Rand Paul’s Campaign Already A Glorious Trainwreck And It’s Only Been One Day

In what was supposed to be a strong start to Rand Paul’s presidential dreams, the day he chose to kick off his campaign has ended in embarrassment. Note to other prospective candidates: This is decidedly not how you do it.

A lot has been written about President Obama’s ability to seize on modern technology to help him in politics. By utilizing social media and the internet, Obama’s 2008 campaign quite literally changed the game. His team’s grassroots organizational skills are the stuff of legend. They propelled a deeply disadvantaged candidate into an Election Day powerhouse. Then he did it again 2012.

The Republican Party isn’t just backwards on social issues, they also seem almost incapable of the kinds of tech-savvy tactics that made Obama a star (and then a president). When they try, the results are often pitiful. Ted Cruz, for example, created a launch video for his campaign… but somehow managed to forget to buy his own website name.

Paul was supposed to be different. One of his pitches for why he deserves a chance to run for president is that he is better at engaging the young crowd than the typical Republican candidate. That may have been merely wishful thinking, because in less than 24 hours, Paul’s team has been revealed to have about as much grasp on the Internet as your grandparents.

His nascent campaign is failing on every corner of cyberspace. As with Cruz, Paul launched a presidential announcement video to coincide with his big speech. Unfortunately for potential voters curious to see it, the video has been blocked by YouTube for copyright infringement.


The video uses the John Rich song “Shuttin’ Detroit Down,” which Paul’s team either didn’t get the rights to or failed to notify YouTube of before their copyright flaggers pulled the video. Either way, Paul’s big announcement is a deadlink.

Making matters worse, the clip Paul chose to use features Kris Kristofferson. The well known folk singer and actor said he was shocked to see his performance being used in Paul’s campaign video because he never gave him permission and doesn’t support Paul’s politics. Kristofferson is an outspoken liberal and Obama supporter.

Then his team excitedly retweeted a selfie from a “supporter” which turned out to be a photoshopped picture of James Holmes, the Auorora movie theater mass murderer.


screengrab via Talking Points Memo


Paul’s website wasn’t spared from issues either.

Clicking on the “education” tab takes you to a video of Rand stressing how important access to school is. The video is titled “Rand Paul Opposes A One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Eductation.”

And features a recent donation from a person with, depending on the situation, the greatest troll name or the worst real name ever.

Paul’s website’s store is inexplicably bizarre, as well. Alongside signed Constitutions that interested parties can purchase for $1000, are items with descriptions seemingly written by an alien with only the vaguest concept of human experience. For example, here’s what the alien/writer believes will make you want to buy a $75 blanket with Rand Paul’s face on it:


All of these glitches seem avoidable if Paul’s team knew what they were doing. And there really isn’t any excuse because, as Politico covered in detail, Paul’s “campaign” has been secretly assembled for four years.

“Within the first year of the Senate term, he really started to focus on it,” said a former aide.

In fact, the only reason Paul didn’t run for president in 2012 was that his father, Ron, with whom he shared a Washington apartment and an ideologically fraught mentor-mentee relationship, was considering his third presidential bid. But the father is now retired — along with the brand of fiery, uncompromising libertarianism Ron Paul became identified with — and the son believes his time has come to implement the strategy he has been planning for so long.

That’s an exceptionally long time to learn how to use Twitter or run a spellcheck. So is Rand Paul the right-wing’s answer to Obama? Not even close.

Feature Image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr