Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is putting together “a network in all 50 states” to jump-start his Presidential run in 2016. This is a warning shot across the bows of Republican rivals like Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, but also taking a lesson from the Obama 2012 campaign, which built a large organization very earlier, especially in the swing states. Some of the paid Obama campaign staffers, in fact, never left Ohio after 2008, but stayed there for the next four years. That ground game is perceived to be one of the major reasons why Obama won re-election. Paul is trying to imitate that early start.
There may, however, be less here than meets the eye:
Rand Paul’s nationwide organization, which counts more than 200 people, includes new backers who have previously funded more traditional Republicans, along with longtime libertarian activists
If the 200 person headcount includes donors, then it’s not so much a ground game as a amalgam of supporters and campaign workers. Lots of folks have friendly donors at the moment. So I think there’s some theatrics in this, as well. Scare your rivals, hearten your friends, seduce the waverers.
My favorite part of the story, however, is a historical one. Representative Peter King, R of NY, hits Rand Paul with an obscure reference:
“I think he’s dangerously irresponsible,” said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), who is mulling his own presidential bid and has been critical of the GOP’s tea party wing, including Cruz.“I can’t believe responsible Republicans will support this guy, who’s a modern version of Charles Lindbergh.”
Paul is going to fly across the Atlantic in a single-engined propeller plane? No, of course not: King is referring to Lindbergh’s horrendous politics, including the aviator’s support of Nazi Germany and general anti-Semitism. But how many people are going to understand that reference? I think we can safely predict that Peter King’s presidential aspirations will remain unfulfilled.