Friday, August 07, 2015

Is Rand Paul's Campaign Ending Ugly?


Last night Rand Paul was desperate to shore up a presidential campaign that has been off the tracks and falling apart. He signaled that he planned to attack Trump, almost the way a young gunslinger would ride into town to challenge the fastest gun in the West-- and, more often than not, wind up in a lonely grave at the edge of town. Almost before the first question, when one of the hosts asked for a show of hands, Rand jumped out and started denigrating Trump for refusing to pledge not to run as an independent and support whichever other clown the GOP nominates. The response from the audience was, at best, mixed.

Then there was the Chris Christie-Rand Paul brouhaha over civil liberties and the Bill of Rights and "blowing hot air in a subcommittee"-- and big hugs:

The latest body slam to the Paul campaign came when one of his closest advisers, Jesse Benton, who is married to Rand's cousin, was indicted-- along with two other operatives from Rand's superPAC-- on several felony bribery charges.
The federal charges announced Wednesday against Jesse Benton mark a jarring, high-profile flameout for the long-serving Rand Paul adviser and top-flight Republican operative who was hailed until recently as a rising star in the party-- a grim political trajectory that many in Paul’s orbit now tell BuzzFeed News their candidate seems doomed to follow.

In interviews Wednesday with more than half a dozen people close to Paul-- including current staffers, top fundraisers, and key allies-- Benton’s indictment was cited as evidence of deeply rooted problems in Rand Paul’s campaign, from organizational dysfunction, to personal failures of judgment by the candidate himself.

Benton, who runs the pro-Paul super PAC, was indicted on Wednesday for concealing payments to an Iowa state senator in exchange for the senator’s endorsing Ron Paul in 2012.

One of the senator’s aides called the situation “a total mess” and added, “I don’t think there’s any coming back from this.” A fundraiser and personal friend of the candidate, meanwhile, said the Benton episode has convinced him that Paul is “not running a campaign worthy of the presidency of the United States.” Another friend and informal adviser said of the candidate’s presidential bid, “It’s over.” (All the sources quoted here requested anonymity to speak candidly without risk of losing their jobs, or their personal relationships with Paul. Benton did not respond to an interview request.)

The indictment against Benton is not the first speed bump the candidate has hit on his road to the White House this year. The myriad problems plaguing Paul’s presidential campaign have been extensively chronicled in recent news reports, which detail the libertarian’s long way down from GOP “it” boy of 2013 to flailing also-ran of 2015.

In response to this latest crisis, a spokesman for Paul released a statement Wednesday afternoon suggesting the Justice Department was “politically motivated,” and stating, “These actions are from 2012 and have nothing to do with our campaign.”

But inside Paul’s already fractious campaign, the news has set off a flurry of finger-pointing and recriminations. In the immediate wake of the indictments, several sources who spoke to BuzzFeed News tried to pin the blame for the fiasco and its fallout on various rivals within the organization-- passing along unconfirmable accusations and unprintable rumors about each other on a not-for-attribution basis. One question came up repeatedly: Why was Benton entrusted with such a vital position-- to raise the big-dollar donations at the super PAC-- when he was still being investigated by the FBI, and at serious risk of an indictment?

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At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A fundraiser and personal friend of the candidate, meanwhile, said the Benton episode has convinced him that Paul is 'not running a campaign worthy of the presidency of the United States'.”

That's for sure, not due to the alleged crime but because the lackey was caught.
Such an amateurishly criminal organization just wouldn't cut it "at the highest levels of government."

Any indictment for the Iowa state senator or is accepting bribes not a crime?

John Puma

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

I enjoyed watching Rand Paul wipe his panties on Christies, head. Excellent.


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