It’s a Randslide

May 19th, 2010 at 7:07 am | 38 Comments |

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The Kentucky GOP Senate primary ended in a ‘Randslide’ Tuesday evening, with tea party favorite Rand Paul blowing by establishment-backed Trey Grayson by nearly twenty-five points. The question for Rand Paul is now whether he can withstand the coming attacks of the general election.

This November, Paul will face Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway for the Senate seat vacated by baseball legend Jim Bunning. Conway has proven he can win statewide, while Paul has yet to prove this. And while Paul wields his formidable grassroots organization to bear on his next goal, he will also have to fend off coming attacks from the Democrats over his weak points on policy.

On several issues, Conway might even find himself to the right of Rand Paul. Look for Democrats to hit on the following points:

1. Rand Paul’s Weakness on National Defense

Rand Paul has indicated that the possibility of an Iranian nuke doesn’t bother him; that he supports the shuttering of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility; and that he’s shaky on support for the surge in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq.

While Conway has also been hesitant to support the surge in Afghanistan, he has indicated that he favors increasing terrorism prevention funding and pay for active duty personnel. Kentucky’s 344,000 veterans will take note.

2. Rand Paul’s Stance on Drug Law

While Paul’s stance on laws relating to marijuana and other illegal drugs are unclear, what he has said is that the issue should be left to the states. On the other hand, Conway has indicated quite clearly in an issues questionnaire that he opposes the decriminalization of marijuana.

Paul has said he doesn’t support mandatory sentences for people selling illicit drugs. Conway, on the other hand, supported mandatory sentences for drug dealers during his run for Attorney General.

3. Rand Paul’s Opposition to Coal

During a campaign event for his father, Ron Paul, in 2008, Rand Paul slammed coal, an industry of great significance in Kentucky. “Coal is a very dirty form of energy,” said Paul, “It’s probably one of the least favorable forms of energy.” This has been an issue in the primary, and this will carry over into the election – Kentucky’s coal industry has an outsized role to play in the state’s politics. In fact, Kentucky has more coal mining operations than in any other state – and so the state’s nearly 20,000 coal miners and their families will be eyeing Rand Paul’s candidacy nervously.

Recent polling has put Rand Paul ahead of Jack Conway – but just by a bit. RealClearPolitics’ rolling average has Paul up by four. Although the ophthalmologist led by up to fifteen points in hypothetical matchups taken just months ago, his lead against Conway has slid to between one and four points in polls taken this month – not a margin where Paul can rest on his laurels.

Kentucky is a solidly Republican state – McCain won there in 2008 with 57.37% of the vote. Charlie Cook’s Partisan Voting Index puts it down as the 9th most Republican state in the nation. And yet pollsters aren’t buying the notion that the election in November will somehow be a cakewalk for Rand Paul: CQ Politics and the Cook Political Report still rate the race a toss-up.

So – Rand Paul’s supporters have tonight to celebrate, but they will soon wake up to a sobering reality – the race isn’t over. It has only just begun.

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38 Comments so far ↓

  • EdMigPer

    I wonder what FrumForum’s thoughts are on the fact EACH top Democratic primary candidates got more votes than Rand Paul did. Sounds like, perhaps, the enthusiasm gap is melting in Kentucky.

  • nhthinker

    Where do Tim Mak’s list of issues supposedly against Paul rate in importance to the average Kentuckian or American?

    Nowhere- Mak and Frum are out of touch and grasping at straws.

    No mention of the key issues and how Paul wins over voters based on them.

  • ottovbvs

    ……….Conway is a not insignificant candidate (the Democrats nominated the stronger and more typically Democratic contender)……..how well Paul fares depends on how he handles himself and the extent to which Conway can position him as an unsafe or erratic choice…….Paul is only going to have to come out with one doozy

  • TerryF98

    The interesting thing about last night to me was that the Democrat won in all districts. There is no enthusiasm gap. Specter the Republican gone, in Kentucky both democrats had more votes than Paul by a big margin. In PA the Democrat won by 8 points, 8 points, yes 8 points.

    The GOP ran a terrible race there, doing it’s dumb anti Pelosi thing just does not work. When you have no platform to actually run on and are just asking the voters to vote against Pelosi the result seems to be a significant loss.

    So the punditry seem to be wrong. The chicken counters here who talk about the GOP taking the house and or Senate in November are 10 chickens short of a henhouse.

    Even crypto Republican Lincoln had her ass handed to her and has to do a run off. So in all ways the left leaning candidate was the victor. Great.

  • ottovbvs

    TerryF98 // May 19, 2010 at 8:43 am

    “So in all ways the left leaning candidate was the victor. Great.”

    ……….Anyone who thinks last night was a big one for the GOP needs to do a quick surf of a few Democratic and Republican sites this morning…….as for the MSM you have to wonder did they write their standard anti incumbent story line before the election results came in and were too lazy to re-write…..I also watched a bit of Matthews’ show last night (what why wife calls the Screamer Show) since he is a PA boy and he and his assorted “experts” couldn’t have been more wrong

  • Ernest

    It’s clear that this guy hasn’t been following the race. Trey Grayson attacked Paul on every point the writer mentions and Paul was able to fight back successfully.

  • JimBob

    I’m loving this. Meltdown at Frum Forum. I expect the Frumers to come out and endorse Jack Conway.

  • ottovbvs

    JimBob // May 19, 2010 at 10:20 am

    “I’m loving this.”

    …….so are the Democrats……they can’t wait to run against a Republican who is on record as wanting to abolish the dept of education, the Federal Reserve and ag subsidies

  • CAPryde

    Amusingly, I like Rand Paul a lot more after reading this column than I did before reading it, but he sounds a lot less like a Tea Partier to me, too. I can’t imagine the TP crowd wanting to close Guantanamo, decriminalize marijuana, and cut America’s dependence on fossil fuels.

  • easton

    “how well Paul fares depends on how he handles himself and the extent to which Conway can position him as an unsafe or erratic choice” Nah, I think how well he fares is the extent in which he can get away with hiding, obscuring, or flat out lying as to what he truly believes. If Rand Paul sells out, he will win, but no way a candidate whose true positions place him at the far margins wins. I will tell you what, if during the campaign he calls for abolishing the Dept. of Ed. the Fed, Social Security, Medicare, etc (as a true Libertarian should) I will respect him a great deal as he goes down in defeat.

  • Rabiner

    If it wasn’t for Rand Paul’s economic policy thoughts I’d support him in a heart beat. Coming from a Democrat this article had me agreeing with Rand on every issue over the actual Democrat. I just don’t believe in his belief in getting rid of the Federal Reserve which I feel is too important an issue.

  • Rabiner

    Also, has anyone noticed that to Frum Forum posters that they’re idea of ‘strong national defense’ is really a ‘strong global defense’?

  • ottovbvs

    easton // May 19, 2010 at 11:54 am

    “Nah, I think how well he fares is the extent in which he can get away with hiding, obscuring, or flat out lying as to what he truly believes”

    …….aka

    “how well Paul fares depends on how he handles himself and the extent to which Conway can position him as an unsafe or erratic choice”

    ……..and if this is what you believe then you must have a soft spot for crazies:

    ” I will tell you what, if during the campaign he calls for abolishing the Dept. of Ed. the Fed, Social Security, Medicare, etc (as a true Libertarian should) I will respect him a great deal as he goes down in defeat.

  • Rob_654

    I think all of us are looking forward to Paul winning and immediately announcing that he is working to cut government spending deeply including:

    Education, Defense, Medicare, Social Security, Farm Subsidies, etc…

  • Stewardship

    Kentuckians rely a great deal on government largesse. From the SBA’s processing center in Hazard County to Ft. Knox to the government bail out of tobacco farmers to the public UK shelling out millions for Calipari, a successful statewide candidate needs to sell his/her ability to bring home the bacon.

    Politco’s analysis of the Murtha special election points out that the victorious Dem candidate promised to continue Murtha’s track record of being a net importer of federal dollars for the district. The “what can you do for me?” answers mattered most to those voters.

  • easton

    otto, I do have a soft spot for Libertarian crazies, look, as long as they are kept off the furniture (ie kept far from the corridors of power) they are fun to be around.

  • ottovbvs

    easton // May 19, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    “otto, I do have a soft spot for Libertarian crazies, look, as long as they are kept off the furniture (ie kept far from the corridors of power)”

    …….well there’s the problem you see…….once let loose they are impossible to keep off the furniture…….that’s what Frum and the Republican establishment have discovered with their base……..they were quite happy to pander to the simplistic nativism, nationalism and economic populism of the uber right when they behaved themselves, wore their funny hats at conventions and generally did as they were told……..now they’ve moved in and are having sex on the furniture or using it for kindling with predictably destructive results.

  • easton

    otto, yeah, but I am not so sure it is that much worse than what the Bushies did for 8 years. Conservative Republican, Libertarian Republican, name your poison. The only Republicans I trust are the Tom Kean Republicans (or even the first Bush, who did a lot of things right, he raised taxes when he had to, he performed brilliantly in Desert Storm, etc.) The only major things I really approved of with Baby Bush was immigration reform, but he botched that up, and the surge which was way, way too long in coming.

  • easton

    by the way, I found this to be hilarious (cross posted):

    After winning Kentucky’s Republican primary Tuesday night, Bowling Green ophthalmologist Rand Paul refused to take the call of congratulations from opponent Trey Grayson, according to Grayson’s campaign manager Nate Hodson.
    Hodson did not elaborate, except to say “it happened.” …
    Paul’s campaign manager, David Adams, tells 9 News, “Paul did not refuse Grayson’s call. He was in transit and could not take the call.”
    Adams went on to say, “This sounds like a made up problem.”

    This makes sense from the Candidate with 19th century solutions for 21st century problems, how can he possibly be expected to know of something called a “CELL PHONE”???

    “Adams went on to say, “This sounds like a made up problem.” ” Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. How utterly classless and clueless. You take the phone call, no matter how bitter or hard fought the campaign you take the phone call. If I were Rand I would fire Adams (or whoever it should have been to make sure Rand was in a position to take the call) and I would then abjectly apologize for my mistake (if mistake it was, maybe Rand is truly a classless jerk himself who didn’t want to take the call which is a whole lot worse)

  • ottovbvs

    easton // May 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    “otto, yeah, but I am not so sure it is that much worse than what the Bushies did for 8 years.”

    ……..that’s the Republican establishment I’m referring to!……although I would argue this process has been underway since the 80′s……and I’m a big fan of Bush senior…..voted for him twice and thought him an excellent president

  • ottovbvs

    easton // May 19, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    “if mistake it was, maybe Rand is truly a classless jerk himself who didn’t want to take the call which is a whole lot worse)”

    ……..these are furniture kindling folks as some pictures of the bagger crowd surely illustrated!

  • ottovbvs

    easton // May 19, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    …….A sample of Paul’s oratory from his speech last night……..if this guy is normal I know where there are large numbers of them

    ” The tea party movement is huge. The mandate of our victory tonight is huge…

    The tea party movement is about saving the country from a mountain of debt that is devouring our country and I think could lead to chaos…

    I think we stand on a precipice, we are encountering a day of reckoning…

    We have a President who went to Copenhagen and appeared with Robert Mugabe, Hugo Chavez, and others — Evo Morales — to apologize for the industrial revolution. … These petty dictators say that to stop climate change it’s about ending capitalism. … The president by attending Copenhagen gives credibility and credence to these folks and he should not go…

    When we had a crisis recently, when we had a crisis and things were teetering in the balance, people blamed capitalism, wrongly so. It was government! It’s the government that needs to be regulated…”

  • easton

    wow, that speech is just utterly bizarre. Nixon shook hands with Mao, Reagan with Gorby, Churchill shooks hands with Stalin, so I guess they were all Commie Simps.

    And no one blamed Capitalism, a well regulated Capitalistic system is the greatest thing on earth, I find it curious that Rand blames the Great Depression on government, since Government had far, far less regulations back then. The guy is simply incoherent. Truly 19th century. The whole meltdown had little to do with the Government (except in not preventing it through regulations) and if there had been no Tarp unemployment would have been 25%. Frum is right, this guy is a kook.

    It is entirely likely the Republicans can lose Ky, unless Rand gets some professional packagers there.

  • ottovbvs

    easton // May 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    “It is entirely likely the Republicans can lose Ky, unless Rand gets some professional packagers there.”

    ……Get some lipstick on that pig…..what shade does Palin use?……unfortunately under the color there’s still a porker who is taken seriously by larges tracts of the GOP.

  • CentristNYer

    ottovbvs // May 19, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    “Get some lipstick on that pig…..what shade does Palin use?”

    I think it’s called Delusional Red.

  • ktward

    CAPryde: I can’t imagine the TP crowd wanting to close Guantanamo, decriminalize marijuana, and cut America’s dependence on fossil fuels.

    Indeed, and there’s the rub. The TeaP crowd is difficult to define– there’s virtually no cohesion as a national movement. Most members/supporters only know what they don’t want: no taxes, no spending, no debt, no deficit, no cuts to their Medicare & SS. And no solutions, of course.

    Interestingly, in the beginning TeaP seemed to be carving a niche for itself in their strictly fiscal positions; polls indicated they were uniquely uninterested in social issues such as abortion rights, LGBT rights, etc.

    However, Maine’s recent GOP lampshade party strongly suggests otherwise, as Maine’s GOP platform now has some radically social conservative mandates thanks to its TeaP authors.

    IMHO, Rand simply rode the TeaP gravy train during his campaign: there were bucks and votes to be had in pandering to their narrative. (Campaigning is ugly, so I get that.) So did Scott Brown who, post election, is trying to distance himself from TeaP in a big way.

    That said, with the AEI/NR thinkers eating their own, and Paul’s great big win, and Maine’s great big crazy, it seems clear that TeaP is simply the f**ked-up manifestation of GOP crisis we all suspected it was, right from the beginning. Presuming that’s true, it ultimately hurts the GOP and helps Dems: is there anyone that believes Indies/undecideds are swinging TeaP GOP?

    Bring on the midterms.

  • ottovbvs

    ktward // May 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    “IMHO, Rand simply rode the TeaP gravy train during his campaign: there were bucks and votes to be had in pandering to their narrative.”

    …….I didn’t paste in the last third of the speech where he vowed to stick with the narrative…….I thought this gave the general flavor (the nerve of that Obama guy going to Copenhagen and meeting with FOREIGN leaders….some of whom are scumbags)……this is Frum’s point…….these people are batshit crazy and yet they are viable candidates for the senate

  • ktward

    otto: this is Frum’s point…….these people are batshit crazy and yet they are viable candidates for the senate

    The amusing piece is that Frum’s getting zero sympathy from anyone, least of all the FrankenTeaPers of the GOP’s own creation.

    As we’ve suggested all along, strategically this can only help Dems. We’ll find out come Nov. just how helpful, but it sure as hell isn’t going to hurt Dems.

    Plus, this occurs to me:
    If Paul actually makes the Senate (Dems are geared up to work hard for their goldenboy, Conway), he’ll prove a heavier albatross around the agenda of the GOP’s neck. Senate Dems would never look to that seat as a potential ally the way they’ve looked to Snowe’s/Collinss’s–and now Brown’s–seats.

    For Senate Dems and their agenda, Paul’s crazy is irrelevant. Capturing that seat would be sweet though, and is now, thanks to Paul, doable.

  • Bebe99

    Tea Party candidates are only representing the batshit crazy ideas of the Tea Party folks. The cut taxes/get your Gov’t hands off my Medicare “real Americans” who claim to be educated in Constitutional issues, while simultaneously knowing squat about how our current Gov’t and economy acutally work. Where are they getting the notion that these are viable ideas? Oh, I see it there, on the left side of the screen, it’s Glenn Beck and his ilk, people with a lot of batshit crazy ideas who never, ever have to find a way for this smorgasboard of ideas to work. At some point the Republican Party needs to deal with the conserva-media who were their friends for so long, but have now made their situation dire.

  • gmckee1985

    You leftist morons certainly have your brain dead, simplistic stereotype talking points down don’t you? Fantastic.

  • gmckee1985

    Have you people forgotten to take your medication? What a bunch of weirdos.

  • ottovbvs

    gmckee1985 // May 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    “You leftist morons certainly have your brain dead, simplistic stereotype talking points down don’t you?”

    …….yeah right…… prima facie evidence of nuttiness is not evidence of nuttiness it’s a simplistic talking point

  • ottovbvs

    ktward // May 19, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    “The amusing piece is that Frum’s getting zero sympathy from anyone, least of all the FrankenTeaPers of the GOP’s own creation.”

    ……to be fair there are couple (including somewhat surprisingly Carney) who see where this is leading…….as I’ve said above win or lose Paul is a bonus for the democrats

  • ottovbvs

    gmckee1985 // May 19, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    “Have you people forgotten to take your medication? What a bunch of weirdos.”

    …….yeah right……. we’re off our meds today…….otherwise we’d believe Paul’s oration above was entirely sensible and reasonable…….can you loan us some of yours and then maybe we’ll get over it

  • ktward

    Leftist morons.

    Pulling out the big guns now, eh?
    Don’t you have a pressing blog engagement over at RedState or Townhall? I’d hate for us to keep you. from it.

  • easton

    gmckee1985, such devastating analysis laid out in clear and convincing fashion, your logic is impeccable, your argument irrefutable. wait, what is that?…There is no analysis or argument, only childish insults?

    You simply lack the courage to rebut any arguments made here because you know you will be eviscerated, I am curious about one thing though, how long does it take to tap out your postings since you are confined to a straitjacket?

  • Slide

    I think Democrats are going to be talking about Rand Paul’s truly bizarre belief that private companies should have the right to discriminate based on race or national origin. His interview with Rachel Maddow last night was devastating. Devastating. Good luck with his nomination.