Rand Paul is this guy who ran for president, we hear, although frankly we have no distinct impression of him anymore. We remember a blur of faces and yelling, and that’s about it. He’s one of the ones who lost, big-league. God, that was way back in February. We were so young then. Paul didn’t even stay in the presidential race long enough to compete in the Kentucky Republican Presidential Caucus, the event he talked Kentucky Republicans into creating so he wouldn’t run afoul of a state law prohibiting anyone from appearing on primary ballots for two different offices. We’d review some smile-time funtimes moments from his ill-considered presidential run, but Evan already did that when Paul quit, and for godssake nobody wants to think about that again, do they? On the other hand, we are obliged to mention Rand Paul is a board-certified ophthalmologist, if you count being certified by a board you made up yourself. That’s mandatory, duh.
So unlike most of our Senate Sunday profiles where we look back at a candidate’s bleak history as archived by Wonkette, for Rand Paul it’s simply too much dumb to cover in a single piece, and we are also very much aware that you may be eating breakfast. Sure, we could rehash things like that weirdass time Rand Paul and some Baylor buddies sort of kidnapped a gal he was on the swim team with and tried to make her do bong hits for Aqua Buddha, although she clarified later it was more of a Pothead LARP thing, and could you please just not reveal her identity because she is a real clinical psychologist who actually does have a real certificate and stuff. But we won’t rehash that. Or his strange flip-flops on using drones against Americans. Not to mention his weird habit of plagiarizing from Wikipedia. And we certainly wouldn’t mention his disgusting opposition to granting refugee status to Iraqis who helped the USA during our little war in their country, because after all, we won and Iraq is free now, so why would they be refugees anyway?
So we figure you know who Rand Paul is, already, is what we’re saying. In case you need a reminder, the WonkArchives are full of Rand Paul stories, and we must also remind you of Charlie Pierce’s Five Minute Rule:
[Any] member of the Paul family will make sense on any political issue for exactly five minutes. Precisely at the 5:00:01 mark, however, he will say something so far off the rails that you will find yourself looking at him as though he has sprouted a reptilian head out of his sternum. This may include Crazy Uncle Liberty (!)’s discussion of economic problems that suddenly veers into goldbuggery, or Aqua Buddha’s concern over government overreach that gets him crossways with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
There is one thing about Rand Paul’s presidential run that does deserve attention, however, and that’s that the big stupidhead blew through most of his Senate re-election fund while failing to get beyond the Iowa caucuses, a fact we find almost endlessly amusing.
Paul’s profligate and futile spending in the presidential race was fine news for Democrat Jim Gray, the mayor of Lexington, who out-fundraised Paul over the summer, ha! ha! ha! And while Paul is still very much favored to beat Grey, throwing all that perfectly good Senate-reelection money into a failed presidential bid has to hurt at some level — we imagine Rand Paul tossing and turning as he dreams he is being chastised by the ghost of Ayn Rand, after whom he is definitely not named. Or maybe the Objectivist harpy would praise him for doing what he damn well pleased with contributors’ money; we don’t want to know what Rand Paul dreams of. (Do Randroids Dream of Electric Sheeple?)
In states that are less deep-red than Kentucky, Jim Gray might have a much stronger likelihood of making it into the Senate, but there’s that “D” following his name on the ballot, and that’s a problem — Kentucky hasn’t sent a Democrat to the Senate since 1992, when it elected Wendell Ford to his fourth and final term.
If he managed to pull off a win, Gray would become only the second openly gay member of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. And here’s the cool thing: apart from the obligatory mention in news stories, Gray’s sexuality doesn’t appear to be an issue in the election at all — probably more because Paul is seen as having the advantage anyway. Roll Call did a whole article on the non-controversial nature of Gray’s being a homosexxican, quoting one of Gray’s own advisers saying, “I’m constantly surprised by what a non-issue this has become.” And Paul himself told Cincinnati.com he didn’t see any reason to make it an issue, either:
“From my perspective, I’m going to run on the things I’m for[:] limited government, the Constitution, a balanced budget,” Paul said. “I think those are enough.”
That’s either very decent of him, a reflection of the fact that the race hasn’t become close enough to get any mileage out of scaring the religious right, or simply the fact that Rand Paul says “limited government, the Constitution, a balanced budget” when you press a button on the back of his neck.
Gray’s campaign has taken a typical strategy for an underdog taking on an opponent who’s made himself a national figure: arguing that Rand Paul is far more interested in his presidential ambitions than in representing the home state. At the annual “Fancy Farm picnic” in August, the state’s weirdly named festival of trying to shout down anyone on stage, Gray’s greatly outnumbered supporters waved “Rand Paul 2020” t-shirts and Gray said, “Rand and I have the same goal: to get him out of the Senate[.]” A statement on his latest campaign fund-raising, which actually was higher than Paul’s, although Paul has outspent Gray in total, emphasized Paul’s national ambitions as well. Spokesperson Cathy Lindsey said,
We continue to outperform Rand Paul, an incumbent U.S. Senator with a national fundraising network from his first failed presidential campaign. Jim Gray will have the resources he needs to win and give Rand Paul lots of free time to plan his next presidential campaign.
There may have been a neener-neener in there, too. Predictably enough, the Paul campaign has mostly focused on associating Gray with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, which may be all the demonizing they need to do to win in Kentucky. Please feel free to sigh.
On issues, Gray goes for good safe red-state Democratic stuff: job creation, improving infrastructure to drive jobs and manufacturing, raising the minimum wage and pushing for wage equality. In contrast to Donald Trump, he’s not pretending he can wave a magic wand and resurrect the coal industry; instead, he’s calling for helping coal country shift to more diversified industries that, as a happy side benefit, won’t give workers black lung disease (he doesn’t say that, but it’s true). He also thinks it would be nifty if Kentucky could become a major innovator in Carbon Capture and Storage, which sounds to us like “clean coal” hooey, but hey, if the emphasis is on reducing carbon emissions from a fossil fuel that is carbon, go for it. And of course he’s big on worker retraining, for the jobs that don’t yet exist, but could, if Big Coal’s stranglehold on regional politics can be broken. And like any good Democrat, he’s for campaign finance reform.
The big unknown about the Kentucky race is just how awful Donald Trump manages to be in the final couple weeks of campaigning; while Trump is expected to win in Kentucky, there’s the outside chance he could alienate just enough people to give Gray a chance. Paul is doing everything he can to protect his built-in advantages; he’s only agreed to a single debate against Gray, to be held on Halloween, a mere week before the election. But even if Gray loses, he seems unlikely to simply fade away — he’s very popular in Lexington, and could use a “good” loss to Paul as a starting point for higher office, like maybe getting rid of that doofus Matt Bevin in the governorship. One can hope.
Also running is write-in candidate Billy Ray Wilson, who tried a previous hopeless bid for the House and hasn’t bothered changing his webpage from “Billy Ray Wilson for Congress” to “Billy Ray Wilson for Senate.” He’s worth checking out for the sheer batshit crazy perennial candidate stuff on his website, like his demand for George Bush and Dick Cheney to face an international tribunal for their crimes in rigging 9/11, and his diatribes about The Jews, who are apparently taking over, or already have. He wrote a book with the title “My Struggle,” which he speculates didn’t sell well at all simply because The Jews all deliberately conflated it with another book by that name. He adds, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world,
It is my opinion that no religion has the right of nationality. After all, religion is nothing but a belief. To this end, Jews in Germany were responsible for their own imprisonment and death camps.
Can’t imagine why he’s not getting any traction. Must be the Zionist controlled media. Oh, and he wants to abolish the Federal Reserve, but we bet we didn’t need to tell you that. He’s also a passionate defender of Internet Free Speech, which is nice, although we aren’t sure he “gets” the Internet — a recent blog post complains,
Over the past year, an agency called DNS have been censoring and editing my e-mail traffic overtly. For example, they system informs the user when they enter your system, they provide text messages such as “This document is locked for editing by another user” and delete at times two thousand or more words you spent hours writing plus at the bottom of the screen a boxed in W appears.
I went to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Office in London, KY and spoke with an agent and he assured me the disruptions weren’t by our government. I then went to the Windstream Office, Internet and Phone Provider which I made as Ass out of myself but later apologize and accepted plus send an e-mail to DNS without success. The monitoring and editing continues.
So somebody damn well better get that taken care of, since it seems unlikely the Jews will let him into the Senate where he can fix it.
In conclusion, we got through this whole piece on the Kentucky Senate race without accidentally typing “Tennessee” even once. You’re welcome.
Want to help Jim Gray fight the good (if under-publicized) fight? His ActBlue donation page is right here! You can also drop a few simoleons in the Wonkette Tip Jar, to help Yr Dok Zoom finish up our tour of all 34 U.S. Senate races in 2016. We’ll hit the final two next week, then give you a big wrapup the weekend before the election!