Bret Stephens is a neoconservative Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He's one of the most influential pundits within the GOP. And he's a big booster of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's unofficial but obvious campaign to win the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 2016. But not for the reasons you may think.
"Republicans, let's get it over with," Stephens writes. "Fast forward to the finish line. Avoid the long and winding primary road. It can only weaken the nominee. And we know who he—yes, he—has to be."
After dismissing both Jeb Bush ("insufficiently hostile to Mexicans") and Chris Christie ("the mere taint of scandal makes him unfit to be the Republican nominee"), Stephens goes on to write that it's Paul who must be the party's standard-bearer come two years hence.
Why? Because, Stephens writes, "what we need as the Republican nominee in 2016 is a man of more glaring disqualifications. Someone so nakedly unacceptable to the overwhelming majority of sane Americans that only the GOP could think of nominating him."
"This man," Stephens declares, "is Rand Paul, the junior senator from a state with eight electoral votes."
Having made perfectly clear what his endorsement really means, Stephens proceeds to launch a truly scathing attack on Paul, noting his past associations with pseudo-white supremacists as well as his 2009 claim that former Vice President Cheney drove America into war with Iraq in order to help his former employer, Halliburton's, bottom line.
Still, Stephens won't withdraw his endorsement, mainly because he believes that, maybe, "what the GOP needs is another humbling landslide defeat. When moderation on a subject like immigration is ideologically disqualifying, but bark-at-the-moon lunacy about Halliburton is not, then the party has worse problems than merely its choice of nominee."