|The front runner and Rand.|
One possible explanation for Mr. Paul’s struggles is his hype-to-reality ratio: By trying to please too many factions, he has become slippery and amorphous like a political jellyfish. At the outset of his campaign, Mr. Paul’s ability to tailor his words for a particular audience appeared to be one of his biggest strengths. But in the era of instantly uploaded video clips, it’s a lot harder to present different messages to different groups of people, at least in public.Unfortunately, this is a time when it appears that NYT is actually reporting accurately.
On topics from vaccinations to his views on the Civil Rights Act to immigration reform to foreign aid to Israel to the use of military force against the Islamic State, Mr. Paul has struggled to shake his image as a flip-flopper.
Meanwhile, Republican primary voters have shown they don’t want an all-things-to-all-people candidate. Instead, they’ve flocked to Mr. Trump and Ben Carson, two very different candidates who appear to have a shared love of political incorrectness and almost casual xenophobia. Other Republican primary voters have found a superior version of Mr. Paul in Mr. Cruz, who has campaigned by preaching almost exclusively to the conservative choir...
Finally, Mr. Paul doesn’t seem to particularly enjoy being a presidential candidate.
In one recent publicity stunt gone horribly wrong, Mr. Paul’s camp tried to broadcast a day on the campaign trail over a live stream, hashtagging it #randlive. Multiple reporters tried and failed to follow the live stream, which cut in and out throughout the day.
The one piece of news the stunt did generate was a punch line, when an embittered Mr. Paul answered the question “Is Rand Paul still running for president?” by saying, somewhat indelicately, that he wouldn’t be doing the live stream if he weren’t. Earlier in the day, he was asked how old he is: “The real answer, I guess, is 52. But I sometimes feel about 10, to 20, to maybe 30, to 40, to 50 years older after a day of this.”
A few days later, Mr. Paul was asked at a New Hampshire campaign stop if he was enjoying himself. “I love it,” he sarcastically told a reporter. “We’re thinking about putting out smiling emojis in all our emails, do you think that would help?”...
But all of Mr. Paul’s grim-faced grinding could very well be for naught; this is now an outsider’s world, and a senator at the end of his first term is no longer considered an outsider.