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Rand Paul's balancing act

At an intimate grassroots fundraiser last night -- his first public appearance in Washington since winning the Kentucky GOP Senate nod last month -- Rand Paul warmed up the crowd with a wry reference to his rocky debut on the national stage.

"After we won, people came and said, 'How was it?'" the ophthalmologist and first-time candidate told a group of about 40 guests at a private upstairs bar at the Phoenix Park Hotel. "And I said, 'Well, it's kind of like what Dickens wrote: It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.'"

The line elicited knowing laughter throughout the room. But whether Paul realized it or not, he had made a prescient point: his campaign has become -- at its essence -- a tale of two cities.

Paul, who won an convincing primary victory last month over Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) by tapping into voters' anti-establishment mood, now faces the challenge of maintaining his image as a Bowling Green-based political outsider while working hand-in-hand with the Republican Party establishment in Washington to hold the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R).

In Paul's address to the crowd, there was little evidence his victory speech last month in which he painted himself as a candidate of and for the tea party; neither Paul nor his father -- Texas Rep. Ron Paul who was also in attendance -- made any mention of the national movement widely credited with propelling him to victory.

And, tonight, Paul will further embrace the party establishment as he is feted at a fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee tonight.

Among the attendees include nine senators who voted in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), a vote that Paul railed against during his primary campaign against Grayson.

"One of the big issues I won on was the bank bailout," Paul told the crowd, pointing out that he has complimented Bunning for voting against TARP but making no mention of tonight's event.

In an interview after the event, Paul described his decision to accept donations from TARP supporters -- a reversal from the stance he took in the primary -- as a product of the difference between running an intraparty race versus a general election campaign.

"In our primary, we emphasize how we're different, and then after that, you try to work together with everyone in the party," Paul said. He noted that while he disagreed with those who voted for TARP, they also share many areas of agreement, adding: "I don't think they're bad people."

Ron Paul, who voted against TARP and made smaller government the centerpiece of his presidential campaign in 2008, echoed his son's thoughts on the issue. "I don't know too much about that, but I guess the primary was the primary, and he was talking to Republicans," said the elder Paul.

Bunning insisted during his brief remarks to the crowd that Paul would keep those who supported him in the primary even as he broadened his appeal in the general election.
"The people that he stirred up in the primary will be stirred up going into the general," said Bunning.

Paul has to hope Bunning is right. His situation may be the most prominent example of an outsider candidate being embraced by the party establishment but it is far from the only one. Will the party change Paul or will he change the party? And will it make a difference to those most ardent supporters who were with him from the get-go?

-- Felicia Sonmez

By The Fix  |  June 24, 2010; 12:18 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: Obama, the decider


You have to be kidding me? Right? How can you connect Rand Paul to the bailouts? Is it by his taking fundrasing money? If anything we are using / linking that bailout money to elect the best canidate to stop the bailouts of the future, which will be the best course of spending. Those "corrupted" politicians and friends of those that bailout companies need to be jailed first of all. Yes, jailed for not defending the constitution and limited government.

I say take as much of that money to elect true conservitives. I say elect those that have a record of limited government or elect those with no record at all. Yes new hires make mistakes, but they will learn, just like we all did.

Rand Paul for Senate!

God, please here our cry... Give us liberty or give us DEATH!!!!

Posted by: kirissa2000 | June 26, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I can assure you that the Republican party won't change Rand Paul. Paul is the frontrunner in Ky. and I think he's on his way to becoming the new US Senator in Ky. I think Paul will be more conservative than an average politician, and he stands on conviction. I respect that alot!

Posted by: reason5 | June 25, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

The party establishment supported his opponent in the primary, but Rand won. Now they're supporting him in the general election. What's the big deal? This happens all the time. And all you Democrats, I mean Liberals, I mean, wait, you call yourselves "Progressives" now need to take a hard look at how much spending Washington is doing. Paul is worth electing because he'll cut spending, help to end the wars, reduce the bloated military budget, protect our borders and provide for a stronger national defense, oppose bailouts, lower taxes, and protect our God-given rights. CONway will raise taxes, support Cap and Trade, force us to buy healthcare, and continue the status quo. America can't take another Jack CONway right now. Our rights and liberties are being eroded at a furious pace.

Posted by: FSUJAG54 | June 25, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Rand Paul will be the next Senator from the state of Kentucky. Like it or not. Kthanksbye.

Posted by: tagger | June 24, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

@ Noacoler - As you'll see in the other thread, 37th has been banned. For the record, it had little to do with politics for me, but a continuing pattern of abusive behavior (both of other posters and the rules). So, lighten up a little. There's always Ezra and the Plum Line if you'd prefer the view from the left. Or Right Now and 44 if you'd like to yell at JakeD. I enjoy all of the above, but it's my interest in politics as blood sport that keeps me coming back here. CC and crew do that better than anyone.

Also, love the new character counter.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | June 24, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Either he embraces the extreme tea-party whackos who were unhinged by the election of an African America or he cozies up to the establishment Republicans who have supported the destruction of America by combining religious fanaticism with corporate fascism.

Sounds like a lose-lose candidate to me."

Question is, bob, will his bagger supporters be stupid enough to continue their support for him, after he threw them under the bus to kiss the butts of the Republican establishment they dislike so much?

Posted by: drindl | June 24, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

True ideologues don't win in American politics. So even though the SP and the LP have been very influential in terms of rhetoric and (less so) on ideas at various points in the last 100 years, there's a reason they don't win. Americans want pragmatic problem solving, not utopianism. It's not nitpicking to point out the full Libertarian formula to voters. It's the candidate's job to highlight the portion of his ideology that he thinks is going to get him votes. It's his opponents' job to make sure voters understand exactly what they're getting when they vote for an ideologue.

Affirmative action is nothing like Jim Crow, by the way. Anyone who understands the concept of systemic problems at any level should understand that. Until we have a country where the schools that black kids go to are as well funded and as well staffed as the schools that white kids go to, until there are enough black people in positions of power and influence that they don't have a distinct disadvantage in networking their way into jobs, we need affirmative action. Period.

Anyway, white women benefit more from affirmative action than anyone else. The reasons are the same. Our schools have finally hit the point where we don't need affirmative action for women. I don't think we're more than another generation from our workplaces not needing it either. We're a long way from that with race in this country, though.

Posted by: dcartwright6 | June 24, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday was clearly a watershed as a number of regulars and long-time contributors simultaneously reached the end of their patience with the jamming of this blog buy 37thand0street.  The comments have become unreadable and trying to have a discussion here with the constant repetition of screaming posts loaded with caps and carriage returns has become like trying to hold a chamber music concert with someone blasting a foghorn.

It's clear that 37th has serious mental problems of a clinical dimension and that he achieves his round-the-clock stamina with the help of stimulants that are having their predictable effect in paranoia and psychosis.  The guy states that he has a mission to singlehandedly "balance" a perceived liberal slant in the comments by blasting out his own unintelligible posts and drowning everyone else out.

Chris weighed in briefly with the same intelligence insulting hand-wringing as before, what can I do, he'll just come back as several of you have done.  Since we've all seen plenty of other blogs where moderation is achieved easily we know this is complete BS, and it's clear that Chris is perfectly happy to have two ultraconservative mental cases driving everyone else away.  A hundred posts by 37th and the zouk monikers is as good as a hundred posts by two dozen people when all you need is hits.

The posters who made these comments a pleasure to read have given up in the face of the repetitious screaming gibberish from 37th and the soul-rotting hate from zouk (Moonbat, drivl, bumblingberry, doof, Brigade, many others).  For whatever reason, CC is happy with this state of affairs.  So are the two mental cases.

I miss posts by ceflynline, shrink2, nodebris, and others I came here to read. What's left isn't worth anyone's time.

For allowing this to go on, Chris, for being so petty and partisan, I hope you're fired and lose everything, house and family and dignity, and end up mopping floors and washing cars.  

Gửi từ iPad của tôi

Posted by: Noacoler | June 24, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse


We don't have "separate but equal" anymore


Which is separate categories - and SEPARATE STANDARDS FOR EACH CATEGORY.

The Jim Crow people had their justifications for what they did - and the affirmative action people HAVE THEIR JUSTIFICATIONS.

But the bottom line is the same, isn't it ???


Posted by: 37thand0street | June 24, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Quick post before amphetamine boy shows up and starts screaming...

The Falwell Formula won't work for the Ferrett. Rand Paul I'd on record too many times shooting off his mouth about eliminating social programs and belief in truly nutty conspiracies.

Obvious he's been to Campaign Camp but this is a guy itching for a fight and the lessons won't take, and every time he opens his zitty mouth other Republicans will be put on the spot: do you agree with Paul that the retired should starve in the streets or not?

Posted by: Noacoler | June 24, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

The Libertarians have IMPORTANT POINTS to offer our political and economic system

And to try to score cheap partisan points - by picking out one or two things - or even twisting around one or two things - AND USE THAT TO DEMONIZE THE WHOLE THING IS SILLY.

And that approach just shows how the democrats ARE NOT SERIOUS ABOUT ANY KIND OF DISCUSSIONS ABOUT ANYTHING.


OK - that leaves a great deal of room for discussion about what the "bare minimum" is.

And the democrats would probably want to argue that the "bare minimum" should not be the standard - they would say we should spend money on things above that.

HOWEVER ONE MUST TAKE SERIOUSLY THIS PHILOSOPHY - it aims to cut the taxes dramatically.

Yes, I think the Federal government should be involved in Civil Rights - (especially against the Obama people seeking to restrict Freedom of Speech) - for me that is part of the "bare minimum"

But to start to argue about lunch counters (which really don't even exist anymore) is SILLY - and IT PURPOSELY MISSES THE POINT.

I doubt the democrats who blindly support ALL GOVERNMENT SPENDING have even gone down to their town halls and requested a copy of the budget - and then thought about what COULD BE CUT.


Most people have 5 levels of government - school board, town, county, state and federal.





Posted by: 37thand0street | June 24, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Separate but equal rings just as true as 'private property rights' when considering just WHO gets to sit at a lunch counter.

See Rand Paul for what he is -- learn to goose-step, Kentucky.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | June 24, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Rand Paul has been allowed out of that closet the Republicans have jammed with people like Barton, Kirk and Angle who aren't supposed to talk to the press.

It was getting hot and crowded in there.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 24, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Either he embraces the extreme tea-party whackos who were unhinged by the election of an African America or he cozies up to the establishment Republicans who have supported the destruction of America by combining religious fanaticism with corporate fascism.

Sounds like a lose-lose candidate to me.

Posted by: thebobbob | June 24, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Bob Sanderson: Great sarcasm. An often unappreciated skill set.

Posted by: Merry1 | June 24, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Paul is the biggest hypocrite on the planet. He says Medicare is welfare, but he accepts it from more than half his patients.

Also, he wants to impose a $2000 deductibe on Medicare for patients -- to fund an increase in payment for doctors -- like him.

Anyway on Medicare who votes for a $2000 tax on themselves is a moron.

Posted by: drindl | June 24, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"In an interview after the event, Paul described his decision to accept donations from TARP supporters -- a reversal from the stance he took in the primary -- as a product of the difference between running an intraparty race versus a general election campaign."

Right -- you win the primary, then you take back everything you said during it.

Posted by: drindl | June 24, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

You say, " will it make a difference to those most ardent supporters who were with him from the get-go...?"

Of COURSE it makes a difference, we are absolutely counting on Rand changing the party. Which requires he does speak to them.

Posted by: sailingaway1 | June 24, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

We come to take our country back!...but first a message from our sponsors... the traditional party establishment in Washington.

Posted by: BobSanderson | June 24, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Political geeks and freaks... Why don't Rand Paul types rant about THIS?




All those cell towers you see all over America aren't all for phone calls. Some of them are TORTURE TOWERS...

BUCKS COUNTY, PA: "Mid-Atlantic States (including D.C.) Centcom of a Fusion Center Gestapo."

BUCKS COUNTY, PA: "Mid-Atlantic States (including D.C.) Centcom of a Fusion Center Gestapo." OR Facebook -- Vic Livingston ("Notes")

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 24, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Paul is quickly adapting to the mode of the traditional politician. He's already changing his issue positions to get elected, going back on campaign pledges, and forgetting the people who propelled him to victory in the first place.

(P.S. Go Jack Conway!)

Posted by: thecorinthian | June 24, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

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