Rand Paul Offers Populists Hope For the Future
By Mark Anderson
Rand Paul, a Kentucky eye doctor, is not running for a local office in his first political endeavor. While his well-known father, Ron, is the longtime 14th District Texas Congressman noted for his opposition to the Federal Reserve and big government, Rand is attempting to go from novice to the higher plane of U.S. senator in one shot. His platform is much like his father’s.
The young Paul told CNN at the time of the first national tea party convention in Nashville, Tenn. that hundreds of smaller tea parties which culminated in the convention Feb. 4-7 are mainly what catapulted him from so-called underdog status six months ago to a much better rating now. He also told CNN that, having secured ex-Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s endorsement around the time that she gave the keynote speech at the national tea party, he feels victory is a distinct possibility.
Like independent Republican Debra Medina’s bold attempt to unseat two-term “NAFTA Superhighway” Gov. Rick Perry in Texas, with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison also in that tight race, Rand is up against tough odds.
Besides aiming for the U.S. Senate right out of the proverbial Kentucky starting gate, he is taking on Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in a bid for Jim Bunning’s former Senate seat. Bunning retired after two terms.
Grayson is an established office-holder with views similar to Paul’s, though Paul has beat him in most polls while raising some $1.8 million, including $650,000 in the last quarter of 2009.
The primary election in Kentucky is May 18, with the polls open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to Grayson’s office. Notably, Paul asked Grayson to step down for a time as secretary of state because he oversees elections, including election machines, in that capacity. Grayson seems unwilling to do so.
The Medina and Paul campaigns are two major ones to closely watch during this mid-term election cycle. Like Medina, Paul is optimistic and working hard to shake the media’s automatic “underdog” tag applied to non-Establishment candidates.
“It’s just been amazing . . . we started out 11 points down and we’re actually 19 points up in an independent media poll,” Paul said during the final part of CNN’s series Welcome to the Tea Party about the Nashville event. “I give a lot of credit to the tea parties. . . . In my little town of Bowling Green, 700 people showed up for a tea party; in Louisville, 4,000 people.”
Most people, especially tea partiers, are “worried about debt,” he added. “And that’s what you find at these tea parties . . . they are mostly concerned about the fiscal insolvency of our nation.” He dismissed claims by the CNN anchor that the tea parties are “divisive” and mainly involve Obama-bashing.
However, this traveling AFP writer has found considerable distrust about these tea parties. It revolves around the perception that the tea parties are being hijacked by a Republican Party that no longer controls the White House, the Senate or the House. The concern is the Republicans may try to steer tea partiers away from alternative parties and fresh ideas and coax them and their money back into the Republican Party’s “big tent” that is no stranger to big government, massive spending and no win overseas wars.
More than one caller to this writer’s radio show on Feb. 6 said well-known tea party speakers in recent months belittled the 9-11 truth movement and said incendiary things about Iran, alleging that neo-con warmongering is creeping into the tea party movement.
Tea parties attended by this writer in mid-to-late 2009 were mainly about opposing national healthcare. While some budgetary and tax concerns were evident, the more promising movement to audit the Federal Reserve and strive for true “financial healthcare”—a movement that heated up in 2009 as the tea parties kicked into high gear—still received no official mention at a large Washington D.C. tea party and almost no mention at a smaller one in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Moreover, many observers would point to Mrs. Palin being John McCain’s former running mate when the veteran Arizona senator last ran for president as an indication that she is a big-government Republican. An Internet video broadcast before she was well-known in the political scene showed her professing admiration for U.S. Rep. Ron Paul when he ran for president in 2008 as a Republican.
But she soon became McCain’s running mate and appeared to have little in common with Rand’s father Ron on most key issues.
As noted at the RandPaul2010.com website, when Palin was asked by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace why she endorsed Paul, Palin replied: “Because he’s a federalist and he wants the states to have more say and as we respect the 10th Amendment in our Constitution, he wants the states to have more say. . . .”
RAND COACHES AND DONATES
Rand Paul, as a founder of his local Lion’s Club, donates eye surgery to the poor and donates his time to coach local sports teams. He and his wife of 19 years, the former Kelley Ashby, have three boys. Dr. Paul is the third of five children born to Carol and Ron Paul. He grew up in Lake Jackson, Tex., attended Baylor University, graduated from Duke Medical School in 1988, completed a general surgery internship at Georgia Baptist Medical Center in Atlanta and completed his residency in ophthalmology at Duke University.
Upon completing his training in 1993, the Pauls moved to Bowling Green to start their family and his ophthalmology practice.
On key issues, he “opposes bailouts of private industry,” while noting “every dollar we print to service our debt, reduces the value of the money in your pocket.”
Thus, he will “fight to strengthen the value of our dollar so our purchasing power is not destroyed by the sneakiest tax of all: inflation.”
On the Federal Reserve, he sounds less resolute than his dad, who wrote a book called End the Fed. Rand stops short of ending it, saying: “Given this incredible power given to a semi-private institution, one wonders why we don’t hear more about the Fed and its actions from the Congress. As senator I would make sure that the Federal Reserve is held accountable and restore transparency to our monetary system.”
Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina has the same view and seems to support Paul’s candidacy. On energy, Paul believes “our energy crisis stems from toomuch government intervention” and on health care, he echoes that market stance:
“Like other areas of the economy where the federal government wields its heavy hand, healthcare is over-regulated and in need of serious market reforms. As senator, I would ensure that real free market principles are applied to fix this problem.”
He also is on record supporting a balanced budget amendment, believes life starts at conception and opposes federal funds for abortion, and believes there should be tax reductions to help parents who choose to home school. He also opposes amnesty for illegal aliens.
Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the deputy editor for American Free Press. Together he and his wife Angie provide many photographs of the events they cover for AFP. Mark welcomes your comments and inputs as well as story leads. Email him at at email@example.com.
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(Issue # 8, February 22, 2010)