Erick wrote a good post yesterday indicating his reasons why he would feel comfortable voting for Rand Paul. As he implied in the post, many (probably most) of us among the contributors here at RedState disagree with Erick on Rand Paul and whether he is a candidate deserving of our support. I am one of those contributors who disagrees very strongly with Erick, and would like to give the other side of this particular story.
To be clear, I don't have a strong feeling one way or another on Trey Grayson. The people I have talked to from Kentucky indicate that he is a competent, good-government type. My general sense is that Erick is right that he will go along with McConnell most of the time. Really, as long as we are in the minority, I expect the same will be said of Rand Paul, as the primary goal of the Senate at this point involves putting the brakes on the worst of what Obama and Reid are proposing. However, in the event we are able to recapture a razor-thin majority, I'm not so sure that having someone with a warped Paulite view of the Constitution as the deciding vote will necessarily be a good thing. But I digress. This post is not about Trey Grayson, it is about Rand Paul.
To me, the most important thing to remember about Rand Paul politically is that Rand Paul came to fame politically by defending his father's Presidential campaign. I agree with Erick generally that we ought not hold the sins of the father against the son, which is why I never held Sununu the younger responsible for the great Souter deception. However, in this case, it is important for us to seriously examine Rand Paul's connections with his father's beliefs, given that he is most definitely riding his father's coattails, and especially his father's organization of rabid fundraisers. Remember further that Rand Paul did not merely go out on the campaign and express support for his father personally, but rather explicitly adopted and espoused his father's ridiculous rhetoric in oppositon to the United States' interests abroad. In light of that, we must remember that Ron Paul was not merely wrong on foreign policy; he was odious and morally offensive. I'm not talking about his "blowback" comments, either, I'm talking about being backstage at one of the early presidential debates when Ron Paul said words to the effect of, "Look how they cleaned up Southeast Asia after we left Vietnam!"
Indeed, Ron, they cleaned that place right the hell up. Well spoken, and Pol Pot thanks you for the endorsement.
I am consistently told by Rand Paul supporters that Rand Paul is not as naively willing to support mass evil in the name of a distorted foreign policy view. What I am not ever shown is any proof. What I see from the Rand Paul campaign thus far is that they are perfectly happy to rake in the cash from the blame-America-first Ron Paul crowd, and then tip a wink and a nod to mainstream conservatives that "he's really not like his father." Sorry, not good enough for me. Nor is his platitude that unlike his father, "he believes in the use of the army" good enough for me. You can't escape defending a campaign that odious with a wink and a nod.
If Rand Paul is willing to stand up and publicly, on the record, specifically indicate which of his fathers' statements he disagrees with, and specifically how he would vote differently on foreign policy issues than his father has during his time in Congress, I will be willing to take another look. Until then, he can't win my support.
It is also worth noting that, while many people seem willing to give Rand Paul the benefit of the doubt that he is unlike his father on foreign policy matters, they seem to generally assume that he is like his father on fiscal matters. In the first place, I have no idea why this is a good thing at all. Ron Paul's idea of fiscal responsibility is to lard up appropriations bills that he knows will pass with pork for his district, and then cast a meaningless "no" vote on the bill as a whole. This is a great tactic for duping people who don't believe the 16h Amendment to the Constitution is constitutional, but not such a great tactic for actually reducing the overall size of government. I suppose the next Transportation Pork bill that comes around, he can roll in a few hundred million for Kentucky projects, and then join McCain and Kyl voting "no" so that the bill will only pass 97-3 instead of 98-2. I'm not really sure why I should be enthused by this prospect, either.
To me, the jury is still out Trey Grayson, or Bill Johnson, for that matter. But I know at this point there's nothing that's convinced me I should support Rand Paul, and plenty telling me I should oppose him.