Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rand Paul’s Silicon Valley Charm Offensive

Kevin Roose at New York Magazine explains what Rand is up to:
I may turn out to be wrong. Today, Paul appears to be making a full-court press for the affections of Silicon Valley, and there are some signs that his efforts are paying off.

At last week's Sun Valley conference, Paul had one-on-one meetings with Thiel and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The former isn't surprising...But Zuckerberg is an unlikely Paul ally. He's clearly not a down-the-line Democrat — he held a fund-raiser for Chris Christie, and his meandering political organization,, has backed conservative politicians — and, when asked about his affiliation, he has refused to identify with either major party, saying only, "I'm pro-knowledge economy." But he hasn't come out as a tea-party conservative, or anything like one.

Sean Parker, another Facebook-affiliated billionaire and politically active tech investor, has also met privately with Paul. Parker is undergoing his own political rebirth, shifting from backing mostly progressive causes and politicians to writing checks to centrist conservatives as well. Last quarter, he gave more than half a million dollars to GOP groups and candidates, making the case that ideology trumps party affiliation when it comes to making progress on issues like immigration and campaign-finance reform.

It's friends like Parker and Zuckerberg who explain why Paul now routinely receives what Fortune called a "hero's welcome" when he comes to Silicon Valley.
The big question is who is playing who here? My money is on Zuckerberg and Parker to get whatever they want out of Rand. Just ask the Winklevoss twins about how Zuckerberg plays the game.

As for Parker "shifting from backing mostly progressive causes." In June 2013, he donated $10,000 to Obama's  New Jersey buddy Cory Booker and $5,000 to CoryPAC. In May of 2013, he donated $245,000 to Friends of Democracy, a PAC run by the son of George Soros.

Nice crowd that you are hanging out with there, Rand.


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