Winnowing the Field

Same topic, different views

By Tim Baldwin and Joe Carbonari

By Tim Baldwin

Rand Paul’s presidential campaign demonstrates the difficulty of staying mainstream while pushing for non-mainstream Republican ideas, like criminal justice reform, non-interventionism foreign policy, and anti-War-on-Drugs policy. In August, Paul painted himself as a loyal Republican when he attacked Trump for not committing to support the eventual Republican nominee, regardless of who it was. Yet, Paul has consistently attacked mainstream Republican thought. This approach may cost Paul the nomination.

More than his dad, Rand has a keener sense of how to express libertarian ideas while appealing to a broader, mainstream audience. In this way, Rand attracts mainstream Republicans. Ironically, this is what libertarians dislike about Rand: they do not see him as genuine but as opportunistic. But in a primary election, the votes Rand gains by more mainstream voters may not be a net gain because those voters would more likely vote for a more mainstream Republican anyway. At the same time, Rand may lose libertarian votes for his not being a true libertarian.

Ron did a great job at motivating voters and procuring donors. Ron won many straw polls – hands down. When votes came in during the primary election, Ron trailed Mitt Romney in many states by only a few points. Comparing this to Rand’s campaign, in a flooded Republican primary, this does not bode well for Rand.

As the primary continues, let’s see if Rand adopts more of Ron’s hard-hitting libertarian ideals and voters. He’s got to do something.

By Joe Carbonari

Rand Paul won the recent Mackinac Island straw poll. Donald Trump was last. I consider this encouraging.

Rand Paul deserves consideration. Donald demands it. He shouldn’t. As a serious presidential candidate, he is an embarrassment. He is lacking in experience and temperament. His confidants and advisors are unknown or nonexistent. If somehow elected, “Risky Business” might well be his security code name. He is dangerous entertainment.

Rand Paul has intellectual substance, political experience, and can be refreshingly direct. I like his decency and his libertarian bent. We all value personal freedom. He is cautious when it comes to the projection and use of military options. That is good, but can be misunderstood. Appearing weak invites others to test and to prod. This would be destabilizing in an already volatile world. He also seems to be a risky bet. No thanks.

Carly Fiorina did well in the second debate, and she is being increasingly well received. She is obviously bright and quick … if a bit sharp of tongue. That has its appeal, but also suggests that she may not play well with others. Going it alone in world affairs is not a good approach, especially when the action is in other peoples’ neighborhoods. How good a coalition builder is she? How well does she read people? When she leads will others follow? I have serious doubts.

Kasich and Rubio look to have the political and personal skills required. Let’s watch them.

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