Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rand's Shake-up

Rand Paul's big campaign shake-up is odd on many levels.

First, given that the logical implications of Rand Paul's strict libertarianism were causing an uproar as they were tested against reality, why bring in someone from Daddy Paul's presidential campaign? Rand Paul went to such pains during the primary to distance himself from his father's more, uh, colorful positions -- only now to bring in someone from that same failed campaign. This is more than just ambivalence; there are some father-son issues at play here.

Second, the manner of the shake-up was peculiar. Now that Rand Paul is the GOP nominee, the pressure to have a political operative with a fancy pedigree -- as opposed to an unknown blogger from Kentucky, Dave Adams -- proved too much. Dave Adams was going to be replaced even before the Rachel Maddow disaster. That was inevitable. So Rand Paul gives Adams a promotion; now he's "chairman." On the one hand, it was nice to shove Adams up rather than out. On the other hand, how does hiring someone from a failed third-party campaign communicate gravitas?

And he does this all very publicly by sending out a press release to let all the media elites know of the change. The inference was that all those gun shot wounds to his feet were caused by poor Dave Adams. Someone had to pay for all that embarrassment.

The reality, however, is that Rand Paul's gaffes stem from his greenness as a candidate and his political tone-deafness as to how his libertarianism sounds in the real world to those who don't care about political philosophy and are just trying to get by. That's not something that any campaign manager can fix; only the candidate can fix that by flipping on the issues. And Rand Paul has shown a real aptitude at that.

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