Rand Paul is the new teabagger hero and the man that Mitch McConnell and the establishment Republicans couldn't get rid of, but is he all that different than the rest of the conservative klatch?
After Rand Paul won the Republican nomination for Senate in Kentucky last night, the folks at CNN had a big laugh over the "optics" of an anti-government spending candidate celebrating his victory from a private country club.
King was the first to bring up Paul's choice of locale: "I can't resist. This might come across as a bit of a cheap shot, but he's the tea party favorite or is he a country club Republican?"
Amid some laughter, panel member Paul Begala scoffed: "It's a cocktail party, not a tea party. It's the worst optics he could have."
But there was something else going on in Bowling Green. When John King first talked to CNN correspondent Jessica Yellin, who was on the ground at the club, the "Bowling Green Country Club" sign was clearly visible behind her. A few minutes later, when CNN switched to Campbell Brown's show, Yellin was back. But the club's name was covered up by a "Rand Paul: U.S. Senate 2010" sign.
Just another Country Clubbing conservative. He also showed no class whatsoever when he refused to take a call from his defeated opponent, Trey Grayson.
This kind of pointless, macho posturing is no doubt part of the reason Rand Paul is a teabag icon:
After winning Kentucky’s Republican primary Tuesday night, Bowling Green ophthalmologist Rand Paul refused to take the call of congratulations from opponent Trey Grayson, according to Grayson’s campaign manager Nate Hodson.
Hodson did not elaborate, except to say “it happened.” “This is truly a classless act in politics,” said Marc Wilson, a Republican lobbyist and friend of Trey Grayson.
Show some dignity at least in victory. This behavior is very disturbing. What a jerk.
Kevin Drum points out that he's not only an arrogant messianic nut, but isn't the beacon of civil liberties everyone has been trying to make him out to be.
Adam Serwer has all the details on his beliefs.
Digby has much more:
It should be said that Paul appears to have a fairly consistent -- if nativist -- constitutional philosophy: The Constitution grants certain inalienable rights to Americans but not to foreigners. That shouldn't be mistaken for Constitutional fidelity, the Constitution distinguishes between "citizens" and "persons" for a reason, and foreigners charged with crimes in the U.S. have always been given the same due process rights as anyone else, precisely because freedom is as much about what government is allowed to do to you as much as it is about what you are allowed to do. So is Paul better than "most Democratic Senators" or Obama? Outside the PATRIOT Act, he seems to be your average Republican.
That means he's also pretty much your average Democrat, unfortunately. More importantly, though, it takes away his one redeeming value. If he's not good on civil liberties, he's got absolutely nothing going for him. On everything else he is so far off the map that he makes, well, Mitch McConnell, look moderate by comparison. He's a teabagger's dream (and proud to wear the label) but Paul is a progressive's nightmare when it comes to taxing millionaires and regulating business. The worst of all possible worlds in fact. And his views on equal rights are downright stomach churning.
If you support a woman's right to choose then you're out of luck with Rand. Do we really need another Ben Nelson on this issue? The only thing he really has going for him is his father's name. I've heard many bloggers complain about nepotism being used to get elected to Congress and to acquire very sweet jobs on TV. As Scott Horton and Digby point out--rightfully so--that Paul's beliefs fall in line with your basic country club conservative republican, except he'll be more extreme. "Baby" Paul is nothing without Poppa Bear.
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