Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 17, 2010

AT LEAST SOME POLITICS IS LOCAL.... Last month, Details ran an interview with Rand Paul, the extremist Republican Senate candidate in Kentucky, which generated some attention. In particular, Paul lauded mountain-top removal as a great idea that just needs a little rebranding.

But in the same interview, Paul said something else of interest. The reporter asked about the significance of Harlan County, Kentucky. "I don't know," the candidate replied. Noting that the town of Hazard is nearby, Paul added, "It's famous for, like, The Dukes of Hazzard." When an aide tries to steer him towards the truth -- Harlan County was home to generations of deadly labor disputes -- Paul ignores him, and says, "Maybe the feuding."

It was a reminder that Rand Paul wants to go Washington to represent Kentucky, but as the Lexington Herald-Leader's Larry Dale Keeling noted the other day, Paul "seems to know dangerously little" about the state.

People who "live" somewhere for 17 years will pick up a little knowledge through osmosis even if they don't bother to get out and learn about their surroundings. A person who merely "resides" somewhere is more like the little knickknack that "resides" in the bric-a-brac case hanging on the wall.

A person who has "lived" in Kentucky for 17 years might know how "Bloody Harlan" got its name and that The Dukes of Hazzard was set in the fictional Hazzard (two Z's) County, Georgia, not the Kentucky city of Hazard (one Z).

A person who has "lived" in Kentucky for 17 years might know the community of Fancy Farm is in a dry county and the picnic put on annually by the old folks of St. Jerome Parish is a family affair where no one has to worry about having beer or anything else thrown at them.

Those are just a few items someone who has lived here for several years might know. But there are some things a person who has lived in this state for any amount of time can't help but know.

Adding insult to injury, Paul has also said Eastern Kentucky's drug problem is not "a real pressing issue," despite the fact that it's been ravaged by an epidemic. Keeling explained, "Only someone who is totally clueless would say that, or suggest that Eastern Kentucky's drug epidemic can be cured at the local level without any federal help." (The columnist added that Paul may have been paying a little too much "homage to Aqua Buddha.")

It's worth emphasizing that people run for office in adopted-home states all the time, and there's nothing wrong with that. George W. Bush was a popular Texas governor, despite having been born in Connecticut. Howard Dean was a popular Vermont governor, despite being from New York. Rand Paul is capable of serving Kentucky after having moved there as an adult.

But it's awfully unusual for a novice to run for the United States Senate, despite never having served in government at any level, and neglect to read up on the state he hopes to represent.

Steve Benen 10:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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You know, at first, I thought that Rand's candidacy was political opportunism, based on his father's popularity with Tea Partier types. But the more I read about this guy, the more I think that his decision to run was completely on a whim, and was only successful because of his name. The man knows nothing about governing, and nothing about his home state. And despite almost daily reminders of this, he's still a virtual shoe-in for the Senatorial spot. Depressing.

Posted by: Kris on August 17, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Motto Rand Paul has "earned" the right to use:
"Where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise"

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on August 17, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK


Posted by: Viceroy Matt on August 17, 2010 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the plain sight truth is that the Okefenokee style from Ayn Libertaria has a little more of the artist than the pedant . His brush strokes are filled with the creativity found in natural forces similar to the tornado or hurricane .
A little tolerance here or there , and the gentleman may swallow his own tail .

Posted by: FRP on August 17, 2010 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

It's not like Sarah Palin for example knows a whole lot about anything. And she could have been VP, and is beloved by millions who hang on her every low information wise ass word.

Something about celebrity culture, particularly among the critical thinking challenged set...?

Posted by: emjayay on August 17, 2010 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

If the polls are accurate, I would think that you could transplant Michelle Bachmann or Sharon Angle in Kentucky and they would be front runners too. Says more about Kentucky than anything else.

Posted by: Terry on August 17, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

"It's famous for, like, The Dukes of Hazzard."

So Bedrock, CO is famous for, like, The Flintstones? Paul is so dumb, even a caveman can figure it out.

Posted by: flyonthewall on August 17, 2010 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

"But it's awfully unusual for a novice to run for the United States Senate, despite never having served in government at any level, and neglect to read up on the state he hopes to represent." We have moved into the post-representation phase of Senate now, and Senators no longer represent a state. Instead, they represent a party and their sole purpose is to advance the interests of that party. Please remember this the next time you feel the need to comment on a senatorial candidate - the state and the voters are mere backdrop, the party is foremost. Which is why we are screwed as a country.

Posted by: BC on August 17, 2010 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

I live in New York and recall being very impressed at how well Hillary Clinton did her homework on the whole state before running for Senate, which made the "carpetbagger" attacks ultimately ring hollow. Again, IOKIYAR, I guess.

Posted by: Mike Jones on August 17, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

So the question remains: How many Kentuckians are as blisteringly stupid as Rand Paul?

How many ignorant and insensitive statments must Paul make before a significant number of them pull their heads out of their asses?

Posted by: bdop4 on August 17, 2010 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Is everyone on this site a big government bleeding heart progressive democrat?

Or is it just my imagination?

Maybe you cannot see through the lies and believe that big brother is a good thing.

Or maybe you have become so dependent on this outrageous, overarching, limitless thing we call the federal government, you cannot think for yourselves ?

Where is our free-country? It does not exist anymore. Name 1 of the 10 amendments that has not been violated. I dare you.

Posted by: Anony Mouse on August 17, 2010 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Name 1 of the 10 amendments that has not been violated. I dare you.

Well, nobody's made me quarter any soldiers in my house lately.

Posted by: mister moonlight on August 17, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

"Name 1 of the 10 amendments that has not been violated. I dare you."

The 3rd amendment!

It seems that it is the conservatives that hate the constitution most of all, especially teabaggers [1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 14th, 17th and so on} Are you a conservative or a teabagger Anony Mouse, and if so why do you hate the constitution?

Posted by: gocart mozart on August 17, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, it's cute how you think Rand Paul actually wants to represent the citizens of the commonwealth of Kentucky. He has no plans to represent them, or the Tea Party, or the GOP in general.

Rand Paul is going to represent Rand Paul.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on August 17, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Damn you mister moonlight!

Posted by: gocart mozart on August 17, 2010 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

first: the commercials against Paul should now write themselves...
second: THE Dems should start using Paul's ignorance as a weapon against Repubs on a national level.
third: START NOW

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on August 17, 2010 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

"I can't wait to sing 'Rocky Top' at my first University of Kentucky football game this fall."

Posted by: 2Manchu on August 17, 2010 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

He’ll let them keep their guns, though.

Economic self-interest and a quarter will get you a cuppa coffee. It doesn’t win elections.

Nor does class solidarity. The US is the Saudi Arabia of false consciousness —world’s largest producer, world’s largest proven reserves.

Paul by 4%

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 17, 2010 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Easy 2Manchu, thems' fightn' werds!

Conway is clearly the better choice for KY but I'm not sure the campaign is being run as good as it could be. I'm not sure if it's lack of money or what, but at least here in the bluegrass one doesn't hear that much about Conway. Nor do you see ANY signs. Hell, I've been asking for mine for 2 months and haven't got one. I'd say maybe the national democrats need to step in and start spending some $$$ here. This could be an easy pick up for the dems if the marketing was done right.

Posted by: citizen_pain on August 17, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Just kidding, citizen :)

Posted by: 2Manchu on August 17, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

with Republicans ideology trumps all - knowledge, experience, loyalty to the Constitution and the rule of law, etc. Do you really think Rand Paul and his supporters really care whether or not Paul knows anything about Hazard or the local history/problems in KY? It's all about the ideology and the power

Posted by: andy on August 17, 2010 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

I've never been to Kentucky in my life, never studied anything about it, and I still know more about Harlan County's history than Rand Paul, who's lived there for 17 years and is running for office there?

How is that even possible?

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on August 17, 2010 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

I'd observe that most of Paul's ignorance here seems to be ignorance of Appalachian Kentucky. He probably shares that ignorance with a lot of Kentuckians, especially the urban and suburban Kentuckians that he's relying on to carry him into office. Hillbilly stereotyping is hardly a monopoly of leftie bloggers; indeed, in a place like Kentucky you're likely to find a lot of fairly well-off middle-class types who are eager to separate themselves from what they view as a negative image. And, of course, coal has enormous power.

Posted by: David in Nashville on August 18, 2010 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK



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