U.S. Republican presidential candidates gather before the start of their debate in Ames, Iowa August 11, 2011. They are (from L to R) Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich. REUTER
2012 will look like Candy Mountain compared to 2016 primary rhetoric
This really will be the dynamic of the entire Republican primary season: Elect me, because I hate the government. Vote for me, because the government I am a very prominent member of has veered into new depths of incompetence since you last voted for me.
Mr. Cruz’s diagnosis can vary slightly: Sometimes Washington is “profoundly broken”; other times it is “fundamentally broken.” Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky prefers “horribly broken.” But he does not stop there. His campaign slogan for president is “Defeat the Washington Machine.”
Rand Paul is, of course, neck-deep in the Washington machine. Whatever bad thing you might say about the Washington Machine, from nepotism to substanceless, pandering rhetoric to obsessive fundraising to a truly profound inability to accomplish anything, Rand Paul is a poster child for all of it. Ted Cruz came to Washington with the official mission to break it, has spent nearly all of his time encouraging ridiculous plots in his party to break it (see: the shutdown, the single most incompetently planned and pointlessly premised act of legislative sabotage in a generation), and remains stumped as to why nothing is getting done.
Mr. Paul even recently cleansed his Twitter handle: What was @SenRandPaul is now just @RandPaul.
You know what would really distance yourself from the Senate? Not running for the damn Senate again. Since Kentucky doesn't allow you to run for Senate and president both, it would be a far simpler solution than the current churning (again, almost self-parodyingly Machine-like) efforts to change your state's laws to insert the required "except Rand Paul, who is awesome" clause. But they're far from the only candidates running as inside-the-system "outsiders." You know who else is doing it? Every last one of them. Below the fold we go.