In April 8 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
Spring break for one group of children has become a lot of smiling as they shake strangers hands and race from one venue to the next, but they aren't the newest Disney-created boy band, they are the family of the front runner in the race for the Senate in Kentucky.
Rand Paul brought his family along as they started their state bus tour Monday in Russell County, and this marks the third time the eye-surgeon turned politician has stopped in to the county since the first of the year.
He has gone from having a one-person welcoming committee when he arrived in an SUV with one or two friends —to arriving with staffers and advance people meeting the tour bus they rolled up in and guiding him into a room full of Russell County fans.
In the interim, the race has heated up to the point that it is drawing serious national attention.
The national media are painting the race as Tea-Party aligned independent Republican versus the “Big R” Republican establishment, and it is a painting Paul is fond of.
He stressed in his speech that he is under attack from both parties, because he is attacking the money machine he said they are running.
“They treat Washington like an ATM,” Paul said of the politicians he wished to run out of office.
Term limits, is the issue Paul promised would be the first item on his agenda if elected. He added that if he can't get enough traction with the idea in Washington to get the issue moving, he'll take it to the states.
“I'll ask to speak to the Kentucky Legislature,” Paul said.
He explained that if 34 states will pass the same term limits bill then the constitutional question can be forced in the nation's capitol.
But adding term limits is about the only thing Paul says he wants to add in Washington.
Paul calls himself a “strict constructionist,” when it comes defining himself. He said he is only interested in the federal government doing those things it was directed to to in the constitution and nothing more.
“National defense,” along with a legal and legislative system is nearly all he is willing to assign to the federal government.
His campaign manager David Adams stressed that the candidate, a doctor, is not interested in the new healthcare law, and not impressed by either Medicare or Medicaid programs.
“We have clearly done too much in the way of social programs,” Adams said. “In some cases it is too late to put the genie back in the bottle.”
Paul has been closely associated with the “Tea-Party” movement, and has been endorsed by that group's unofficial poster-girl, Sarah Palin. He has however had to back up from things said by that groups prominent members from time to time.
Just this week he repudiated Tea Party suggestions that the Social Security program needs to be scrapped.
He does sound that group's alarm about the size of the federal debt, and deficit spending by the government.
So in agreement with the group Paul is advocating constitutional changes that include a balanced budget requirement, in addition to the addition of term limits on the house and senate
Paul and opponent Trey Grayson have recently been in a dust-up over the issues of terrorism and war.
Paul this week was very strident in his statements that the war in Afghanistan took too long to get startted and the war in Iraq never should have been started.
As to how to continue he said a decision has to be made by congress over what to do, what the plan, goal, end game, is for the war in Afghanistan and that target or set of targets need to be reached and the troops need to come home.
“We need to define what success is and we need to do what is needed to achieve it,” Adams said, before the candidate took the stage.
Paul's wife, Kelley, moved through the crowd introducing herself and joking about how happy their children were to be traveling the state for Spring Break.
As Paul was about to take the stage two of his sons, along with local amateur singer Cheyanne Popplewell, played and sang 'This land is our land,' and 'My Old Kentucky Home.'
He railed against the present political system of “bringing home the bacon,” which he said drives up the deficit.
He said government doesn't create jobs, entrepreneurs do.
He touted his Palin endorsement, and said he didn't want the endorsement of those in the leadership of the Republican Party like ex-vice president Dick Cheney who he said were part of the problem in Washington.
He said his campaign was one of grassroots conservatism versus party apparatchiks.