Sunday, April 11, 2010


Here's the most ridiculous sentence in today's New York Times. It's from Kate Zernike's article about Rand Paul's Senate campaign in Kentucky:

And the proportions of Kentucky's voter registration make it impossible for any Republican to win a general election without Democratic support, so if Dr. Paul wins the primary on May 18, as polls suggest he will, the Tea Party will have to prove its appeal beyond the Republican right.

Er, Kate? Here are the names of Kentucky's two sitting senators:

* Mitch McConnell.
* Jim Bunning.

However much the voter registration numbers in Kentucky may still favor Democrats -- and I suppose that's true, as it is in some other Appalachian and Southern states, because older right-wingers never changed their party affiliation over the years -- when you look at that Senate delegation, do you really think, Kate, that a teabag candidate in Kentucky has to worry about being too far to the right?


Zernike does note that Rand Paul -- son of Ron Paul -- is being criticized for stands that don't seem quite mainstream, even by contemporary standards. But his opponent in the GOP primary, an establishment Republican named Trey Grayson, is still trailing, and doesn't seem to be getting any traction with the argument that Paul's support for the notion of eliminating three Cabinet departments in D.C. is, in Zernike's words, "too 'weird' for Kentucky." (Hey Kate, the notion of getting rid of Cabinet departments was very, very mainstream in the Reagan years.) Paul's having a little more trouble with the fact he's expressed support in the past for closing Gitmo -- but now he says he wants to keep it open. Smart guy.

Zerbike, like so many mainstream journalists, is looking for signs of a mainstream GOP/teabag schism. Good luck with that. Rand Paul's going to win, he's going to keep modifying any troublesome Paulite positions on foreign policy or push them into the background, and he's probably going to win big in November -- for the glaringly obvious reason that he hates what teabaggers and non-teabag Republicans hate, namely Obamaism and "big government." And he's making crowds giddly at the thought of chaos:

Outside a courthouse in Independence, he told a group of about 100 people, mostly Tea Party supporters, that one of his first acts as a senator would be to unite with conservatives and demand that Congress stop work for a week if it could not amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget. "Let's just stop it up," he said, "and let's invite the Tea Party up and let's fill the Mall and let's debate a balanced budget amendment and let them explain why they can't do it."

"Gridlock!" one man cheered.

It's going to be a really unpleasant 2011, folks.


Meanwhile, Rand's dad made the faithful a bit more uncomfortable in his speech to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference last night:

Paul courted boos by returning, again and again, to the primacy of "humble" foreign policy.

"It's been 60 years since we went to war in Korea," said Paul. "Why do we have to have troops there?"

"North Korea!" yelled a heckler.

But the boos were kept to a minimum by some clever phrasing. Paul hectored the crowd about how faith to the Constitution meant demanding wars be approved by Congress. Not so many cheers. Then: "Declare the war, go fight, win it, and get out of there." That finally united the halves of the room.

Now, if Dad were running for Senate in Kentucky there'd be trouble in the campaign -- but Dad, to give him his due, is sincere and consistent in what he believes, which is why he's never going to be president. The younger Paul seems to be tailoring his message a bit more to the resentments of the day.

The elder Paul is also causing grumbling on the right with this:

"The question has been raised about whether or not our president is a socialist," Paul said. "I am sure there are some people here who believe it. But in the technical sense, in the economic definition of a what a socialist is, no, he's not a socialist."

"He's a corporatist," Paul continued. "And unfortunately we have corporatists inside the Republican party and that means you take care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country."

Wow -- that's not what the faithful want to hear. I bet his son isn't going to say anything like that.

One right-wing blogger posts what I think is a Beckite response to that:

I haven't heard the whole speech, but none of the news reports I've read indicate whether or not Paul spoke of Obama spreading the wealth around. The Democrats have all but admitted that Obamacare is all about transferring wealth from the rich to the poor. Further, aren't all socialists and communists also corporatists? Aren't they all cut from the same central economic planning cloth?

I say, Obama is both a corporatist and a socialist. They aren't mutually exclusive.

Good grief. Just thinking about that makes my head hurt.

I'm going to stick with my theory that this is a de-ethnicized version of the notion of the International Jew, a hydra-headed cosmopolitan monster who's both a hypercapitalist and a filthy commie (and a proponent of letting dark-hued workers run riot in the pure American streets). That's the sort of thing Glenn Beck gets from one of his favorite authors, Cleon Skousen:

In 1970, he wrote The Naked Capitalist, which claimed that top Western merchant bankers, industrialists and related institutions were behind the rise of Communism and Fascism around the world. The Naked Capitalist has been cited by many, including Cleon Skousen's nephew Joel Skousen, as proof of a "New World Order" strategy to create a One World Government.

I weep for my country that ideas of this nature have mainstream exposure.

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