Someone recently sent an email asking for a post on whether folks should join the NRA. Jason, probably knowing how much of a gun guy I am, asked me if I was interested in expressing my thoughts. Being the shy, unassuming person who never shares his opinions with a living soul…oh wait, that’s not me at all. Of course I jumped at it.
The National Rifle Association is a group I’ve been pretty critical of for some time. Their compromises gave us background checks for firearm purchases, among other things. Over the years, they have tried to compromise rather than digging in their heals for our Second Amendment rights, so there’s plenty to be critical of. However, that was the past. What about the now?
To me, all the questions about the NRA can be summed up with their argument against Senator Rand Paul’s proposed amendment that would restrict law enforcement’s ability to look at firearm purchase records. While the NRA was correct that district attorney’s could get grand juries to subpena the records in question, what was missed is that the grand jury is a form of judicial oversight.
Instead, the NRA pretend that law enforcement being able to demand access to records is preferable to a panel of American citizens deciding if there is probably cause to access those records. Anyone purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer has to fill out this paperwork, and the NRA’s position turns this paperwork into a de facto form of registration.
Way to go NRA. No suggestions on how to tweak it to make it more acceptable, just cover for allegedly pro-gun members of Congress to vote against the amendment in question without being labeled as anti-gun.
During Rand Paul’s campaign to become Senator from Kentucky, he held a few positions that gave some of his father’s supporters pause. Specifically, his disagreement with Ron over the issue of criminal trials versus military tribunals was a point of contention making it difficult for some to back his candidacy without trepidation. Rand thought we should keep the tribunals while Ron was vehemently opposed to any trial that didn’t give the accused the best protection of his rights.
After this past week, It probably isn’t far fetched to say that any trepidation one may have had about Rand Paul’s commitment to the principles of freedom has vanished.
Paul managed to single-handedly take control of the Senate chambers in a heroic attempt to move the Senate to consider and debate the Patriot Act - something shockingly absent since it’s first passage. In fact, in 2001, when the Patriot Act was first introduced, a single Senator read the bill before casting a vote. The vote cast was a resounding “NO” by Russ Feingold, coincidentally, the only vote recorded in opposition to the bill.
Rand’s efforts were unsuccessful if you deem passage of the Act’s extension the sole measure of success. However, Rand did far more than capture the imagination and attention of the country for a suspenseful 36 hours, 7 of which were spent on the Senate floor.
While laid up in bed last week recovering from surgery, my coworkers sent me a care package that included Sen. Rand Paul’s new book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to get past the first few pages. But Matt Welch brings us this passage from the book of Sen. Paul slamming George W. Bush:
Imagine this-what if there had never been a President George W. Bush, and when Bill Clinton left office he was immediately replaced with Barack Obama. Now imagine Obama had governed from 2000 to 2008 exactly as Bush did-doubling the size of government, doubling the debt, expanding federal entitlements and education, starting the Iraq war-the whole works. To make matters worse, imagine that for a portion of that time, the Democrats actually controlled all three branches of government. Would Republicans have given Obama and his party a free pass in carrying out the exact same agenda as Bush? It’s hard to imagine this being the case, given the grief Bill Clinton got from Republicans, even though his big government agenda was less ambitious than Bush’s. Yet, the last Republican president got very little criticism from his own party for most of his tenure.
For conservatives, there was no excuse for this.
Welch also notes:
Paul goes on to say stuff like “any self-described conservative who ‘misses’ the last president and his version of the Republican Party should probably quit subscribing to that label,” and “if judgment is based on spending and the budget, then Bill Clinton should be considered preferable to Bush.”
It’s been an interesting CPAC this year. Before the conference even started it was embroiled in controversy over the participation of gay conservative group GOProud. Several organizations pulled out of the conference, but few of them were regular participants anyway. The most high profile and only real loss was The Heritage Foundation. Rumors are that their refusal to participate this year was not over GOProud, but due to a financial dispute with the American Conservative Union—the organization behind CPAC. Regardless of the dispute before then conference, GOProud seems to be getting a good reception from attendees.
The big surprise yesterday was Donald Trump. Trump showed up yesterday afternoon to a fairly responsive crowd, but quickly digressed into a fight over Ron Paul with a heckler. Considering the room was stacked with Paulie’s waiting to hear Rand Paul, that was NOT a smart move. No one seems to be taking Trump for President seriously. Rand Paul did a really good job. He seems to have more charisma than his father.
Speaking of presidential candidates, Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, looks like he’s gearing up for a run. Johnson has a booth and professional campaign consultants wandering around. He actually gave a good speech yesterday, but is still considered a long, long, long shot candidate. Johnson’s biggest obstacle is his drug policy (he supports the legalization of marijuana) and he will have a hard time getting traditional Republican primary voters to buy into him because of it.
Mitt Romney spoke earlier today and got a very tepid response from the crowd. The ballroom was only three quarters of the way full, and he largely skipped over the health care issue which did not go unnoticed. The fake Sarah Palin was a bigger hit than Mitt.
Yesterday, Ron Paul purist and anti-war Republican Adam Kokesh lost 29% to 71% to an “establishment” Republican despite outspending his opponent at least 2 to 1.
There is a big lesson here for all Tea Party and “Ron Paul” Republicans: No Republican campaign can win by trying to woo Democrats!
Banking on Democrats voting for you is suicide.
White writing, I’ve received an email from Adams campaign:
The relative numbers do not fully reflect the energy and commitment of those who cast a vote for us. We were an unconventional campaign running against a conventional candidate. The automatic reaction of old-fashioned party-line voters was to vote for our opponent. Every single vote for us was an informed decision and an act of courage by the voter.
I’d like to congratulate the Kokesh campaign on getting out the courageous and well-informed. (He’s to be respected and commended for donating a year of his life to further his ideas - this is something not many people have the gumption for. )
Quite simply, you can’t win by trying to educate voters, you have to find common ground and connect with a base.
Years of tradition and repetition will not be undone by your crusade or principle. In a PRIMARY, working Democrats will have no effect on your campaign (duh?). Voters simply will not cross party lines to vote for your message; the best you can hope to do is drive down voter turnout by appealing to Democrats on issues.
If you are running for the Republican nomination, do not run from Republicans - embrace them, embrace the party, and find common ground. This may not be a popular sentiment on UnitedLiberty.org, but it is the truth - and it is effective.
As I noted last night, C-Span broadcast the final debate between the Republican candidates for Senate in Kentucky, and it was quite a thing to watch:
Looking for an opening a week before the Kentucky Senate Republican primary, Trey Grayson used the final debate Monday night to hammer Rand Paul as weak on national security and unreliable on cultural issues
Grayson, who is trailing in the polls, was on the offensive for much of the hour-long session, saying Paul didn’t believe a nuclear-armed Iran was a threat to America, once backed closing the detention center for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and was insufficiently opposed to abortion.
Paul shot back by accusing Grayson of distorting his views and running a dishonest, failing campaign.
But the more fundamental disagreement on display throughout the forum, which aired statewide on Kentucky public television, was an extension of the central dispute that has defined the closely watched contest and is dividing establishment and insurgent Republicans nationally: should the party hew to a purist line on fiscal issues, slashing spending and reducing the role of Washington, even if that means taking political risks that may be unpopular with the general electorate?
The contrasts between the two candidates, and between the two strains of the Republican Party, couldn’t be more extreme:
Paul called for eliminating the Department of Education.
“If you send less money to Washington, you’ll have more in your state for education,” he said.
But Grayson said there was a role for Washington in education, citing both the capital needs of the state’s public universities and the students who need tuition assistance.
Liberty Slate is a collection of candidates ranked by their adherence to five core principles, their likelihood of winning, and the quality of their website. Recently, they coordinated a “moneybomb” for their slate of candidates.
There’s something terribly ironic about the fact that Rand Paul may be riding into Kentucky’s United States Senate seat as a beneficiary of Sarah Palin’s endorsement. While they may be politically beneficial to each other, Palin and Paul represent two different approaches to political issues which are diametrically opposed to one another.
Even though it is actually short for Randall, Rand Paul shares in his first name the last name of one of libertarian’s intellectual icons, Ayn Rand, symbolic of his embrace of many of the free market intellectual works that he read as a young adult. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, is unapologetically anti-intellectual, using the description “law professor” to deride Barack Obama, as if teaching law is some sort of epithet.
Rand Paul is the next Senator of Kentucky. The election is all but wrapped up.
Most people will immediately respond that it is way too early to make such a statement; how can we possibly know what will happen over the next nine to ten months? I will concede the point that we can never be sure how an election will turn out ten months before the vote, but all evidence points towards a Rand Paul win come November.
Rand has seen meteoric rise in the polls over the past five months. He went from losing 26-37 in August to establishment pick Trey Grayson, to leading Grayson 44-25 in December. Also, while he was picking up this lead there was an increasing number of undecided voters from 17% in August to 32% in December. The momentum is clearly on Rand Paul’s side.
From the beginning Rand has arguably run a stronger campaign. Despite never being elected to office in Kentucky, Paul had the advantage of being Congressman Ron Paul’s son. This allowed him to make his announcement on national television that he would be running for Senate. While Trey Grayson attacked this as an example of how Paul was an “outsider” to Kentucky, the famous comeback by Paul swung this war of words in his favor, “I’ve been a Kentuckian longer than Grayson’s been a Republican!”
On the heels of a poll showing Rand Paul with a 19 point lead over Trey Grayson for the GOP nomination for United States Senate in Kentucky comes another survey showing both Republicans with modest leads over their potential Democratic opponents, Jack Conway and Dan Mongiardo.
Rand Paul v. Jack Conway
- Paul: 42%
- Conway: 36%
- Not sure: 22%
Rand Paul v. Dan Mongiardo
- Paul: 42%
- Mongiardo: 36%
- Not sure: 22%
Trey Grayson v. Jack Conway
- Grayson: 40%
- Conway: 33%
- Not sure: 27%
Trey Grayson v. Dan Mongiardo
- Grayson: 44%
- Mongiardo: 35%
- Not sure: 21%
According to a press release that came across last night, Rand Paul will also make his entrance into the race official by filing his paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office.