Last night I took the time to watch Kentucky Senator Rand Paul debate his Democratic Senate opponent, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.
Throughout the debate, Paul appeared relaxed but well-informed, and did a fine job explaining both legislative complexities and his philosophical groundings to the viewers. On the other hand, Gray, who is trailing badly in polling, struck a very desperate tone. Paul easily dismissed Gray’s primary (and weak) attacks; that he shouldn’t have run for president and isn’t bipartisan enough. Gray had little to offer except his pledges to support “jobs, jobs, jobs” and spend money on infrastructure without offsetting the money elsewhere in the federal budget.
Unfortunately for Gray, he was simply out of his element. While Gray may have come prepared with his talking points, Paul was easily able to convey issues on the fly such as baseline budgeting, omnibus bill appropriations, and constitutional principles. It was telling that on the issue of national security, Gray could only manage to say that some Republicans have attacked Paul and therefore that made him wrong.
The debate was hosted by KET, the state’s local public television outlet. No doubt many children were watching along with their parents. That is why it was unfortunate that Gray was unable to contain his frustration: twice he used vulgar language, repeating the term “wild-ass” to describe Paul’s ideas.
In the first instance, Gray said that Paul “wants us to believe that his wild-ass theories and philosophies are the remedies for everything and they’re not.” Later in the debate, Gray said “I called them wild-ass philosophies and theories and he’s continuing on it” before going on to explain why the national debt is not a problem.
The debate last night made clear that while Rand Paul deserves re-election, Jim Gray is not up for the job and would do well to clean up his language if he wants to be a good role model for Kentuckians.