Rand Paul’s win could be bad news for Republicans

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
By Paul Martin

By Alex Spillius
May 19th, 2010

The biggest loser from Rand Paul’s win in the Kentucky Republican Senate primary is Mitch McConnell.

When the party’s base ignores an endorsement from a sitting senator and minority leader then candidates anywhere who become labeled as the establishment figure are in trouble. Both parties will be affected by anti-incumbent fever in November, and the Democrats are likely to sustain heavy losses.

But there will be places, and Kentucky is one, where a Right-winger running for the Republicans could hand victory to the Democrats.

Rand Paul has some interesting ideas, and is much more of a real libertarian than many others jumping on the tea party bandwagon.

As a doctor, he favours the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. He opposes the Patriot Act for infringing personal liberty. Then there are his more eccentric views that will be fodder for negative Democratic ads: claiming that an Iranian nuclear bomb would not be bad for US national security, raising funds from 9/11 “truthers”.

Paul has already shown expediency, reversing a long-held position that Guantanamo should close relatively late in the campaign. Being weak on national security will not be a good thing in a Kentucky general election. It will be interesting to see if Dr Paul makes further concessions to political reality or follows the highly individualistic path forged by his father Ron Paul.

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