Friday, May 14, 2010

Rand Paul Headed for Victory in Kentucky GOP Primary

Rand Paul at Ky. GOP Senate primary debate, from Kansas City Star, photo by Ed ReinkeIt looks like a pretty safe bet that Bowling Green ophthamologist Rand Paul is coasting towards a sizable victory in Tuesday's Republican Senate primary in Kentucky. The May 18 primary pits Paul against establishment scion Trey Grayson, who has released a number of negative attack ads distorting Rand Paul's positions on foreign policy and conflating them with the perceptions of those of his father. In fact, Grayson has started aping some of Rand's positions on economic issues, even distancing himself from the corporate bailouts rubber-stamped by the national GOP.

Rand has been more skillful than his father at bringing mainstream conservatives on board his campaign, earning the endorsement of Steve Forbes, Sarah Palin, Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), retiring Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), and archconservative James Dobson of Focus on the Family.

Today, Salon published a detailed and sympathetic profile of Rand entitled How Rand Paul became the Tea Party's Obama. Last month, reason magazine published an excellent profile of Rand Paul and his campaign, and today our good friend Brian Doherty notes the GOP power shift represented by Rand's campaign, also in reason.

Also participating in the race are rambling but entertaining WWII veteran Gurley Martin (not only is he on the Interwebs, he can be found on the Youtubes and the Twitter) and also-rans John Stephenson and Jon Scribner. Red-meat Republican Bill Johnson dropped out in March after dropping thousands of dollars on his own campaign, after gaining no traction whatsoever, the endorsement of religious firebrand Alan Keyes notwithstanding.

The editors of this site disagree with Rand on a few things, notably abortion and a few of his more socially conservative positions -- things that earned him the endorsement of people like Dobson and social conservative groups in Kentucky. However, the most crucial issues facing this country are primarily economic, and Rand is the candidate with the best understanding of these issues and how to approach and solve the myriad problems our own Federal government has caused: obscene deficits, a crippling national debt, which is approaching an unfathomable $13 trillion dollars, out-of-control spending, and regulations that end up benefiting large corporations while hurting small business - such as recent health care and financial reform legislation.

Without question, Rand's father Ron is more consistent in articulating the libertarian philosophy and is much more vocal about civil liberties issues commonly ignored by mainstream Republicans. In this regard, Rand has left a few observers wanting to hear more on these issues. Then again, Rand is his own person, and he is running for the Kentucky GOP Senate nod, not for the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination. On the other hand, Rand takes a firmer stance against Congressional earmarks and pork-barrel spending, maintaining that Federal funds should be distributed according to objective criteria, not the seniority of a district's Congressperson.

On foreign policy, we appreciate elements of both Pauls' positions - we favor a strong defense, while at the same time resisting the misguided imperative of acting as the world's policeman and the pursuit of costly and quixotic nation-building.

We applaud Rand Paul's impressive campaign and wish him a resounding victory on Tuesday and in November.