In favor of "When in doubt, vote Rand Paul and not Trey Grayson"

I will write briefly in favor of the following viewpoint:  If one is uncertain how a Senator Trey Grayson will vote, then make Rand Paul Kentucky’s next US Senator.

As you may know, Erick Erickson wrote an article in favor of Rand Paul on March 1.  Leon Wolf replied on March 2, not for Trey Greyson — he wrote “The jury is still out Trey Grayson” and “I don’t have a strong feeling one way or another on Trey Grayson” — but against Rand Paul.

To be clear on two things:

  • I’m not well-versed on statements (good or bad) made by either Ron Paul or Rand Paul.
  • I concede it’s easier to be less bothered by a politician from Kentucky or Texas, when a Kansan like myself isn’t required to vote for him.
The debate of Rand vs. Trey, particularly for those of us outside of Kentucky, has far more to do with Ron than Rand.  So I’ll address Ron.  I’ll separate Ron Paul into two categories: the ideology of Ron Paul and the politician of Ron Paul.
First, Ron the politician.  And rather humorously, as with the “overall” Ron, I have polarizing reactions:
  • I could do with less of him.  Two things come to mind:  I agree with Leon Wolf’s frustration that Ron Paul still accepts earmarks.  Even more bothersome to me was that he inexplicably endorsed Alaska’s enormous earmarker Don Young over Sean Parnell in the 2008 Republican primary for the US House.  Young won by less than 500 votes.
  • I’m incredibly thankful that he ran for President in 2008.  Why: because of first-time voters.  The Republican party was (and remains) in a rather sad state, with regard to talking about good-government, but then acting like Democrats with spending, incompetence, and corruption.  I’ll bet that Ron Paul was the only reason for many first-time, college-aged voters to pay any attention to the Republican presidential primary, rather than immediately jumping over to the Obama campaign in its early stages.  Among 18-29-year-old voters, John Kerry won by 9 points in 2004, but Obama won this group by 34 points in 2008.  It seems reasonable to me that Ron Paul helped with the youth vote.
Now, to Ron Paul’s ideology and how he usually acts (apart from random Don Young endorsements, etc.).  Leon Wolf described Ron’s thinking as “warped,” “ridiculous,” “odious,” and “morally offensive”:
  • In general, more libertarian than the average DC Republican.
  • Willing to talk about issues that the average member of Congress won’t talk about.
  • Most of the criticism of Ron Paul from conservatives appear to be on foreign policy, specifically with regard to a much greater “hands-off” policy.
If I were a Kentucky voter, I would likely vote today for Rand Paul over Trey Greyson, with the following frame of mind and expectations:
  • Rand Paul:  My expectation is that Rand Paul is no worse on ideology than Ron Paul (and perhaps better), and that “the politician” side of Rand Paul will be better (that his actions will more often be consistent with his words).  And that, for better and worse, Rand Paul will be a loose cannon in the US Senate, that it will be fun to watch, and that the good will far outweigh the bad.
  • Trey Grayson:  that he very much will mirror a typical Republican Senator from 1998-2006, meaning I’d love to have him as a neighbor and a friend, but that in the Senate he would be overly-loyal, he’d be not willing enough to ask tough questions, and he’d spend way too much money.  And that this type of Republican-led US Senate would then AGAIN lead to larger-than-necessary defeats, through the loss of respect from independent voters.
I’m not going to defend Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy.  I will defend George W. Bush’s general military philosophies.  But I will attempt to challenge you with these questions:
  • Is it not accurate that the Republican party used to be more “hands-off”?
  • Did Republican leaders at all come close to asking enough questions on foreign policy, from 2000-2008?  Questions that would have legitimately led to fewer lost lives (US and foreign), and questions that would have saved US taxpayers billions upon billions of dollars?
  • Does the Republican party not welcome a large spectrum of thoughts on the issues of abortion, education, economic development, and the role of faith/religion in government?  Are we not being inconsistent, in that we appear to be less welcoming of an “err significantly on the side of not engaging in military conflicts” mentality?
  • Many will use the word “offensive” with Ron Paul’s foreign policy views.  Again, I’m not defending Ron Paul’s opinions, but I do ask, why is it more acceptable for Haley Barbour to veto property rights legislation (which, as I understand it, should be unnecessary if Kelo had been properly decided)?  Why are we welcoming of Kit Bond, who wants your tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood?
If there’s one thing that seems to be timeless in politics, it’s that it’s tough to find people willing to say, “No.”  These people are often then labeled as “controversial,” or “mavericks,” or whatever, when all they’re doing is asking questions and stating, “I demand that others persuade me into voting ‘yes,’ and not the other way around.”
Like Erick and Leon, I’m not sure how a Senator Trey Grayson will vote.  But I’m confident enough that Rand Paul is more likely to ask questions, and that the results of those questions will be healthy for America, that I’d err on the side of Rand Paul.


Connect with Benjamin Hodge at FacebookTwitterLinkedInThe Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas.  He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011.  His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRAKansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).


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