Rand Paul: I Said What?

July 23rd, 2010 at 3:56 pm | 21 Comments |

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The Kentucky Farm Bureau has hosted candidate forums for statewide offices since the 1940s, but rarely – if ever – has the Bureau hosted the likes of Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul, who is on record calling farm subsidies “welfare,” as he did in May on a KET program before the primary election. His Democratic opponent Jack Conway insisted repeatedly that Rand Paul has said in the past that he’s in favor of eliminating the entire USDA, leaving Paul questioning himself at the follow-up press conference:

It’s always funny because I’ve been in public life and not afraid to speak my mind for 20-some-odd years, and people always say, ‘Did you say this?’ and it’s like, ‘I don’t know. It’s been 20 years of me popping off and saying what I thought,’ but I don’t think I’ve ever said that I’m in favor of getting rid of the Department of Agriculture. If I did say that, that’s not my position. I don’t think I’ve ever said that. A lot of times people get conflated with other people saying things and all of a sudden I’m something that I’ve never said. Anyway, I’m not in favor of getting rid of the Department of Agriculture.

In his April meeting with the Courier-Journal editorial board, Rand Paul did call for the elimination of several departments of the federal government, namely education, commerce and energy, but at least on that occasion, Paul only mentioned targeting programs within the USDA, without naming those programs directly. On an appearance on CNN following his May primary victory, Paul said, “There will be some departments you might be able to get rid of, but at the very least they need to be downsized.”

In his interview with the National Review, Paul distinguished himself from his father, Ron Paul, regarding the elder Paul’s views on eliminating multiple federal departments:

Paul says he is trying to “nibble around the edges,” to “not be the person who says he will eliminate every department in the federal government. My dad freely will say that, that he would eliminate at least half of the departments, but he is just more forthright.”

In their second of three joint appearances before the campaign begins in earnest after Labor Day, the elbows are getting sharp as Conway and Paul begin to draw contrasts with each other while clinging to the middle ground that they both support.

Both candidates oppose cap-and-trade legislation, and both are in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts, including the estate tax. The contrasts came over healthcare reform, farm subsidies, immigration, education funding, and positions on the drug war — not to mention contrasts in appearance and speaking styles. Not discussed at all: financial reform and the extension of unemployment benefits.

On education, Conway said he supported federal dollars going to post-secondary technical training while Dr. Paul said, “education should be funded at the state level [because] money is wasted in the Washington bureaucracy.” Paul is in favor of eliminating the Department of Education.

Paul also made news at the Farm Bureau event by offering two positions on whether he would vote for Sen. Mitch McConnell for minority leader. During the forum, Paul stated unequivocally he would vote for McConnell while attacking Conway for his potential vote for Harry Reid for majority leader. After the event during the press conference, Paul was less emphatic, saying only, “I see no reason why I wouldn’t vote for him. That’s the best I can do.”

Conway declined to state whom he would vote for as leader of his party’s caucus in the Senate, calling it “measuring the drapes territory.”


httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61GYu4ICg-Q

Video from Marion County Line


httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJx7PuVYOh0

Video from Marion County Line

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21 Comments so far ↓

  • TerryF98

    Shorter answer. “I have spouted loads of utter nonsense over the last 20 years, how do you expect me to remember”

    Also “I believe the same batshit crazy ideas as my dad but I don’t wish to tell the voters about them”

  • eugibs

    What’s the story here exactly? Rand Paul says he hasn’t called for the elimination of DOA, and Frum Forum (despite what I assume were its very best efforts) could provide no evidence that he ever has. Why isn’t the title then “Rand Paul Tells the Truth”?

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    The Democrats are already planning for 2012; the smart ones know are going to be eviscerated in November. So those of you of don’t like Rand Paul better get used to having him around.

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    Nothing bat shit crazy about Ron the elder.

    He makes specific recommendations for spending cuts, unlike everyone else in either party, and is anti-war.

    Ron Paul’s anti-war positions alone are a good reason to take him seriously.

    TerryF98 // Jul 23, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Also “I believe the same batshit crazy ideas as my dad but I don’t wish to tell the voters about them”

  • dante

    The Democrats are already planning for 2012; the smart ones know are going to be eviscerated in November. So those of you of don’t like Rand Paul better get used to having him around.

    Nothing like a 17pt drop (in a Rasmussen poll) to show exactly how strong of a candidate you are….

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2010/senate/ky/kentucky_senate_paul_vs_conway-1148.html

  • Stefano

    Thanks for the link, Dante. I didn’t think that Paul’s lead would shrink by so much – it is Kentucky after all – but it is clear that it has. Also, given how close both Paul and Conway are polling, they are effectively in a statistical tie since the margin of error has to be around 5% (given the size of the samples in each poll). I am guessing that KY Republicans are having second thoughts about Paul, given his polling numbers.

    I am no expert, but it seems to me that people are rejecting the self-identifying Tea Party candidates. When you look at the poll number in KY and NV as examples, the TP candidates are loosing ground. Hell, Reid is getting support from Republicans in his home state! These are only two examples, so I can not make an across-the-board generalization.

  • JimBob

    Good for Rand Paul. We should get rid of the Departments of Education, Agriculture, Energy, and commerce. Back in the early 20th century almost 60 percent of Americans were involved in agriculture in one way or another. Today its less than 4 percent.

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    Polling fluctuations aren’t my area either, but from what I understand it isn’t unusual for large leads to evaporate. Sometimes it leads to a a loss for the guy who was way ahead, other times it doesn’t. Remember, he only needs 50% +1 to win. He doesn’t need to finish 10 or 15 ahead.

    //dante // Jul 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Nothing like a 17pt drop (in a Rasmussen poll) to show exactly how strong of a candidate you are….

  • easton

    DSP, can you read what he said? “My dad freely will say that, that he would eliminate at least half of the departments, but he is just more forthright.” So what does he mean, that he would not freely say that because he knows he won’t be elected if he did, but he certainly thinks it, and that he is being indirect now just to get elected? And this is good?

    And please, get used to having him around? He will be 1 of 100, a gadfly if he stays Libertarian, or just a low ranking Republican if he goes native. He will never set the agenda.

  • JimBob

    No it means Rand Paul will help lead the Republican party out of the wilderness. We’ve basically had just one party in this country. Both grew government and added to the debt. With Rand in the Senate a real voice for fiscal responsibility will emerge on the Republican side of the aisle. And that means cutting the defense budget and show restraint on foreign policy. A voice against the radical Neocons like Frum.

  • bamboozer

    Rand Paul might claim to have not said it but I’ve been saying it for many years: Farm Subsidies Are Welfare . Event better farm subsidieas are a payoff from politicians, a clear example of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”.

  • Diomedes

    “Back in the early 20th century almost 60 percent of Americans were involved in agriculture in one way or another. Today its less than 4 percent”

    Uh huh. And back before that we were nomadic tribes hunting Mammoth.

    The reason less Americans are involved in agriculture now is due to the fact that farms are now run as conglomerates of big business. Individual farms and farm ownership has dropped as agricultural land has been passed on to private corporations. And with the industrialization and modernization that has occurred in the past century, less of those jobs are needed and we have transformed from an agricultural based economy to one of technological innovation. Personally, I welcome the change. But if you want to go back to back-breaking labor and contending with droughts, go for it.

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    That’s what I meant, get used to having him around as 1 in 100. As far as his rhetoric goes, I see it as smart politics — for good or for ill candidates usually say what they need to say in public to get elected, even if they believe otherwise in private. Obama’s bitter clinger line, for example, revealed something about how he thinks in private. He didn’t take that particular sentiment public on purpose. Another example: no new taxes, from the first Bush.

    // easton //

    So what does he mean, that he would not freely say that because he knows he won’t be elected if he did, but he certainly thinks it, and that he is being indirect now just to get elected? And this is good?

    And please, get used to having him around? He will be 1 of 100, a gadfly if he stays Libertarian, or just a low ranking Republican if he goes native. He will never set the agenda.

  • busboy33

    Gotta agree with eugibs — eith he said it or he didn’t, and either the critics can cite to it or they can’t.

    If they can’t cite to anything . . . then its just a smear.

  • JimBob

    No the reason there are fewer people working in agriculture is because of productivity.

  • Sinan

    We no longer employ millions farming because the farms were sold to big agribusiness concerns, productivity increased due to machinery and transportation efficiencies, kids were not that crazy about working the farms and so many other reasons. I bet 100% of us eat farm products though.

  • JimBob

    Well family farming is making a big comeback thanks to organic produce Organic farming is saving small farms as they discover there is a big demand for their product at Whole Foods. Even Wal Mart is getting in on the game.

  • Brad Smith

    I have no idea why this post was written, let alone why it is the banner headline at Frum Forum.

  • jabbermule

    Brad Smith // Jul 24, 2010 at 2:31 am

    “I have no idea why this post was written, let alone why it is the banner headline at Frum Forum.”

    Because Frum is a squishy centrist Rockefeller Republican, and he’s made it his mission on this site to take down anyone in the party who doesn’t fit that mold. No ‘big tent’ for Frum. Whether it’s unwitting on his part or not, Frum’s approach will keep the Republicans in permanent ‘minority-party-as-loyal-opposition’ status.

    Look at the relentless attacks on the Tea Party, Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle, and now his latest whipping boy, Rand Paul. To say nothing of his vicious attacks on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, et al. They don’t fit into the mold of the Yale Elite Northeast Country Club Republican. Just as the Bushes and Rockefellers attacked Reagan during the 1980 presidential primary as ‘not one of their own,’ Frum is making damn certain he’s keeping up the tradition of party purity from that bygone era.

    Additionally, why do you think so many leftists are attracted to this site, like flies on fecal matter? They LOVE him, because he’s in perpetual second-guess-the-results-of-the-’06-and-’08-elections mode, thus creating an ongoing circular firing squad for Republicans. If enough Repubs behaved like Frum, we’d have the Dems in power for a long, long time.

  • busboy33

    “Look at the relentless attacks on the Tea Party, Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle, and now his latest whipping boy, Rand Paul. To say nothing of his vicious attacks on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, et al.”

    Yes . . . it must be a plot of bad people or something. After all, there could be no legitimate reason to speak negatively about those paragons of perfection you mentioned.

    A Plot. Definitely.

  • jabbermule

    busboy33 // Jul 25, 2010 at 8:07 pm:

    “Yes . . . it must be a plot of bad people or something. After all, there could be no legitimate reason to speak negatively about those paragons of perfection you mentioned.”

    Who said anything about a plot? I stated it was Frum’s mission—on this site—to take down any Republican who doesn’t fit his mold. I’m unaware of any broader ‘plot’ to which you’re referring.

    And thanks for making my final point…your sarcastic comment barely conceals your contempt for those I mentioned in my last post.