Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sen. Tom Coburn Delivers GOP Address

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) delivered the Republican's weekly address. Coburn is a practicing physician and attended the president's health care summit, the subject of his address:

The American people have rejected the majority’s plan for good reason. Their plan includes a half trillion dollars in new tax increases, a half a trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare, job-killing penalties for employers, taxpayer funded abortion and new boards that will ration care to American citizens. At its core, their plan continues a government-centered approach that has made health care more expensive. Federal and state governments already control 60 percent of health care. If more government spending and control was the answer we could have fixed health care long ago.

“Republicans in Congress have a different vision for reform. We have put forward several proposals that lay out a common sense step-by-step path to reform. Our solutions are patient-centered, not government-centered. We believe in expanding options, not government; increasing access, not taxes; and reducing costs, not quality. most importantly, we believe that no one has the right to step between you and your doctor.

“I introduced a health care bill called the ‘Patients’ Choice Act’ last May along with Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina and Representatives Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Devin Nunes of California that includes several step-by-step ideas for reform. The ‘Patients’ Choice Act’ and other Republican plans accomplish all of the president’s goals, including expanding coverage, without raising taxes, bankrupting the country or rationing care.

Our proposals to rein in the massive amount of fraud, waste and duplication in our health care system drew widespread praise from Democrats at the summit, including the President. One in three dollars in our more than $2 trillion health care system does not do anything to help people get well or prevent them from getting sick. Democrats and Republicans agree that eliminating waste and inefficiency would lower costs and improve access tomorrow.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mongiardo and Conway Miss Deadline

Trey Grayson has issued a press release to state his support for a Kentucky House resolution that opposes the E.P.A. controlling carbon emissions by regulation (rather than by statute).

Grayson maintains:

The Kentucky House of Representatives is right to ask Congress to block this EPA action without Congressional authorization that could threaten hundreds of thousands of businesses, farms, schools and even home owners by putting them under EPA regulation of carbon emissions. As Kentucky’s U.S. Senator I would support Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) resolution of disapproval regarding EPA regulation of carbon emissions,” said Grayson.

Note that Grayson then takes aim at Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and the Beshear-Mongiardo administration for missing a key deadline:

While 16 states filed court challenges to the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare, Kentucky missed the deadline for presenting petitions to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo, both candidates for U.S. Senate, failed to take action and stood silently by while Kentucky missed this critical deadline.

That's a bigger problem for Conway as Attorney General -- who according to Grayson missed what is essentially a statute of limitations for filing suit to protect the Commonwealth.

Stay Classy, Sen. Bunning

Sen. Jim Bunning is going to embarrass Kentucky up until the very end of his term. Check out what he did this week: He kept a bill that would have extended unemployment benefits -- this had huge bipartisan support -- from getting a vote because he didn't want to miss the UK- South Carolina game. Then he swore when colleagues complained.

Talking Points Memo explains:

Ninety-nine of the Senate's 100 members have agreed that people whose benefits are set to run out should be allowed to continue receiving them past the February 28 deadline. One senator--Bunning--disagrees. He says the benefits should only be extended if they're paid for with stimulus dollars. Democrats disagree.

If he were to relent, the extensions would be granted automatically. But, per the Senate rules, any single member can throw a wrench into an otherwise universal agreement.Bunning's concerns lay elsewhere: "I have missed the Kentucky-South Carolina game that started at 9:00 and it's the only redeeming chance we had to beat South Carolina since they're the only team that has beat Kentucky this year," he said on the Senate floor.

At one point in the discussion, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), asked Bunning to drop his objection. Bunning, according to Politico, had a two word answer for his colleague: "Tough shit."

Senate Candidates Dueling TV Ads

Trey Grayson launched his third ad of the week and Rand Paul responded with his own ad -- with Barack Obama playing the part of Willie Horton.

Grayson's television ad portrays Paul as a weak appeaser by quoting Paul promising to balance the budget by cutting military spending. It's a pity for Paul that so few al Qaeda operatives are registered to vote in Kentucky, as they would no doubt agree that the U.S. military budget should be gutted.

Well, it didn't take long for Rand Paul (who is rolling in dough from out of state donors) to launch his own national security ad. Paul may still lead in the polls, but he has shifted to reactive mode. Grayson is setting the agenda. Paul's reflexive launch of an ad every time Grayson runs one is making Paul sound like Ethel Merman singing "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better."

As for the substance of ads, Paul is now on the record, on camera, as stating that he would cut military spending. Not a smart move when we are fighting two wars plus the threat of terrorist attacks here. Grayson's ad is therefore quite powerful.

Rand Paul's ad, not so much. He reminds us that in his youth, Trey Grayson voted for Bill Clinton. Hello! Ronald Reagan was a Democrat in his youth, as well. Grayson has grown up. He is a conservative. No one seriously thinks that Washington would make him go all wobbly and start voting with Harry Reid. Paul's argument does not work because too many Kentuckians know Grayson first-hand and know him to be a solid conservative.

Paul makes a second point in his ad, and this one is even more specious than the Bill Clinton jab. Paul quotes a sound-bite of Grayson saying that as Secretary of State and a citizen he will do his part to work with President Barack Obama.

The Paul ad concludes ominously that Grayson and Obama are "dangerous allies" just as a giant head shot of Obama appears over Grayson's shoulder! Seriously, Paul is treating Obama like he's Willie Horton. I'm no Obama friend, but Paul's disrespect of the President of the United States is staggering.

As for Paul's point that Grayson is an Obama collaborator, for all of Paul's professed love of the constitution, he forgets that public servants like Gayson take a oath of office that requires Grayson to "support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth." Obama is the duly elected head of the executive branch. Maybe Paul should re-read the Constitution of the United States, particularly article II, section 1: "the executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America."

For Paul to attempt to tie Grayson to Obama because Grayson recognizes the president's constitutional authority is just more of the peculiar, illogic that has come to characterize the Paul campaign.

Joe Arnold reports that Paul has reserved air time leading up to the May primary to run many, many ads. From what he has run so far, Paul's ads are back-firing. The more Kentuckians learn about this guy, the less they will like this legacy candidate son of wacko Ron Paul.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Health Care Summit Talk Clock

  • Democrats (including President Obama): 233 minutes (almost four hours)
  • Republicans: 110 minutes (one hour and 50 minutes)
  • President Obama, solo: 119 minutes (one hour and 59 minutes)
  • Click here for HotAir's top three sound bites -- not really flattering to Obama.

Grayson and Johnson Team Up Against Rand Paul

Two of the candidates for the Republican Senate nomination, Trey Grayson and Bill Johnson, have taken the extraordinary measure of issuing a joint press release against rival candidate Dr. Rand Paul. They focus on the issue of abortion, and charge Paul with lying in a radio ad about whether he is pro-life:

“There’s no ‘probably’ when it comes to the issue of partial birth abortion among Kentucky pro-life activists,” said Grayson. “Whether it’s Bill Johnson or myself, Kentuckians deserve to know who can be counted on to protect life and stand up for our conservative values in the race for U.S. Senate.”

“Rand Paul denies it now, but I’ve heard him say that he supports allowing individual states to decide the issue of abortion. He describes himself as a Constitutional conservative, but he ignores the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that guarantees our rights to life, liberty and property. Life should be protected at all levels of Government, including the Federal level,” said Bill Johnson.

While Rand Paul claims to be pro-life, he has in the past voiced support for allowing states to decide the issue and has opposed federal regulation of abortion. Rand Paul in his own words:

But he [Paul] was more evasive when it came to some social issues like abortion and gay marriage. He said he believes marriage is between a man and woman but wouldn’t say how he’d vote on such issues in the Senate, instead saying such matters should be left up to states.(Ronnie Ellis, “Paul Touts Fundraising Success, Stakes Positions On Federal Issues,” The McCreary County [KY] Record, 10/20/09)

And on abortion, Paul expressed discomfort with federal laws but said he “probably” would have voted for a federal ban on a procedure that has been called partial-birth abortion by its opponents.” (Joe Gerth, “Can Paul win Kentucky Senate Race?”, The Courier-Journal, 10/19/2009)

I think we should make Roe v. Wade part of our philosophy as far as states’ rights - in believing that states should have the prerogative over this.” (Rand Paul Speaking in Jessamine County, 9/3/2009)

"I would introduce and support legislation to send Roe v. Wade back to the states." (Rand Paul Speaking in Paducah, 5/9/2009)

"Libertarian would be a good description," Rand Paul told CNN, "because libertarians believe in freedom in all aspects of your life – your economic life as well as your social life as well as your personal life." (CNN’s Political Ticker, 5/4/2009)

“Paul’s father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is a strong states’ rights advocate who wants the federal government out of people’s lives. He opposes federal drug laws and says the U.S. government should not outlaw gay marriage because only churches should be in the marriage business. During a conference call Friday, Rand Paul, a Bowling Green ophthalmologist, talked around some of those questions and others, perhaps signaling that he knows his positions on such issues might be a tough sell to Kentucky Republicans. He prefers to talk about fiscal issues, allowing him to ride a populist wave that erupted after the nation’s economy went bust, prompting federal bailouts.” (Joseph Gerth, Op-Ed, “Can Paul Win Kentucky Senate Race?” The [Louisville, KY] Courier-Journal, 10/19/09)

“[T]he Paul campaign issued the following response: . . . . ‘Reconciling Rand’s positions with Kentucky voters is easy. Kentucky is a socially conservative state which mostly upholds Christian values. If we protect states’ rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, then we protect Kentucky values from Californians or Vermonters or out-of-control Congressional Democrats and President Obama. Kentucky voters want and deserve to have their rights protected by Rand Paul’s strict constructionist understanding of the United States Constitution.’ David Adams, campaign manager.” (Joe Arnold, ABC Affiliate WHAS’s Political Blog,, Posted 10/20/09)

Middlesboro Daily News: What about instances of rape or incest or where the outcome may not be death, but severe medical problems for the mother or child. Do you think that in these cases the decision should be left to the government rather than the families? Paul: In cases of rape, trying to prevent pregnancies is obviously the best thing. The morning-after pill works successfully most of the time. Ultimately we do better if we do have better education about family planning. With partial-birth abortion, there were five women who testified that it threatened their life. It wasn’t completely true in all cases. They were non-viable babies. They were babies with awful genetic mutations that were not going to survive, and I tend to think we let nature take its course. (Lorie Settles, “US Senate Hopeful Rand Paul Visits Middlesboro,” The Middlesboro Daily News, 1/26/10).

Trey Grayson makes an excellent point about the fourteenth amendment. If Paul is, as he claims, a constitutionalist, he cannot allow a state to circumvent the fourteenth amendment's application to the states, including its protection of life.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Papa Paul Alert

A few thoughts on Rep. Ron Paul winning the Conservative Political Action Committee's presidential straw poll and what that means for the Republican Party (and by implication, the Kentucky U.S. Senate race). David Harsanyi at Townhall writes:

"Congressman Paul is committed to bringing the conservative movement back to its traditional platform of limited government, balanced budgets and a foreign policy of nonintervention," claims Jesse Benton, Paul's spokesman.

If only it stopped there. Paul isn't a traditional conservative. His obsession with long-decided monetary policy and isolationism are not his only half-baked crusades. Paul's newsletters of the '80s and '90s were filled with anti-Semitic and racist rants, proving his slumming in the ugliest corners of conspiracyland today is no mistake.

So Rand Paul was raised on a tirade of "anti-Semitic and racist rants"? And he nonetheless agrees with his father on everything? Young Rand has some disavowing to do. No wonder he favors term limits; it would keep his career politician father from embarrassing him inside the Beltway. Of course, it's hard to throw Papa Paul under the bus, given that his supporters give 80 percent of the contributions that fatten the account of his legacy candidate son.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Senate TV Ads

Trey Grayson launched his first TV ad. It emphasizes his support for the coal industry -- and the jobs it brings to Kentuckians. It is playing in eastern Kentucky where those voters who would lose their jobs to cap and trade reside. In the ad, Rand Paul is quoted as saying that coal is "dirty."

Rand Paul is not happy with Grayson's ad. He released the following statement:

"There is no candidate who will stand up for Kentucky’s Coal Industry more than Rand Paul. To twist his words and draw conclusions that are opposite to Dr. Paul's positions is intellectually dishonest and beneath someone asking to be Kentucky's next Senator.

"Dr. Paul has stated repeatedly that he opposes Cap and Trade and opposes a runaway EPA that vows to write its own greenhouse emission rules without Congressional Approval.

"Furthermore, Dr. Paul has called for sun-setting EPA regulations on Coal and forcing the EPA to streamline or eliminate the onerous permit process. Dr. Paul has also defended mountaintop removal of coal. It's hard to imagine a candidate who has taken a more clear and consistent stand against out-of-control government regulation and intrusion into private businesses.

"Trey Grayson clearly takes Paul's comments out of context and attempts to imply that Dr. Paul is anti-coal. This is a political game, and to show how easy it is to do, the same could be done to Grayson's comments:

"And so we feel like going forward, that this is a zero emission, um, process, and as where some of these coal fire plants are being phased out, we need to probably, we need to bring nuclear on. And from a cost effectiveness standpoint, uh, they're much more cost effective just because the cost to make a clean coal plant is so expensive that nuclear becomes a viable option." - Trey Grayson

"Does that make Grayson anti-Coal?

"This attack is no doubt the first in a series of distortions and lies to attempt to tear down Dr. Paul's grassroots campaign. Trey Grayson clearly can't say he's the outsider who will fight against career politicians. He can't say he'd be the strongest advocate for limited government. He can't say he'd fight back against bailouts, out of control spending and earmarks.

He can't say he'd fight for Term Limits or against big government establishment politicians.

So he's instead trying to right his failing campaign by attacking. It won't work. The people of Kentucky can and will see through Grayson's political games."

And then Paul released his own ad, in which he tries to make Grayson look anti-coal because he acknowledges that nuclear energy is the way of the future. The ad appears to have been thrown together quickly; it's not very effective.

At the end of the day, either Paul or Grayson is better on energy than a Democrat. There does not appear to be that much difference between them on this issue -- just as there is not much difference between them on fiscal issues.

Where they differ is on national security and foreign relations. And the appropriate role for federal drug enforcement. If voters scrutinize the candidates on those issues, they will see, as the Wall Street Journal wrote last week, that Rand Paul is "radical" and "extreme," and has "much in common with those of the far left" including 9/11 truthers and the "obsessed and deranged" who support his father, career politician Rep. Ron Paul. "

Monday, February 22, 2010

Old Tricks

You can already see it happening with the Rand/Grayson battle. The mainstream media is getting behind, or at least giving more attention to, the Republican that is the least likely to win in the general election (Rand). We saw this with McCain. There were Republicans that would have been much better candidates against Obama and the mainstream media got behind McCain for that very reason. It is a clever strategy and you have to give them credit for it.

Generally, in a Republican primary you never want to support the candidate that the mainstream media likes best. Keep this in mind if you are having any questions about who to support in this year's Republican senate primary.

C-J Truth-Checks Rand

Courier-Journal coverage of the Jefferson County Lincoln Day dinner corrected Dr. Rand Paul's attempt to sound less eccentric on the issue of Gitmo detainees.

Joe Gerth writes that the Grayson campaign called Paul to account for a quote he made last summer, when Paul said that the administration should take the Gitmo detainees and "drop them back off in Afghanistan, it'll take them awhile to get back over here."

Paul, according to Gerth, called Trey Grayson "intellectually dishonest"for taking the quote out of context. Paul maintains that he only wants to send those Gitmo detainees back from whence they came if they cannot be convicted.

Gerth's analysis: "Paul's summary of the question was correct, but then he got into a bit of trouble when he claimed that the question was limited to Chinese Muslims, called Uighurs. . . . A video of the interview doesn't back that up. Paul went from talking about border policy to Guantanamo Bay and Uighurs were never mentioned."

Even with Paul's "context," it's still a bizarre remark.

Paul never explains why he assumes that the detainees cannot be convicted. Does he really believe that these thugs in Gitmo are innocent?

Probably not, because he tries to reassure us that it will "take them awhile to get back over here." In essence, Paul's plan for keeping us safe merely buys us time -- postpones the inevitable attack from terrorists with a very high recidivism rate. Case in point: the Christmas Day Bomber was trained by a Gitmo graduate. Paul fails to grasp the danger of his own proposal. The issue is not how long it will take these terrorists to "get back over here." We don't want them free to attack us, not tomorrow, not next year, not ever.

Paul's Gitmo deportation idea hearkens back to the American Colonization Society's plans to send slaves to Liberia before the Civil War -- solve the political problem of slavery by just getting the slaves out of America. If they are Over There, we don't have to think about them any more. That is not to analogize innocent slaves to terrorists but rather to point out that as with slavery, the issue is too complex for a pat answer; too much has happened with the enemy combatants to simply give them a boat ride back. The American Colonization Society, like Paul, was well-intentioned, but naive.

Here's Paul's now-famous YouTube video on sending back the boys from Gitmo.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Missing Endorsement

Trey Grayson released the names of seven members of the Metro Louisville Council who have endorsed his candidacy for U.S. Senate. Hal Heiner is absent from the list:

Jon Ackerson (District 18)
Ken Fleming (District 7)
Kevin Kramer (District 11)
Kelly Downard (District 16)
Glen Stuckel (District 17)
Stuart Benson (District 20)
James Peden (District 23)

Liar, liar, pants on fire...

Regarding Humana's announcement of 2,500 job cuts, Congressman John Yarmuth said:

"I also look forward to working with Humana toward a system in which we can maintain or expand the ranks of the insured and create new opportunities for the company to grow."

Translation from Yarmuthspeak to truth:

"I also look forward to working with the current administration toward a system in which we can maintain or expand the power of government and put private companies such as Humana out of business."

Trey's Thoughts On Porkulus Anniversary

Trey Grayson notes that when Congress passed the stimulus bill one year ago, Kentucky's unemployment was 9.3 percent. Nearly a trillion dollars later, Kentucky's unemployment in December was 10.7:

One year after the massive trillion dollar stimulus bill, nearly 40,000 more Kentuckians have lost their jobs. Despite President Obama’s promise that this massive legislation would put Kentuckians to work immediately, the out-of-control spending agenda in Washington has failed to curtail the enormous job loss in the Bluegrass State.

Real recovery requires small businesses and entrepreneurs to be freed to create jobs. They are suffering under the Obama agenda: excessive government spending, the prospect of higher taxes, higher inflation, expensive health mandates, draconian EPA regulation, restricted international markets, and government-supported unionization. The best stimulus would be to stop doing more harm.\

Kentuckians know that Grayson is right on this issue, which is why President Obama will not come campaign for whomever his party nominates to run for our U.S. Senate seat.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oh, Please Come Here!!

President Barack Obama is embarking on what the Washington Times has dubbed the Save the Senate Tour.

Stops include Nevada, where Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid will sit ashen, holding his breath to see if Obama makes another crack about how we can't spend federal money like we're in Las Vegas.

And Obama will go to Colorado to campaign for Sen. Michael Bennett, who would lose to any of the Republican primary candidates if the election were held today.

To break up the trip out west -- and because he neglected us so during the presidential election -- it is only fitting that Obama come to Kentucky.

It's true that we don't know who will be the Democratic nominee for our U.S. Senate seat. No matter. Obama can come raise money for the state committee and let both Jack Conway and Dan Mongiardo appear on stage with him. They can all stand together and sing Kumbaya about unity to Progressive Ideals or whatever.

The photo ops would make a nice addition to the campaign ads. For the Republican nominee, that is.

Fineman Profiles McConnell

Howard Fineman catches up with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. The profile appears in Newsweek's February 22 issue. Some excerpts:

The blizzard had paralyzed Washington. So it was an apt day for a chat (by phone) with Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who is working successfully—yet with surprisingly little personal notoriety—to bury the Barack Obama presidency in an unplowed cul-de-sac called the U.S. Senate. As the GOP leader there, McConnell strands Democrats in snowdrifts of parliamentary procedure and nasty talking points.

. . .

In a city obsessed with visibility and celebrity, it largely goes overlooked that the plodding, unglamorous McConnell is Obama's most powerful foe—the man he must outmaneuver, or at least neutralize, if he wants to reach the sunny uplands of (bipartisan) legislative accomplishment, not to mention a second term in 2012. It will not be easy.

Charm won't work. McConnell's Southern courtliness is of a wintry variety, and his sense of partisanship is as unforgiving as it is relentless. His chilly demeanor is emblematic of the way Washington now operates. There was a time when personal gestures and ego stroking worked wonders, especially for a president, even of the other party. Not anymore. I asked McConnell what he thought of the president on a personal basis. I could hear the impatience on the other end of the line. "Oh, personally, I think he's fun to be around," McConnell said dryly, as though he was pointing out a weakness. "An A-plus personality."

. . .

Impervious to presidential flattery, McConnell also gains strength from a certain modesty of ambition. True, he likes getting his name on buildings back home in Louisville (and expertly manipulates the earmark process to do so), but by Washington standards he doesn't care much about fame—or higher office. "It's better not to be running for president when you are in this job," he said. "It is such a distraction if you're worried about building a national constituency."

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's Looking More and More Like a Three-Way Race

Joe Arnold agrees that Bill Johnson is becoming a factor in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, as manifested by Johnson's strong showing at Saturday's debate.

Johnson's fundraising disadvantage may be insurmountable. But his ascendancy cuts into Tea Party support of Dr. Rand Paul and thereby helps Trey Grayson.

Grayson meanwhile has shifted from a focus on national security to abortion. For weeks, Grayson has emphasized the wacko positions of Ron Paul on the war on terror (which Paul thinks America brought upon ourselves). Grayson's success in tying legacy candidate Rand Paul to the policies of his career politician dad resulted in Rand Paul running an ad to state that terrorist trials should be held in military tribunals. Make no mistake, the timing and the content of the ad shows that Paul is on the defensive on the issue.

Now Grayson has accused Paul of the "Potomac two-step" for for maintaining that he opposes abortion -- which earned him the endorsement of the Concerned Women of America -- while trying to appease libertarians by emphasizing the constitutional authority of states.

Abortion is a wedge issue between libertarians and social conservatives, and Paul is trying mightily to appeal to both groups without alienating either. Grayson and Johnson, in contrast, have been unequivocally pro-life. How and why did the Concerned Women arrive at their decision to endorse Paul?

More Dems Retire

Patrick Kennedy's decision to retire from Congress must be contagious. Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) is retiring; he left Democrats in a lurch by waiting to decide that he would not seek reelection until the day before the filing deadline.

Rumors abound of other impending retirements. Hot Air speculates that Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) is weighing her options, and Instapundit has an "impeccable source" who says that Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) will retire.

If this keeps up, Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's prospects to become majority leader look brighter. Of course, that assumes that Republicans don't blow races like the Kentucky Senate race.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rand Responds to John David Dyche

Dr. Rand Paul has responded to a series of questions posed by John David Dyche last week in the Courier-Journal. But since the C-J refused to print his response, Joe Arnold has linked it up.

Joe is careful to note those instances in which Paul fails to respond, and lists follow-up questions for other responses.

Is Kentucky So Bad For Love?

The Daily Beast has ranked 104 U.S. cities for the likelihood of finding love, and Louisville comes up short: number 92. Long Beach, CA is number one. Lexington is dead last.

Louisville scored a "C" for the ratio of singles, a "D" for social life (restaurants and over 21 spots), an "F" for emotional health (based on a Gallup happiness survey), an "F" for marriage, measured as the percentage of people who married in 2008 as a percentage of the overall marriage-aged population. The bright spot: Louisville scored a "B" for the divorce ratio.

So although Louisville may not be a great place to find a mate for life, it appears to be a good place to keep one, if you already have one.

Louisville's "romantic hot spot" is supposedly Lilly's. (Really? I would have guessed Porcini's. Plainly the Daily Beast did not ask Rick Pitino.)

Lexington fared even worse: last place, number 104. Lexington scored in "F" for singles, social life, emotional health and marriage. Yet Lexington scored an A+ for divorce. The Lexington hot spot is supposedly Arirang Garden.

Foreign Policy Rift Hurts the Pauls

Tea Partiers are not fungible. And some of them are beginning to speak up and criticize career politician Ron Paul for policies that cannot keep America safe from terrorists. This criticism has direct implications for the Kentucky Senate race, where Ron's son Dr. Rand Paul has lured his father's national contributor base by aping his father's policies.

Ron Paul -- who mainstream media paint as the Grand-daddy of the Tea Parties --now has his own opposition in Texas, three primary challenges from, you guessed it, other Tea Partiers.

Take this criticism of Paul from the Dana Show via Hot Air:

I love Ron Paul immensely with one exception: I vehemently disagree with his foreign policy. A nation alone in a world of enemies is a nation that does not last long. It’s part of a strategy in protecting American citizens. Big difference from “nation building,” a broad, sweeping term tossed at anyone who dares look to protect America from outside her borders – that and “neoconservatism” which just, ugh, gag me.

I disagree with Allahpundit:

The only sin Paul’s clearly guilty of in tea-party eyes isearmarking; his foreign policy is obviously a major issue, but unless I missed a memo, there’s no concrete foreign policy (i.e. isolationist vs. interventionist) that’s been settled on by a majority of tea partiers.

I don’t speak for all tea partiers, but having been involved in politics most of my life, this movement for a year, and having met thousands of tea partiers, I’ve yet to met one who thinks that eradicating terrorism, beyond our borders if need be, isn’t a good idea. There isn’t a concrete policy on anything but limited government power, low taxes, and devotion to the American government’s first (and only, really) priority which is protecting its people.

In Kentucky, Rand Paul acts as if the Tea Partiers have annointed him with Holy Oil. He begins every stump speech with the line that that He (and by implication, only He) has "message from the Tea Parties: we've come to take our government back."

Rand Paul, however, has his own opposition from Tea Partier and veteran Bill Johnson. To be sure, Bill Johnson's father didn't run for president last term; he has no national email list for dropping "money bombs" and not much name identification. In short, Bill Johnson is running as an outsider against the son of career politician Ron Paul.

The chastening lesson for both Pauls is that a movement as decentralized as the Tea Parties is by nature heterogeneous. And while many within in it may agree that Gitmo should be closed and the like, not all do. There are similar differences on abortion.

The Tea Partiers are united by fiscal conservatism, an abhorrence of deficits and a respect for the constitution -- principles upon which most Republicans agree. On foreign policy and abortion, there is a range of disagreement and a willingness to vet every candidate, regardless of Who's Your Daddy.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

McConnell's Strategy For 2012

Politico reports on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's plan for picking up Republican seats next year

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has settled in on his election-year strategy: Identify issues that unite his caucus but divide the other party, then use them to drive a wedge between the White House and congressional Democrats.

At the top of his list: the administration’s handling of terrorism cases.

Rand Paul must think its a pretty good strategy, given how he is trying to reinvent himself as the first libertarian neocon.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Palin Can't Keep Her Pauls Straight

CQ Politics notes that Sarah Palin confused U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Rand Paul with his father, career politician Ron Paul:

Sarah Palin of Alaska provided a less than vigorous defense of her endorsement of Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul’s campaign on Sunday, vaguely referencing his “domestic” agenda while mixing him up with his father, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

“I don’t agree with Ron Paul on everything,” Palin told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “His domestic policies I do agree with for the most part.”

Palin's confusion is understandable, given that she endorsed Rand Paul without ever meeting him or speaking to him, and given that Rand Paul has said that he and his father agree on nearly all the issues.

The Grayson campaign was quick to exploit Palin's mistake, and issued the following release:

“No wonder she mixed them up. Ron and Rand’s positions on closing Guantanamo Bay, leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, the attacks on September 11th , and drug enforcement are identical, and dangerous,” said Grayson campaign manager Nate Hodson.

Rand Paul has said repeatedly that he does not disagree with his dad except on minor issues:

Rand Paul Agrees That He Is Just A Chip Off The Old Block. Alex Jones: “You're basically what I would call a chip off the old block, your policies are basically identical to your father's, correct?” Rand Paul: “I'd say we'd be very, very similar.” (Rand Paul on the Alex Jones Show, 5/21/2009)

Rand Paul Said He Disagrees With His Dad Only in Minor Issues. Washington Wire: Are there any areas where you disagree with your father’s views on issues? Paul: There are some minor areas where we disagree. (Peter Wallsten, “Q&A with Rand Paul: Shaking Up the Kentucky Senate Race,” The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire Blog, 11/12/09)

When Asked On What Rand Paul Disagrees With Ron Paul, His Response Was About Taking Money From Medicare And Medicaid, Not Policy Issues. “I couldn’t resist this: is there any issue on which the younger Paul disagrees with his father? ‘Yes,’ he said with a laugh, recalling how his father would do medical work free of charge rather than take payments from the Medicare and Medicaid programs. ‘I do participate in both programs. With my particular practice as an opthamologist, I have to or I couldn’t keep my practice going.’” (John Gizzi, “A ‘Dr. Paul’ In The Senate, Too?” Human Events, 8/15/09)

Rand Paul Said We Should Send the Terrorists at Guantanamo Back to Their Home Countries. “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 … if you’re unclear, drop ‘em off back into Afghanistan. It’d take them a while to get back over here.” (YouTube video of Rand Paul speaking in Paducah, KY, 5/8/09)

Rand Paul is Unsure of the Mission in Afghanistan. “After eight years in Afghanistan, several questions arise: 1. Is our National Security still threatened by terrorist training camps?; 2. Why haven't Afghanis begun to provide their own security?; 3. Are we there because of a threat to our security or to build a nation?” (Rand Paul Statement on Afghanistan, 12/1/09)

Rand Paul Does Not Support the Troops in Iraq. “Yeah I say not out of Iraq now, I say out of Iraq two or three years ago and or never go in, even better. But I think that when you get out the only thing that you need to propose and that people will accept is that you do it in an orderly fashion.” (’s “Antiwar Radio With Scott Horton,”, May 15, 2009)

Rand Paul Refused to Answer if He Thinks the United States Caused 9/11. “I think that’s a complicated situation, that there is truth on both sides,” David Adams, Rand Paul’s campaign manager, said. (Joe Gerth, “Paul Spokesman Quits Over Web Remarks,” The Courier-Journal, 12/17/09)

Rand Paul Wants to Eliminate Federal Drug Laws. “It’s a state issue. All issues of crime are better addressed at the state level.” (Peter Walsten, “Q&A with Rand Paul,” Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire Blog, 11/12/2009)

Friday, February 5, 2010

More Endorsements for Grayson

Trey Grayson's campaign announced that he has been endorsed by Judge Executives from 27 counties across Kentucky:

Judge Ann Melton (Adair)
Judge Davie Greer (Barren)
Judge Albey Brock (Bell)
Judge Gary Moore (Boone)
Judge Ray Powers (Breckinridge)
Judge David Fields (Butler)
Judge Steve Pendery (Campbell)
Judge Lyle Huff (Clinton)
Judge Fred Brown (Crittenden)
Judge Tim Hicks (Cumberland)
Judge Wallace Taylor (Estill)
Judge Larry Foxworthy (Fleming)
Judge John Wilson (Garrard)
Judge Harry Berry (Hardin)
Judge Terry Martin (Hart)
Judge Ralph Drees (Kenton)
Judge Steve Mays (Lee)
Judge Jimmy Sizemore (Leslie)
Judge Blaine Phillips (McCreary)
Judge Larry Whitaker (McLean)
Judge Tim Conley (Morgan)
Judge Duane Murner (Oldham)
Judge Mickey Garner (Russell)
Judge Rob Rothenburger (Shelby)
Judge Jim Henderson (Simpson)
Judge Stanley Humphries (Trigg)
Judge Pat White, Jr. (Whitley)

Tea Partiers Dumping Rand Paul

Rand Paul likes to open his stump speeches by saying that he "has a message from the Tea Parties: we've come to take our country back."

The problem for Paul is that his endorsement from Sarah Palin has infuriated many in the Kentucky Tea Party movement, who prefer Bill Johnson in the Republican primary.

In addition, two organizers of last summer's Tea Parties, Sue Jaycox and Debra Tennison, complain about Paul's audacity at claiming to represent a movement that arose around issues and ideas rather than a candidate's charisma:

We believe any candidate who claims to be "the" Tea Party candidate is clearly out of touch with its spontaneous and diverse nature that is truly non-partisan and completely free from being bound to any one candidate.

This race may be on the verge of becoming a three-way. If Paul and Johnson split the Tea Party vote, Trey Grayson wins.

Kentucky Residents # 20 in Looks

The Daily Beast has decreed that Kentucky ranks 20th in terms of the attractiveness of our residents. D.C. is supposedly number one.

Here's how they crunched the numbers:

First, we determined who had the most stunners-per-capita (allowing Connecticut and California an equal playing field), tallying the hometowns of more than 300 male and female fashion models, plus 125 men mentioned in 10 years' worth of People's "Sexiest Man Alive" issues. Then, we accounted for the results of the Miss America and Miss USA pageants for the past decade. Finally, in order to measure general attractiveness, we factored in health and fitness data for each state from 2006-2008, ranked by the Trust for America's Health. Each of those three criteria—models, pageant winners, fitness—was weighed equally, with any ties broken by which state performed best in the latter category.

Using that framework, Kentucky's model rating is 18th. Our pageant ranking is 8th. But what killed us is our fitness ranking: 45th.

Hit the gym, people!

WaPo Profiles Rand Paul

Dr. Rand Paul gets a big profile in the Washington Post as the Kentucky Senate race continues to draw national attention. The tone is down-right Messianic (I thought Obama was the Second Coming?). A few excerpts:

Rand Paul believes he was born to lead the anti-establishment movement sweeping the GOP. . . . While Republicans across the country, from Scott Brown in Massachusetts to Marco Rubio in Florida, have succeeded in tapping into the anger of the "tea party" crowd, Paul, the third son of the anti-tax icon and Texas congressman Ron Paul, is a product of it. The insurgent GOP primary candidate, who wants to succeed retiring Sen. Jim Bunning in Kentucky, is being heralded as the second coming by a constituency long suspicious of government, protective of privacy and assured of America's chosen-people status.

. . .

Rand Paul's stump speech can be a downer. Although he is not above offering some anti-Obama red meat -- "Sarah Palin said he's been palling around with terrorists; now he's palling around with the world's communists" -- his remarks drift into dark idiosyncrasy: He criticizes population-control policies by saying governments fear "too many breathers," as in humans. He reminds supporters that the "Bridge to Nowhere" was built by earmarks from Republican senators in Palin's own state and mourns a system so broken that "I'm not sure you can elect enough good people to fix it -- I mean, I'm really concerned about it."

. . .

On Wednesday, he aired his first TV commercial, in which he articulates his recalibrated, more Republican-friendly Guantanamo position ("Terrorists captured on the battlefield should be tried in military court and not brought to the U.S.") and stands imposingly in his eye-doctor scrubs

. . .

Paul's main problem is bureaucratic: Only voters who registered Republican by Dec. 31 of last year can participate in the May vote. That doesn't leave much time for this first-time candidate, who still spends much of the week doing Lasik surgery, to ingratiate himself with Kentucky conservatives.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Poll: KY Senate Seat Stays Republican

Regardless of whether the Republican nominee is Trey Grayson or Rand Paul, a new Rasmusson poll shows that Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat will remain Republican. That is true whether the Democratic nominee is Dan Mongiardo or Jack Conway.

The closest match up is Trey Grayson vs. Jack Conway; Grayson wins, 44-40, whereas Rand Paul would defeat Conway 47-39.

Rasmusson polled "likely voters" earlier this week.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rand Paul's First Ad: National Security

Dr. Rand Paul has released his first campaign ad, and like Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's speech earlier today, it focuses on terrorism.

Paul flatly contradicts Trey Grayson's repeated attacks that Paul is "dangerously" naive on how to treat enemy combatants and fight Islamofascists.

In the ad, Paul says that he would keep "prisoners" off U.S. soil. Earlier in the campaign, Paul had said that Gitmo's enemy combatants should be returned to their country of origin. The Obama administration recently proposed moving Gitmo's enemy combatants to Illinois, a policy Grayson has criticized.

Paul also said that "prisoners of war, enemy combatants and terrorists captured on the battlefield should be tried in military court and not brought to the U.S. I do not believe they should be tried in civilian court." Grayson has made that point forcefully and repeatedly; Paul, not so much.

It is unclear from Paul's ad whether Paul approves of the Obama administration interrogating the Christmas Day Bomber like a common criminal, reading him Miranda rights and providing him with a taxpayer-funded attorney. The Christmas Day Bomber was captured by fellow passengers on a flight bound for Detroit; does that constitute the "battlefield" in Paul's analysis?

That Paul felt the need to respond to Grayson's attacks is implicit acknowledgment that foreign policy and national security are the two issues that distinguish the front-runners in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate -- and are the issues on which Paul is most vulnerable.

McConnell's Heritage Speech

Here's Politico's coverage of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's speech, criticizing the Obama administration for going soft on terrorism:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday accused the White House of being more concerned about a messaging strategy than prosecuting a war against terrorism.

In a blistering speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation, the Kentucky Republican issued his toughest criticism yet of Obama's efforts to handle terrorists, saying the president has a "blind spot" when it comes to fighting terrorism, citing the administration's handling of the accused Christmas Day bombing.

"Again and again, the adminstration's approach has been to announce a new policy or to change an existing one based not on a careful study of the facts, but as a way of conspicuously distancing itself from the policies of the past - even ones that worked," McConnell said. "It short, it has too often put symbolism over security."

McConnell's speech is the latest indication that the politics of national security could play a dominant role in this year's elections, coming a day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accused the GOP of putting politics before national security by blocking key Obama nominees.

Following his Heritage speech, McConnell signaled that the issue of prosecuting terrorists in military commissions rather than U.S. criminal courts sells well all around the country, as it did in Scott Brown's election to Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat.

"If this approach of puting these people in U.S. courts doesn't sell in Massachussets, I don't know where it sells," he told a questioner.

He added: "You can camapign on these issues anywhere in America."

In his speech to about 100 attendees, McConnell accused the administration of handling terrorism as a "narrow law enforcement" matter, and suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder was ducking GOP questions about the attempted bombing attempt.

"He can't keep dodging this forever."

McConnell said the adminstration was more concerned about getting the alleged bomber - Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab - an attorney rather than critical intelligence from him. And he lambasted the administration for seeking to try accused terrorists in U.S. criminal court rather than at Guantanamo Bay, promising to do "everything we can to deny them the funds they'll need" if they avoid his suggested route.

And he said that the administration belatedly decided against moving detainees to move detainees out of Guantanamo to Yemen.

McConnell dismissed news reports that the aleged bomber was cooperating with law enforcement, criticizing the anonymous sources who leaked the information to the media. McConell said the sources leaked information "aimed at rehabilitating and justifying the administration's mishandling of the Nigerian bomber."

McConnell Gives National Security Speech at Heritage

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is giving a major national security address at the Heritage Foundation, today at 11:00. Watch here for the ustream, live or go to Heritage's Facebook page.

Rand Fires Back

Dr. Rand Paul has issued a press release complaining that Trey Grayson is smearing him;

As one-time anointed front-runner Trey Grayson's Senate campaign continues its rapid decline, he has thrown wild and increasingly desperate accusations at leading conservative Republican candidate Rand Paul.

In a statement Monday, the Grayson camp insinuated that Dr. Paul lied about receiving the endorsement of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The endorsement, of course, was subsequently confirmed by Governor Palin via her spokesperson and independent media outlets across the country. The Grayson campaign has also issued recent statements falsely calling Dr. Paul “pro choice” despite Rand’s endorsement from Concerned Women for America, the preeminent national women’s organization for conservative, pro-family values. Also, Rand has expressed his clear, 100 percent pro-life platform many times in speeches, in the media, and on his website,

“The Grayson campaign's false rhetoric is simply ridiculous. Their wild accusations have cost them their credibility,” said campaign manager David Adams. “Rand Paul is the candidate of choice for conservative Republicans, the Tea Parties, and constitutionalists. We look forward to building on our tremendous momentum to send Rand to Washington to restore the faith of Kentucky's voters.”

“It’s sad but clear what Grayson’s strategy will be for the rest of the primary: lame, false attacks and desperate accusations that simply won’t stick,” Adams said. “Rand Paul is the conservative in this race, period. His long and growing list of supporters proves it.”

Sarah Palin’s endorsement is another major success in a long list of achievements for the Paul campaign. Rand was recently identified as one of the five most important candidates to support by Dick Armey, Freedom Works and the National Tea Party Movement. He has also received endorsements from Concerned Women for America, Gun Owners of America, National Right to Work, Steve Forbes and\

In point of fact, the Grayson never said that Paul had made up the Palin endorsement. Rather, Grayson's campaign expressed skepticism about the endorsement given that it came from the Paul campaign rather than Palin herself. Palin only clarified that she had endorsed Paul when mainstream media started asking her to confirm the endorsement.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Yes, She Really Did Endorse Rand

Sarah Palin, in a statement to Politico, said that she is "proud" to endorse Dr. Rand Paul. Paul had issued a press release earlier today announcing Palin's endorsement and a contribution from her political action committee, but the lack of a statement from Palin caused speculation about whether she had in fact endorsed Paul.

Palin said "While there are issues we [she and Paul] disagree on, he and I are both in agreement that it's time to shake up the status quo in Washington and stand up for common sense ideas."

Sarah Palin Endorses Rand Paul

Dr. Rand Paul has been seeking Sarah Palin's endorsement for months and he finally got it -- along with a donation from Palin's political action committee. This is huge.

The Grayson campaign, in a most unfortunate coincidence, has announced that Trey Grayson has been endorsed by 28 state legislators. Grayson's made his announcement 23 minutes before Paul upstaged him with the Palin endorsement. Ouch.

Update: Dan Seum withdrew his endorsement of Grayson (though he contributed to Grayson's campaign) and is now endorsing Paul.