While I was reading an article in The Atlantic, which portrays Rand Paul’s campaign for President as a failure up to this point, I stumbled across a quote from notorious Paul family operative Jesse Benton.
Benton had some interesting things to say to The Atlantic’s Molly Ball when discussing the difficulties experienced by the Rand Paul campaign. Jesse Benton notes that he is surprised the campaign has been unable to secure donations from billionaire Peter Thiel, who was a huge contributor to Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. He then says that Rand needs to run a “disruptive” campaign in order to differentiate himself from the bland establishment candidates. Then he proceeds to take an unprovoked and unnecessary shot at Ron Paul supporters, because it wouldn’t be a Jesse Benton interview without some slandering of Ron Paul’s more ardent supporters.
The failure to enlist Peter Thiel, the enigmatic Silicon Valley venture capitalist who gave Ron Paul $2.6 million, has particularly shocked Paulworld. Jesse Benton, a longtime adviser to both Pauls who is now running the Rand Paul-boosting America’s Liberty super PAC, acknowledged that Thiel’s refusal was an unexpected blow. “From what I understand, he’s just got a little donor fatigue, and he’s sitting this one out for now,” Benton told me. “Obviously, we’re big fans of his, and we hope to get him back in the fold.”
Benton admitted the campaign has experienced some turbulence, but said that was to be expected. “Rand is not going to be the nominee by running a bland, status-quo campaign,” he said. “That’s Jeb Bush’s campaign to run. Rand’s path to the nomination is a Silicon Valley approach, a disruptive force in politics and the GOP that shakes things up and builds a new coalition going forward.” That’s an inherently difficult thing to do, Benton said, but he believes Paul is pulling it off, and “he continues to have as good a chance as anyone to win the nomination.”
Benton said the proportion of Ron Paul supporters not supporting Rand Paul was not significant. “In his father’s base, there is a small but loud group of folks who are really just contrarians,” he said.
There is no lost love for Benton in Ron Paul circles. Many supporters fault him for tempering Ron Paul’s foreign policy message and using the platform presented to him as Ron Paul’s campaign manager to advance his own political career, rather than the ideas of liberty. If Jesse finds it so hard to stomach the Ron Paul supporters, then it’s likely principled libertarians have also been driving him nuts by criticizing Rand.
Why does he want to work for libertarian-leaning politicians? Better yet, why does the Paul family continue place him in positions where he can trash the people who support the ideas of liberty?
I understand that Benton married into the Paul family by way of Ron’s grand-daughter, but is this really worth the headache of having this guy around the family’s political campaigns?
Perhaps Tom Woods was onto something when he hinted that Jesse Benton might have some dirt on the Paul family. Woods was a guest on the Lions of Liberty Podcast in January of this year. At one point during the interview he wondered aloud if Rand Paul is keeping Jesse Benton as part of his political team because Benton may be blackmailing Rand Paul.
I’m don’t think Woods is being serious, but he does raise an interesting theory. Check it out for yourself. The comment starts at the 23:00 minute mark in the podcast below.
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