Rand Paul’s Kentucky Problems

Most of Repub Senate nominee Rand Paul’s “gaffes” have been over national issues – calling the President un-American for criticizing BP, attacking the Civil Rights Act, presenting himself as a board-certified doctor when the board is pretty much just his family, etc. As Tip O’Neil said, though, all politics is local – and Paul has just as many problems with Kentucky politics as he does national politics.

Democrat Jack Conway’s campaign sent out the following email today, highlighting Paul’s attacks on local farmers and his lack of knowledge about Kentucky agriculture and history:

According to the Courier-Journal:

"Renewing his attack on federal farm subsidies, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul told a Kentucky Farm Bureau audience Thursday that three agriculture companies have received a total of more than $1 billion in aid…But, in fact, the 'companies' are all cooperatives that are owned by thousands of farmers. And the federal payments have gone to the farmers who own them over the past 15 years - as the Paul campaign later acknowledged in an interview."

In fact, Paul's spokesperson Jesse Benton told the C-J: "I don't know what a co-op is."…

Last week, in Details Magazine's profile, Paul's ignorance of the state he is running to represent in the Senate was once again apparent when the reporter - a non-Kentuckian - asked about the significance of Harlan County in history:

"'I don't know,' he [Paul] says in an elusive accent that's not quite southern and not quite not-southern. The town of Hazard is nearby, he notes: 'It's famous for, like, The Dukes of Hazzard.'"
The reporter did a little digging and found out Paul was wrong: "Harlan County, Kentucky, it turns out, is famous not for the Duke boys, or for the Hatfields and McCoys, as Rand Paul speculated, but for its violent coal battles."

This follows an earlier AP story that highlighted Paul’s growing unpopularity with Kentucky’s poor. Paul quoted Soviet materials to make a bogus point about American poverty while bashing programs incredibly important to the state’s citizens:

Paul's recent remarks at his first forum with Democratic opponent Jack Conway stirred some anger in impoverished pockets of Kentucky, where as many as a third of residents live in poverty.

The libertarian-leaning Paul addressed the issue of poverty by alluding to a decades-old, anti-American propaganda film by the Soviet government designed to criticize the free-market system…

Charles Hardin, a Democratic judge-executive from eastern Kentucky's Magoffin County, said Monday that Paul's comments rubbed him the wrong way and he criticized Paul for relying on "anecdotal tales."

Two polls released in the last two days show this to be a close race: CN|2/Braun Research has Paul leading 41-38, and Rasmussen has Paul leading 49-41. I’d never heard of Braun Research before, but their methodology seems more sound than Rasmussen’s – they use live interviewers rather than phone buttons and a three-day frame rather than one day. One encouraging CN|2 finding: "Conway scored higher with women than Paul did, 42.5% to 35.9%."

To help defeat Paul and elect a true progressive, help Conway out at our ActBlue page.

Sexism in the Colorado GOP

YouTube strikes again. Ken Buck, the front-runner for the Repub nomination for Senate in Colorado against Jane Norton - and that first name, Jane, that's important here - was asked why primary voters should support him. His answer?

"Because I do not wear high heels." And that gesture? Geez.

The current RCP polling average has Buck up 7 points over Norton. His lead was a full 16 in the most recent survey, a mid-June poll from the Denver Post. Something tells me that might be about to change.

Here's his "excuse." At least he's not trying to lie his way through an apology:

Buck campaign spokesman Owen Loftus said, “Obviously, the comment was made in jest after Jane questioned Ken’s ‘manhood’ in her new ad.”

In that ad, Norton, a former lieutenant governor, criticizes an independent 527 organization for attacking her and challenges Buck to “be man enough to do it himself.”

What do you think is next for Buck after he loses this race? Maybe he'll run recall campaigns against GOP Senators Collins, Snowe, and Hutchison? More importantly, I wonder what the odds of Sarah Palin endorsing Norton are now?

Update: Dang, that didn't take long at all. Norton's ad in reply:

Paul Hodes to progressives: Stop Cowering!

I was thinking about writing a post about how the left never stands together when attacked the way the right does. See Jones, Van. No need for that piece now - Senate candidate Paul Hodes (D-NH) beat me to the punch with an amazing diary at Daily Kos called "Weak Knees." Hodes doesn't call out the White House specifically, but he does mention Shirley Sherrod, so take this as a thinly veiled swipe at Tom Vilsack and the Adminstration for being the ones to "buckle." Here's an excerpt, and please, read the whole thing and support Hodes at our ActBlue page.

I’m sick and tired of Democrats getting weak knees every time the right-wing media flexes their muscles.

The firing of Sherrod over what turned out to be a heavily (and deceptively) edited video of her remarks is the latest example. When the far right bulldozes, too many of us buckle...

We have no excuse for not fully understanding what the far-right is capable of in terms of hateful and deceitful rhetoric. From Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh to Andrew Breitbart – they’ve shown us time and again exactly how willing they are to distort the truth...

The bottom line is that the longer we let the right-wing media control our political rhetoric by spreading misinformation, the more we fail to deliver the change we promised and fight for our progressive ideals.

And every time we respond to their attacks with weak knees and cowering in the corner, we give them credibility. Even worse – we encourage them to keep it up.

It's also at Huffington Post.

CT-Sen: Why is Simmons getting back in?

Well now this is bizarre.

Former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT) dropped of the race for Chris Dodd’s Senate in Connecticut when the state GOP convention endorsed his primary opponent, fake wrestling star Linda McMahon. But now you see me, now you don’t, and Simmons appears to be getting back into the race – in a very half-hearted way. He's not campaigning or fundraising; he’s just airing one state-wide ad after nearly two months of inactivity.

Rob Simmons, a former congressman who suspended his campaign for the United States Senate in Connecticut only a few weeks ago, is jumping back into the race for the Republican Party nomination with a statewide advertising campaign touting his candidacy. …

In an interview, Eric Janney, the campaign chairman for Mr. Simmons, that the former congressman was not reactivating his campaign. Instead, he said, Mr. Simmons simply wanted to remind Republican voters that they could vote for him if they so desired.

“As he has been going around the state the last couple of months, folks ask him about staying involved in the race,” Mr. Janney said. “Many people did not realize that Rob remained on the ballot. So he decided to do a television ad that reminds people that they have a choice and that Rob is on the ballot.”

I’m very confused as to Simmons’ motives. There’s no way he’s going to win the GOP nomination this way – McMahon is campaigning, fundraising, airing multiple ads, and has the state party’s endorsement. You don’t beat that with just one ad that doesn’t even say “You should vote for me,” just “You can vote for me.” Is this Simmons’ way of trying to punish the tea party for purging moderates like him out of the party? All he can hope to do this way is create intraparty division and weaken McMahon before the general. And while that seems highly unlikely, it wouldn’t surprise me – McMahon may well be the single most unqualified candidate for Senate this entire cycle, more so even than South Carolina’s Alvin Greene. Simmons must know it, and can’t be happy about the direction his party is moving. The National Journal gave him a conservative score of 46.8 out of 100 in 2006, behind 9 Democrats and hardly acceptable material for the 2010 Repub Party, New England or not. It's either about that or he's just got a political itch he can't scratch and little perspective on reality.

Speaking of McMahon’s general election campaign, a new Rasmussen poll out yesterday shows her trailing Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal 52-40, and a recent Quinnipiac poll has her down even more, 54-37.

Finally, from the CTDems, here’s a video showcasing what kind of a Senator McMahon would be:

NH-SEN: Palin’s endorsement of Ayotte bad news for both of them

Governor Pundit Sarah Palin endorsed Kelly Ayotte in the New Hampshire Repub primary for U.S. Senate yesterday. Palin is not well-loved in New Hampshire, and this endorsement is just one more that undermines her credibility as a Tea Party leader and enhances her status as a national hypocrite. (Ayotte’s Democratic opponent, sophomore Rep. Paul Hodes, is featured on MyDD’s Going on Offense page at ActBlue.)

Palin’s support might not be good news for Ayotte, for at least three reasons. One, a December poll found less than half of Republican voters in NH-01 think Palin is qualified to be President. Two, the Palin-McCain McCain-Palin ticket lost by 9% in New Hampshire in 2008 despite McCain’s previous popularity in the state. And three, she was booed during a high-profile ’08 rally in Laconia for referring to NH as part of “the great northwest.” In fact, as far back as last July the DSCC thought it would be a good idea to link Ayotte to Palin. Remember also that a national NBC/WSJ poll found that general election voters are overwhelmingly leery of Palin-backed candidates, at a margin of 52-25. Is this a case of Palin doing the DSCC’s work for them?

But then again, that’s probably exactly why Palin is wading into the race. This endorsement isn’t about Ayotte and it’s not about Hodes – it’s about Palin. Ayotte is closer to the Repub establishment than she is the Tea Party, and she’s currently the front-runner for the party’s nomination. Or in other words, she’s currently the front-runner to play queen-maker during the 2012 primaries. An endorsement of, say, Ovide Lamontagne might have made more Tea Party sense, but Palin cares more about 2012 than she does 2010. She pulled this same kind of stunt with establishment figures Terry Branstad in IA-Gov, Carly Fiorina in CA-Sen, and John McCain in AZ-Sen. Indeed, this pro-establishment behavior is starting to cost her with the Tea Party.

The endorsement comes at the same time that Hodes is going on the air with a second ad focused on Ayotte’s shoddy record as state Attorney General:

Kill three birds with one stone by donating to Hodes: capture an important Senate seat, embarrass Palin, and help boost a progressive stalwart.


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