When it comes to foreign policy, Rand Paul isn’t eager to launch any new wars. When it comes to 2016 debates, it’s a different story.
The next gathering for the Republican presidential field will be Thursday night, when candidates participate in their sixth debate. The Fox Business Network announced last night that seven of the remaining candidates have been invited to the prime-time event: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich. That leaves Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum, who have been relegated to the kids-table undercard debate.
The Kentucky senator, who has been on the main stage for each of the first five debates, had already vowed to skip this week’s event if he were blocked from the prime-time gathering, and as of late yesterday, Paul and his campaign team intend to follow through on that threat.
But Paul also talked to the Washington Post in more detail about his frustrations.
…Paul reiterated that the “arbitrary, capricious polling standard” had been a source of disgust for the grassroots, dubbing it a story of media political bias.“It won’t take much for our supporters to understand why we’re doing this,” Paul said. “You want war? We’ll give it to you.”
What’s unclear is what in the world that means.
To be sure, the senator’s complaints have some merit. As Rachel noted on the show last night, when the Fox networks host these gatherings, “they’re notoriously woolly about their qualifying criteria for their debate…. They don’t get that specific about how they’re going to do it.”
It’s a little tough for Paul – or anyone else, for that matter – to lash out at Fox for being biased against Republican presidential campaigns, but the senator’s concerns about statistical methodology are harder to dismiss.
But when Paul says he and his supporters are prepared for “war,” it’s an open question as to what they have in mind. Protests? Angry tweets? Will Paul pull a page from Alan Keyes’ 1996 playbook and try to join a debate to which he hasn’t been invited?