The first Kentucky Senate debate took place today and in many ways it showed a lot about what is going on in national politics. The Republican candidate, Rand Paul represents an extreme out of touch ideology while the Democrat Jack Conway sounded much more intelligent and reasonable but really just a Blue-Dog at best. While it is pretty clear that Conway is much more qualified and would be a much better Senator, one cannot help but feel a little sadness once again as Democrats sell out to Republican ideals.
So while I will definately be voting for Jack Conway as a Progressive I am tired of towing the line when our party and candidates within are flat wrong. In my view, there is one issue where there is no difference between Paul and Conway and it is one of the most important ones:
Conway said he would vote to extend tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush, would have opposed a federal bank bailout because it lacked accountability and would have voted against a "cap-and-trade" bill to control carbon emissions because it would have increased electricity rates and hurt the coal mining industry.
Now, to his credit Conway would have opposed the Republican TARP program, but his stance on the Bus Tax Cuts is completely unacceptable as it is for any Democrat who supports extension. I challenge Jack Conway or any Democrat to tell me how these tax cuts are anything but a waste of money. They add to the deficit, do not create jobs, and reward the very folks who made things so hard on the rest of us. This is a very disturbing insight into the type of Senator and politician Conway aspires to be. He is wrong.
That said, Conway did come out swinging on Rand Paul and the clear differences between them. Differences in sanity, compassion and common sense:
"There's a real clear choice between someone who has taken on the drug issue and someone who says drugs aren't a pressing issue, someone who stands up to criminals and someone who says non-violent behavior shouldn't be a crime, someone who supports the rights of the disabled and someone who has said that he is against the American Disabilities Act, between someone who is going to stand up and protect Medicare and someone who says Medicare needs a $2,000 deductible," Conway said.
All Rand Paul seemed to have to counter was hatred for Obama, and the arrogant attitude shown by Republicans nationwide despite the fact that this race is apparently tied. However, if young voters think they should not show up this time Paul did offer a keen insight into the Republican plans after this election:
"We're waiting for him to catch up a little bit in the polls and then we may refer to him more," Paul said, adding that Conway should either defend or run away from Obama.
Paul suggested that the retirement age for Social Security will have to be raised for younger workers. "You're going to have to have eligibility changes for younger people," he said.
In other words he is telling people my age and younger that despite the fact that we will pay into Social Security that we will have our own benefits stolen from us if the Republicans have their way. Stolen to give tax cuts to the very rich. He will not tell you that the only problem with Social Security is that politicians like he aspires to be keep picking it clean.
He also showed more ignorance:
When discussing the federal stimulus plan, Wallace reminded the candidates that Kentucky has received $3 billion from the fund.
Paul said the state has lost 17,000 jobs despite the stimulus and noted that future generations will have to repay the money borrowed to fund the program.
Ayn Rand should set the bong aside and think about some recent history. What would have happened to jobs in Kentucky without that money?? What party has represented our state on a national level the most in decade or so?? The Republican Party of Mitch McConnell which Rand has embraced like a lost lover. They have outsourced our jobs to anywhere but America to keep from having to pay those damn fat and sassy American workers. Yes, we should give up our Social Security and work for less:
So while Jack Conway showed he is clearly the superior candidate I must say that was not hard to do. What I would like to see from him a lot of other Democrats is this. Man up. Quit trying to make yourself look almost as radical and ridiculous and appeasing the other side. Fight back with our ideals and the truth.
In the end I think when Kentuckians hear the differences between Conway and Paul they will realize that the ideology of Rand Paul is not only idiocy, it is dangerous. Now, I only hope that Jack Conway will fight for what is right if he is elected instead of poisoning the Democratic Party further as a DLC type and be a force in helping rebuild an American middle-class. I don't have much confidence either way. Such is the sorry state of these elections all over the country.