Tuesday, December 22, 2009
In November, Rand Paul was polling within the margin of error with Grayson in a WHAS poll. Now Rand Paul leads Grayson in another poll, this one conducted by Public Policy Polling where the former leads 54-18 among people who consider the GOP too liberal. Clearly Rand Paul is gaining the support of grassroots activists. He is not getting big donations and he is passing the litmus test on whether he’s an empty suit politician or a true conservative who refuses to play the “Me Too” game that the Republican Party has played since the glory days of Alf Landon.
For months, the secretary of state’s website was dormant on the issues. He probably figured he didn’t need to worry about forming his platform until after he coasted to the nomination. But since Rand Paul has been such a tireless campaigner traveling all across the Commonwealth and reaching disaffected voters for the better part of the year, and with better-than-expected poll numbers, he might just pull off the shocker.
Needless to say, Trey Grayson is getting pretty angry that his token challenger is not following the script and allowing Trey to coast to the primary victory; his coronation might have to be called off altogether.
It’s already been discussed here, at rather great length, that the Establishment is doing all it can to make sure that Rand Paul stays in Bowling Green in 2010, where he belongs. A county party chairman supporting Grayson went to the trouble to concoct a juvenile website, Too Kooky for Kentucky, to show how dangerous Rand Paul is. But in trying to show how loony Rand Paul and his views are, the chairman comes off as childish.
The newest controversy involves the now-former campaign coordinator of the Rand Paul campaign, Chris Hightower.
Last week, the liberal blog Barefoot and Progressive, broke a story about a myspace page attributed to Mr. Hightower features a picture of a lynched man accompanied by a racial epithet.
Chris Hightower quickly said, "I definitely deny anything that has anything to do with that. It’s not me. I’m definitely not a racist." He resigned from the campaign within a day.
But Hightower's explanation seems plausible. The controversial content was posted by someone else. It was plain to see that Mr. Hightower did not post the scurrility, only that he did not delete it – a consistently libertarian thing to do (although claiming that he's never had a myspace page is a different matter). I myself have never deleted a facebook, myspace, or blog comment before. I support free speech, too, even when it’s ugly.
But even though it was a liberal blogger who dug up the thought crime of a John Doe, it certainly works to the benefit of Trey Grayson. What better way to continue the smearing of Rand Paul than to suggest that the candidate himself has poor judgment because of the way a campaign staffer polices a personal social networking website page. As Rand Paul told WBKO (ABC) News in Bowling Green about the irony of the incident: "I think we live in an era where we’re responsible for what even other people post on your website."
This also shows the lengths that the Grayson campaign will go to in order to scare Kentucky Republican voters away from Rand Paul.
Grayson himself used this as a springboard for denouncing Rand Paul’s “disturbing views” on national security with “Rand Paul: Dangerous for Kentucky.”
While people might get distracted by "Myspacegate," supporters of Rand Paul should take notice that something else was in play. Perhaps Trey Grayson wasn’t necessarily interested in exploiting the racism of some acquaintance of a staffer’s. Perhaps he used this controversy as an opportunity to misrepresent Rand Paul’s views on foreign policy and national security, a contentious divide between the platforms of the two candidates.
Here’s what the secretary of state himself had to say on his website:
"However, when pressed by the Louisville Courier-Journal if he agreed or disagreed with Hightower's belief that the United States government was responsible for the attacks on September 11th, Rand Paul's campaign said it was a 'complicated situation' with 'truth on both sides.'"
"'Let me help you find the truth, Rand, if you can handle it. The attacks on 9/11 were pre-meditated and carried out by terrorists who wanted to disrupt the American way of life,' said Grayson campaign manager Nate Hodson. 'This is a foolish and dangerous position that continues the pattern of disturbing views from the Paul campaign. His views on national security have been as consistent as they have been misguided.'
So perhaps the issue is not about the political correctness of myspace content, but the chance to paint Chris Hightower, and through association, Rand Paul, as something much more dangerous to the Republican Establishment: a 9/11 Truther.
But Trey Grayson counts on readers to not read the Courier-Journal article where Hightower is accused of being a "Truther."
The image the Grayson campaign wants to create is one that paints Rand Paul as a weird, kooky guy who has a high-level staffer who believes the U.S. government deliberately flew airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Rather, what Chris Hightower said, in a letter to the editor, was
"My goodness, how soon some people forget we invaded them … do you not remember when we installed a foreign leader in Iran in the 1950s, do you not remember putting military bases in Saudi Arabia? Or, perhaps, you have forgotten the attack on Iraq in the Persian Gulf War, and the continued arming of Israel."
What we learn here is that Trey Grayson is more than content to continue peddling the government-approved version of the cause of terrorism: They hate us because we’re free and anyone who thinks there is any other reason is loony, unpatriotic, and un-American.
So regardless of whether Chris Hightower harbors any sympathy at all with a moronic statement left on a myspace page is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Grayson is struggling at the polls and knows it. The only recourse they have now is the only one they’ve had this whole time: fear.
Fear Rand Paul because he doesn’t have GOP-approved views on foreign policy. Fear Rand Paul because he knows somebody who might know somebody who is a racist. Fear Rand Paul because he has curly hair.
Trey Grayson wants voters to think Rand Paul is dangerous. That’s true. Rand Paul is dangerous. For Trey Grayson.
Please donate here.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
with the author
The temperature outside was frigid but there was a warm blanket of political activity inside "Rookie's Sports Bar" in downtown Henderson, Kentucky where U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul met with over 50 of his supporters, including the author of this blog.
Largely an informal event, the senate candidate feared and loathed by the establishment was all smiles as he got to meet with a diverse cast of his supporters. Young and old, black and white, people came out to hear the doctor from Bowling Green talk about balanced budgets, lowering taxes, term limits, and the value of the dollar. As another attendee remarked to me, we didn't hear a single worn-out Republican catchphrase. Rather, the candidate pointed out that President Obama is easy to target and that the real challenge is to get the Republican Party back in shape. It doesn't matter if we harass the president for being reckless with the nation's finances when Republicans do no better themselves.
In a sight inconceivable two years ago when Rand Paul’s father was running for president, the would-be senator is actually a viable candidate and has reason to be upbeat. The last poll conducted in November had Rand within the margin of error against the one-time presumptive candidate, Trey Grayson. The primary is still six months away and despite the rantings of cranky party chairmen, Rand Paul is not too kooky for a lot of folks in Kentucky.
The candidate, before and after his speech, took time to engage with nearly every attendee. In an act that didn't go unnoticed, the candidate was not "fashionably late" or any other euphemism to justify why his time is more important than that of his supporters, but was actually at the venue before the scheduled time. In that same vein, when the candidate departed, it was not flanked by highly-paid suits, but by carrying the boxes of his campaign materials himself.
If the bright mood of the candidate, the money he continues to rake in, and discontent among the ruling party are any indications, then the eye surgeon from Bowling Green will be doing a lot of smiling in 2010.
As anyone in attendance on Thursday Night knew, he has already left a significant imprint in the lives of many of his fellow Kentuckians.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
According to a new WHAS-11 (Louisville) poll, Rand Paul leads among Republicans in the Senate race six months before the primary, but within the margin of error:
Others or undecided: 34%
4.1% margin of error
This is an increase of 5 points for Rand Paul and a decrease of 9 points for Trey Grayson from an earlier WHAS poll in August.
WHAS's coverage below. Notice at the end how they begin to wonder if the hand-picked establishment candidate might have to be replaced by a veteran George W. Bush fundraiser!
Also see the Reuters story here.
Friday, October 30, 2009
The move isn’t even a surprise. Being the son of Ron Paul has its downsides: the establishment hates you.
By raising over $1 million in the third quarter, nearly doubling the amount raised by the secretary of state, Grayson knows that young Dr. Paul will be able to get his name out there and be a force to be reckoned with.
Attempting to turn Rand Paul’s asset as an outsider on its head, Grayson earlier this month said, “He’s an outsider. He’s not a Kentuckian. You know, I’m a 5th generation Kentuckian, educated here in the public schools, raising my family here.”
“I’m a 5th generation Kentuckian.” As my friend Don Rickles would say, “Would you like a cookie?”
Something deep inside tells me that Grayson did not say the same thing to Alabama-born and ergo fellow outsider Mitch McConnell last month when the senate minority leader and 16 other Republican senators who supported last year’s bailouts threw a $500 per plate Washington D.C. fundraiser for him.
But Rand Paul, who has lived in the Bluegrass State since 1993, landed the real zinger in this verbal dust-up: “I’ve been a Kentuckian longer than Grayson’s been a Republican,” reminding voters that their Republican secretary of state was a Democratic delegate for Bill Clinton in 1992.
The other recent smear against Rand Paul is pure farce. It’s so bad . . .
In unison: “How bad was it?”
It’s so bad that if I didn’t know better, I would have suspected the Rand Paul campaign of making it up just so they could make their opponent and his supporters look foolish.
Trey Grayson can thank Breathitt County GOP chairman and campaign donor Mike Bryant for his cute website: Too Kooky For Kentucky.
The title itself is not surprising either. In “Fire Two!” after Rand Paul was smeared by the Voice Tribune of Louisville, I wrote in this blog that it won’t be long until Rand is branded as “just the kook son of chief kook Ron Paul.” Lo and behold, the picture at the head of Too Kooky for Kentucky has Ron Paul on the left and Rand Paul on the right with each of them wearing a dunce cap.
Interviewed on WTVQ-TV in Lexington we meet Mr. Mike Bryant. Rotund, bald, and donning squarish eye glasses, he kind of looks like me without the long sideburns.
After obviously searching for some coherent criticism, Bryant says, “Really, we don’t know yet what Rand stands for in a lot of cases.”
This complaint is laughable in a couple of ways.
Neither Trey Grayson nor any of his supporters have any ground on which to stand when they charge that they don’t know what Rand Paul stands for. As I’ve pointed out numerous times here, the Paul campaign website provides detailed descriptions of his positions whereas as Grayson’s campaign website, until very recently, was as bare as Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard when it came to the issues.
The other point here is that after only a brief survey of Too Kooky for Kentucky, one can easily conclude that the editor does clearly know what Rand Paul stands for. His claim on TV was, let’s say, excessively disingenuous.
He knows that Rand Paul is an antiwar Republican, he knows that he is against the Patriot Act, and he knows that he wants to end the War on Drugs. Of course, all of this makes him “kooky.” Kind of makes me wonder if Mr. Bryant would have dared call the late William F. Buckley a “kook,” who in the last years of his life expressed sympathy with each of those views.
And every post in Mr. Bryant’s little site is entered under the pen name “Ben Franklin.”
In an entry that is probably too ironic for the Too Kooky for Kentucky editor to get is when “Ben Franklin” writes “Like Obama and Kerry – Rand Paul Speaks out Against the Patriot Act.”
If I could get old Doc Brown’s time machine up and running again, I’d like to take this “Ben Franklin” so he can meet the original Ben Franklin. You know, the one who said, “Anyone who would sacrifice liberty for security will lose both.”
Examples like this could go on and on. It already has here.
So why fuss over Too Kooky for Kentucky, an obviously ill-conceived smear website? Well, if it was edited by a Joe Schmo Trey Grayson supporter, it wouldn't be worth any trouble.
But it's not run by a Joe Schmo. It's edited by a county party chairman who actually did the voters of Kentucky a huge favor. Grayson, who appears devoid of any discernible political philosophy, has been shown exactly what is expected of him as a senator.
He is expected to be a Bush Republican.
He is expected to do war, he is expected keep government appraised of our personal lives, he is expected to ignore the Constitution and he is expected to do war some more.
But this is also the Kentucky Republican Party strategy: Slime Rand Paul.
They cannot debate him on the issues. If they could, they wouldn’t have to call him a “kook” or disparage his outsider status. Or they could tell us about the “unkooky” ideas of Trey Grayson.
What they want is for Rand Paul to just go away. He’s inconveniencing Trey Grayson’s ascension as Mitch McConnell Jr.
But since Rand Paul insists on yapping his gums about antiquated ideas like the Constitution and balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility the Grayson people will have just one card to play:
The FEAR RAND PAUL CARD.
And they will play it, as they say in Kentucky, 'til the cows come home.
Stick it to Trey Grayson, Mitch McConnell, and their lackeys by donating to a candidate with real ideas here.
Update: Call and Adams, the Voice-Tribune columnists who smeared Rand in August (here and here) issued him a back-handed compliment last week in this column. They write, "Traditional candidates must secretly envy guys like U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul, who can raise big money over the internet from donors all over the country in events named 'money bombs.'" But notice their contempt when they say, "If Paul is smart, he'll use the extra time on his hands to campaign with Kentuckians who can actually vote for him."
I wonder if they had the same advice for Trey Grayson, the recent beneficiary of a $500/plate D.C. fundraiser. Since it was in Washington D.C., I'm sure there were only Kentuckians there scratching checks for Grayson. Oh, and according to the Paul campaign, their August "money bomb" had an average donation of $86 with 70% of the donations under $100. Just some food for thought about the "big money" Rand Paul gets on the internet.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
This prospect can be very enticing. There is some speculation that Sarah Palin might run for office again. Her endorsement of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York’s 23rd district may make the difference in the 2009 special election. So too might Arlen Specter be sent packing and Chris “Countrywide” Dodd might finally pay for that sweetheart mortgage.
While extricating those suits from their seats might be attractive, one has to wonder what the Republicans have to offer the country other than the “R”’s beside their names.
One potential sleeper contest in 2010 is the Florida senate race. Charlie Crist, global warming-monger and stimulus money beggar, has announced that he will not seek another term as governor so he can run for the senate seat vacated by Mel Martinez. Crist is the favorite in both the primary and the general election, but he faces a challenge from a former underling, one-time Florida Speaker of the House Marco Rubio.
Rubio’s positives make him popular among the grassroots activists. He is a Fair Taxer, supporting a national sales tax instead of the income tax, a solution that fellow anti-IRSites like myself fear might only rearrange a problem instead of solving it. He favors a balanced budget amendment, a position sure to make conservatives swoon in reaction to President Obama’s ridiculous spending habits.
The benefit of Marco Rubio is that he is of Cuban ancestry. The media and haughty liberals never shirk an opportunity to remind the GOP that they are the “Old White Guy Party.” Rubio’s Hispanic heritage automatically catapults him to the front of the line of Republican examples of diversity where he can sit with Michael Steele, Sarah Palin, and Bobby Jindal.
National Review placed the 38-year-old on the cover of its September 7 issue claiming “Yes, He Can” and that the party’s conservative activists need to get behind this “true conservative.”
Whether young Rubio is a “true conservative” or not is a sub question to the earlier one of what the Republicans have to offer: What does a “true conservative” have to offer during the Obama regnancy? What is “conservative” in the post-Bush era?
In a National Review Online interview with the insurgent, Rubio “counts former Gov. Jeb Bush as one of his most important political mentors” and the former governor has since endorsed Rubio as has son, Jeb Jr.
Not one to beat a dead elephant, but conservatives ought to ask themselves one of these days, What exactly has the Bush family done for conservative causes? Break promises not to raise taxes? Take turns invading Iraq? Spent like there was no tomorrow and completely nullifying any good tax cuts could do? Of course Jeb is his own man, but there are many sins of the father and brother for which he must atone.
One of the other GOP veterans who has hitched himself to the Rubio wagon is Mike Huckabee, who is reciprocating the endorsement Rubio made for him in 2008. When asked why he supported Huckabee, who had difficulty attracting much support outside single issue social conservatives, Rubio said,
“Two things I like about Mike Huckabee: One was his support of the Fair Tax . . . Second, I thought that of all the candidates, he did the best job of connecting how the people’s social and moral well-being cannot be separated from their economic well-being.” (emphasis mine)
“the people’s social and moral well-being cannot be separated from their economic well-being.”
Translation: excessive domestic spending known during the Bush years as Compassionate Conservatism.
Toeing both sides of a fine line to appease immigration restrictionists in the party as well as the open borders crowd, Rubio concedes that “On immigration, [Retiring Republican Senator Mel Martinez] voted for a package I probably would not have voted for . . .” (emphasis mine)
Rubio also chooses to toe both sides when it comes to the biggest fiasco of the generation, the Iraq War. Here he takes Jonah Goldberg’s Orwellian position on Iraq: it was a mistake but it was not wrong:
“Obviously, the Iraq War has had the chilling effect of making us question all intelligence findings now. . . . I think that there is some credence, in hindsight, to the notion that the real battlefield was in Afghanistan all along. . . .
“But understand at the same time, we were being told that Iraq was on the verge of gaining a nuclear capability. . . . So it’s impossible to sit here and give a fair analysis in hindsight.”
Translation: OK, maybe the Iraq War wasn’t such a great idea after all. Maybe. But who are we to say it was a mistake? It was just a war. No reason to worry about responsibility for it.
So for all the talk about the Republican Party getting its act together and finally getting back to its conservative principles, if it ever really had them, the "conservatism" during the Obama dispensation looks eerily similar to the one during the days of the Bush regime.
Mushy immigration rhetoric, government taking an active role in the people’s “well-being” and a persistent refusal to criticize GOP foreign policy, Rubio is probably better than Charlie Crist, but might we entertain the possibility that there might be a better potential standard-bearer?
Friday, October 16, 2009
The news that Rush Limbaugh will not be a partial owner of the St. Louis Rams should not be too surprising. The outcry was loud, widespread, and predictable. If Mr. Checketts had not removed Rush from the bidding group, the PC football league would never have approved the deal.
More of a GOP hack than a truly principled conservative, Rush is best at being provocative and talking about football.
While most of the negative reaction has been directed at quotes of spurious origin, people seem to be consumed by the wrong issue. What is plain to see is that while we have freedom of speech in this country, some speech is more equal than others.
Even if the most acidic of Rush’s quotes are real, what difference should it make? If a statement is offensive, let us discuss why it is offensive instead of criminalizing the opinions of private citizens some of us don’t like.
This attitude is also evident in Rush’s quotes that are verifiable.
Whose civil liberty is infringed upon when we are pressured from discussing whether a particular football player might be overrated because of his skin color? Is it the person who asks it or is it the rest of us who are to resist talking about that because it is considered offensive to somebody?
Like Don Imus two years ago, Rush Limbaugh is guilty of a thought crime against elites who are uninterested in hearing anyone else’s opinion except the ones they give us.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Taking the inability or unwillingness of millions of Americans without health insurance and planting in many the imagery of the systematic deaths of over 10 million people in the 1940s, Congressman Grayson made a statement that was far beyond the line. However, considering the rhetoric used in modern politics, it is hardly a surprising analogy.
Coupled with these terms are always the inevitable parallels to World War II. “The Good War” is always selected as the morality tale on behalf of every modern day intervention, be it domestic or foreign. For example, Moammar Gaddhafi, Slobodan Milosevic, and Saddam Hussein have all been tagged “the second Hitler” making Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at least the fifth Hitler by this count.
All of these criminals have been labeled a “Hitler” at one point or another and, of course, “second Holocaust” usually follows shortly thereafter.
These images to World War II, Hitler, and the Holocaust are always convenient in making a political point, often out of desperation. No one in polite society would say that they disagree with the outcome of World War II, think Hitler was just misunderstood, or that the Holocaust was a good event that should be commemorated on the church calendar. No. Those three are the greatest consensuses in the western world.
Since nobody thinks the Holocaust was good, who would dare oppose anything when the alternative would be a “holocaust”? Don’t want a holocaust? Well, we’d better pass this health care legislation. Don’t want a holocaust? We’d better take out Saddam Hussein. Don’t want a second Holocaust? Then you know what we should do with Ahmadeinjad.
Likewise, recent news that the Iranians have an underground nuclear facility near the city of Qom, southwest of Tehran, has elicited the usual catcalls of “appeasement” and the necessity of regime change or sanctions in Iran.
Not satisfied with only having wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, neoconservatives and warmongers in both parties are anxious to begin the bombing of Iran over weapons no one can say with any certainty that they have.
A lot of people were convinced that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could hit either the U.S. or Israel. Nothing of the sort was found and Iraq proved to be far weaker that we suspected. As for Israel, their actions in Lebanon in 2006 and Palestine last year should prove that they are more than capable of defending themselves. Plus, whether Iran would be able to hit Israel should be immaterial to America. Israel’s security is Israel’s responsibility.
But it’s the specter of “holocaust” that is meant to fill Americans’ minds with images of destruction, carnage, and total death, whether there is evidence to justify the illustration or not.
The same is true with Congressman Grayson. There is no evidence to suggest that unless there is a “public option” or universal health care that people will just die by the thousands. Likewise, there is no evidence that Iran is using this new facility in Qom to build a bomb to drop on Israel. But the holocaust plea is issued when its users know their case is weak.
The public option and the road to universal health care in the short term is dying. Countless charges of racism against opponents of government sponsored health care have rendered any hope of meaningful or bipartisan reform moot. Eight years in Afghanistan with no end in sight and numbers turning against the enterprise make it difficult for President Obama to answer his general’s plea to plunge America further into the Afghan malaise. That same war-weary population is not willing to militarily engage Iran unless they know that THIS one is a genuine threat to us. So far it has not been demonstrated.
But this phenomenon ably demonstrates the bankruptcy of America’s two-party system and their collective pandering to the lowest common denominator. Every dying political cause can be reduced to Hitler, the Holocaust, or World War II. It’s time for Americans to awaken and see that instead of facing a holocaust around every corner, the problem is the politicians who talk down to Americans by using these references to scare them into total dependence.
It is insulting and demeaning to a free people.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Following the anti-Obama festivities of the weekend of September 11, 2009, headlined by Glenn Beck’s 9.12 Project and march on Washington, one must certainly attest that the radio and TV host wields some amount of influence on the grassroots Right and beyond. Beck’s exposure of the depravity of ACORN and a rare willingness to sharply criticize the Bush administration make him stand out among the conservative commentariat. But could Beck be just as much of the problem of the Right as its solution?
Watching in 2009, it might appear as though Beck would be a suitable spokesman for a Bush-less Republican Party. He wails against the bank bailouts and the readiness with which Dubya expanded the government. Beck’s eagerness to attack the Bush administration is commendable and many of those attacks are those which Republicans and conservatives need to hear because if someone’s goal is to cut government, restore individual liberty, and be governed by laws instead of men, the first fact that must be grasped is that today's Republican Party is not your friend.
The problem with windbag talkers like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, and their minor league impersonators, is that they never seriously challenge the status quo of their party. This is done to the point that conservative talk radio may as well be called Republican talk radio. After all, these are the folks who jumped on the bandwagon for pro-choice, state-run health care Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. The speed with which they followed the empty suit perfectly illustrates how empty the vessel of contemporary American conservatism is. And it is why the talk radio medium ought to be generally, but not completely, ignored.
Is Glenn Beck different? It’s true that he frequently has Ron Paul as a guest, as well as his son, Rand. Judge Andrew Napolitano, who readily calls Republican and Democratic politicians the criminals that they are, is a regular guest host. Another regular is Professor Kevin Gutzman, a contributor to takimag.com, among the most anti-Bush and anti-GOP establishment webzines, Left or Right, to talk about states’ rights, an issue faux conservatives avoid like the Bubonic plague. Plus, Glenn Beck openly criticizes the Republican Party when the sycophants are still tip-toeing around the fact that maybe Bush might have, possibly, done some things that might not have been quite okay.
I actually somewhat like Beck. His schtick can get a little tiresome, going from crying to yelling to having a fire-side chat all in the same afternoon, but he also does some relevant reporting. Everyone following the news right now has heard about Beck’s reporting of the ACORN scandals. He’s the only TV or radio personality I can think of who has actually taken a skeptical view of the Federal Reserve and the insane monetary practices of printing a trillion dollars. He’s also the only TV host I’m aware of who actually has members of Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty for segments on his show. To people like Rush and Hannity, Ron Paul is still a four-letter word.
Beck’s 9.12 Project is admirable and rather uncontroversial. “Common Sense” was a decent read and was actually pretty independent-minded, calling out both parties for their extravagance but most of it falling on the Democrats.
However, a recent mash-up video has surfaced where Beck can be seen calling Ron Paul a “crazy, kooky guy,” suggesting that last year’s bank bailout “wasn’t nearly enough” and that he “supported the Patriot Act.” Interspersed were neocon party lines of Ahmadinejad as Hitler who was making preparations for a second holocaust. (Also see this video where he contemptibly smears Ron Paul supporters for having a “money bomb” on November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, as domestic terrorists, oddly foreshadowing the Obama administration’s reports about potential right wing domestic terrorism which Beck would ironically denounce.)
Such a video obviously has the potential to be easily taken out of context and spliced together in Michael Moore fashion to make Beck look like a despicable flip-flopper. Indeed, anyone could be embarrassed by seeing their worst predictions all glued together. For example, in a needlessly rambling blog from over a year ago, I implied support for the war in Afghanistan over the one in Iraq, a position I certainly do not hold today.
“I guess the scales are falling off my eyes. . . . In 1900 with Teddy Roosevelt . . . we’re going to tell the rest of the world, ‘We’re going to spread democracy.’ . . . in Latin America, we really became thuggish and brutish. It only got worse after the next progressive came into office . . . the next one was a Democratic progressive, Woodrow Wilson, and we did, we empire built. The Democrats felt we needed to empire build with one giant, global government, it was originally . . . League of Nations . . . then it became the United Nations, one world government. The Republicans took it as ‘We’re going to lead the world and we’ll be the leader of it.’ I don’t think we should be either of those. I think we need to mind our own business and protect our own people. When somebody hits us, hit back hard, and then come home.” (emphasis mine)
If there is one issue that continues to unite the mainstream Right, outside of opposition to Obama, it’s the unwavering support for Bush’s wars. Even if it took him more than seven years, Glenn Beck should be commended for speaking out against enduring military occupations. May he keep it up.
But it’s still quite precarious that Glenn Beck has shed his more odious positions once the Republicans were thoroughly repudiated. His antics are a bit annoying, bordering on bad soap opera acting, but he still displays better independence than his more unoriginal talk radio colleagues.
So, is Glenn Beck healthy for the Right? Maybe, maybe not. Is he part of the solution or is he part of the problem? If he’s part of the problem, he’s far less of it than Rush, Hannity, Levin or Coulter.
Conservatives have been betrayed in an unrepentant fashion for the entirety of this century. If the evolution of Beck’s positions mean anything, it means that he might be a spokesman and a platform for an effective and genuine anti-government movement. It also means he’s someone who’s worth keeping at an arm’s length for any Republican Party that wants to move past the errors of the Bush administration.
Friday, August 28, 2009
While enthusiastically received, the government's Cash for Clunkers program is but a band-aid that offers no long-term solutions.
We have been told that since so many people have lined up to exchange their "clunkers" for a rebate to buy a newer, fuel-efficient car, the economy is turning a corner because people are spending again. But it seems like no one is asking where the money for these rebates is coming from. The government is in spiraling debt, but taxes haven't increased nor have any programs been scaled back, so we know that the governent hasn't raised any new revenue.
Where did this money come from? It had to either be borrowed or printed out of thin air. In either scenario, we are all further in debt or face inflation. What this means is that at a time when people should be saving their money, the government is encouraging people to accrue more debt.
We are not far removed from the housing crisis that resulted in millions of people facing foreclosure and repossession. The money supply was expanded to accommodate all the loans issued that ultimately could not be paid back. Even with generous rebates, we will ultimately face inflation, and poorer folks are destined to default on car payments. And even though people flocked to car dealers for a couple of weeks, factories are not re-opening, closed dealerships remain closed, and workers are still laid off.
Like a shot of morphine, Cash for Clunkers makes us feel good about the economy for a little while, but eventually the high goes away and we return to reality. And that reality is that Cash for Clunkers was a $3 billion program that brought no new jobs to a struggling economy and deepened the debt.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
When a titanic character like Ted Kennedy passes away, it can be easy to forget the things we did not like about them and only remember the good. It seems too petty to squabble once they’re dead. If we’re lucky, and the deceased wasn’t a nefarious scoundrel, we really can dwell on their finer side. But in this case, we have quite a struggle.
At worst, he was a murdering adulterer. At best, he was a manslaughterer with marital indiscretions that were as endemic among the Kennedy men as political ambition.
It’s not a burden for me to confess that I had no sympathy for the political positions that Ted Kennedy held. From his numerous immigration boondoggles to ruinous health care overhauls to education bar-lowerings, I found little agreeable with his agenda. Aside from his vote against the Iraq war, I would have to strain to think of a single vote of his that I would applaud.
With a health care debate literally raging and its chief spokesman going to the grave, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that his death will be used by his political allies to propagate their cause or that his enemies will continue to use his name and image as the “Liberal Lion” as a bludgeon against it. Indeed, even in death, Ted Kennedy will remain with us.
One of nine children, one of four sons, he had the closest to a natural death of any of his brothers. It’s difficult not to feel sorry for someone forced to endure that sort of tragedy. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy and neither would I wish it on Edward Kennedy either.
Love him or hate him. Those were the only options for Ted Kennedy in life. For what he did in his public and private life, I am not ashamed to admit that I hated him. But not enough hate to be pleased that he breathed his last breath late Tuesday night.
Rest in peace, Teddy. Let us bury the hatchet with you.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
*At the request of my friend Tim, the Left Coast Rebel, I have written up a general action plan in our quest to see Rand Paul elected to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky. Enjoy.
There is little question remaining as to whether President Obama acted on his mandate to bring “change.” Now his poll numbers are slipping. Republicans, who were recently told the party may go the way of the dodo, are salivating about the possibility of returning to power as early as 2010.
Not so fast.
Republicans may be able to ride a wave of anti-Obama sentiment, but they should also be careful what they wish for.
Texas Governor George W. Bush rode into the presidency on a wave of Clinton fatigue and when he left, both he and his party were a smoldering mess.
The GOP might return to power in the House of Representatives in 2010, but if they return with nothing but a Bushless version of compassionate conservatism, it will be a Pyrrhic Victory.
For a victory worth attaining, we must provide a choice, not an echo. We must have a real platform, not a mindlessly repetitive slogan of “At least we’re not Democrats!” We must have a plan to show the country that Republicans are the party of small government, not the party of barely smaller government than the Democrats.
While the Democrats are spending money faster than Ben Bernanke can print it, now is the perfect time not only for the Republicans to return to power, but to return with oppositional force and the power of ideas.
Enter Rand Paul, Republican running for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, but more importantly, he is running for liberty.
This is a time when grassroots Republicans can support and must demand candidates who will follow the Constitution and toe the party line only when the latter conforms to the former.
This is also the time to educate ourselves not just about the issues that face us but the candidates who purport to represent us.
Facing an establishment-approved candidate, physician Rand Paul has an uphill battle just to gain the Republican nomination. If a candidate, like Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, does not even post his positions on issues on his website but boasts about “listening” to potential voters, be aware that that candidate is doing nothing to aid liberty for the individual but is pandering to the anti-Democratic vote.
Simple exploration of http://www.randpaul2010.com/ will educate the reader and demonstrate that Rand Paul is a candidate grassroots Republicans can support, even if they don’t live in Kentucky.
Even though Dr. Paul would officially represent only Kentuckians, being a member of the 100-member Senate would assure that his votes would impact people in all states. Anyone unsure of that may want ask themselves whether the Republicans could afford to break out of their 40-seat minority.
But to wage a winning campaign, more than just the right ideas are necessary. Enough money is needed to stay in a competitive primary and general election. Rand Paul has calculated that although his opponents will likely raise more, he will need $2 million, $1 million for each contest. While that seems like a lot to raise for a candidate who won’t have the big money backers, no big contribution is needed if lots of people just give a little.
For example, last Thursday, August 20, an online fundraiser brought in over $400,000 to the Rand Paul campaign bringing the total to almost $700,000. The campaign reported afterward that the average donation was $86 and 70% of the donations were under $100.
Here’s the plan:
· Please make a small donation. Contributions like these to a candidate like Rand Paul assures that he would be representing people like you and it shows that large, united grassroots efforts can effectively challenge the corporate interests that rule both parties.
· Subscribe to the youtube.com channel “RandPaulsupporter.” This is a compendium of speeches and appearances Rand Paul has made from Neil Cavuto’s afternoon program on Fox News to Russia Today to what is apparently the back of a pick-up truck in Richmond, Kentucky.
· Check out Rand Paul for U.S. Senate, a blog I keep with Matthiasj of the Kentucky Preppers Network. We search the news everyday for any story about Rand Paul, his opponents, or the Senate race in general.
· This is just a subpoint, but stay educated. Rand Paul has already been smeared by establishment mouthpieces. Rand Paul for U.S. Senate is one place where you can arm yourself with the truth to defend against the lies. The party establishment is only concerned with winning, not promoting freedom or conservative principles. If you don’t believe that, just consider how many times Arlen Specter was elected as a Republican.
· Join the Campaign for Liberty and create a page, not unlike facebook. The continuation of Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, the Campaign for Liberty will provide you with a variety of resources at your fingertips as well as a network of fellow liberty-minded patriots. Spend five minutes browsing through members’ blogs and you will be amazed at how many people are enthusiastic about liberty and not subservience to the State.
· Join facebook and become a supporter of Rand Paul. It may sound corny, but there are lots of messages and alerts sent out by groups and pages that follow the Paul campaign so you’ll always be informed.
Modest contributions and a grasp for the truth are enough to hoist Rand Paul to the nomination and all the way to the U.S. Senate. And it can be done with your help. A little bit of time, effort, and money from everyone who loves liberty is all we need to begin to chip away at the bipartisan racket of American politics.
If anyone has any questions about Rand Paul or the campaign, don’t hesitate to contact me via my blog where you can access my e-mail.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Continuing on Monday’s theme of the smear artists coming out for Senate candidate Rand Paul, the columnists Call and Adams are back and seem upset that their criticism of Rand Paul has generated a backlash from Dr. Paul’s supporters.
Writes Call in “Rand Paul push-back”:
“Julie’s column criticizing Rand Paul for announcing his Senate campaign on cable news channels rather than in Kentucky struck a chord with some of our readers. One supporter told us, ‘Yes, Dr. Rand Paul made his announcement in New York City on Fox News about 1,000 miles from Kentucky with good reason. From reading your column, you are probably part of that reason.’
“What an arrogant mind-set for a campaign to develop, considering potential primary voters as “part of the problem.”
What an arrogant mind-set? What an arrogant obfuscation of the point! Criticism of the media equals criticism of potential primary voters?
Does this not sound like the allegations made by Democratic hit-men that people protesting President Obama’s health care plan are only doing so because the president is black? It almost defies words and the bounds of rational thinking to honestly believe that that particular supporter’s beef had anything to do with potential Kentucky Republican primary voters.
Call and Adams might be interested in what I wrote on Monday about what the anonymous Rand Paul supporter might have meant by “you are probably part of that reason”:
“But despite traveling across the state, giving speeches, and apparently going hoarse, Dr. Paul barely gets mentioned in Kentucky media outside of his Bowling Green residence. If a candidate is habitually labeled a “long-shot” and struggles to get a line or two in a newspaper, wouldn’t that candidate at least want to consider a national media outlet that he knows many in his state watch?”
“From reading all of the e-mails we received from Paul supporters, I get the impression that his followers look at him as a hero who is not like all the other ‘career politicians.’ I respect many politicians, but I’ve always found it sad when people place all of their hopes on one candidate who they believe can fix everything.
“This kind of hero worship is a sure path to disappointment, so Paul supporters may want to put the Kool-Aid down.”
These are interesting references to be sure.
Kool-Aid, one of Bill O’Reilly’s favorite analogies for “liberal loons”, refers to the cyanide-laced Kool-Aid drunk by Jim Jones’ cult followers in a mass suicide in Jonestown. Therefore, drinking the Kool-Aid means following a person or cause so fervently that it leads to your own downfall or death. Apparently these ladies think obeying the Constitution, adhering to sound money policies, and opposing corporate bailouts is not a wise course for the GOP. Good to know.
The charge of hero worshiping politicians who “they believe can fix everything” is a direct attempt to conflate enthusiastic Paul supporters with the legions of Obama zombies that inspired conservatives to sardonically dub the then-senator “The Messiah.” Call and Adams, who have no qualms about heaping praise on the establishment favorite, Secretary of State Trey Grayson, must hope that such rhetoric will convince undecided Republicans that either Rand Paul’s supporters are as delusional as President Obama’s or that a vote for Rand Paul is like a vote for the Obama agenda itself. After all, it wasn't too long ago that Michigan GOP chair Saul Anuzis wanted to exclude Ron Paul from the GOP presidential debates or fan favorite Michelle Malkin wanted the elder Dr. Paul expelled to the fringes of the Democratic Party.
What I’ve documented this week is only a tidbit of what will surely come young Dr. Paul’s way. The Voice Tribune is a small scale organization, but as Rand Paul closes in on Trey Grayson (WHAS - 11 in Louisville recently conducted a poll where Grayson leads the supposed long-shot Paul by only 11 percentage points at 37-26%, painfully closer than Grayson would want it this far away from the May 2010 primary), the smears will get more intense, more outlandish, more disingenuous, and come from bigger outlets.
Take the time to visit Rand Paul’s campaign website and browse his positions on the issues and then take a gander at Trey Grayson’s vacuous website in search of anything substantial. Also visit Rand Paul for Senate, my other blog where I collaborate with Matthiasj of Kentucky Preppers Network with a combination of original writings (some that also appear here) and recent news about Rand Paul or the senate race in general. But most importantly, if you can spare it, please donate to the Rand Paul campaign.
The addition of one constitutionally-minded senator won’t change everything, but he would be able to change some. The big government and big corporate interests of the Republican Party, even in the conservative state of Kentucky, don’t want the independent mind of Dr. Rand Paul. They want a Yes Man to Mitch McConnell who will take studious notes from the Minority Leader on how not to rock the boat.
Kentuckians should expect to hear soon from the media and establishment propaganda organs about how conservative and down-to-earth everyman Trey Grayson is while Rand Paul is just the kook son of chief kook Ron Paul, all of whose supporters escaped from the insane asylum.
As you should know from this week’s posts, it’s already begun.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Still considered a long-shot by the establishment, Dr. Rand Paul, candidate for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky, will soon find himself staring down the barrel of what libertarian economist Murray Rothbard called “The Smear Bund.”
As the campaign progresses, it will be impossible (without a small cyber army) to debunk every character assassination attempt that comes in the direction of Rand Paul. However, one recent attempt on the website Voice-Tribune.com, a Louisville-based soft news center, is sure to be a steady one: young Dr. Paul is only running so he can cash in on his father’s popularity.
Writing in an op-ed, Julie Adams and Ellen Call have problems with the fact that Rand Paul announced his candidacy on cable:
“Paul used these two media outlets [CNN and Fox News] to inform Kentucky voters of why he’s running to represent this state in Congress.
“Oh, wait a minute; his announcement had absolutely nothing to do with informing Kentucky voters about why he wants to serve the commonwealth in Washington, D.C. His announcement was all about tapping into his father’s failed presidential network of donors across the United States in an attempt to assist in his own fundraising efforts. . . .
“Unlike traditional candidates for statewide office, Paul chose not to fly around the state, promote his candidacy and meet and greet.”
Actually, that sounds like a reasonable expectation of anyone desiring state-wide office. There’s only one problem: Rand Paul has already been going across the state talking about his ideas.
But despite traveling across the state, giving speeches, and apparently going hoarse, Dr. Paul barely gets mentioned in Kentucky media outside of his Bowling Green residence. If a candidate is habitually labeled a “long-shot” and struggles to get a line or two in a newspaper, wouldn’t that candidate at least want to consider a national media outlet that he knows many in his state watch? And in the case of CNN and Fox News, he should have the bases covered. I also wonder if these ladies have the same problem with the Kennedys, the Bushes, the Clintons, the Romneys, or the Dodds as they have with Rand Paul.
Then one of the writers reveals their condescension regarding the possibility of Dr. Paul sitting in the upper chamber:
“I sure wish I could have started out as a U.S. Senator, but I chose to run for Metro Council first to show folks in my hometown that I am committed to making my city a better place to live.”
[Sigh] If only little brats like the son of Ron Paul cared about people as much as I do. I obviously love my community more than Rand Paul loves his because I was so unselfish that I decided to begin a political career at the bottom of the ladder. Instead, the self-absorbed Paul had the audacity to have a career in the private sector where he helped people with eye disease. If he really cared about the people of Kentucky, he would have started out as a Bowling Green city councilman. Instead, this would-be nepotist founded a citizens’ tax reform group Kentucky Taxpayers United, which, besides not being a pre-approved political starting point, has nothing to do with helping the people of Kentucky.
Or something like that.
“It would be wise for Paul to spend a little more energy on a “listening tour” covering the issues and challenges facing our state and leave the streets of New York City for Mayor Bloomberg.”
Hey, that’s another good point! Rand Paul should go on this “listening tour,” much like the one Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney were ridiculed for doing in the spring.
A listening tour, for those who aren’t familiar with the term, is just a fancy term insulated politicians use before they pander to their constituents. Appearing to listen to voters' concerns is the smoke-screen politicians use to find out what voters want to hear. They may as well be called “hustling tours.”
But career politicians have to do these “listening tours” because they don’t know what the average voter is worried about. The people who conduct “listening tours” haven’t been private citizens in years, possibly decades. Why should Rand Paul have a “listening tour” when he already knows the concerns of the average voter? Apparently he should adopt the plan of lead attention-getter, no-platform Trey Grayson whose campaign website still reads:
“I look forward to traveling across the Commonwealth and hearing how best to address the problems that face our country. As I explore this opportunity to continue serving you, I am committed to representing all Kentuckians and the issues that are important to you.”
In this short statement, the secretary of state admits that even though he’s been serving the people of Kentucky for years now, he doesn’t know which issues are important to them. So why should he be the automatic front-runner to gain access to “The Most Exclusive Club”?
According to Adams and Call, it would seem that Secretary Grayson has paid the right dues, regardless of whether he has the right ideas or any ideas at all.
This is what separates Rand Paul from his generic Republican opponent. He doesn’t need to travel around the state to see what’s going on – he already knows. He travels across the state because he’s getting his message out. He also travels because he’s virtually ignored by the media of his state and when he does get mentioned by people like Adams and Call, it’s for purposes of mockery and derision.
The smear attempt in the Voice Tribune was just in a small forum, but the subsequent smears will only resemble this one: Rand Paul is just his father's son and nothing else.
After eight years of a president and a party unconcerned with ideas, isn't it encouraging that there is someone seeking office does have ideas, regardless of who his father is?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
The recession is on its way out! The “Cash for Clunkers” program has been a rousing success. The government agreed to give away money and people surprisingly lined up with their hands eagerly held out. The government printed up money (“It’s free money from the government!”) and the auto industry is back on its feet and soon it will be better than ever.
The lunacy of the Cash for Clunkers boondoggle is a testament to the government’s inability to learn from its mistakes.
Like the vaunted stimulus earlier this year, the “Cash for Clunkers” program was sold to the public as the avenue through which the economy will be jump-started. Just throw some money at a problem and like magic, it will go away. People aren’t buying enough cars? The solution must be the government paying people to start the process.
Unsurprisingly, the initial response to the program was successful. Despite saying that they are tired of others getting tax breaks and special treatment, people are generally receptive when they are the ones getting “free money” from the government.
So people are now buying new cars, maybe even American cars. That’s great, and all it took was a little government spending, $1 billion, to get the ball rolling.
And just like the housing bubble that inevitably burst, the “Cash for Clunkers” program is but a band-aid that brings no permanent relief, much less stabilization.
At a time when jobs are still not coming back, “Cash for Clunkers” offers no genuine solutions. Sure, people are buying cars, but does that alone mean the economy is on the way back? Closed dealerships remain closed. Factories aren’t reopening. The only certainty to come out of “Cash for Clunkers” is that it plunges the United States and its citizens further into debt.
Less than a year after the housing market hit rock bottom, people seem to believe that the government can create money out of thin air, pass it out, and then think that reality won’t set in when the money cannot be paid back.
Look at the housing crisis. Credit was massively expanded making more “money” available in the form of loans so that people traditionally deprived of loans could buy the home of their dreams. But the bills came due and people who should not have been approved for loans in the first place lost their homes. The same thing can’t happen to eager car buyers, can it?
The same general principle is at work in “Cash for Clunkers.” People are enticed with money that appeared out of nowhere so they can buy a new fuel-efficient car that they don’t necessarily need.
For a country that is still suffering through a recession and incalculable debt, it is dumbfounding to see that Congress and President Obama believe that creating more debt will somehow alleviate the current problems. It’s as if a doctor treating a stab wound victim decides that shoving the knife deeper into the tissue will make the stab wound go away. It makes no sense.
This program brings only temporary benefits but it cannot go on forever. Eventually the program will stop and lots of people will probably default on their car payments making this whole exercise a waste. But in the meantime, it’s quite likely that the same logic, handing out money, will be extended to some other industry. The U.S. Postal Service is in some financial trouble and thousands of offices might close. Will the government begin handing out tax rebates so we’ll send out more packages from the post office? Will they raise taxes to support the next scam?
Not likely. We already hear that taxes cannot be raised because we’re already in a recession and people can’t be deprived of yet more of their money. But isn’t that what “Cash for Clunkers” inevitably leads to? People losing yet more of their money for cars they might not even need?
The program encourages more spending when people should be saving.
But stopping programs like “Cash for Clunkers” is only stopping a symptom. It is the entire mentality that government can just hand out money to spur spending that needs to change. And the entity that needs to be confronted is the one that makes such schemes possible in the first place. It is not President Obama or even the dim-witted Congress, but the Federal Reserve, that giant printing press.
Printing up money that doesn’t exist is exactly what gets average citizens thrown into jail. But as long as the government has a “private” agency that officially finances its spending, people can be convinced that their taxes won’t have to be raised so the auto industry can stay afloat or that government-run health care is even remotely possible.
But before the Fed can be stopped, it has to first be examined. That is what Ron Paul’s “Audit the Fed” is designed to do. Already with over 250 co-sponsors in the House, the companion bill has a growing number of co-sponsors in the Senate. If we can expect government spending to actually slow down or even stop, we have to stop the mechanism that makes deficit spending possible.
To adapt from the historian Tom Woods, To stop the spending machine, you have to go after the money machine.
Audit the Fed.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Here are a few highlights from Glenn Beck’s interview today with Rand Paul, newly declared senate candidate in Kentucky. Added emphases are mine. Read the whole interview here.
PAUL: [The] Primary reason I run for office is I think our country is drowning in a sea of debt and I don't think the career politicians on either side of the aisle, Republican or Democrat, have been willing to address the problem. We need somebody who is an outsider who doesn't really need the career in Washington, doesn't need the fame of going to Washington, who wants to go up there and fix problem.
. . . In Kentucky we have a balanced budget every year by law. California doesn't, but we're ultimately going to be paying the taxes to bail out California. The federal government needs a rule because you cannot trust the politicians to balance their budget.
BECK: Where do you stand on healthcare? You're a doctor.
PAUL: I think the healthcare plan as presented is a disaster. I think the more benign sounding the title, Free Choice Healthcare Act, the more ominous the contents.
BECK: Do you think there's any place at all for government healthcare?
PAUL: Very, very little, even what we have doesn't work. People brag about the Medicare system. But the Medicare system, the costs are rising faster than the private system. And in the Medicare system, we're already short of money. . . . There are too many older folks and not enough younger folks working to pay for Medicare already. And they've added Medicare prescription drug plan which we don't have enough money for either. So really there's already a squeeze in what government's doing, and they're talking about adding another trillion dollars worth of cost to that system. It's untenable and won't work. But the other thing is the whole thing driving this debate is the 46 million uninsured. But of those if you break it down a third of them make more than $50,000 a year. A third of them are eligible for Medicaid but haven't signed up for it. And 20% are illegal aliens, and we're driving the debate over the government and society paying for the healthcare of people who broke the law to come here. I think it's crazy.
PAUL: . . . I'm worried about the deficit and what it will do. . . . ultimately I'm not a doomsday sayer, but I worry about in Germany, in 1923 when they destroyed their currency out of that arose a Hitler. . . . And we have to be very careful that we don't rewrite our Constitution or throw it out completely and we don't get some kind of strong leader that's going to help us or keep us from ourselves.
Aug 5, 2009
AP NewsBreak: Paul seeking US Senate seat from Ky.
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A Kentucky ophthalmologist who has been eyeing a U.S. Senate campaign says he will run for the seat now held by Jim Bunning.
Republican Rand Paul of Bowling Green ended months of speculation Wednesday when he told The Associated Press in an interview that he is entering the race. Paul told the AP of his decision in advance of a series of planned media events, including an appearance on national television Wednesday evening.
Paul had been considering running even before the 77-year-old Bunning announced last week that he intends to retire when his second term ends next year.
Paul is the son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, a Texas lawmaker who ran in last year's Republican primaries.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The following piece was originally authored by my good friend the Left Coast Rebel. If you don't already frequent his fine site, you should.
One more note: as of this week, I am also contributing to Rand Paul for U.S. Senate, a compendium of the latest news, videoes, and commentary about Rand Paul. Please take the time to visit us. And, please, if you can spare it, donate to the Rand Paul campaign.
Rand Paul and Rush - On the Shattering Illusion of Integrity
by The Left Coast Rebel.
Begin the day with a friendly voice,
A companion unobtrusive
Plays the song that's so elusive
And the magic music makes your morning mood.
Off on your way, hit the open road,
There is magic at your fingers
For the Spirit ever lingers,
Undemanding contact in your happy solitude.
Invisible airwaves crackle with life
Bright antenna bristle with the energy
Emotional feedback on timeless wavelength
Bearing a gift beyond price, almost free
All this machinery making modern music
Can still be open-hearted.
Not so coldly charted, it's really just a question
Of your honesty, yeah, your honesty.
One likes to believe in the freedom of music,
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity.
For the words of the profits were written on the studio wall,
And echoes with the sounds of salesmen.
- Rush, The Spirit of the Radio, 1980
My favorite band ever, (probably shows my age), bettered only by my favorite Senatorial primary candidate Rand Paul, (Kentucky for the 2010 race). I was reading today here that Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky announced that he will not run for re-election, my mind danced back and forth on the possible usherance of Rand's viability - an accelerated fundraising, message, viability and prophet of liberty. A voice for constitutional restraint and limited governance that is all but nonexistent in our Capitol. Rand is the real deal.
Knowing that Rand Paul's chances in many ways pivoted on Bunning running or not, I am excited that Bunning's exit may usher him into a lead for the Senate primary. Still somewhat of a long shot, (fill me in readers on how he may not be), this may bolster his money efforts and accelerate his campaign. Highlights from Rand's recent speech for me -
- Where I'm different than some Republicans who will run for this office is that I think that we need to self-examine as a party where we are....where we haven't been so good....I believe that we will have within a year or two, worse than what we had in 1979, rip-roaring inflation and it will be of major consequence to the country, ( I agree).
- All of the Republicans voted against the Obamanation budget, but when we were in charge we weren't so good. We were in charge for 8 years and we doubled the debt from 5 to 10 trillion dollars. We presided over the largest entitlement program since LBJ, the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, we cannot afford it and it is bankrupting Medicare at a rapid rate. (Folks, this needs to be relentlessly pointed out, for the GOP to learn not from its mistakes is to ensure the same results as the Obamanation, albeit at a slower clip).
- We as Republicans also presided over a doubling of the size of the Department of Education, doubling the number of employees and increasing the Federal control over education.
- A primary is about the direction of our country, it's about the direction of our party. Our party is simply an empty vessel unless we imbue it with something....you need to decide what type of Republicans will lead the party and where to go from here. I believe in the Republican party platform, the platform says that we are not here to bail-out private businesses. Let's choose leaders that believe in the platform and vote accordingly.
The direction of the party, the direction of the nation. Rand Paul exemplifies and personifies the adherence to an ethos of liberty; of an unflinching and stalwart compliance to the law of man and the laws of nature. That we cannot find prosperity through printed dollars. That we cannot bring the higher-up down to bring the lower up. That we cannot be ruled by our most base instincts. That we cannot be laid waste by Silver-Tongued Messiahs. That we cannot find prosperity as a nation by jettisoning the very concepts and notions that have made us the most prosperous and freest nation in the world, in all of mankind's history. That we cannot bury our Constitution, our most noble experiment in mankind's history.
Support him. For your Country, for our future, for liberty.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Or so we would think.
Grayson, considered by many to be the top Bluegrass Republican, was the recipient of $602,299 in campaign donations during the second quarter, outraising Senator Bunning by a wide margin and was likely the biggest reason for his retirement.
Sounds rather impressive. But what do we know about Trey Grayson? Who is he? What does he stand for?
Since 2004, Grayson has been the Secretary of State in Kentucky and according to his office website, his biggest accomplishments seem to be that he’s put government information online and has worked for “honest elections.” Not too bad, but not too great either. Besides, what politician would ever say they’ve worked against honest elections?
But searching for anything resembling a political philosophy in Trey Grayson is quite a task.
As I reported in May, Secretary Grayson’s campaign website leaves plenty to be desired. The shallow opening message that remains there today is still the closest visitors can come to finding that political philosophy: “I look forward to traveling across the Commonwealth and hearing how best to address the problems that face our country. As I explore this opportunity to continue serving you, I am committed to representing all Kentuckians and the issues that are important to you.”
Again I ask, does this mean he doesn’t have an actual agenda and is going to shape his platform according to what he discerns the people want to hear? And again, this smacks of a man without political principles.
But there is another option.
When Kentucky’s Republicans could be resigned to the fate of another lockstep Republican who knows how to recite conservative-sounding rhetoric but will inevitably bow to his party overlords, they need to know that they have another option. They could have a candidate who will swear fealty to the Constitution.
Sure, but doesn’t that sound like the standard Republican mantra of “respect for the Constitution” that is selectively followed? Where is the proof that Rand Paul (aside from the genetic argument) is not just another Republican who is spouting his assigned script and actually means it when he says we need to follow the Constitution?
That is because Rand Paul urges that the Constitution needs to be followed on the one issue Republicans want no part of: officially declaring war.
In this time of Republican exile, one can frequently hear GOP pols complain about how the new Democratic administration is constantly violating the Constitution with an endless list of economic usurpations that the U.S. Constitution in no way permits. Not that that is an incorrect assessment of the new regime, but the Republicans’ credibility on the issue is lower than low.
As the Constitution reads in Article 1, Section 8, it the Congress, not the President, who has the power “to declare war.”*
According to Rand Paul’s much more detailed campaign website, “any military action that takes more than a few days or weeks to organize and is directed against a country's government should require a declaration of war. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Congress met and declared war within 24hrs.”
How’s that for proof? Rand Paul isn’t talking ad nauseum about the Republican-safe issue of the Second Amendment, (although he does support the right to own a gun) but he is prepared to invoke the Constitution on the one issue that most haunts the Republicans and the one clause in the Constitution Republicans forfeited in order to give President Bush a blank check for a war of his choosing.
This is the bravery necessary for the Republicans to make a real comeback. Courage to obey the Constitution at all times, not to pay lip service about “respecting” the Constitution while out of power. They must shed the remnants of the Bush years and embrace the traditional conservative credo of caution and adherence to the law, by no means a mutually exclusive phenomenon.
So the candidacy of Rand Paul is full of promise and brimming with integrity. But let us not forget the lesson of Jim Bunning: politics requires money. While young Dr. Paul is raising a respectable amount (over $160,000 at this writing), more is needed. He still trails the presumed frontrunner Grayson by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This is where the grassroots soldiers enter.
On August 20, Ron Paul’s birthday, there is scheduled to be a “money bomb.”** If you are reading this, love liberty, and want real change within the American government, Rand Paul is one of the players who is worth supporting because he is one of the few in the 2010 discussion who is likely to keep his promises.
But he needs our moral and financial support. I am normally loathe to ask for money for anything (I think it can border on begging) but it is necessary here. Nobody needs to donate very much, but please, donate something. Even a little is enough. The Kentucky establishment effectively threw out an imperfect, but worthwhile conservative in Jim Bunning who was the victim of empty coffers.
Bunning over Grayson, but Rand Paul over all for liberty in the Bluegrass State.
Please help make it happen and donate.
*Though often conflated, the Authorization to Use Military Force resolution is not the same thing as an official declaration of war. In 2002, when Ron Paul suggested that an official declaration of war be issued against Iraq, supposed-conservative Henry Hyde told him that such action was “anachronistic” and something that just “isn’t done anymore”. That is not the attitude or mindset of anyone who thinks they are one and the same.
Monday, July 20, 2009
To the grassroots Palinistas, this is a charge of treason.
Governor Palin has certainly been the recipient of some awful treatment from establishment types. These folks would have been fine with Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge on last year’s vice presidential slot, as they certainly would not have rocked the boat.
But people who fixate on the country club comment are on the wrong topic. Ron Paul did not call Palin herself a “Country Club Republican,” but regarded her followers as “more establishment, conventional, Country-Club type Republicans.”
At first, this does look like a statement at least a little divorced from reality. Surely all those hockey moms and pro-life demonstrators can’t be part of the dreaded establishment. That’s because they’re not. They are the poor folks who have been duped by the establishment into thinking that a Palin presidency would immediately benefit them. If the Palin supporters who had the influence to push the governor into the vice presidential slot are the ones we’re counting, then maybe Dr. Paul isn’t so crazy after all. He continues:
“I wonder whether she’s engaging 15-20 year olds . . . Because she doesn’t talk about the Federal Reserve. . . . She doesn’t talk too much about personal liberties, civil liberties, getting rid of drug laws, attacking the war on drugs, punishing people who torture.”
I might also add that after her rousing, war-centric convention speech last fall, coupled with an Israeli flag in her governor’s office, Sarah Palin, while exceptional at throwing red meat to the eager Republican base, at the least, does a mean impersonation an establishment lackey.
But this highlights the continuing rift in the Republicans, and if nothing else, their refusal to acknowledge the main cause for their woes: Iraq and the possibility (inevitability?) of even more foreign wars. And when the American Enterprise Institute and The Weekly Standard, a think tank and a magazine where the Iraq war germinated, think of Sarah Palin as a “project,” one conjures up memories of Texas Governor George W. Bush’s rhetoric of “no nation-building” being replaced with a “crusade to end tyranny.”
So is it possible that the appeal of Sarah Palin for the executive branch can be an odd combination of establishment appeal and grassroots rhetoric?
As I wrote recently, I’m not a Palin-aholic, but I am inclined to like her and I’ve said before that I want to like her. When I began reading about her last year, I rather liked what I learned: Lived by a pro-life creed that put other Republicans to shame, publicly questioned the “Surge” in Iraq and the lack of an exit strategy, and her husband had membership in the Alaskan Independence Party. This didn’t exactly scream George W. Bush reborn. But that someone who seemed to possess these fine qualities would hitch her wagon to John McCain was a bit odd. Perhaps it was telling.
Ask a Palin supporter what they like about her. Chances are great that what you will find is someone caught up in her personality. Yes, the story is inspiring, raising a big family while maintaining a career, and while that’s admirable, that’s not enough for me to throw support. “She’s a fighter” or “she’s a maverick” or “she’s one of us,” do not constitute solid arguments. Chances are also great that many of these same people are revolted by the cult of personality that still very much surrounds the current commander-in-chief. And a cult of personality around Palin is exactly what will be exploited by a Republican establishment that has no qualms about returning to the days of Bush.
It is this very cult of personality that makes me yet more wary if Sarah Palin chooses to re-enter elective politics (although I don’t see how). She clearly has a very devoted band of followers (I’m not sure, but I wonder if Palin had been caught in an affair like Mark Sanford, whether her supporters would have been screaming “Resign!”, not that I am making the charge) who are ready to fight for their beloved figure and what the GOP needs right now is a figure for their masses to unite around, even if it’s someone who seemingly threw her electability out the window with her resignation.
This is worthy of wariness because until very recently, George W. Bush possessed a cult-like following and one could say he still does when it comes to matters of war and the military. Because of that, President Bush got away with a lot of patently un-conservative behavior because his base would never question him. And they didn’t. So why would a base, even more in love with Palin, act any differently?
And like Bush, should Sarah Palin ever assume the presidency, she would enter with little background in foreign policy. But just as Governor Bush once sounded like a cautious interventionist, Governor Palin could just as easily be hoodwinked into the Forever War camp as well – in fact, it appears the neocons’ project worked. How else might someone who questioned the 2007 troop surge now sound like the editorial board of The Weekly Standard? And just for the record, didn’t she support McCain’s vote for TARP and his decision to bailout the banks?
Perhaps Sarah Palin is not exactly a “Country Club Republican” herself, but what she did in Alaska did little to truly unhinge the state’s establishment. That Palin is even still discussed as a presidential contender should signal to us that she is acceptable to the establishment. This is what her ardent supporters should be paying attention to. The establishment snobs we often disdain might not have such a problem with her after all. That can be because they might have already broken her and see her as the vessel that George W. Bush was: someone who can be manipulated and molded into someone quite different from the person we first saw.
Let us hope that Sarah Palin sticks to her pledge to effect positive change outside of government because she bears many of the markings that made the Bush administration possible.
And that is no good news at all.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
In Olbermann’s notable segment, “The Worst Person in the World,” the former sportscaster took aim at Fox News’ Glenn Beck and the CIA’s former head of its bin Laden unit Michael Scheuer. The charge: Scheuer is advising that Osama bin laden detonate a nuclear device in the United States and Beck should “be stopped” for allowing such speech to take place.*
How awful. What American would have the temerity to suggest that our enemy, our real enemy, ought to attack the U.S.? By all means, keep Guantanamo open just for Americans such as these.
If only that’s what Michael Scheuer actually said.
Listening to Olbermann’s opinion of the conversation, one could easily conclude that Scheuer is a traitor to the country he once worked to defend while Beck is his accomplice. Listening to Olbermann, Scheuer must have said this: “Osama! Get a nuclear bomb as soon as you can! Detonate it in this country so thousands, maybe even millions of my countrymen can be vaporized!”
Here’s what was really said:
Beck: Do you really, honestly believe, that we have come to a place where those very senior people in the highest offices of the land, Congress and the White House, really will not do the right thing in the end, that they won’t see the error of their ways? [in their failure to prevent terrorism]
Scheuer: No, sir, they will not. The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States, because it‘s going to take a grassroots, bottom-up pressure, because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans. It‘s an absurd situation, again. Only Osama can execute an attack that will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently and with as much violence as necessary.
So Scheuer did say that a nuclear device needed to be used in order for real change to American foreign policy to be enacted. He is not saying that he desires it to happen.
If Olbermann knew anything about Scheuer, or did a meager amount of research, he would know, by virtue of Scheuer’s career, books, and articles, that he is an American nationalist and patriot who does desire to see America protected from terrorism. During the Bush administration, Scheuer was frequently labeled a “Bush Basher” for suggesting that the invasion of Iraq would isolate America and would further radicalize Islam. Now he is vilified by a faux journalist for describing what may very well be necessary before real change in foreign policy takes place.
Scheuer, the author of 2008’s “Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam after Iraq” and the anonymous author of “Through our Enemy’s Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America” and “Imperial Hubris: How the West is Losing the War on Terror,” has the consistent theme that our country’s ruling elites are either oblivious to the terrorist threat or are unwilling to change a policy of American intervention that led to the September 11, 2001 attacks. And most Americans, it would seem, are oblivious to this fact as well.
During the presidential campaign of 2007-2008, Ron Paul was the only candidate Scheuer endorsed because, as he said in the article “Stuck in the Cold [War] (McBama’s Nostalgia for the 20th Century):
“The difference between parties is just nuance. Republicans prefer to provide a strong, close-up whiff of gunpowder before coercively imposing their values on foreigners, while Democrats prefer raining anonymous death from 20,000 feet on foreigners, who – if they live – will have new values drilled into them. All are imperialism’s paladins . . . they are: aching to dictate their kind of freedom to various little brown brothers.”
This is the language of someone who has warned about the follies of the current policy. Since the current policy is what inflames would-be terrorists, there is no reason to believe that continuing it would reduce the incentive for terrorists to acquire a nuclear device. If a patient has a severe allergic reaction to penicillin, the cure is not more penicillin, especially if other prescriptions are available.
Just as many Americans probably still assume the Islamic terrorists hate us because we’re free, almost everyone in government assumes that since intervention has taken place since 9/11 that means the intervention has succeeded in defeating terrorism. Relying on the words of Osama bin Laden, instead of government propaganda, the recently retired Scheuer told “60 Minutes” in 2005 that
“No one should be surprised when Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda detonate a weapon of mass destruction in the United States. I don’t believe in inevitability. But I think it’s pretty close to being inevitable.”
So what is the difference between this 2005 quote and the one that so aggravated Keith Olbermann?
Four years ago Scheuer called it pretty much an inevitability while recently he said that that inevitability is what it will take for American citizens to wake up to the gross dereliction of their leaders. That Scheuer is saying that he expects a nuclear detonation to come before Americans wake up to the government’s ineptitude is not the same thing as advising bin Laden to commit the atrocity itself, as if the terrorist’s desire to obtain a nuclear weapon was dependent upon any private citizen. In fact, it is more like a grieved parent coming to grips with the fact that their out-of-control drug-abusing child won’t realize they need help until the latter requires professional rehabilitation, despite all the previous efforts and warnings of the loving parent.
Now while Scheuer does advocate the use of waterboarding, a point at which I diverge, he is an American patriot, and anyone who simply skims through his body of writing will discover that the former CIA man only writes what he does out of a sincere devotion to his country. So when he says he has reason to believe that bin Ladin will send us that nuclear bomb, the good Scheuer hopes can come out of it is that the American people will finally demand to know why their leaders’ actions had not stopped the catastrophe they said the intervention was preventing.
For all the effort he puts into “The Worst Person in the World,” Keith Olbermann might want to take a break from his partisan hackery to investigate why a nuclear device might be detonated in the U.S. in the first place instead of shouting “traitor” at Scheuer and Beck while suggesting that their right to the freedom of speech should be abridged.
*The third person Olbermann selected for his “Worst Person in the World” was suspended steroid user Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Along with Beck and Scheuer’s alleged proposal that Osama bin Laden should detonate a nuclear device is equivalent, in Olbermann’s mind, to rehabilitating baseball player Manny Ramirez’s refusal to spend enough money on luxuries for his temporary minor league teammates. Apparently not spending money on your minor league teammates is on par with suggesting a nuclear device needs to be detonated in your own country.
Final note: Over at Left Coast Rebel, Tim has a piece up about Rand Paul and his potential run for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky. Check it out.