Slate‘s Dave Weigel has been in Iowa the last few days talking to Republicans, and came away with a better-documented but similar case to the one I made by educated hunch a few months ago: the takeover of the state Republican Party by elements of the Ron Paul Revolution does not give Rand Paul some sort of easy road to a victory in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, assuming he runs for president in the first place.
I emphasized the very bad blood being generated by state party chairman A.J. Spiker and the other Paulites running the state party. Weigel focuses on the exceptional independence of Iowa’s “liberty movement” (the former Ron Paul Revolutionaries) who may not blindly follow the Son, and also the fresh competition for their votes that might be offered by, say, Ted Cruz.
But whether or not the “liberty movement” is tied directly to Rand Paul’s presidential prospects, they are clearly in the cross-hairs of a lot of Iowa political game hunters right now. Look at this summary from The Iowa Republican‘s Kevin Hall of the blows dealt to “Big Liberty” (his term for the denizens of the “liberty movement”) by TIR’s revelations of the last week involving state senator Kent Sorenson, the 2012 Michele Bachmann campaign chairman who defected to Paul at the last moment under extremely suspicious circumstances:
The audio TIR released this week is damning evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Kent Sorenson, the Dorr family, Ron Paul, numerous people in the Ron Paul campaign, Iowa Gun Owners, Iowa Pro-Life Action, John Tate, Jesse Benton and Dimitri Kesari. For starters … They are all part of the Big Liberty push for power …
It really doesn’t matter if Ron Paul knew about the (alleged) bribe or not. He went on national TV and denied it happened, so he obviously knew about the situation. If he didn’t know about the bribe, he should have. And if he did know, he lied on national television and is complicit in the coverup … Either way, Paulistinians, your idol’s hands are dirty in this along with the rest of the crew.
This is some serious nastiness aimed at the Paulites from a very conservative and very influential corner. And it’s totally aside from, if related to, the routine charges of malfeasance aimed at the Paulite-controlled state party. Rand Paul could clearly do without the baggage, but he’s stuck with it, and I think we will find out there are similar if less toxic situations involving fallout from the Ron Paul Revolution affecting Republicans in other states.