The Conservative Backlash Against Rand Paul
David A. Graham
Thursday, May 20, 2010
On a rough night for conservatives, Rand Paul’s victory in the Kentucky Senate primary was a rare bright spot. The opthalmologist and son of Rep. Ron Paul is one of the highest profile wins yet for the Tea Party, a constituency he trumpeted last night: “I have a message from the Tea Party. A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We have come to take our government back.” Fox News’s Sean Hannity, chatting with Sarah Palin, termed it a “Randslide.” Of course, Paul’s triumph is bad news for the GOP establishment. Mainstream pick Trey Grayson, who got walloped, was hand-chosen and backed by major establishment figures—from Mitch McConnell to Dick Cheney.
But outside the Senate minority leader’s circle, Paul’s selection is cause for celebration. Right?
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Maybe not. Even some heterodox conservatives are voicing concern. David Frum, a moderate who’s been drummed out of the establishment, wrote on his FrumForum last night that Paul’s victory was “troubling” and wondered why there hadn’t been more fight against him by the GOP. Tim Mak, another writer for Frum’s site followed up this morning, critiquing Paul’s electoral weakness on national defense, drug policy, and energy (despite being an Appalachian politician, Paul has blasted coal): “On several issues, [Democratic nominee Jack] Conway might even find himself to the right of Rand Paul.” Despite the Bluegrass State’s solid Republican leanings, Paul’s lead over the Dem is razor thin, Mak says, concluding darkly: “[T]he race isn’t over. It has only just begun.”
It’s not just moderates who are unhappy. The influential, solidly right-wing (though also idiosyncratic) blogger Allahpundit of Hot Air complained in a tweet last night, “So Rand Paul is the big tea party success story, eh? #thisiswhereigetoff” and followed up on Hot Air, cracking, “It’s cool to think that Alex Jones will now have a pipeline to the Senate too instead of just the House, huh?”
This article was posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 7:52 am