Friday, October 23, 2015

Last Week's SM, Preview of This Week 19

Last week I wrote on Rand Paul and the disillusionment of his fans as they learned he is just another politician. It is sad because of the Ron Paul legacy, and that genuinely fun period of time from his announcement in 2010 of a Senate run and his one man, anti-statism show in DC. You believed he would be different. You were wrong.

Rand's role was always going to be VP. Had he stayed out of the race, it'd been easier for him to announce an endorsement in spring 2016 and then get picked up to be the cool libertarian guy to appeal to anti-surveillance voters in swing states. Had he just duplicated his dad's campaigning, he'd probably be sitting at 20% of the vote. Well maybe 20% if he were black. "I'm not racist media, see I like the black guy!" Look GOP base, if you will want to vote for a non-white to earn your anti-racist card (that doesn't exist), support Gov. Bobby Jindal. Very competent and intelligent administrator who actually has governed his state. Seriously, you fucking morons. He actually fought the Establishment GOP in his own state. Support Jindal and get your "I'm not a bigot" adrenaline rush.

This week I am writing on Jim Webb, Bernie Sanders and the ghosts of Democrats past. There is no way either of them can win, and the white Democrats who vote D for ideological reasons should take note of what happened to their party.


"I warn you to travel in the middle course, Icarus, if too low the waves may weigh down your wings, if you fly too high the fires will scorch your wings. Stay between both." - Ovid, Daedalus and Icarus 

It was a fun moment. Rand Paul announced he would seek the Republican nomination for the open Senate seat in Kentucky. Dad was gone, but the Paul legacy would live on! It could even be better in a younger, telegenic package with better public speaking skills. Paul went from fringe underdog to runaway winner. It was not just that, but he was making it look like fun. Whether you were a libertarian or just a cynic, it felt like someone who understood the corrupt DC creature was going to be in DC. Many people got lost in the outsider marketing and forgot that besides those money-bombs, he received a healthy dollop of RNSC money.

The moment grew in fun, length and effect. Senator Paul wasted no time pointing out quick, easy ways to slash the budget by half a billion. No one in DC listened. Paul took stands against drones, unlawful detention and whatnot to scale back the surveillance state. His filibuster was a fun political show, and so successful in infecting the public discussion space that opportunist Sen. Cruz copied it later. In an age where we raise awareness of things everyone knows about, Rand Paul actually raised awareness about the media-suppressed droning of US citizens and what was considered lawful. He was a lone voice in DC, playing a modern day Mr. Smith and shouting for the increasingly nervous slice of informed citizens. He also had fun and was smart with social media. For a skeptic like me that nothing can change, it was fun watching him. He felt like one of us. It felt like he might be able to shift the conversation. The post-Snowden world of suspicion towards the government seemed tailor made for him. Rand Paul fans were gleeful. The press even wrote on a possible "Libertarian Moment".

Then he had to make noise about running for president.

If there was a "Libertarian Moment", it lasted as long as a puff of smoke. Senator Paul started odd moves and statements. The anti-drug war talk turned into talk about incarceration on all offenses, black outreach, and even pictures taken with Al Sharpton. As anti-war as he (and his dad) had previously been, he softened a bit. He met with Israel-focused donors. He started to dance the dance. His statements became typical politician platitudes and talking points. In the post-Snowden world, he decided to tone down the concrete message of "stop spying on Americans". A pro-freedom message is not his core message. Since he is associated with the Tea Party wave election, does he sound like a politician looking out for the dwindling middle? No, that's Trump's message. Rand became just... another... politician.

This is the system, and you fell for it. He was always a politician. To give credit to the Paul fans, it felt different. There was a palpable panic that the Tea Party caused for the GOP's Establishment that is echoed today with the anti-Trump hysteria. That last remaining source of opposition campaign money (middle class whites) propelled Ted Cruz to the Senate in '12; just read the primary campaign details. The Establishment chosen GOP candidates were losing in primaries and having to resort to dirty tricks to win (Sen. Thad Cochran recruiting blacks for a run-off). Many believed these guys were different. Compared to the normal GOP, they managed to throw some sand in the USG leviathan. Holding just the House of Representatives, they caused budget fights and managed to change spending a little. That is all history now as they have been absorbed by the Establishment and co-opted for the elite's goals if they ever were rebels.

That feeling of "one of us" ran deep and the realization of betrayal hurts. A Rand fan sent me a note typing a great line, "It's like they know we love him, they know we know their control and now they make him look like a clown to rub it in." It feels that way sometimes. It also feels like watching a friend ride the wave of drinking and fun too long, crashing into a rehab stint. I knew his campaign would fail miserably, which is why when asked about it, I would say it would be like Icarus's flight. Rand is perfect VP material for this system, not figurehead president, because he caters to an elastic voter segment and is "cool". The Icarus comparison is easy to push. Father teaching son, but the son did not listen and flew to close to the sun, trying to reach the highest of heights that dad did not dare to try.

His dad did not quite get it either, and recall the old Moldbug line, "Electing Ron Paul is like showing up at an autopsy with a live human liver. Yes, the patient died of liver failure, but that was a week ago". This system creates a box and is for show, and if you don't play ball, you will be squashed very early on (state senate or house) or not tapped on the shoulder for a call up to the majors. Rand did not have to be squashed. He did something worse. Did he sell out and play ball? Did he shed the thing that so many people liked about his father and the message? Nah, he just showed you that the system is complete, that he was part of it and wanted to lead it. He wanted to win their game and play by their rules. What's worse is he showed you for the hopeful believer in democracy's redemption that you still are.

Senator Paul could rally and win the presidential election, but filibustering, #StandWithRand Rand Paul is gone. That guy crashed and burned like Icarus, but he isn't exactly Icarus. He knew what he faced and adapted to it. The problem is that, like Icarus, you believed it could be different. You tossed aside the warnings and the wisdom. You knew going in that all of these politicians are bought and paid for and part of a system. You liked Rand a little too much. It was you who defied the advice and flew too high. What melted in the sun and crashed into the ocean was your hope that someone was "in" on the system's corruption and could change it.


Toddy Cat said...

I think that you're right about Rand Paul, and I think that this illustrates why so many of Paul's former supporters have moved over to Trump - people believe that Trump may be an attention whore, he may have an ego the size of Lake Huron, he may say something stupid and crash and burn or maybe just get bored and quit, but he won't sell out. For what it's worth, I think that this perception is correct; no matter what he does, Trump will play his own game, whatever that may be, not the Establishment's. That may not be much, but in a country that's in the shape that the U.S. is in, it might just be enough.

Portlander said...

Not sure this also occurred to you, but as I was reading it I thought of The Matrix and how the Blue Pill was ultimately just a psychological pressure-relief valve.

It makes me wonder if guys like Paul (both Rand & Ron!) and Cruz, (ahem, Buckley) are just political pressure-relief valves?

Then I wonder, to get really (Machiavelli isn't the right word, Soros comes to mind, but it well pre-dates him) "TPTB" about it, do they wait until a guy like Paul gets a constituency of fellow travellers and, knowing all along they can co-opt him due to either dirt or vanity or both, spring their trap to crush the spirit and any morale among the rebel types.

I'm starting to suspect it's mostly the former with an occasional foray with the latter to keep things interesting for themselves. The tell, IMHO, is how hard they fight against the ostensible insurgent. Rand and Cruz somehow get into the Senate, but folks like Chris McDaniels, Matt Bevin, and others though more names escape me at the moment get the Julius Caesar treatment. It's all so strangely asymmetrical.

Alexandros HoMegas said...

Ted Cruz wife works for Goldman Sachs, Ted went to NYC to get money from rich jewish homosexuals for his campaign.

Rand Paul was never going anywhere, he tried to suck to the jews but they hate his father and Libertarianism for been a political movement outside of their influence zone.

Glengarry said...

It feels like finding out your college girlfriend started doing really degrading porn.