The Other McCain

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David Williams, Rand Paul and the Kentucky Tea Party Movement

Posted on | May 27, 2011 | 29 Comments

Some interesting facts: Kentucky has a Democrat governor, Steve Beshear, who is up for re-election this fall in one of the most important off-year elections in the country. Beshear is vulnerable, and his vulnerability involves issues of national relevance.

Moody’s and Fitch have downgraded the state’s bond rating because Beshear and the Democrat-controlled state House of Representatives refuse to get serious about cutting spending, instead relying on gimmicks to balance the budget year-to-year. The pension system for state employees has unfunded liabilities, and Beshear has been accused of political shenanigans with the pension system.

Last week, state Senate president David Williams won the GOP primary, “clearing the way for an expensive, no-holds-barred brawl” with Beshear in the fall campaign, as the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Now the bad news: Tea Party activists in Kentucky, who backed Louisville businessman Phil Moffett in the Republican primary, are disgruntled — sufficiently so that they’re angry at Sen. Rand Paul, who they say failed them by not supporting Moffett in the primary. Kentuckian Lisa Graas reports:

I can also report that there has been talk that some in the current Tea Party movement in Kentucky will not support the conservative Republican David Williams in the general election because their candidate did not win the primary. I know of at least one Tea Party leader (not from the Bowling Green group) who threatened Kentucky Right to Life, in his organization’s name, that if they endorsed Williams, his group would not support Williams in the general election. That is important to note because it is an example of the refusal of the current Tea Party movement to build coalitions. Williams did win the primary, by the way, and Kentucky Right to Life did endorse him. They’re not swayed by threats.

Read the whole thing, especially where Lisa talks about how in 2009 the Tea Party movement attracted “people from all walks of life, across the political spectrum, most of whom had never really been active in politics.”

Much of the subsequent loss of energy in the movement, which Lisa describes, can be attributed to the unrealistic impatience of some activists — newcomers to politics — who were perhaps not prepared for the long, difficult process necessary to bring about real change.

It is certainly to the Tea Party movement’s credit that they were able to get 38% of the GOP primary vote for Moffett’s low-budget campaign. And considering how much Rand Paul owes to these activists, it’s understandable that they are angry at his unwillingness to help Moffett in the primary. But to threaten a Tea Party boycott of the Williams campaign in the general election is harmful and self-defeating. On the other hand, it is incumbent on the Williams team to do what it takes to bring Moffett and his Tea Party supporters on board for the fall campaign.

People in Kentucky need to realize that this isn’t just about the Tea Party. It’s not just about Republicans. It’s not about Rand Paul or David Williams. It’s about the future of your state, and the future of the country. As we saw with this week’s NY-26 special election, Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) will spin any GOP defeat as a repudiation of conservatives and a vindication of the Obama agenda. You don’t want that, do you?

Here’s the first online video ad of the David Williams fall campaign:



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