As the Rand Paul 2016 campaign gathers momentum, I can’t help but dream wistfully of the hopes shared by many fellow Paleocons- that of a more ideologically pure “message” candidate.
The 2012 POTUS election cycle gave us quite a few “message” candidates (of all different stripes) to examine.
Fred Karger, a “log cabin” Republican with a D.C. background, spent nearly $600K, but was not able to participate in any debates, nor did he participate in the Ames Straw Poll. He was, however, on the primary or caucus ballot in six states, plus Puerto Rico (where he came in fourth!).
Former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, at the time a sitting congressman, was virtually unknown outside his district. He spent a little over $500K, was invited to no debates, but did participate in the Ames straw poll, and did receive a fair amount of media attention via interviews.
Former Governor Buddy Roemer, a former US Rep and a former governor of Louisiana, garnered a bit more attention. While he didn’t participate in the Ames Straw Poll, he did appear on many more ballots than did Rep. McCotter, spending $672K for the privilege.
I think the most instructive example for us is not found in the last election cycle, however, but in the 2008 campaign.
In 2006, Republican businessman John Cox launched a very implausible campaign for President. He spent significant time in Iowa and New Hampshire, he did participate in the Ames straw poll, and he was invited to one debate. His campaign reported total expenses of about $1M. Moreover, according to Wikipedia, the Cox campaign had committee chairmen in 33 states, including Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
If we can duplicate the success of John Cox…that is, swooping in, creating a small electoral network, forcing a hearing of our ideas in at least one debate, acquainting Iowa voters with a Paleo message this Summer in Ames, conditioning a generation of younger Paleocons with national electoral experience, and then getting out before we hamper Rand Paul, the effort will be well worth it.
So who has the $1M?