Friday, July 31, 2009

Rand Paul Rising

Earlier this week Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning announced his retirement from politics and all Republicans can breathe a sigh of relief because they now know who will be their party’s candidate for senate in 2010: Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

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.

Rand Paul.

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.

**A “money bomb” has nothing to do with violence, despite the imaginations of people like David Horowitz and Glenn Beck who have tried to re-define a day of numerous donations with one tied to political violence.


Left Coast Rebel said...

I wrote a similiar piece, albeit less in-depth. Nice work. Other than the 'money bomb' effort, how can we keep the ball rolling for Rand? How can we make him the viable choice for the nomination? How can we get this man into the Senate? Please tell me that it is possible, nothing would make me happier.

Left Coast Rebel said...

Link for my piece....

TRUTH 101 said...

This will be fun to watch. It looks like Mr. Grayson will continue the safe path of saying innocuous stuff interspersed with nonsense people like to hear. I look forward to a race between that and Mr. Paul who says what we need to hear.

I most likely would have a different approach than Rand Paul. I am a loyal Democrat. But I would love to see a debate based on policy and ideals rather than old and tired catch phrases.

Good luck to you Carl. I may even make a donation just to see the race develop.

Carl Wicklander said...


I believe it's possible. Trust me, I'm going to do everything I can. The senate needs this man.

Aside from raising money, I think we just need to keep talking about his message. I think it will also be possible for Rand to peel off some of Jim Bunning's supporters who had stuck with him. There have got to be people that are steamed because Bunning was pushed out. I'm going to start searching for Kentucky blogs that might be receptive to us.

Speaking of which, would you like me to cross-link your recent Rand piece?

Carl Wicklander said...


Thanks for your interest. You've had generous things to say about Ron Paul in the past and I appreciate that. You can see that he and Rand are not generic Republicans even though you're bound to have some serious disagreements with them. If Rand Paul gets enough money, he will be able to make it a race. He already has the ideas to make Grayson tremble in a debate.

Left Coast Rebel said...

Carl, keep me posted on how you think I can help. Feel free to re-post my piece here too, add anything you want to it as well.