My single biggest surprise this election season is the failure of [mc_name name='Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)' chamber='senate' mcid='P000603' ] to do much of anything. He has loyal support, a unique message, a foundation laid by his father, a cheery disposition, and a really crummy campaign team.

Put it to you this way: Ben Carson has out raised [mc_name name='Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)' chamber='senate' mcid='P000603' ]. No, no, let's put this in better perspective -- Ben Carson individually has raised more than [mc_name name='Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)' chamber='senate' mcid='P000603' ] and his super PACs combined.

I would have never guessed this in a million years.

More recently, Paul has failed to gain any traction. Two weeks ago, [mc_name name='Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)' chamber='senate' mcid='P000603' ] threatened to hold the highway bill hostage over an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. He was then nowhere to be seen in the fight led by [mc_name name='Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)' chamber='senate' mcid='C001098' ] and [mc_name name='Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)' chamber='senate' mcid='L000577' ]. Cruz was all over television and radio getting major press and accolades from conservatives.

Now Paul has pivoted to a "work with leadership" strategy that will not clear sixty votes. Paul is trying to take the approach he took with the government shutdown in 2013 and show he can work with Republican leaders at a time the base is at war with the leaders and vice versa. He's trying to show himself as more reasonable than [mc_name name='Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)' chamber='senate' mcid='C001098' ], but cannot garner the same attention.

Paul was on Fox News Sunday and Face the Nation, but his comments on both Planned Parenthood and Hillary Clinton's emails got overshadowed by other news, other people, and other priorities.

Despite his lack of fundraising, Paul is doing the exact opposite of other candidates. When they go to gathers of candidates, Paul avoids them. This includes the RedState Gathering where he is the only invited candidate not coming and the Koch gathering as well.

[mc_name name='Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)' chamber='senate' mcid='P000603' ]'s polling has been cut in half since January when it was at ten percent. He's down to five percent, tied with Cruz, who has captured the news cycle with conservatives this past week in the run up to the Fox News debate. He is behind Ben Carson in the polling average.

I like [mc_name name='Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)' chamber='senate' mcid='P000603' ]. I think we need a conversation within the Republican Party on the civil liberty issues and civil rights issues he raises. But with Paul's campaign floundering, it is not going to happen. Paul has drawn to his side a group of campaign consultants and advisors who seem to be doing well for themselves, but I have to wonder if they are doing well for their candidate.

Yes, it is early. That is true. But the first Republican Presidential debate is next week. I want [mc_name name='Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)' chamber='senate' mcid='P000603' ] to do well, but the simple truth is that in terms of capturing news cycles, capturing dollars, and capturing the hearts and minds of primary voters [mc_name name='Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)' chamber='senate' mcid='P000603' ] is failing. While a lot of my friends disagree, I think that is actually a bad thing for the GOP.

Tags: 2016 Rand Paul