Thursday, April 29, 2010

The most important Senate race this year...

...may be in Kentucky, where Republican candidate Rand Paul is threatening to blow a hole right through the Grand O' Party. Currently leading in the polls, Paul is the son of 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul and a darling of the tea party movement (sort of). I say "sort of" because, as a libertarian, not all of his views line up perfectly with those in the base.

As a libertarian, Paul believes in limited government, less spending and lower taxes. So far, so good. He's earned the endorsements of Sarah Palin, Jim Bunning, Dick Armey, and Steve Forbes.

But because he is a libertarian, Paul also believes that social issues such as gay marriage, abortion and marijuana are best decided at the state level. His opponent, Trey Grayson, has started a Web site called "Rand Paul: Strange Ideas."

And because Paul is a libertarian, he also believes in a less active role for the American military abroad and has thus gained the enmity of such neocons as Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Bill Kristol. (Kristol, as you may remember, is one of the intellectuals credited with "discovering" Sarah Palin. This could get messy.)

According to Cheney:

"I'm a lifelong conservative, and I can tell the real thing when I see it. I have looked at the records of both candidates in the race, and it is clear to me that Trey Grayson is right on the issues that matter — both on fiscal responsibility and on national security," Cheney said in a statement released this morning.

Cheney's endorsement centered on national security, which was also the topic of Grayson's recent advertisement against Paul.

"The challenges posed by radical Islam and Al Qaeda are real and will be an on-going threat to our domestic security for years to come. We need Senators who truly understand this and who will work to strengthen our commitment to a strong national defense and to whom this is not just a political game," Cheney said.

And from Giuliani:

"Trey Grayson is the candidate in this race who will make the right decisions necessary to keep America safe and prevent more attacks on our homeland. He is not part of the 'blame America first' crowd that wants to bestow the rights of U.S. citizens on terrorists and point fingers at America for somehow causing 9/11," Giuliani said.

He continued, "Kentucky needs a Senator who understands the threat posed by our enemies abroad. I witnessed firsthand the destruction and loss of life our enemies can cause. Like me, Trey Grayson knows we must stay on offense against terrorism, and he supports using all the essential tools we have in that fight, including monitoring the conversations and activities of suspected foreign terrorists as allowed by the Patriot Act. He is a fresh face that Republicans can trust to best represent their values - both on national security and fiscal responsibility - in Washington. Kentuckians could not elect a better Senator than Trey Grayson."

But as it stands now, Rand Paul is expected to be the next Republican Senator from Kentucky (and, some say, a possible presidential candidate in 2016). So, if nothing else, say goodbye to that unified "Party of No" you've become so accustomed to. Henceforth, the GOP will be divided into factions, and that can't be good for a party that's already in the minority.

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