Monday, May 31, 2010

Welcome Back, Carter

It has been obvious for months that the the Obama administration is just a slightly hipper version of the Carter administration. This point is underscored by Obama's non-response to the BP oil spill. Unlike George W. Bush's reaction to Hurricane Katrina, Obama didn't even bother to do a cursory fly-over; it took him five weeks to actually show up.

Obama has lost "progressives" like James Carville and Maureen Dowd as well as RINOs like Peggy Noonan for his seeming indifference and incompetence. Now he is on the verge of losing the Mainstream Media, too.

Like Jimmy Carter and the Iranian hostage crisis, the daily headline has become how many days have elapsed since the BP oil spill began -- how many days has the administration failed to fix the problem at issue or manifest any leadership to to try to improve the situation. The show Nightline was formed after the hostage crisis and originally had the name "America Held Hostage: Day (fill in the blank). All that remains to complete the analogy is a news series dedicated to the oil spill, starring dead pelicans and sobbing fishermen.

We passed day 40 this weekend. That is, the oil spill has now lasted longer than Lent.

Today is the 42nd day since the oil rig exploded, but the Obama administration still does not know what hit it.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Santigold Gets It

While driving, the lyrics of my teenager's songs usually send me diving for the "off" button, but a recent one caught my attention. They are in a song written and sung by an artist named Santigold. The song's title is "Shove It" and this is the chorus:

"We think you're a joke, shove your hope where it don't shine."

It is a rare thing in pop culture when an artist figures out our President, but Santigold remarkably has. She understands what he is up to. Her simple chorus eloquently articulates what most Americans now feel.

Interestingly, Santigold graduated from Wesleyan College, an elite Northeastern liberal arts college. People that go to Wesleyan are very smart, but few escape the brainwashing of its Lefty professors. Santigold is a refreshing example of one who evidently did.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rand Paul Resurfaces . . . On Russian TV

Rand Paul has been boycotting interviews with the national media since they were so mean to him, but not the international media. He gave an interview to a Russian television network in which he says that he supports legislation to prevent citizenship to babies born in the U.S. -- the so-called anchor babies.

Of course, there's the problem of the plain text of the constitution. (Wait, I thought Paul venerated the constitution?) Take the fourteenth amendment's guarantee that anyone born in America is an American citizen ("All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.")

The genius of giving interviews to Russian television is that those journalists don't ask you about the little details, like the fourteenth amendment.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It Could Be Worse

We Grayson supporters continue to cry in our beer, while Republicans in Nevada worry that the Tea Party candidate will take their beer away.

The Nevada Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat -- Harry Reid's seat -- features Sharron Angle. According to National Review Online, Angle went from 5 to 25 points in the polls once the Tea Party threw its support her way.

NRO now speculates on whether Angle will be the next Rand Paul; will she win the primary and then be revealed to espouse all sorts of weird positions on issues nobody thought to ask her about?

Libertarians, including Rand Paul, get criticized for their hostility to federal drug laws. For some libertarians, the issue is that the government has no right to interfere with recreational drug use; it is government overreach into individual conduct. For others, including Paul if you believe him, the issue is one of federalism: leave drug enforcement to the states.

Then there is Nevada's Sharron Angle, who not only supports criminalizing narcotics, but has suggested that alcohol should also be prohibited (Yes! That's how Prohibition got its name.)

In an interview in 2005 on the legalization of marijuana, Anglegrudgingly tolerates the legality of alcohol: “I would tell you that I have the same feelings about legalizing marijuana, not medical marijuana, but just legalizing marijuana. I feel the same about legalizing alcohol. . . . The effect on society is so great that I’m just not a real proponent of legalizing any drug or encouraging any drug . I’m elected by the people to protect, and I think that law should protect.” Her spokesman vehemently denies that Angle is a prohibitionist, but one can imagine how that comment could get construed by Nevada restaurant,casino and bar workers in a heated Senate campaign.

It would be like Rand Paul coming out against the thoroughbred industry. Oh, wait, Kentucky Senate President David Williams already did that.

More Rand!

Not in recent memory has a Kentuckian's comments generated so much controversy as Rand Paul's recent one regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The fact that the last seven (now eight!) comments on this blog address this subject is evidence of this.

Paul's mistake was in making a statement that was nuanced and requires a little bit of thought to understand. He was not impugning the intent of the Civil Rights Act, but its efficacy and constitutionality. There is a big difference between these two things and unfortunately much of the American press, and public, is unable to deal with such distinctions.

A parallel to this situation for Paul would be the person who strongly supports a woman's right to have an abortion but believes that Roe V. Wade was unconstitutional. This is not intellectually inconsistent, but it is subtle and takes a bit of thought to understand.

Paul's mistake was in making his statements in a public venue. Such ideas should only be discussed amongst individuals that are capable of understanding the philosophy and intellectual reasoning behind them. Very few members of the mainstream media qualify here. Rand Paul is not racist or a bigot, but the mainstream media would like him to be and they have taken this opportunity to twist the intent of his remarks to paint him as one.

Ann Coulter on Rand & Civil Rights

Ann Coulter took note of Rand's civil rights remarks. She uses it as a "teaching moment" for Democrats on the history of their opposition to civil rights legislation:

But as long as the media are so fascinated with the question of why anyone would want to "discuss" certain aspects of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, maybe they should ask Al Gore why his father was one of the leading opponents of the bill.

Or they could ask Bill Clinton, whose mentor, Sen. William Fulbright, actively supported segregation and also voted against the bill.

Or they could talk to the only current member of the Senate to vote against it, Democrat Bob Byrd.

As with the 1957 and 1960 civil rights acts, it was Republicans who passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act by huge majorities. A distinctly smaller majority of Democrats voted for it.In the Senate, for example, 82 percent of Republicans voted for the act, compared with only 66 percent of Democrats. In the House, 80 percent of Republicans supported the law, compared with only 63 percent of Democrats.

Would a Libertarian Challenge Hurt Rand?

Some thoughts from Allahpundit via Hot Air on whether it will matter if the Kentucky Libertarian Party runs a candidate against Rand Paul on the grounds that he is not pure enough for them:

I’m intrigued by the fact that they think he’s on the level about Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ve always assumed that was Paul’s version of Obama’s lie about his supposed opposition to gay marriage, which the left has the good sense to indulge in the name of electability. Seriously, it just so happens that Rand Paul, novice candidate, has sharply different views from his old man in the one area that made Ron Paul electoral poison to so many conservatives in 2008? C’mon. Anyway, the filing deadline’s August 10. The question: Is a party that struggles to crack two percent of the vote in a general election really a threat to Rand Paul in Kentucky? It’s hard to imagine Conway winning 49/48/3, as most purist libertarians will probably hold their nose and vote Paul if the race is that close in the end. But I guess if the purists can get the meme going that he’s a phony, maybe enough people stay home or refuse to donate that it really does end up hurting him. Quick, Rand: Condemn the Civil Rights Act before it’s too late!

So the members of the Libertarian Party are going to hold their nose and vote for Rand. He's counting on Trey Grayson backers to hold our noses and vote for him (though you wouldn't know it from his victory speech). That's a lot of nose-holding. And it still leaves the Democrats with voter registration advantage of 600,000.

Rand's Shake-up

Rand Paul's big campaign shake-up is odd on many levels.

First, given that the logical implications of Rand Paul's strict libertarianism were causing an uproar as they were tested against reality, why bring in someone from Daddy Paul's presidential campaign? Rand Paul went to such pains during the primary to distance himself from his father's more, uh, colorful positions -- only now to bring in someone from that same failed campaign. This is more than just ambivalence; there are some father-son issues at play here.

Second, the manner of the shake-up was peculiar. Now that Rand Paul is the GOP nominee, the pressure to have a political operative with a fancy pedigree -- as opposed to an unknown blogger from Kentucky, Dave Adams -- proved too much. Dave Adams was going to be replaced even before the Rachel Maddow disaster. That was inevitable. So Rand Paul gives Adams a promotion; now he's "chairman." On the one hand, it was nice to shove Adams up rather than out. On the other hand, how does hiring someone from a failed third-party campaign communicate gravitas?

And he does this all very publicly by sending out a press release to let all the media elites know of the change. The inference was that all those gun shot wounds to his feet were caused by poor Dave Adams. Someone had to pay for all that embarrassment.

The reality, however, is that Rand Paul's gaffes stem from his greenness as a candidate and his political tone-deafness as to how his libertarianism sounds in the real world to those who don't care about political philosophy and are just trying to get by. That's not something that any campaign manager can fix; only the candidate can fix that by flipping on the issues. And Rand Paul has shown a real aptitude at that.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Trouble For Rand

Roger Alford is reporting that the Libertarian Party may run a candidate in the Kentucky race for U.S. Senate -- against Rand Paul. Jack Conway must be dancing a jig.

According to the Libertarian Party of Kentucky's Vice Chair, Joshua Koch, Paul

had gone from being an outsider candidate to a tea party candidate to an establishment candidate in the past nine months," Koch said. "It's a complete identity crisis. I've never seen anything like it.

Rand, welcome to Trey Grayson's world: your people hate the Establishment, and now you are part of It. This is what it feels like to be out-flanked on the right and the left.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jay Leno Gives a Shout Out to Rand Paul!

Any time Jay Leno talks about Kentucky, and specifically Kentucky Republicans, it is best to duck and cover. Last night when he gave the teaser that he was going to talk about Rand Paul with David Gregory (host of Meet the Press), I had a flash back to Gov. Ernie Fletcher's plane flying into Washington's no-fly zone after 9/11 and causing the Capitol to be evacuated.

Jay -- who is usually pretty fair, and appears to be moderately right of center for Hollywood -- is fixated with Rand Paul and the Tea Party. It was not clear whether he was genuinely mystified or just mining jokes. Jay said he tuned into Meet the Press only to be disappointed. "I was waiting, waiting for Rand Paul to appear."

David Gregory did not miss the cue. He replied with the obligatory snipe that Rand Paul is only the third person in history to cancel an appearance on Meet the Press, the other two being Louis Farrakhan and Genghis Khan or whoever.

Gregory opined that Rand Paul's gaffes last week had "done some damage" to his campaign. According to Gregory, the Paul campaign sent Meet the Press a note withdrawing from the scheduled interview, stating that Paul was "tired" and "didn't want to be dragged down by liberal bias." But the real reason, according to Gregory, is that Rand Paul felt he'd already done enough damage to his campaign.

Jay asked Gregory why a guy like Rand Paul who opposes government would want to govern? Then he mocked Sarah Palin for saying "Drill, Baby, Drill" a few months ago, only now to accuse the Obama administration as being "in bed with the oil industry." Next they went through the parade of horribles of all the government programs that would go away under Libertarian rule, (OSHA! child labor laws!).

The only saving grace for Rand Paul is that the supposedly substantive part of the interview followed a tasteless skit about Meet the Press's new set; perhaps some viewers went to bed in self defense. The Tonight Show mock-up of the new set included David Gregory -- nude from the waste up -- in a hot tub. Mercifully, the cameraman spared us the close-up. If only we had been spared the potty jokes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tea Party Elects Jack Conway?

Last Tuesday, the Tea Party may have elected Jack Conway as the new senator from Kentucky.

Republicans should always vote for the most conservative candidate that can WIN. The Tea Partiers in their zealousness may have forgotten this cardinal rule.

Paul may well have been the best candidate to represent the Tea Party's views, but he was not the best to represent their interests.
He may make a great senator, but if he doesn't win the general, that doesn't much matter. Clearly, Grayson was the stronger candidate for a general election.

Hopefully, Paul can win the general election, but if he doesn't, it will be the Tea Party that elected Conway.

Media Advice From Palin to Paul

Personally, I think he should just remain in an undisclosed location until November.

But Sarah Palin has other ideas for her protege Rand Paul -- and a warning that the Main Steam Media are liberal! (Who knew?)

I'm going to be charitable and assume that Palin had too much caffeine when she attempted to explain to Politico,

"One thing that we can learn in this lesson, that I have learned and Rand Paul has learned now, is don't assume that you can assume in a hypothetical discussion about constitutional impacts with a reporter or media personality who has an agenda, who may be prejudiced before they even get in the interview in regards to what your answer may be or the opportunity that they seize to getch ya," she said. "They're looking for that 'gotcha moment.' That's what it evidently appears to be what they did with Rand Paul."

That Sounds Familiar

There's much speculation about whether the Obama administration offered Rep. Joe Sestak a job to entice him not to run against Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania. There's also debate about whether such an offer, assuming it occurred, is inappropriate.

There was no secret that the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Pennsylvania wanted to avoid a divisive primary fight and rally around Specter. But Sestak refused to stand down, and then caused a stir in February when he told veteran TV journalist Larry Kane that he had been offered a significant federal job to forgo a challenge. Kane asked whether the post was Navy secretary, and Sestak declined to comment.

He has stayed mum since on the details of the job claim, and the White House, when it would address the subject at all, has said nothing inappropriate happened.

Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the top Republican on the House government-oversight committee, has demanded information from the administration on conversations with Sestak, and he has called for an independent counsel to investigate the matter. He has been rebuffed on both counts.

Last week, Issa said he was considering filing a formal ethics complaint against Sestak on grounds that he has withheld knowledge of a potential crime.

If the Obama administration did in fact offer Sestak a job to protect Specter from a primary challenge, it may be that the Obama administration took a page from the play book of the Beshear administration.

Gov. Steve Beshear has been picking off Senate Republicans for some time by offering them plummy jobs.

As Patrick Crowley wrote last fall for BloodHorse, quoting Kentucky Sen. President David Williams, “The governor is methodically going about giving jobs to Republicans to replace them not just with any Democrat, but Democrats that favor his slots proposal,” Williams said.

The parallels between the tactics of the Obama and Beshear administrations underscore that the lack of transparency in buying off the opposition is not the Kentucky way, it's the Democratic way.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

So THAT's Why He Cancelled MTP

Dr. Paul, I'm trying to play nice here but you've got to give me something to work with and stop shooting yourself in the foot! Talking Points Memo via Hot Air poses an explanation of why Rand Paul suddenly cancelled his appearance on Meet the Press. He opined about a supposed conspiratorial Superhighway back when he was campaigning for his father in 2008:

Campaigning for his father in Montana back in 2008, Rand Paul spoke out against the NAFTA Superhighway, encouraging Congress to stop the mythical project that would connect Mexico, the U.S., and Canada and, critics say, deal a fatal blow to American sovereignty. Long a bugaboo on some segments of the Right, the NAFTA Superhighway does not actually exist. (Emphasis added.)

Rand Paul Cancels Meet the Press Appearance

It's hard not to wonder if Sarah Palin, in addition to endorsing Rand Paul, is giving him media advice. After a series of disastrous interviews on national television, he is cancelling his scheduled appearance on Meet the Press Sunday.

Politico's take on the cancellation and NBC's viciousness make one wince:
"Cancelling a Sunday show appearance -- usually prized by politicians -- is rarely done and NBC officials noted that Paul was joining a small clique in backing out of his interview. Among major figures, only Louis Farrakhan and Saudi Arabia's Prince Bendar have failed to show up after committing to appear on the long-running program."

Vitter Gives GOP Address

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) gives the weekly address, not surprisingly on the oil spill that his hitting his state. His remarks condemn the Obama administration's attempts to politicize the tragedy. He also proposes practical solutions for off-shore drilling going forward. Here's the video link. And here's the transcript:

Hi, I’m Senator David Vitter of Louisiana.

“What a month it’s been since the initial explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform just off Louisiana’s coast.

“While the Gulf oil spill most directly impacts Louisiana and our immediate neighbors, people all across the country certainly share in our feelings of anxiety as the ongoing gushing of the well continues.

“They’ve also shared by joining together to provide relief for those most affected by this tragedy. And, I know I speak for all Louisianians when I express how grateful we are for that outpouring of support.

“As we continue to work toward a recovery solution, none of us should lose sight that there are families who’ve lost loved ones. That is the greatest tragedy – something everyone in Washington should try a little harder to remember.

“I’ve also been all along Louisiana’s coast over the last few weeks meeting with those economically devastated - oystermen and fishermen, mayors and local officials and others hit hard by the impacts of the spill. They have clearly expressed that they don’t want a handout – they want a job and a paycheck. And through the Vessels of Opportunity program, many of these folks have been hired to man the coastline and marsh protection efforts underway.

“But clearly more needs to be done.

“From the annual blessing of the boats in Chalmette – a somber event this year - to the public meetings with the Vietnamese community in New Orleans that continues to struggle in working with BP on claims issues, I’ve listened, learned, and left with a much deeper perspective on how people’s lives all along the coast have been disrupted.

“That’s why it’s so frustrating to many Louisianians that while the crisis actually continues in the Gulf – while we’re still fighting to contain the well – Washington Democratic Committee Chairmen have rushed to create media events for television cameras instead of devoting full attention to stopping the immediate problem.

“I guess it’s typical of the culture in Washington for politicians to believe that they can solve an ongoing crisis with statements and testimonies in Congressional committee rooms. But the time for committee hearings is for after the well has been capped – not before.

“Folks closer to the scene understand that. We want 100 percent of the attention of all parties focused on our two most immediate problems: stopping the gushing oil, and protecting our coastlines and marshes from the oil.

“In addition to capping the well, coastal communities are in desperate need of more floating containment barriers, known as ‘boom.’ And I’ve talked numerous times to Admiral Thad Allen about this need.

“But this boom is really just a band aid to the larger wound of the spill. A greater, more substantial solution would be for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work immediately with our state to build up and extend our barrier islands made from materials dredged from the immediate area – our rivers and deltas. With BP, by the way, appropriately paying the bill.

“To prevent this type of incident from ever happening again, I’ve also worked with other Gulf Coast Senators to introduce legislation that addresses two specific areas: the liability cap for the responsible party of a spill, and greater technological preparedness to address any future incidents much more rapidly and effectively.

“Our Oil Spill Response and Assistance Act would establish a new liability cap equal to the last four quarters of the responsible party’s profits or double the current limit, whichever is greater.

“The bill would establish much greater reserve requirements for the amount of boom –capable of withstanding up to six-foot waves – and would direct work on technology to effectively cap leaks like the one currently gushing in the Gulf.

“That would make offshore drilling safer, smarter and more reliable, but not extinct.

“Some in Washington have tried to seize on this real human tragedy in the Gulf to advocate for a radical new energy agenda.

“That only cheapens the loss of those who’ve lost loved ones and brushes aside the ongoing, unsolved problem to spring forward with an emotionally-charged political agenda.

“That’s wrong and, frankly, an example of bankrupt leadership.

“Both Republicans and Democrats say they want to decrease our foreign dependence on oil, but ending all domestic energy production offshore would only make us that much more dependent.

“And this false choice on how to proceed in the future of energy exploration in the wake of a terrible accident contributes little to the debate.

“We all acknowledge that alternative fuels are the future, but the sad reality is that they are still very much in the future from a practical-use standpoint.

“That’s why domestic energy production is critical to free ourselves from foreign energy sources and should provide a bridge toward that more renewable, cleaner future.

“I believe Americans understand that, even in the midst of this tragedy. And I know Louisianians do. Thank you.”

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rand Attacks Conway

Rand Paul is aggressively pressing ahead with issues other than that which caused him so much embarrassment for the last 48 hours, the Issue That Must Not Be Named. He is pounding Jack Conway on a number of issues including one we've not seen in a few months: card check. Here's his release:

Jack Conway is interested in distorting Rand Paul's positions on settled law from the 1960's. If you're wondering why that is, it's because he doesn't want to talk about his views on the issues being debated in Congress in 2010, such as:
  • Repealing Obamacare: Nearly 2/3 of Kentuckians want to see the Obama/Pelosi health care scheme repealed. 15 other Attorneys general have stood up for their state and sued to end the federal mandate on their citizens. But not Jack Conway. He's standing side by side with the liberal Washington DC establishment.
  • Opposing Card Check Forced Unionism: Nearly 80% of American oppose forced unionism and support the secret ballot. The union boss power grab known as card check eliminates the secret ballot and puts more workers under union boss control. Jack Conway stands with his Big Labor masters who fund his and national democrat campaigns.
  • Cap and Trade: This dangerous bill would raise costs for Kentuckians, raise taxes -- and could well single-handedly destroy Kentucky Coal. Jack Conway supports Cap and Trade, something he'd rather the taxpayers and coal producers of Kentucky not hear about.

Finally, since Jack is so fond of musing about positions, perhaps he'd like to finally take one on a few other pressing issues, like:
  1. Does he support the Obama/Pelosi move to regulate and ban semiautomatic weapons and abridge the 2nd amendment rights of Kentuckians?
  2. Does he support or oppose Arizona's new immigration laws?
The Arizona immigration law makes for a fascinating debate, but I'm not sure what it has to do with a U.S. Senate race in Kentucky. It's an Arizona statute. Of course, if the federal government defended our national border, states like Arizona wouldn't have to pick up the slack.

Rand Moves On, Defends BP

Trying to change the subject from Civil Rights, Rand Paul defends BP and attacks the Obama administration for putting its "boot heal on the throat of BP" as "really un-American."

According to Townhall, Paul said on Good Morning America,

And I think it's part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it's always got to be somebody's fault instead of the fact that maybe sometimes accidents happen," Paul said.

The senate candidate referred to a Kentucky coal mine accident that killed two men, saying he had met with the families and he admired the coal miners' courage.

"We had a mining accident that was very tragic. ... Then we come in and it's always someone's fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen," he said.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bunning Disses McConnell, Again

Sen. Jim Bunning actually spoke with reporters today, taking the opportunity to criticize Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and praise Rand Paul.

Bunning maintains that McConnell should be more like Rand Paul. Asked about Paul's comments on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Bunning blamed the Courier-Journal for the controversy. According to Politico, "Bunning didn't endorse Paul's views and said he doesn't have any concerns with the 46-year-old Civil Rights law."

McConnell On Civil Rights

The Daily Caller has a quote from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Rand Paul's civil rights mess:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, who backed Paul’s opponent in the primary, did not answer when asked for comment on his way into his office.

But McConnell put out a statement that was less than warm toward Paul.

“Among Senator McConnell’s most vivid memories and most formative events in his career was watching his boss Sen. John Sherman Cooper help pull together the votes to break the filibuster and pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart. “He has always considered the law a monumental achievement for the country and is glad to hear Dr. Paul supports it as well.”

New Poll Shows Paul Up By 25

A new poll by Rasmusson shows Rand Paul leading Jack Conway 59-34. The Paul campaign does not say when the poll was conducted or include a link, so who knows if it reflects Paul's shaky start.

Update: Hot Air has the link. The poll was taken Wednesday night, and it is not good news for Jack Conway. As Hot Air puts it, "It’s still early in Kentucky, but the internals show that one of the nominees is a fringe, marginal candidate. It’s just not the Republican."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Election Coverage

Joe Arnold can speak it faster than I can write it, so I am not attempting to live-blog.

No surprises, and most races are working out for the good of the citizenry.

Greg Fischer much improved his performance over his race for U.S. Senate. Those public speaking lessons paid off! So did his ability to attract conservative Republican support early on -- that will come back to bite Hal Heiner in the general election. Many of these conservatives might not have been registered to vote for Fischer in the Democratic primary. It didn't matter; they gave him credibility (and cash) early on.

Hal Heiner was plainly the better choice for Republicans in the primary. Chris Theineman's maverick streak made him look unserious. Gadflies are fun, but they cannot govern effectively in the executive branch.

In the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, the polling, unfortunately, proved correct. This is not a surprise in some respects. When I saw the huge crowd at John Yarmuth's town hall last August -- the diversity of age, race and income -- it was clear that the Tea Party movement was real and powerful, and that Rand Paul was best positioned to exploit its restless anger.

Trey Grayson's concession speech was, like Trey, the act of a consummate gentleman. It made me sad to watch. And it made me recall a fundraiser for the Kentucky Federation of Republican Women. Trey's wife and girls were fashion models for the fundraiser, taking it all with a big grain of salt and just having fun. As the event wore on and the girls got tired, one of them crawled into Trey's lap and put her head on his shoulder. It was a side of Trey Grayson that voters never saw. This man who has done such an excellant job as Secretary of State, who is such a straight shooter, ran in the wrong year. He would have been a U.S. Senator who could have achieved real change. He would have been the grown-up in the room, not a gadfly.

I understand why Dr. Paul won. Dr. Paul is an appealing candidate in many ways. He is a fiscal and social conservative. He respects the constitution as a framework for limited government. But I fear that he is very naive on national security and foreign policy, and that is why I could not support him in the primary.

It appears that Jack Conway will win the Democratic primary, although Mongiardo has not conceded and the AP has not called the race.

On the one hand, as a Republican I should probably regret Conway winning the primary. I have maintained from the outset that he is the harder candidate to beat. But as a Kentuckian and an American, I am glad that he is going to win because if he carries the general election, he will be a much better U.S. Senator than Dan Mongiardo. There was something off-putting about Mongiardo -- not just his appearance, or his demeanor, but his meanness. His message of class warfare was unworthy of Kentucky.

Heckuva Job, Kenny

The Obama Administration's Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, concedes that the administration has botched it on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill by failing to hold the industry accountable and ensure safe off-shore oil drilling

Salazar told Congress today that the administration is sticking to its "reform agenda" but will give "more tools, more resources, more independence and greater authority" to the Minerals Management Service, which regulates drilling in the Gulf of Mexico." I

Grayson Camp Accuses Paul of Voter Intimidation

The Grayson campaign alleges that the Paul campaign is intimidating voters and violating election laws. Here's the release from the Grayson campaign; note that the link to the Paul document referenced is not working:

Rand Paul distributed a document to his supporters instructing them to engage in illegal activity at polling places today that has resulted in widespread voter intimidation and election law violations.

As reported by the Herald-Leader today, there have been complaints in multiple counties about Paul campaign operatives intimidating voters while allegedly conducting “exit polling,” including reports of voters being harassed for not casting votes for Paul as well as illegally entering polling locations. In some cases law enforcement officials have reportedly been called to remove the disruptive Paul operatives.

Specifically, the document distributed by the Paul campaign illegally instructs supporters to arrive at polling locations this morning to “check each machine” and to return in the afternoon before voting concludes to “verify the correct machines are being used” and to witness “the vote counting,” in violation of KRS 117.235 which prohibits such activity.

Challengers qualified and trained as provided for by KRS 117.315 would be allowed into polling locations, but not for the purposes of inspecting voting machines or watching “the vote counting.” The duties of qualified challengers are outlined here. Challengers are prohibited from disrupting activities at polling places or verbally harassing voters. It appears that most incidents involving the Paul campaign do not involve qualified challengers, but instead they’re supporters who have received the illegal instructions from Rand Paul.

Campaigns are allowed under KRS 117.165 to have a representative present to inspect voting machines at the time they are inspected by county boards of election.

KRS 119.275 makes it illegal to advise or assist persons in violating election laws.

Grayson Campaign Manager Nate Hodson said, “This despicable behavior should not be tolerated. Bullying and intimidation should have no place in our elections. Rand Paul needs to rein in his goon squad and follow the law.”

Hodson continued, “This is part of a pattern of illegal activity by the Paul campaign. They have repeatedly evaded tax laws, violated campaign finance laws and are now knowingly instructing supporters to violate election law. Kentucky deserves better, and Rand Paul should know better.”

Rainy Days and Election Days

Grayson's get out the vote effort has shown more passion than his ads. I say the rain helps Grayson more than Paul today

No matter the outcome, I am just grateful for an end to the robo-calls and mailers. And the TV ads, none of which was particularly good. Why can't Kentucky candidates do political ads like this guy in Alabama? Finally, a muscular conservatism.
H/t: Hot Air

Monday, May 17, 2010

So Who Should Oppose Yarmuth?

Since the Republican primary for U.S. Senate has sucked all the oxygen out of the Commonwealth, many of us almost forgot that there are other primaries tomorrow.

Hal Heiner will take the mayoral primary. But who will win -- who should win -- the right to challenge John Yarmuth?

The Democrats enjoy a considerable registration advantage in Kentucky's 3rd Congressional District. Nonetheless, this could be the year to bring Yarmuth back to the Kentucky links.

Rand For President?

Glad to know that Rand Paul's ego has survived the campaign thus far. Paul tells Joe Arnold that he wants to be a "national leader" and refused to rule out a run for president. As my kids would say, "Dude, seriously?"

Joe pressed Paul on what will happen to Kentucky before Paul can overhaul the "system" in Washington. The implication is that unless or until Paul can fulfill his promise to end earmarks, all the federal money that has been flowing to Kentucky will now go to New Jersey or where ever.

As Joe writes,

That system is the framework for the success of Kentucky's senior senator, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to bring home the bacon for the Bluegrass State. Kentucky is a net importer of federal dollars, due in part to McConnell's seniority and influence. It's a system that Paul says he will work to abolish.

. . .

And for those voters who are dubious about Paul's or any politician's ability to change the system, the question begged to be asked, "If the system is the way that it is, and you can't have that effect there, in the interim then, what are you willing to give up for Kentucky?"

"If the system remains as it is," Paul sighed, "And we have to acknowledge that before we get started in the election, before I win anything that the system will not change? Then I wouldn't run for office.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lights Were On, Nobody Home

Given that Jack Conway has closed the gap and has a real chance at winning on Tuesday, I was surprised to see his Louisville campaign headquarters empty last night at 10:30. Way to squander your momentum.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paul: We Shall Sing Kumbayah

Rand Paul has told the Daily Caller that he's a "big enough person" to work with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, notwithstanding McConnell's endorsement of Trey Grayson.

Paul said McConnell has "done a good job of uniting Republicans against a lot of bad stuff the Democrats have tried to push through. So I think there are many areas we agree on."

Paul said McConnell has called for a "unity rally" for the primary winner to take place Saturday somewhere. Yippee.

R.I.P. Mr. Jones, a/k/a Scotty the Elephant

Scotty the Elephant died of colic last night at the Louisville Zoo. He was the first elephant ever born there. He was three years old.

I had the privilege of getting to know Scotty through a friend who cleans the elephant cages every week. I learned that "Scotty" was his stage name. His real name, the name his trainers used, was "Mr. Jones," in honor of a famous elephant trainer. The stage name helped him ignore the tourists when they yelled out "Scotty." He only responded when someone called him "Mr. Jones."

This cute elephant was a toddler, and all boy. The last time I saw him, he kept taking his trunk (an elephant trunk contains 1100 different muscles) to tickle my son's toes through his flip-flops. Then he'd wrap his trunk around our necks and give us an elephant hug.

It's said that elephants have extraordinary memories, particularly for scent. They can recognize a previous visitor by her perfume. I do think Scotty/ Mr. Jones recognized me the second time we met.

The elephant team at the Louisville Zoo is talented, dedicated and very kind. I am so sorry for their loss.

Politico: McConnell to Remain Party Leader

Politico, via Joe Arnold, details how Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has gone about ensuring that he will remain party leader.

Joe Arnold actually started the story when he asked Rand Paul a few months back whether he would support McConnell as party leader. Paul demurred, and then went and paid his respects to McConnell. During this week's Republican debate, Paul again refused to say whom he would support for leader because it is not known who, if anyone, is running against McConnell. According to Politico, Jim DeMint will not run.

The DNC and DSCC have been circulating stories that DeMint would and should challenge McConnell. If the Democrats are actively trying to topple McConnell as party leader, then we'd be insane not to keep him. The Republican Leader we want is the one who has won the Chuck Schumer - Harry Reid seal of disapproval.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oh, The Irony

Bernard J. Kunkel has written me a letter to inform me that Trey Grayson was spawned by the devil. It includes pictures of Trey along side (different pictures) of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Van Jones. Apparently Jack the Ripper and the Joker were unavailable.

I particularly enjoyed the passage about Van Jones. Writes Mr. Kunkel,

"You remember Van Jones. He was Obama's green czar who was forced to resign in shame after Fox news [sic] revealed that he was an avowed socialist and a 9/11 truther."

"The crowd Trey Grayson runs with on this issue should be troubling to Republicans."

The letter is paid for "by Rand Paul for U.S. Senate."

It fails to note that the Legacy Candidate's father, Ron Paul, said that "they [the Islamofascists] are attackers because we are occupiers." Paul the Younger is trying gently to distance himself from Paul the Elder, but he did run around the country giving speeches on behalf of his father's two failed presidential campaigns, and has said he agrees with his father on "most issues."

Rand Paul's campaign is banking on this congruity of viewpoint -- literally. That's why Rand has been able to draw upon Ron Paul's out-of-state Internet base upon which to throw "money bombs."

If there is a "truther" in the Kentucky Republican primary for U.S. Senate, it is not Trey Grayson.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cathy Bailey Endorses Rand Paul

Here's a shocker: Former Latvian Ambassador Cathy Bailey has endorsed Rand Paul. And in so doing, she essentially accuses Trey Grayson's supporters or campaign of misrepresenting Paul's record. Worse still, she implies that Grayson is neither conservative nor tough enough to be Kentucky's U.S. Senator.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader,

In a statement, Cathy Bailey said, “I have consistently said that I wanted the Republican Party of Kentucky to nominate a true conservative to replace Senator Jim Bunning in Washington D.C.

“Like many people, I was originally told things about Rand Paul’s views that turned out to be false.

“The truth is Rand Paul is a true conservative and he will not participate in the business-as-usual culture of Washington D.C. I am confident that he will stand up for fiscal discipline, just as Senator Bunning has done time and again.”

. . .

Bailey said she selected between Paul and Secretary of State Trey Grayson on the basis of which one is “strong enough and conservative enough to truly stand against President Obama’s liberal agenda, which is pushing the United States down a treacherous path on many fronts.”

More Endorsements

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Trey Grayson, for what that's worth. Here's the release from the Grayson campaign:

“I’m grateful to have the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its members who share my agenda. I’m running for U.S. Senate, because I’m fed up with the Obama agenda of more government, out-of-control spending, increased deficits and job-killing policies. If I’m elected I will fight for a balanced budget and economic policies that will free small businesses and entrepreneurs to expand their businesses, innovate and create jobs,” said Grayson. “I will always put Kentucky first and fight for our priorities, including working to reduce the burdensome national debt that threatens our economic well being now and for future generations.”

In the endorsement, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue wrote to Grayson, “It is the Chamber’s goal to help elect a pro-business Congress and work diligently in the interests of businesses large and small to advance legislation that encourages economic growth, job creation and a less intrusive federal government. Your support of pro-business issues earned this endorsement.” Read the endorsement letter.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Trey in Louisville Wed.

Trey Grayson's bus tour will be in Louisville Wednesday, at 10:00 a.m. at the 1000 Building, 6200 Dutchman's Lanes.

Justice Kagan?

President Barack Obama has nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. No doubt her opposition to military recruiters at Harvard Law School as Dean will draw probing questions from Republicans. She was completely wrong about using "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" as a pretext for keeping the military off the Harvard Law School campus.

Nonetheless, we could have done worse. She was a pretty fair dean -- much less ideological than many on the faculty. And she did appoint some outstanding conservatives to the faculty, and that is no small accomplishment at Harvard. Her communication to alums also represented an improvement. Given her recent confirmation as Solicitor General, I think she will be confirmed to the High Court where she will be a solid vote for the left but unable to pull over any votes from the right.

Here's Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's statement on her nomination:

I congratulate Elena Kagan on her nomination. As we did with Justice Sotomayor last year, Senate Republicans will treat Ms. Kagan fairly. She has been nominated for a lifetime appointment on the nation’s highest court, and we will carefully review her brief litigation experience, as well as her judgment and her career in academia, both as a professor and as an administrator. Fulfilling our duty to advise and consent on a nomination to this office requires a thorough process, not a rush to judgment.

“The American people expect judges to apply the Constitution and laws of the United States fairly and impartially—as they are written, not how they could have been written but were not. Even though the President who nominates them has personal policy preferences, judges must not be a rubberstamp for any administration. Judges must not walk into court with a preconceived idea of who should win. Their job is to apply the law ‘without respect to persons,’ as the judicial oath states; it is not to pick winners or losers.

“Senate Republicans will have a vigorous debate on the importance of this principle. And we will diligently review the record of Ms. Kagan to ensure that she shares this principle and that she possesses the requisite experience to serve on the Supreme Court.”

Friday, May 7, 2010

New York Remains on Edge

New York City residents are understandably nervous after the Times Square car bomber brought back memories of 9/11. Today, an abandoned cooler of water bottles in Times Square caused an evacuation and visit from the bomb squad. Now an illegally-parked truck is causing a reprise.

No wonder New Yorkers are frightened. Not only does their city symbolize all that Islamofascists hate, but they have learned from hard experience that they must be on the alert at all times for anything or anyone who looks suspicious.

It's all well and good for ordinary citizens to be vigilant, but that's not much of a counter-intelligence plan. The Obama administration essentially conceded that point when it acquiesced to renewal of the Patriot Act.

Rand Paul, however, said he would vote against the Patriot Act.

That puts Rand Paul to the left of Obama on counter terrorism.

American Future Fund Targets Rand Paul

The American Future Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization, is running an attack ad against Rand Paul that hits him on energy, agriculture, national security and unemployment. According to the AFF website, the ad airs today through next week.

The American Freedom Fund is a multi-state advocacy group that focuses on conservative and free market principles.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why Isn't Trey Talking About Times Square?

I do not understand why the Grayson campaign is not pounding on the issue of the Times Square bomber. To the contrary, Grayson has issued no release and as best I can tell has not even mentioned it on facebook.

Grayson won Rudy Giuliani's endorsement, and Giuliani has urged Americans to look at the narrow escape in Times Square and recall when we were not so lucky, on 9/11. So when the news cycle hands you an event that illustrates a key distinction between your opponent, use it (if you want to win, that is).

Under the Obama administration, terrorists have struck at Fort Hood. A Denver group sought to bomb the New York City subway. The Christmas Day bomber nearly succeeded in blowing up a plane over Detroit. And now we have Times Square. Turns out Homeland Security has been reduced to guys selling fake Coach purses.

Though the Obama administration avoids the word "terrorist" so as not to hurt Muslim feelings, we are in a war. Islamofascists want to kill us -- and will keep trying until our luck runs out.

Trey Grayson will vote to use the full intelligence capability of the U.S. government to detect these people before they light their fuses. Grayson supports the Patriot Act; Rand Paul does not. Grayson will vote to keep Gitmo open to house terrorists for a long, long time. Rand Paul, when the hard votes come, will go all wobbly and vote with Lindsay Graham.

Rand Paul has said -- his words, on tape -- "I think they should mostly be sent back to their country of origin. Or to tell you the truth I’d drop them back off into battle."

Well, thanks to the Times Square car bomber we now know that Emerites Air is running a special. So why isn't Trey Grayson running an ad showing the plane to Dubai with a voiceover from Rand Paul about sending back terrorists to their country of origin?

We know from the Times Square bomber that Emirates Air is running a special from JFK.

Why Trey Grayson isn't running an ad showing footage of the Emirates plane with a voice over from Rand Paul promising to send terrorists back to their country of origin is a mystery. think they should mostly be sent back to their country of origin. Or to tell you the truth I’d drop them back off into battle.")

Well, we now know from the Times Square bomber that Emirates Air is running a special from JFK.

Why Trey Grayson isn't running an ad showing footage of the Emirates plane with a voice over from Rand Paul promising to send terrorists back to their country of origin is a mystery.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jim DeMint Endorses Rand Paul

Well, that didn't take long. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) waited a whopping 24 hours to endorse Rand Paul after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell endorsed Trey Grayson.

The battle for Senate Republican Leader starts now. Other than that, DeMint's endorsement makes no difference. He consecrated Rand Paul with kind words back in February, so his preference in Kentucky's primary was about as much of a secret as McConnell's. Nonetheless, just days ago DeMint said he had not taken the step of endorsing Paul because he didn't want to poke a finger in McConnell's eye. DeMint said he'd intervene if the race got "unfair."

The race has gotten plenty unfair. Sen. Jim Bunning encourages Trey Grayson to run and then endorses Rand Paul. Dr. James Dobson endorses Trey Grayson (who is indisputably pro-life) and then does an about-face to endorse Rand Paul. Like the DeMint endorsement, the Bunning and Dobson endorsements were not so much about supporting Paul as punishing McConnell.

The only Kentuckians who could care less about DeMint's favorite are already in the Paul cult.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

About Those Poll Numbers

The Rand Paul campaign boasts that it leads by 20 points, but its most recent TV spot calls that into question. No candidate who is truly up by that wide a margin would run an ad this negative -- particularly when Trey Grayson is running such a positive ad.

But the ads are not just different in tone. Grayson's ad features Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who won an overwhelming electoral victory just last year and remains very popular among Kentucky Republicans. McConnell, after all, did more than anyone else to transform Kentucky into a Red State.

Dr. Dobson

Ben Chandler is Sweating Now

National Review Online has compiled a list of 90 vulnerable Democrats. Ben Chandler made the list; John Yarmuth did not.

Here's NRO's take:

Ben Chandler, Kentucky: He’s a Democrat in an R+9 district who voted against the health-care bill. The two best-funded challengers areMike Templeman, former CEO of Energy Coal Resources, and Andy Barr. Both are running as conservatives against Washington, and this appears to be one of those districts where it just isn’t that healthy to be an incumbent Democrat.

McConnell Endorses Trey!

Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has endorsed Trey Grayson. This is huge, and must be a disappointment to Rand Paul who last fall went to have a private wine and cheese meeting with McConnell in an office at Bowman Field; this was Rand paying obeisance for commenting that he might not back McConnell for party leader if elected.

We know how Rand will spin this: jump up and down and whimper "Career Politician! Term Limits! Earmarks!" The fact is, that McConnell's seniority and the earmarks he has brought to a state as poor as Kentucky have improved the lives of many. He therefore remains hugely popular with Kentucky Republicans, and his endorsement is a game-changer.

Here's the release from the Grayson campaign:

Senator Mitch McConnell announced today that he is taking the rare step of endorsing a GOP candidate in a contested primary. Sen. McConnell threw his support behind Secretary of State Trey Grayson for U.S. Senate in the May 18th Republican primary. The Grayson campaign also launched a television commercial that features McConnell.

“For the last year and a half I’ve seen first-hand the efforts the left will go to in order to enact President Obama’s far-reaching policies. Their moves to have the government take over banks, car companies, the student loan business and most recently pass government run health care are turning the U.S. into a western European style economy. I refuse to let America be the next Greece, and I need Trey Grayson in the Senate to help me turn back the Obama agenda,” said McConnell.

He continued, “Trey Grayson has a proven conservative record as Secretary of State, cutting his office budget by 15% and ensuring that Kentucky’s taxpaying families have easy access to information about his office and budget. He understands that Kentuckians are his first responsibility and has worked to make his office more efficient and effective to meet their needs.”

“President Obama, aided by large Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress, has put us on a course to double the national debt in 5 years and triple it in 10 years. I need a conservative ally who won’t simply oppose such misguided plans, but will work to correct our current course. Trey is that candidate. He has a track record of leading by example rather than by press release. I ask Kentucky Republicans to vote for Trey Grayson on May 18th.”

Grayson commented, “Senator Mitch McConnell has been a champion in the Senate for Kentucky. Like most Kentucky Republicans, I am proud that he has twice been unanimously selected to lead his GOP colleagues in the Senate. Unlike my opponent, I am committed to seeing him reelected to that position in the next Congress. I thank him for his support and hope to have the opportunity to work with him on behalf of Kentuckians. The Democratic Congress is too arrogant, too liberal and refuses to listen to voters. If elected I will work with Sen. McConnell to help get our country back on a path to prosperity.”

Yesterday, Congressman Hal Rogers of Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District endorsed Grayson. Congressman Rogers hasn’t received less than 70% of the vote since 1992 in the critical 5th Congressional district, where primary voter turnout is expected to be the highest statewide.

The Grayson campaign also released the attached memo from respected pollster Jan van Lohuizen describing a live survey of 600 likely Republican primary voters conducted for the Grayson campaign last week that continues to show the race is a dead heat with each candidate getting 40% of the vote and 20% of voters still undecided.

Update: Politico reports that an the Grayson campaign will run its largest statewide buy of an ad with McConnell endorsing Trey.