep out brown people or whatever the latest leftist shibboleth is, it’s to sift out the predators from the people who want to build something. I don’t have a problem with Rubio’s dad working at the back of the ballroom in hopes that one day his son will be working at the front of it. If Rubio’s dad had come here and joined MS-13 in hopes that one day his son would be high in the gang’s leadership, I would have a problem with that.

I can’t make a “pick your pocket/break your leg” argument against civil unions between whoever wants them. But then again, I can’t make a “pick your pocket/break your leg” argument saying why there should be “marriage” laws as distinct from “civil union” type contracts either. So far as I can tell, the difference between them is who is having sex with whom, and who believes what God has what to say about the relationship. Well none of that is the government’s business and they can butt out.

Abortion? I guess you’d call me a libertarian rather than a “conservative,” but personally I consider myself to be both at once. I don’t consider them to be mutually exclusive positions. I’m strongly pro-life, but not because of any religious convictions. I’m pro-life for the same reason responsible hunters don’t shoot at things they can’t see. It’s beyond argument that an abortion kills something. It is likewise beyond argument that the something being killed is unquestionably alive, unquestionably posessed of human DNA, and unquestionably distinct from both its parents. So by all the criteria that can be scientifically tested and confirmed, it’s a human. Okay, well the law is full of circumstances that a human’s right to life can be denied or waived, but they all have particular criteria they have to meet. Right now, there is no legal standard that makes the perfectly legal deliberate abortion of a baby distinct from the unquestionably illegal mother deliberately caving in the back of her teenager’s head, other than basically “that one’s not a real person because I said so.” Well, “because I said so” won’t do.

I’m okay with abortion being legal under particular circumstances, the obvious ones being rape/incest/danger to the mother that practically everyone agrees on. But beyond that, there has to be a legal criterion by which that unborn child is not a human with the right to life, but past a certain point it is a human with a right to life. That needs to be standardized across the board, and apply equally to abortion, to assault that results in miscarriage, to.. whatever. So far as I know, right now there is no legal standard a fetus has to meet in order to be considered as having a right to live that a full grown adult would be able to consistently meet either.

Viability without external life support? If you apply that standard consistently across the board, that puts everyone in every hospital ICU in the country in rather a bind, no? But there has to be a standard, and it has to apply equally to everything under US law that is alive, has human DNA and is distinct from its parents, otherwise the rule of law is still being roundfiled.

And that last part is the part that I consider flatly unacceptable. That’s “the hill I’m willing to die on” so to speak. If the rule of law is being roundfiled, whether you like the result or not doesn’t change the fact that it’s still despotism.

GrumpyOldFart on March 27, 2015 at 10:21 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4