Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rand Paul's Endorsement of Romney was a Tactical Error

Many contend that Rand Paul's Endorsement of Romney was bad because it went against the principles of liberty. Given Romney's record and platform, this seems true.

But Jack Hunter and others say that although the endorsement may have violated Rand's principles, it was a practical decision that will help Rand Paul in 2016. This is far from being the case. Rand Paul will not have a chance in 2016 as long as the media remains populated by its current cast of characters.

Rush Limbaugh is a de-facto hired gun of the Republican establishment. He attempts to appear like a grassroots conservative, but when it comes to endorsing candidates, he often chooses liberal Republicans over constitutionalists. Limbaugh endorsed Bob Dole over Pat Buchanan in 1996. He favored the neo-con husks over Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012. He used the carbon tax-supporting pseudo conservative Sarah Palin as a proxy to drum up support of the more obviously liberal John McCain. Even Christine O'Donnell, a so-called conservative favorite of Limbaugh, endorsed Romney in December of 2011 before any primaries took place. Although Limbaugh endorsed O'Donnell, he totally ignored constitutionalists Debra Medina, Peg Luksik, Sam Rohrer, and many others who ran against liberal Republicans in the primaries of 2010. And of course, Limbaugh admitted to carrying water for George W. Bush, who many consider a to be liberal.

Limbaugh stated this when the TSA assaulted Rand Paul:
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has been detained by the TSA at the Nashville airport. He set off the alarms and refused a pat-down, so they detained him. He sent his dad a note about it and it’s become a big story out there. Now, if this had been Ron Paul, you couldn’t really blame the TSA. You have to admit, Ron Paul almost sounds like an Islamic terrorist sometimes. ha-ha-ha Gotcha.
This is the kind of treatment Rand can expect to receive from Limbaugh in 2016. In the quote above, Limbaugh doesn't place Rand in same category as his father Ron--"terrorist"; however, he achieves an important psychological objective. He associates Rand Paul with mockery. He trivializes discontentment with the TSA and trivializes Rand Paul. Limbaugh has been known to use the same joking technique to associate Obama with the DC Snowstorm and earthquakes. In other words, the listener will have a subconscious negative association created from Limbaugh's calculated jest. Every time they think of Rand, they'll remember the TSA joke.

The rest of conservative talk radio was also against Rand's father. Laura Ingraham's thing was to never mention him. Sean Hannity said Ron Paul was the only candidate he couldn't vote for. Mark Levin, who already disliked Ron Paul, became hysterically angry with him after getting in an argument with supporter Tom Woods over the constitutionality of the Libya war. Michael Savage appeared to like Ron Paul at first, even having him on his show, but eventually reverted to calling him an anti-semite.

FOX News anchormen Bret Baier, Carl Cameron, and Chris Wallace all disdain Ron Paul as borne out by how they ignore him when listing candidates, roll their eyes at him when he speaks, and ridicule him for running. Ron Paul supporter Andrew Napolitano lost his show with the FOX Business network in spite of its high ratings. Newscorp is the parent company of FOX News along with the Wall Street Journal, which had a very strong pro-Romney bias and participated in the black-out of Ron Paul.

The National Review has put Marco Rubio on its cover and portrayed him as a conservative leader. Rubio is a firm supporter of the TSA and strong advocate for tyranny. The NR already has their man for 2016. (NR did put Ron Paul on its cover but only to ridicule him.) They will either ignore or ridicule Rand Paul. After all, the stark raving warmonger John Bolton writes for them.

Therefore, the most influential conservative media didn't favor Ron Paul and supported other candidates. For the same reasons they opposed Ron, namely his support of peace, non-interventionism abroad, and ending the Fed and drug prohibition, they will also oppose Rand. Even if Rand makes some political votes to appear like the tyranny-loving Rubio, the establishment would prefer to go with a solid supporter of tyranny in Rubio and not take a chance on Rand who may revert back to supporting freedom.

The so-called conservative media controls what the majority of conservative Republican primary voters think, because they control the information. Voters will seldom hear about Rand, and thus will suspect that he is obscure, unelectable, or "out there", much as they did with Ron. So even if Rand tries to win over Republican voters by endorsing Romney, Rush Limbaugh will nevertheless ignore Rand in 2016, and most of his listeners will only consider seriously the candidates Rush talks about, which will probably include Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio and not Rand.

Moderate Republicans will not want anything to do with someone like Rand to begin with, since their values lie elsewhere.

The primary thing Rand's endorsement has succeeded in doing is alienating would-be and former supporters who are anti-war, anti-Fed, and against the political establishment. This will probably not affect the liberty movement as a whole to a significant degree, but it will hurt Rand. Therefore, Jack Hunter, who has made some really good points in the past, is totally wrong that the endorsement of Romney will help Rand since Rand has alienated many who would have been his base...unless Hunter becomes more popular than Rush Limbaugh in media and can influence more conservatives to like Rand Paul. In that sense, we hope Hunter will do so and prove the thesis of this article wrong.
Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment, Jamieson & Capella, Oxford University Press, 2008
A good book for those interested in techniques Limbaugh uses to manipulate his listeners. It actually proves that those who listened to him were influenced to believe George W. Bush was more conservative than people in the same demographic who didn't listen to him.