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.
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.