My fellow KSR citizens, tomorrow is a very important day. It is the day that our founding fathers fought so hard to make possible and yet most of you will ignore, Primary Election Day in Kentucky. Over the years, this day has lost some of its luster as the two parties have consolidated power and taken to simply yell at each other rather than have actual debate within their membership. But occasionally there are exceptions to the rule and we get actual races on Primary day and the potential for excitement. Tomorrow is one of those days.
The eyes of the nation, or at least the eyes of the political dorks in Washington, are upon the hotly contested US Senate primaries in Kentucky. On the Republican side, you have a referendum on the politics of the Grand Old Party, with Rand Paul and his bags of tea going up against the establishment candidate in Trey Grayson. On the liberal pinko commie side, you have Daniel Mongiardo running as a Republican without the anger versus Jack Conway, a man whose hair alone could garner 25 percent in a statewide primary. It is a battle of ideology, styles, viewpoints and gaffes and is thus worthy of a KSR breakdown. First, our friends from the GOP:
Do you like your conservative politics mixed in with a little dose of curly hair and anti-government paranoia? If so, then Rand Paul is the candidate for you. Paul is an eye surgeon from Bowling Green who was previously best known for being the son of Ron Paul, the ranting anti-war, pro-pot legalization, anti-gay marriage and environmental regulation Republican who ran for President and excited hippies and militia men everywhere. His name of “Rand” apparently came from conservative novelist Ayn Rand, which seems a bit too convenient, like Nancy Pelosi naming her daughter “Guevara.” Paul took fire in the primary by harnessing the energy of the “Tea Party”, which seems basically to be a group of people who express their collective anger by railing against taxes, Presidential birth certificates and your “big city science.” In Paul, they found their anti-government night in shining armor and he took off to a large early lead.
As the election has gone on, Paul has had to backtrack on many of his earlier proclamations. His earlier view that Guantanamo Bay should be closed and terrorists tried in American courts has been reversed and has been a major basis for attacks by his opponents. Paul is against some government spending, but seems not to be against the spending that affects him personally. While railing against Barack Obama’s Health care bill because its run by the government, he is also against any cuts to Medicare, which is also run by the Government. While proposing “across the board spending cuts”, he specifically is against any cuts in spending in Medicare payments to Doctors because they “have a right to earn a comfortable living.” Oh and by the way, Paul is a doctor who receives Medicare payments, showcasing that even the most anti-government politician still likes the Government that supports him.
But even with these inconsistencies, it is clear that Paul is a new voice on the scene. One has to be impressed with his grass roots rise to the top and his likely victory on Tuesday. Like Barack Obama, his supporters are passionate, although some are ia bit too passionate, in that “it is kind of creepy and I wish you wouldnt follow me around at the Kentucky State Fair telling me about how there are two aliens in the House of Representatives” kind of way. Paul went to Duke Medical School and is obviously intelligent, but his main endorsements at this point seem to be from the “Four Horsemen of the Bizarre”, Jim Bunning, Sarah Palin, James Dobson and Steve Forbes.
His rise to the top of the GOP ticket is impressive and if he wins on Tuesday, it will be the national story of the day. But I think the secret of Paul’s success is mostly rooted in anger. It is sort of like when a guy is going through his mid-life crisis, is angry at his wife and his situation in the world and he thus goes and buys a sports car off Craigslist. He knows the price is a little too cheap and there has to be something wrong with it, but he feels that driving with the top down and his thin hair blowing in the wind will show his wife that she should not keep nagging him and he is still young and vibrant. But then after a few weeks, the transmission needs to be replaced, the paint starts to fade and he realizes his friends are all mocking him behind his back. Instead of buying the Camry that would last, he has a broken down car and has to take the bus to work. Paul is kind of like that sports car, shiny and a way to make a bold statement to all that have upset the electorate…but potentially ready to have us all shaking our heads and asking “what have we done?” very soon.
Did you ever watch Hee Haw? If you did, you might remember the song that would sometimes be sung (by the greats like Grandpa Jones, Buck Owens and Roy Clark) that had a chorus “If it Werent for Bad Luck, I’d Have No Luck at All…Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me.” I think of that song sometimes when I see the situation of our current Secretary of State, Trey Grayson. When you think about what people say they want in a politician, Trey has most of it. He has been a more than competent Secretary of State, slashing spending, upping efficiency and getting along well with an administration that is generally on the other side of the political aisle. He is by all indications extremely intelligent and is without question the biggest UK fan outside of our moustached Secretary of Agriculture. Yet its been a rough few months for our man Trey.
When contemplating running for US Senate, Grayson waited to enter the race until Jim Bunning (whose official US Senate nickname is “That Crazy Guy who wished a Supreme Court Justice would die”) decided whether he would give the race another go. Once Bunning decided to jump in, Grayson’s loyalty was rewarded with an endorsement by Senator McCrazy to Ron Paul, showing that no good deed goes unpunished. Even though he has ran on a record of consistent achievement and an ability to get things done, he has found himself up against an anti-establishment wave that finds him crushed by members of his own party for having the audacity to try and work/speak to those with whom he may disagree. Even though he isnt an incumbent, he is treated as one and being an incumbent in 2010 is as unpopular as a BTI post on Tiger Woods.
Thus Grayson finds himself ten points behind, despite having received the rare endorsement of Mitch McConnell and Hal Rogers. His status as UK fan #1 (the picture above is from the 1998 Tournament with Miss Ashley) has done little to help stem the tide and his outlook for tomorrow doesnt look bright. Grayson’s best hope is that people reward his hard work and competence with a Senate seat that many assumed would be his. But if they dont, he can always come sit on another KSR podcast. Its not hanging with Schumer and Mitch in the Senate, but Drew and the Turkey Hunter aint all that bad.
Granted I am not a Republican and all my endorsement will do is cause a nerd fight in the comments section. But after close scrutiny, consultation with Kige Ramsey and OH Napier and listening to a diatribe from Alan Cutler (although not about this subject), KSR is throwing its backing towards Trey Grayson. My goal for a politician from Kentucky is not high. It is simply, “please dont embarass on a national stage.” Our two current Senators have in one case (McConnell), risen to Minority Leader and in the other case (Bunning), have made Jesse Ventura look like a reasonable government official. As the endorsements suggest, Grayson is a lot more like the former than the latter. All I ask is that when I turn on the television, I dont cringe. Paul has the potential to make me cringe, while Grayson only has the potential to make me sleep. Give me sleep over cringing any day.