For a guy who likes to tell us how he stands on principle, Sen. Rand Paul's direct mail piece for Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams reads like an exercise in truthiness.
Take the first sentence: "It's clear that Governor Steve Beshear is one of Barack Obama's most loyal Governors."
Really? Then how come Beshear wasn't invited to join Obama in congratulating the Navy Seals at Fort Campbell? And how come Beshear faked us all into thinking (1) he had been invited to the Obama event but (2) declined because he was so busy (and Obama is so unpopular in Kentucky)?
"Snub-gate," as Joe Arnold has dubbed it, illustrates that Beshear and Obama are not BFFs. The Fort Campbell trip is the only time Obama has come to Kentucky since he was elected president; he hasn't even come to the Derby!
Moreover, as Joe Gerth points out, Beshear was not a big Obama supporter in 2008 and did not commit to vote for his nomination until Beshear arrived at the Democratic National Convention.
The "p.s." to Rand Paul's letter states that "With liberal Steve Beshear's brazen support of 'Obamacare' and the entire Obama agenda, it's little wonder Kentucky is in competition with Puerto Rico for among the highest unemployment rate in the nation!"
I don't recall Steve Beshear's "brazen support of 'Obamacare'" or the "entire Obama agenda."
Beshear requested that Kentucky be given a three year exemption from Obamacare. (The administration denied the request and will only exempt Kentucky for part of 2011.) Someone who asks to be exempt from a law can hardly be called a "brazen supporter" of that same law.
Gerth notes in the same article linked above that Beshear has criticized the Obama administration's proposed coal rules.
Obama is hugely unpopular here, no doubt. A campaign strategy that ties Beshear to Obama would work if it were based on something other than to two having a "D" next to their name on the ballot. The fact is that they appear to have no personal relationship and little ideological overlap. Kentuckians know that Obama is much more liberal than Beshear. The strategy is doomed to fail because it has such little basis in fact.
More is the pity that Rand Paul tarted up his letter with exaggerations trying to tie Beshear to Obama; Paul offered some really great ideas about how to make Kentucky better able to compete with Tennessee for jobs: reform the Kentucky tax code; repeal the prevailing wage; pass a Right to Work law. These are substantive issues that could transform the economy of Kentucky.
To be sure, these are complex issues, but Williams has the intellect to present them in a way to make Kentuckians not only understand but care about them. Williams needs to remember that voters are smart enough to get these sensible changes to make Kentucky competitive. And Kentuckians are smart enough to know that Steve Beshear is not some wild-eyed liberal in the tank for Obama.