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Kentucky Libertarian Party May Attempt to Run U.S. Senate Candidate

Ballot Access News:

The Kentucky Libertarian Party has never placed a statewide nominee on the ballot in any year, except in presidential years. To do so requires 5,000 signatures, due in early August. The only Libertarian Party nominees for U.S. Senate in Kentucky history have been in presidential years, when the presidential petition can include a U.S. Senate candidate as well.

Now, however, the party is considering running someone for U.S. Senate in 2010. The party disagrees with Republican nominee Rand Paul on the issue of same-sex marriage, and foreign policy, and other issues. The party is irked that the media assumes that Paul’s views match Libertarian Party views, and if the party ran its own nominee, the press would stop making that mistake.

Roger Alford, Associated Press (linked from BAN article above):

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Libertarian Party is considering running a candidate in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, saying GOP nominee Rand Paul — the son of a former Libertarian presidential candidate — has betrayed the party’s values.

Party Vice Chairman Joshua Koch said Wednesday that Paul has been a black eye for Libertarians because of stands he’s taken on issues, including his criticism of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Koch said Paul is not a Libertarian. He called Paul and his Democratic opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, “faces of the same bad coin.”

Rand Paul’s father was the Libertarian presidential candidate in 1988. He is currently a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

Koch had strong criticism for Paul, who won the Republican Senate nomination last week by trouncing the GOP establishment candidate, Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

“He had gone from being an outsider candidate to a tea party candidate to an establishment candidate in the past nine months,” Koch said. “It’s a complete identity crisis. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The Libertarian Party doesn’t have a strong presence in Kentucky. But the race is being closely watched and Democrats seek to reclaim a seat that is being vacated by retiring Sen. Jim Bunning, a 78-year-old former major league pitcher who opted not to seek a third term.

University of Louisville political scientist Laurie Rhodebeck said if the Senate race were to be close, a Libertarian candidate could potentially take enough votes from Paul to affect the outcome.

“A lot of the Libertarian candidates are people with little or no political experience,” she said. “They don’t speak well in public. They’re underfunded. But it would make a point.”

Koch did not say who the Libertarian Party might put up to run in the race. Neither the Paul nor the Conway campaigns would comment immediately on the matter.

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  1. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman May 26, 2010

    Just a note about Kentucky elections. Kentucky holds elections for Governor and state legislature in odd numbered years.

    In next year’s election for Governor, Gatewood Galbraith is running as an independent. He has already been campaigning and has a website up @

  2. I agree with Trent on this. By fielding a Libertarian, now people will wonder, “hmm, what?”

    Please, please, please field a Libertarian in this race.

    And all of those people who are griping about how Rand Paul’s transforming himself into some McConnell clone are dumb. He NEEDS the establishment GOP’s help. Of course, those who have never won an election either directly or indirectly won’t know about what it takes to win anyway…

  3. Libertaryan Libertaryan May 26, 2010

    They should run Sonny Landham again. LOL

  4. Andy Andy May 26, 2010

    “Trent Hill // May 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    It’s also entirely believable that Rand Paul is simply…trying to get elected by obfuscating his libertarian positions.”

    This could very well end up being the case.

  5. Andy Andy May 26, 2010

    “but the LPK cannot win and can only help the enemies of freedom by concentrating on defeating Rand Paul.”


  6. Andy Andy May 26, 2010

    “Trent Hill // May 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I think the LP should run someone against him.”

    I think that it would be extremely foolish for the Libertarian Party to run anyone against him. This would be a sure way to piss off the Tea Party AND Campaign for Liberty crowds and turn them against the Libertarian Party. Any differences some of these Libertarians in Kentucky have with Rand Paul are extremely minor compared to differences they have with typical Republican candidates.

    Also, it is not like the Kentucky LP regularly runs anyone for US Senate anyway. I think that it was be far more intelligent to run people for other offices, like US House or state legislature or for some local offices like sheriff or county commissioner or mayor of a small town or city council.

  7. Third Party Revolution Third Party Revolution May 26, 2010

    It’s a good thing the LPKY plans on running someone against that false libertarian.

  8. Andy Andy May 26, 2010

    “Only if you’re using ‘easily’ in the same sense as ‘Christopher Reeve could easily rise from the dead and run a sub-10-second 100-meter dash.'”

    No, I mean that Rand Paul is far more libertarian than anyone in the US Senate. Libertarians ought to be supporting him, especially since they don’t have anyone that can even come close to winning that office.

  9. Trent Hill Trent Hill May 26, 2010

    I think the LP should run someone against him. It would probably help him immensely. A principled LP nominee would show the media that Rand Paul is certainly no libertarian and probably take a lot of heat off him and improve his chances of being accepted as mainstream. He would still be a better occupant of the senate seat than any other person in the race with a realistic chance of winning.”

    Many libertarians, myself included, believe Rand Paul is almost as good as his father, with but a few exceptions, and that he’s just trying to remain competitive and win a 6-year term rather than hold high the banner of purism.

  10. paulie paulie May 26, 2010

    “Against kikes” at 10 and 12…. no one can help who supports them. Did Paul accept a Duke endorsement? Not to my knowledge.

    On the other hand there’s this….

  11. NewFederalist NewFederalist May 26, 2010

    I think the LP should run someone against him. It would probably help him immensely. A principled LP nominee would show the media that Rand Paul is certainly no libertarian and probably take a lot of heat off him and improve his chances of being accepted as mainstream. He would still be a better occupant of the senate seat than any other person in the race with a realistic chance of winning.

  12. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman May 26, 2010

    Regardless of whether I agree or disagree with an article, I think it is boorish to repost long articles from other sources (or even from IPR) in the comments section.

    Make your point with an excerpt, and put in a link. Please?

  13. Trent Hill Trent Hill May 26, 2010

    Support from David Duke on an issue does not mean Rand Paul is anything like David Duke. That’s a red herring of the worst kind.

  14. Trent Hill Trent Hill May 26, 2010

    It’s also entirely believable that Rand Paul is simply…trying to get elected by obfuscating his libertarian positions.

  15. AroundtheblockAFT AroundtheblockAFT May 26, 2010

    It is also likely that if you were confronted by Maddow with a “pop” question, you could not articulate the same answer you come up with when writing it down, editing it, smoothing the rougher parts, etc. etc. If you’ve ever been a Libertarian candidate, you’ve been handed all sorts of media questions that – unless you are an extraordinary on-your-feet thinker like Bumper Hornberger or Michael Emerling – you will stammer and hem and haw and have a dozen of your supporters later say “why didn’t you say this?” You are, of course, right that Rand Paul couldn’t say what you did because, apparently, he doesn’t believe it.

  16. Classically Liberal Classically Liberal May 26, 2010

    One of the tragedies from the Ron Paul movement has been the association of libertarianism with very unlibertarian sentiments. Before Rand Paul picked up his father’s sullied mantle I was talking with someone who had been a top official in the Liberal Democratic Party at a dinner in London. Some of the people were libertarians who thought the Paulites were a good thing. I pointed out how our ideas were being associated with ideas that were most clearly not libertarian. The Lib Dem guy made the point about “brand contamination.” When someone becomes associated with other things, a tad bit more nefarious and questionable, the good aspects of the brand become contaminated.

    That is what Ron Paul did to libertarianism—associating it with anti-immigrant sentiments, neo-Confederate politics, Birch Society conspiracy nonsense, state’s rights, and racism, to name a few. Ron Paul has always been a conservative, not a libertarian—as his vote to keep sodomy a crime in D.C., showed. And Rand Paul is more of the same, but worse.

    So who gets blamed for Rand Paul’s views? Libertarians do. Sam Tanenhaus referred to Rand Paul’s controversial statements with a New York Times piece entitled: “Rand Paul and the Perils of Textbook Libertarianism.” That would imply that Rand Paul is a textbook libertarian when he is no such thing. He has less right to claim libertarianism than does his father.

    So I wanted to clear up a few points. Not only isn’t Rand Paul a libertarian, as I have asserted before, but he isn’t even named after Ayn Rand—as some of his worshippers and detractors all seem to assume. Paul has clarified it himself but that doesn’t stop the morons, on both Left and Right, from saying otherwise. His full name is Randal Paul and Rand is merely an abbreviation of his first name, not homage to Ayn Rand.

    And, if it had been homage to Rand, I can assure you she wouldn’t have been honored. Rand refused to support candidates if they campaigned against abortion. She refused to support Reagan and stated his opposition to abortion as a reason, and Reagan was much more moderate on the issue than Paul, who wouldn’t even allow a woman to abort in order to save her own life. My friend Barbara Branden reports: “When I last saw Rand in 1981, she told me that she was opposed to Reagan because she considered him a typical conservative in his attempt to link politics and religion. About his anti-abortion view, she said: ‘A man who does not believe in a woman’s right to her own body, does not believe in human rights.’”

    Paul, according to his own site, had the endorsement of the far-Right theocratic group, Concerned Women for America, and his site says that his “socially conservative views have earned the respect and trust of church leaders across Kentucky.” Consider how Rand saw Reagan and his friendly relations with the Moral Majority:

    The appalling disgrace of his administration is his connection with the so-called “Moral Majority” and sundry other TV religionists, who are struggling—apparently with his approval—to take us back to the Middle Ages, via the unconstitutional union of religion and politics.

    Rand said Reagan was trying to “arouse the country by some sort of inspirational appeal. He is right in thinking that the country needs an inspirational element. But he will not find it in the God-Family-Tradition swamp.” So while Randal Paul was sucking up to the social conservative religionists, Ayn Rand had called their ideology a “swamp” and wanted nothing to do with them.

    Previously I mentioned Rand’s views on the issue of state’s rights, which is vastly different than Randal Paul’s views. While social conservatives like the two Pauls, Wayne Allen Root, Bob Barr and others, argue for state’s rights, Ayn Rand said that people don’t understand what it means She argued it was merely a “division of power between local and national authorities” and did “not grant to a state government an unlimited arbitrary power over its citizens or the privilege of abrogating the citizens’ individual rights.” As Rand saw it state’s rights would justify the violation of separation of church and state at the state level, as Ron Paul and other conservatives have said.

    George Wallace used the state’s right mantra to justify his racist campaigns for political office. Rand noted that Wallace was NOT “a defender of individual rights, but merely of state’s rights—which is far from being the same thing.” She said Wallace’s denunciation of big government was one that merely wanted to replace federal tyranny with local tyranny, that all Wallace wanted was “to place the same unlimited, arbitrary power in the hands of many little governments.” This is also true of the paleo-conservatives pretending to be libertarians: Randal and Ron Paul being the prime examples.

    Libertarian blogger Timothy Lee noticed that Randal Paul’s “libertarianism” “is curiously one-sided.” Lee notes that Paul’s view “is far from uncompromising” and points to Paul’s rabid anti-immigration stands, his demand that anyone who is a citizen of a “rogue nation” be denied travel visas and that he supports “holding suspects indefinitely without trial at GITMO,” as evidence. He also lists Paul’s opposition to marriage equality, his refusal to talk about the war on drugs, or free trade as areas of concern. Lee writes:

    Paul is an uncompromising defender of the rights of business owners to decide who will sit at their lunch counters. But Paul apparently sees no problem with deploying the power of the state to stop private business owners from hiring undocumented workers. Nor does he seem to care very much about business owners’ freedom to do business with the millions of non-terrorists who live in “rogue nations.” Or, for that matter, the freedom of a gay business owner to marry the person he loves. There’s a principle at work here, all right, but I don’t think it has very much to do with limited government.

    Randal Paul got caught by his own position in defense of private discrimination. And while I agree with freedom of association as a right, it is very difficult, if not impossible to defend those rights if you yourself advocate violating those rights in numerous ways. Social conservatives, like Paul, are not advocates of individual rights, but proponents of social order and state control in the name of God, family, tradition, morality and religion. They are sometimes opponents of state intervention and sometimes advocates of it. Their lack of consistency means it is easy to show them up as hypocrites, advocating one set of laws for one group of people and another set for other, less favored, groups.

    As a libertarian I would say this lack of consistency plagues both Progressives and Conservatives. Which is why libertarians are neither, but hold the radical middle ground where rights are applied consistently. Randal Paul, like his father doesn’t support equality of rights for gay people. So that meant he could not answer Rachel Maddow well when she nailed him on discrimination. He stuttered, stumbled, tried to evade, and basically made his position look bad. He tried to claim libertarian principles, but not being a consistent libertarian made that difficult. So how would I have responded to Maddow, in the same circumstances? Here is my answer:

    Rachel, that’s a good question and is the answer is more complex that a lot of people want to believe. For instance, why shouldn’t a “black student’s union” have the right to admit only black students? And doesn’t it make sense that with the sort of sexual harassment that many women have experienced that a lesbian bar might rationally want to exclude straight men as patrons or employees?

    Much of the struggle for human rights, especially for those oppressed and discriminated against, has revolved around the freedom to associate. With the right to freely associate comes the right to not associate, which is what that lesbian bar would be doing. Government is a very blunt tool, and when the law applies to private associations it does so without taking into account, nor can it take into account, the nuances which may well justify the reluctance for some people to associate with others.

    Where there is private discrimination, that is irrational and prejudicial, such as the refusal of some restaurants to serve black patrons, I think it important that community leaders, people like yourself, all decent people, stand up and protest, boycott, picket, leaflet and force a change in policy. And there are many examples of that happening.

    Government is such a blunt tool to use that it can’t distinguish between the first kind of discrimination and the second kind. It destroys both with the same law. Thus we could get bizarre things like a gay resort, with somewhat liberal standards on nudity or public displays of sexuality, being sued for discriminating against heterosexual families with children. Government does a bad job of telling the differences and thus tends to ban both.

    Most people, like yourself, clearly can see the differences. A Christian church that refused to perform Jewish weddings doesn’t bother most people. A restaurant that refuses to serve black customers does. The church is only exempt because of the First Amendment, and thus safe from such laws. But the lesbian bar I mentioned is not. The community is free to distinguish between these different forms of discrimination and routinely does so. They will boycott and protest against the restaurant but no one bats an eye at religious discrimination by churches.

    What is critical to remember is that state power has more often been used to force discrimination than to forbid it. The South was not a free society and had legislation mandating bigotry and prejudicial policies. When local government violates the rights of people, it is fit and proper for federal legislation to prevent that. Government is a dangerous weapon and is more likely to be used to suppress rights.

    The great civil rights battle of today, Rachel, is that of marriage equality.
    Look at the battle line. All across the country private businesses treat their gay employees and customers with respect, sure some don’t, but they are not the dominant trend by any means, but the exception. As a gay woman you surely know this.

    Gay relationships are recognized by employers who grant their gay employees the same rights as other employees. Where is the problem? Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — government mandated discrimination. The Defense of Marriage Act — government mandated discrimination. Immigration laws exist that refuse to recognize gay couples. That is state bigotry, not private. We have state mandated discrimination in the tax codes, marriage laws, custody laws, even in hospital visitation rights.

    So, Rachel, here is my offer, based on my principles. Let us abolish all government mandated discrimination, abolish those laws, reform the system to see full equality of rights for all. Compared to the nationwide massive violations of rights that government is doing today, the issue of private discrimination is tiny. Not only is the impact of state discrimination far more destructive but it is much harder to change. Many a business has suddenly switched sides due to a boycott, but you can’t boycott government. In addition, much of the private prejudices collapse when government-sanctioned bigotry is abolished.

    So, when it comes to my preferences, I prefer the private versus governmental approach. It is easier to wipe out bigotry when privately practiced then when enforced by law. Even with a so-called “friend” in the White House look at the meager progress gay and lesbian people have made with their just demands. It is far easier to end private discrimination than state-enforced bigotry.

    A government that routinely discriminates against tens of millions of Americans, due to their sexual orientation, or gender identity, is not a trust-worthy advocate for individual rights. I would rather leave this to the common sense of the people, using proven strategies like boycotts and picket lines, to eradicate irrational prejudice while leaving the woman’s bar alone, as I suspect the case would be.

    My answer may not entirely satisfy Maddow, but it would go a long way toward addressing her concerns and showing the good intentions of libertarians toward minorities. So why didn’t Randall Paul say this? Why didn’t he defend well the libertarian position? Because he couldn’t, he doesn’t believe in it.

  17. Antiwar Antiwar May 26, 2010

    I have to say that I’ve held off commenting on the subject of Rand’s candidacy quite deliberately, because I wanted to give him the benefit of every doubt. I wasn’t too alarmed, at first, when he differed from his father on the subject of Guantanamo and the question of whether to give “enemy combatants” a trial before we lock them up forever – I didn’t and don’t agree, but plenty of anti-interventionists I respect, such as Pat Buchanan, would take Rand’s side in that debate, and so I gave him a pass.

    He did an interview with, in which he stated some mildly anti-interventionist sentiments, coming out against the “long term” occupation of Afghanistan. As one commenter on the thread put it, however, “Not in favor of long-term occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan? What does he think the situation is right now?” That same perceptive commenter presciently added: “I’m not a Ron Paul fan, but from this interview, it seems like Rand Paul is no Ron Paul.”

    In any case, Trey Grayson, his opponent in the Republican primary, made a big issue of his even appearing on the radio with those “leftist” radicals at – Ha! If only they knew! – and ran television ads juxtaposing Rand’s comments to those of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. To no avail, however, and Rand smashed Grayson with a resounding 60 percent of the vote – a clear signal that the neocon foreign policy of invading the world has no resonance anymore, not even in a GOP primary in a solidly Republican state.

    Yet Rand drew a different conclusion from the election results, because he began backtracking immediately, even before election day, even as the polls showed Grayson’s attacks were having no effect. Rand came out in favor of economic sanctions on Iran, and further opined:

    “I do see Iran as a threat to the stability of the Middle East… Recently, President Obama took nuclear weapons off the table in certain circumstances, and I think that’s a mistake. I think it’s reckless to take them out of the equation.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but that sounds to me like he’s in favor – given the right circumstances – of nuking Iran. This is something that not even the wildest-eyed neocon has seriously proposed. That an alleged “libertarian” could mouth those words is appalling, but hardly surprising: it just means that, in a world where even a loudmouthed statist like Bill Maher can claim to be a “libertarian,” the word has lost all meaning. No wonder Bill Kristol wants to give the kid a break.

    I don’t even want to go into the rest of his symptoms of foot-in-mouth disease, but Rand’s characterization of the President as “anti-American” for holding BP responsible for the consequences of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico cannot go unremarked. To begin with, as Chris Hayes pointed out in his excellent discussion of the issue while filling in for Maddow, the oil companies are one of the biggest examples of the sort of crony capitalism libertarians are supposed to abhor. As the recipients of numerous subsidies and government subventions, the oil companies are also the beneficiaries of a legislated cap [.pdf] on damages which limits their liability. In a free market, it’s likely they couldn’t drill off the Florida coast at all because they couldn’t afford the insurance.

    As in the case of all the other governmental bodies and agencies we have that are supposed to “oversee” the activities of the corporate world, the overseers have been subjected to a strategy of “regulatory capture.” They’re in bed – literally – with the very companies they are supposed to be overseeing.

    It’s true that Rand got his start in the libertarian movement, as a supporter of and spokesman for his father, but good sense may not be hereditary, and, in any case, Paul the younger seems not to have inherited his father’s backbone. Can you imagine Rand standing up to the bully Rudy Giuliani – or even daring to raise the issue that motivated Giuliani’s grandstanding outburst? I can’t.

    Instead, what we have seen is a sustained attempt by Rand to transform libertarianism into “constitutional” conservatism: when asked to describe his politics, Rand regularly disdains the libertarian label and avers that he’s a “constitutional conservative.” You know, as opposed to those unconstitutional conservatives – the sort who want to give the President the power to suspend habeas corpus, lock up “enemy combatants” in Guantanamo, and throw away the key.

    What we should do is simply take Rand at his word, in this instance, and recognize that he is indeed no libertarian. This will relieve him of being in the embarrassing position of having to explain and defend our arcane canons, and lift from his shoulders the burden of having to translate theory into a political program that makes sense for today. Clearly, he’s not up to the task, and, in any event – not being a libertarian – he’s even more clearly not interested in taking on the job.

    He is interested, however, is gaining as much support for his candidacy nationwide as he can. That is how he got to where he is today, after all: by appealing to his father’s constituency for financial and other forms of support. If he hopes this support will be ongoing, he may be in for a shock: having the right last name will only get him so far with libertarians. He has got to learn to live up to his father’s good name, and I have a suggestion as to how he might make a good start.

    Since he’s spent so much time apologizing for, and running away from, his own comments – now claiming that he would have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act – why doesn’t he spend a few moments backtracking from his morally reprehensible refusal to take nuking Iran “out of the equation”? Now that’s something he really ought to get down on his hands and knees and beg forgiveness for – and maybe (just maybe!) libertarians will think about supporting him. Until that apology – or “clarification” – is forthcoming, I wouldn’t give Rand Paul the time of day.

  18. Trent Hill Trent Hill May 26, 2010


    I think this is the right idea. Run a few candidates for Congress who will contrast their views.

  19. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp May 26, 2010

    “Rand could easily be the most libertarian member of the US Senate, by far.”

    Only if you’re using “easily” in the same sense as “Christopher Reeve could easily rise from the dead and run a sub-10-second 100-meter dash.”

  20. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman May 26, 2010

    The Libertarian Party of Kentucky should run a couple of active campaigns for Congress to highlight its own views.

    Certainly Rand Paul has not been the outstanding libertarian we might hope for, but the LPK cannot win and can only help the enemies of freedom by concentrating on defeating Rand Paul.

  21. wolfefan wolfefan May 26, 2010

    Except that Rand is rapidly running away from most of his Libertarian principles. It will soon become a matter of “Was he lying then” vs “Is he lying now” with regard to his alleged Libertarianism.

  22. Andy Andy May 26, 2010

    I would recommend that they not do this. Rand could easily be the most libertarian member of the US Senate, by far. The Libertarian Party running somebody against him will only make the party look foolish.

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