Rand Paul: A conservative independent of the GOP establishment
Last week Republican US Senate Candidate Rand Paul declined to guarantee his vote for Mitch McConnell as Senate Republican leader. The question was a hypothetical pending the outcome of the Kentucky US Senate election approximately one year from now.
Rand Paul’s opponent in the Republican primary, former Secretary of State in Kentucky, Trey Grayson, immediately criticized Rand Paul for not pledging his support for McConnell. This exchange in the media may well be why Grayson is trailing in current polls by as much as 3 points (according to the latest poll by SurveyUSA.)
Of course Rand Paul would not support Mitch McConnell, who has recently held elite fundraising dinners in Washington, D.C. for his opponent Grayson. McConnell will be holding another fundraiser for Grayson in New York City on December 7th. Support of McConnell would be a de facto condemnation of his own campaign.
Also McConnell has been a leading supporter of both warrantless wiretapping and the ongoing War in Iraq. And he has proclaimed as recently as one month ago that the Wall Street bailout “succeeded.”
Rand Paul is a vocal supporter of civil liberties (i.e. not warrantless wiretapping), was strongly opposed to the War in Iraq and is a fiscal conservative who did not support the bailout of Wall Street.
So considering just these few examples, it is easy to see why Rand Paul is attempting to distance himself from Senator Mitch McConnell.
Despite these sharp differences on a wide range of policy issues Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell recently met for a private meeting. Both Paul and McConnell are not talking about what was said during their conversation. If I had to guess I would say that McConnell offered Rand Paul a deal to clear the path for McConnell’s candidate Trey Grayson. Rand Paul called the meeting cordial, so if any political threats were made they were done so indirectly.
McConnell and others in the GOP establishment have been forced to sit up and take notice of the 46 year old Rand Paul if for no other reason than his ability to accumulate the largest war chest in the race to date. Raising more than Grayson by $100,000 at the end of the last quarter for a total of $1.3 million and counting.
Local media throughout the state of Kentucky are reporting that just months ago while on the campaign trail Rand Paul was speaking to relatively small crowds, currently he is routinely drawing crowds in the hundreds.