Monday, January 25, 2010

Kentucky Senate Seat "Slight Lean Republican"?

Sean Trende at RealClearPolitics analyzes whether Republicans can take control in the Senate and concludes it will be tough to get the last two votes.

It's always fun to hear what outsiders are saying about the Kentucky race:

This one could be classified as a “Slight Lean Republican,” especially if libertarian Rand Paul (son of Congressman Ron Paul) gets the GOP nod. In a way, Kentucky is the opposite of libertarian-ish: Socially conservative, fiscally more liberal. Paul has led in primary matchups against Secretary of State Trey Grayson, but also leads Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway and Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo. My guess is that Paul will have a tough time once Conway or Mongiardo starts explaining what libertarianism really means to Kentucky voters, and this race will look more uphill for the GOP. Grayson, a more conventional GOP politician, would probably have an easier road to the Senate. The biggest problem for the Democrats in all of these close races is that the Republican will be running on a message of “do you really want to give Obama 60 votes again?” in some fairly right-of-center states. This will make the sale pretty tough for the Democrat in the end.

I'm not sure that I agree with his characterization that Kentucky is "the opposite of libertarian-ish: Socially conservative, fiscally more liberal." Sure, Kentucky is socially conservative but that can be reconciled with a call for limited government and personal autonomy.

I do not buy for a minute that the voters of the state today are are "fiscally more liberal." Nothing would be better for Republican prospects that for Democrats Jack Conway or Dan Mongiardo to campaign on a platform of liberal fiscal policy: (More stimulus! More bailouts! More deficits! More taxes!) Really, if Conway and Mongiardo proceed on the assumption that this is a "fiscally more liberal" state, they will have done the Get Out The Vote work for the Republican nominee.

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