Rand Paul: Please enjoy my presidential campaign's "dumbass" livestream stunt

Best moment he’s had on the trail in months, no?

This comes from yesterday’s all-day livestream organized by the Paul campaign, a stunt designed to show … I’m not sure what. Transparency, I guess. If you’re considering voting for Paul, odds are it’s at least partly because he comes off as more authentic than most of the other professional politicians in the race. (That’s certainly true of Trump, say, if you’re considering voting for him.) The livestream was your chance to see him listening to Metallica, visiting the Field of Dreams in Iowa, and, er, telling anyone who’d listen how much he hates the idea of an all-day livestreaming event:

“Voters want transparency from their politicians, especially in an age where officials go through long lengths to hide information from citizens,” Harris continued. “Rand pushes the campaign to innovate and use technology to reach voters in a new way. This is simply the fulfillment of the type of campaign he wants to run.”

But Paul was telling a different story on the livestream. During a radio interview from the backseat of the car, Paul joked that he didn’t want to do this, but his campaign ignored him when he said no. At another point, he told a reporter, “I wish I knew why I was live streaming, I have been saying I don’t want to do this.”

What could be more authentic than admitting how much you hate your own campaign’s authenticity stunts? If I wasn’t running for president, he says winningly in the clip below in response to a question, do you really think I’d be doing a “dumbass” livestream?

Actually, I think it’s more the case that he wouldn’t be doing a dumbass stunt like this if Ted Cruz wasn’t running for president. Cruz and Trump have sucked away all of Paul’s anti-establishmentarian oxygen; lately he’s been reduced to performing gonzo stunts, like tossing the federal tax code into a woodchipper, simply to get voters to pay a little attention to him, a sad denouement for a guy who’s always seemed to me to actually enjoy substantive debate. The livestream stunt would have made more sense for one of Ron Paul’s campaigns, frankly, as Ron has the sort of fan base that really might want to watch his every move for hours on end. Ron’s the one with the cult of personality, not Rand, and Ron’s the one whose presidential runs better captured the sort of gonzo, no-filter, no-compromises authenticity that would lend itself to something like this. If Rand hadn’t seemingly alienated most of his dad’s fans with one too many deals with Mitch McConnell and one too many hawkish positions on foreign policy, this might have had some solid buzz. Instead it’s a campaign curio.

Exit question: Will he make it to the next debate on October 28th?

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