Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ron Paul's Power Play Against His Son Rand?

McKay Coppins, author of The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party's Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House, has a column out today reporting on  inside doings in  the Ron Paul family.

One source is Jesse Benton and, reading between the lines, another key source appears to be Doug Stafford.

They are promoting the absurd  idea that Ron was jealous of Rand and that is why Ron ran for president in 2012. From Coppins article:
 [A]s I report in my new book, The Wilderness, Rand’s rise has indeed created some genuine intrafamily friction — and it started in the run-up to the 2012 GOP primaries.
 One day early in 2011, Ron met with Jesse Benton — the young political strategist he shared with his son — to break the news that he wasn’t going to run for president again. …
Benton was disappointed, but with Ron out of the picture, he decided it was time to start grooming Rand for a presidential run. He approached the younger Paul and pitched him on mounting an insurgent bid for the Republican nomination in 2012. He was adamant that Rand’s polish and pragmatism would make him a far more serious candidate than his dad ever was. Benton argued that, between the fiery base of supporters Ron had built up and the new voters Rand could attract, he would be a real threat to win the White House.
Rand ate it up. He told Benton to start putting out feelers for a 2012 bid, and the strategist moved quickly to schedule a trip to the early primary state of South Carolina. On March 23, 2011, Rand made a surprise appearance at the Charleston Meeting, a gathering of Palmetto State Republican elites, and news of the visit set off sirens in the political punditocracy. Rand fanned the speculation by announcing future trips to Iowa and New Hampshire as well. The buzz was building, the strategy was working, the wheels were in motion — and then, suddenly, it all came to a screeching halt.
A couple of days after Rand’s headline-grabbing South Carolina trip, Ron called up Benton. He had been giving some more thought to the idea of a 2012 presidential bid, and he’d changed his mind.
I’ve decided I’m going to run, Ron said. And I want you to manage my campaign.
Rand, it went without saying, would have to take a seat.
Word of  Ron’s power play traveled quickly within the Pauls’ overlapping orbits of libertarian advisers, allies, and confidantes. Everyone had their own theory as to the patriarch’s motives. Some thought Ron was jealous of his son’s meteoric rise, or resentful that he wasn’t receiving enough credit for Rand’s success. One source close to the family speculated to me that Rand had jumped the gun without getting his dad’s blessing; another said Ron didn’t trust Rand’s commitment to libertarian ideals. The most generous theory I heard was that Ron was simply trying to spare his son from rushing into the 2012 fray before he was ready. 
 After that, the Paulites began to notice more signs of a growing divide between Ron and Rand. One of the most jarring episodes took place inside a green room at a 2012 Republican primary debate, when Sens. Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham approached Ron and began effusively complimenting his son:
They gushed about how Rand was a joy to work with in the Senate, a real contributor, someone with whom they felt they could work productively despite their ideological differences.
Finally, Ron snapped, “Well, if he’s so great, he should run for president himself.”
DeMint was taken aback by the outburst and quickly shut up. But Graham didn’t seem to catch on, because he just kept spurting commendations for Rand in his courtly Southern drawl, as Ron’s face twisted into a cranky scowl...
After 2012, many in the Pauls’ concentric inner circles felt compelled to pick sides — with the more pragmatic political pros signing on with Rand, and the true-believing purists sticking with Ron. The two camps have spent much of the past three years bitterly feuding behind the scenes (and trying to knife each other in interviews for my book). But those closest to the family say Rand genuinely admires his father and is anxious to make him proud by building on his legacy. And Ron?
 One senior staffer in Rand’s Senate office told me that after years of closely observing the dynamic between the two men, he was left stupefied by Ron’s antagonism toward his son’s career.
“He should be proud of Rand, but he’s not,” the staffer said. “It’s a really weird relationship.”

The idea that Ron is jealous of Rand is absurd. It is completely out of character for the decent, principled gentleman that Ron is. Jesse, Stafford and Graham are spinning tall tales. Ron has not said a negative thing about Rand in public and the idea that Ron would express displeasure about Rand in front of a neocon like Graham is extremely unlikely.

As for Ron running in 2012, it proved the correct move as Ron expanded the libertarian movement exponentially with that run. It is Rand, Jesse and Stafford that have squandered the base that Ron handed off to them. In an election cycle that favors outsiders, Rand, Jesse, and Stafford, in one of the greatest miscalculations in political history, decided to cuddle up to the establishment, including Mitch McConnell, and apparently so cozy that even radical neocon Graham was singing his praises,

If anything, Ron has been too decent to his family, including the outer edges of his family. He should have dumped Jesse, who is married to his granddaughter, overboard a long time ago. Jesse has proven to be an incompetent strategist, managed to get himself embroiled in criminal charges that will result in a trial this February and was a key planner in Rand's disastrous plan to cuddle up to the establishment.

If anyone is pulling power plays, it is Jesse. There is no chance he would be anywhere around the Paul family if he hadn't married the boss' granddaughter.

The fact that he is backstabbing Ron to a reporter is disgusting enough, but to do it in such a vicious manner is over the top.

When Coppins  writes:
 The two camps have spent much of the past three years bitterly feuding behind the scenes (and trying to knife each other in interviews for my book).
You just know Coppins is putting Jesse at the top of that backstabbing list.



  1. If you searched the archives of The Daily Paul, which was the go-to site during the 2008 and 2012, I would bet the number one hit would be "Jesse's gotta go".
    A disaster from day one. If one thing could shake my faith in Dr. Paul, it was this one bit of nepotism. Jesse Benton is garbage.

  2. You link to the book with your "article" link.

    Here is the article.

  3. I'm guessing, if anything, Ron Paul made an awkward joke to DeMint & Graham that DeMint misinterpreted (or propagandized) as hostility.

  4. My guess is that this is Benton's attempt to rehabilitate Rand as being the 'good' Paul. "See, Rand was a good son and let his vain father have one last shot at the spotlight with the 2012 run. So, all you folks who loved Ron Paul but don't love his son should really rethink that, cause Rand's the real deal, and all that."

  5. It's possible, who knows. It could just be propaganda that Benton and others are putting out. But it also could be that Ron feels Rand has betrayed his pure message.

    I recall during that whole Ground Zero Mosque episode in 2010, Ron and Rand came out on opposite sides of the debate. Ron said there was nothing wrong with a group of muslims building a mosque somewhere, and that opportunists were using the issue to gin up support for war. Rand, on the other hand, decide to engage in demagoguery and essentially said the group of muslims in NYC was equivalent to the KKK. Ron's press secretary refused to comment on the matter, only saying that 'Rand is his own man'. There seemed to be a bit of hostility there. I felt that Ron was surprised that Rand would stoop to such low depths instead of keeping libertarianism as the pure demagoguery free enterprise that it should be.

  6. One senior staffer in Rand’s Senate office told me that after years of closely observing the dynamic between the two men, he was left stupefied by Ron’s antagonism toward his son’s career.
    “He should be proud of Rand, but he’s not,” the staffer said. “It’s a really weird relationship.”

    cos everyone can see that Rand has blown it