Does KY Senate candidate Rand Paul (R) deserve “a chance?”


Andrew Sullivan thinks Rand Paul wants to lower government debt and may even think about a tax hike at some time during his six year senate term so we should…hear him out.

If he’s serious, he’ll compromise to get real change, even if it means some tax hikes. If he’s unserious, he’ll keep posturing. But give him a chance.

via Rands Win, Ctd – The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan.

What kind of politician is Sullivan insisting that we give a chance? Well let’s look at one of his positions… (bold is mine)

He said he was, however, concerned about the future of Appalachia due to what he feels is an attempt to restrict coal use by President Obama.

He explained, “Every time you want to mine coal, you must get a permit, and basically, Obama has slowed the process because he’s very anti-coal… if you interview any spokesman for the different coal companies, they’ll tell you they are very worried… I think that’s the biggest problem facing Appalachia right now.”

Rand Paul would not just be trying to bring spending restraint to the Senate. He is a right wing radical who has stated his position on a variety of issues. Rand Paul believes the biggest problem facing the thousands of Appalachia coal miners and the 29 workers that died in the death trap that was Upper Big Branch Coal Mine in West Virginia, run by the despicable Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, is the permit process was too slow and prevented Blankenship from mining coal. Here is the truth about mining Permits…

In the federal register for August 28, 2000, there’s record that Performance Coal Company—a Massey subsidiary—was approved for a permit modification to use belt ventilation in their Upper Big Branch Mine-South

Belt air ventilation is a method in which air used to ventilate a mine runs through the same area where coal is exiting on a conveyor belt. It was specifically outlawed in the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969. Now, if companies want to use the system, they have to petition for a permit modification.

Jerry Tien is a professor of mining engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He says one of the concerns about belt air is that it runs over the coal being transported out of the mine. The conveyor belt is a dusty area, and coal can release methane.

via Upper Big Branch used ventilation system with a history of problems –

10 years ago, Massey was allowed to use an illegal ventilation system for its mines, because Massey requested that privilege, and never addressed even basic modifications to make the mine ventilation system safer. The federal, state and local governments routinely bend the rules to allow business to do whatever the hell they want. This continues today. Obama appointee Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, and his predecessors did not hold Massey and other big coal companies accountable to the standards on the books. The weak permit system and enforcements allowed the Upper Big Branch accident to happen.

“This is a case not only of the operator thumbing his nose at the strictly legal requirements and regulations,” Ken Hechler, former West Virginia congressman who was lead sponsor of a 1969 law that overhauled mining safety, said this week in a phone interview. “It also involves a failure of the Mine Safety and Health Administration itself to act aggressively against the mine in order to ensure that either the conditions be made safe, as provided in the law, or to toughen the enforcement … to close the mine.”

Virginia-based Massey Energy, which owns the Upper Big Branch, “has a long history of having used every possible loophole to avoid the piling up of fines,” Hechler added, “which, of course, should have given the authority — which is clearly contained in the law — for [MSHA] to have closed that mine.”

A former MSHA manager echoed that sentiment this month, telling TWI that MSHA leaders — notably Joe Main, who heads the agency — haven’t done nearly enough to confront coal companies that show patterns of safety violations.

“[MSHA] was soft-pedaling — staying in the background, keeping a low profile,” the former official said. “And you can’t do that with this industry. You’ve got to use a big stick — especially with Massey.”

via Plenty of Blame Still to Go Around in Massey Mining Disaster « The Washington Independent.

So its not really true that Obama has been the bane of the coal industry. The Obama Administration has made some regulatory noise, but had very little bite behind its bark. What Rand Paul really believes is that the US government should abolish the EPA and MSHA and never attempt to make the MSHA get serious about regulating dangerous labor and safety practices of dastardly CEOs like Blankenship.

Paul also believes the Civil Rights Act goes too far because it prevents private businesses from discriminating against protected classes (race, color, religion, sex, national origin or physical impairment, age, sexual orientation). Watch it all.

Ta-Nehisi Coates addresses Rand Paul’s position that private business should be able to discriminate as their owners may see fit.

But what about red-lining? Does Paul know anything about blockbusting? Does he think banks should be able to have a policy of not lending to black businesses? Does he think real-estate agents should be able to discriminate? Does he think private homeowner groups should be able to band together and keep out blacks? Jews? Gays? Latinos?

I think there’s this sense that it’s OK to be ignorant about the Civil Rights Act because it’s a “black issue.” I’m not a lawyer, but my sense is that for a senator to be ignorant of the Civil Rights Act, is not simply to be ignorant of a “black issue,” but to be ignorant of one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed. This isn’t like not knowing the days of Kwanzaa, this is like not knowing what caused the Civil War. It’s just embarrassing–except Paul is too ignorant to be embarrassed.

via The Proud Ignorance of Rand Paul – Politics – The Atlantic.

And let’s be clear, Paul wants to starve government and privatize as much as possible and replace government agency with private enterprise. In Paul’s ideal USA, the Civil Rights Act would be modified to allow these private businesses to discriminate as they see fit. He’s too radical a candidate to get a benefit of the doubt, a minute to explain or a chance. You cannot infer from Paul’s stated positions that there is any willingness to compromise.

Should we be looking to cut the budget deficit as our economy is becomes or is somewhat stabilized? In my opinion, yes. It is still absurd for Sullivan to ask for Paul to get further fair hearing. He has been heard, and if you review Paul’s complete ideology, not just one (temporarily) favorable platform point, you can see he is an establishment far right Republican. Not some principled Republican who seeks a sane and coherent public policy.

Update 1: Rand Paul’s Country Club Anti-Establishment Tea Party Friendly Rally at the Country Club

Disclosure: I have no problem with anyone who is a member of a country club. They are chiefly social clubs and for they hold no official or needed function for anyone. If you find one with people you can stand and you like golf, racquet sports and want to congress with its members with an air of exclusivity, then knock yourself out. A few friends of mine are members of places like this because they held their wedding at a country club and that was included in the price.

The issue is that Paul is posing as an anti-establishment, Tea Bagger. Go look at the country club sites and tell me where the revolution is coming from? Bowling Green Country Club (BGCC)? John King exhibits some of his MSM foolishness by missing this completely and saying Paul held his rally there to save money as use of space is free for members. Being a country club member is a luxury, even the modestly priced BGCC costs about 7K a year and I guarantee there are other alternatives for a club-less, anti big government, anti-insider Tea Bagger candidate. (I am sure the Young Republican’s at WKU RonPaulites and RandPaulites would have been glad to facilitate Paul hosting his fellow celebrants on campus as they did a Republican state senate debate).
He is a Robert Bork, John Bolton, Pat Buchanan Republican. Paul lives purely within the Republican thought circles, but camped out so far on the edge that he must be explained away by the GOP’s leadership. These types of Republicans complicate national politics for the front bench GOPers who have to, you know, actually build and maintain coalition that won’t get them ridiculed as being against certain protections in the Civil Rights Act. McConnell and others are happy to oppose Paul in primaries, because his extreme rigidity in his right wing ideology makes it hard for him to build national appeal as Minority Leader in the US Senate.

That’s the point here. CNN’s John King think country club says successful or wealthy. No, the issue is that Paul is no upstart. He’s just upfront about his extreme views.

Update 2: Sullivan further defends Ron Paul’s conviction of principle

Sullivan claims opposition to the Civil Rights Act is a principled Goldwater Republican stance..from 1964.

I don’t agree with Paul on the Civil Rights Act because I believe that the legacy of slavery and segregation made a drastic and historic redress morally vital for this country’s coherence, integrity and unity.

There was a very solid constitutional case against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which was why Goldwater opposed it. But as an empirical matter, I think the history of race in America proves the inadequacy of pure freedom to redress the darkest of human impulses – to own, torture and terrorize an entire race.

via In Defense Of Rand Paul (Kinda) – The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan.

Sullivan’s wording and conclusion frustrates me here. He is right about the necessity of the Civil Rights Act, and subsequent amendments, as being “vital for this country’s coherence, integrity and unity.” But it ain’t just for Slavery or white supremacy powered segregation prior to that date. The Civil Rights act is not slavery reparations for African Americans or to solely address that legacy. (A lot of that has actually been brushed under the rug to the point where people still have the ignorance to ask “What’s wrong with a Confederate History Month proclamation that doesn’t mention slavery?”). The Civil Rights Act describes equal protection from current discriminations for living people.

I don’t remember Robert E. Lee arguing that all gays should be enslaved, but Paul’s principled stance leads Paul to believe Sullivan should be allowed to be:

  • tossed out of a private bank or denied a mortgage
  • denied a rental application for an apartment
  • charged higher rental fees for an apartment
  • charged a higher premium for his medication to deal with HIV
  • kicked out of the local Food Lion

because he is married to a man and/or because he is of English origin and/or because he is Catholic and/or because he is friends with Ta-nehisi Coates. (Even though Rand Paul claims he would find such discrimination abhorrent). Under Paul’s civil rights act, the only place a person would be able to go where they would be protected against discrimination would be a government run or funded agency. Paul’s principles would leave us with two options if we would still be a country that truly is built on the premise that pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness are unalienable rights:

  • grow the government to include a myriad of service and supply required for human beings to live
  • or let everyone fend for themselves against whatever discriminatory practices were preferred by private business owners

Sullivan often argues for a coherence in principle from sane conservatives. To me, Paul is either being dishonest about abhorring discrimination and its ravaging effects or his policy is inconsistent with this distaste for discimination as it is applied to the real world. Either way, its a principle that is useless for any person who wishes to govern Americans. Paul is not throwing on a hood and burning crosses in front of his medical practice, but he would be perfectly fine if every supermarket in a 20 mile radius of Sullivan was allowed to have a policy of “No Blacks, gays, English, Catholics or fraternizers with all of the above allowed to shop here” hung on a sign in the front window.

It’s not just race Paul is excluding from the equation.

Principled? Sure. It just isn’t a valid principle for someone to hold when they want to be elected a US Senator in 2010.