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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Big Government Republicans and neocons seek to strangle Rand Paul and the Tea Party movement he represents before their cause catches fire

Another Paul nettles GOP
(Politico) -- By Jonathan Martin --

Senior Republicans in Kentucky and Washington D.C. are deeply concerned about Senate candidate Trey Grayson’s campaign as he struggles to narrow the gap against GOP primary rival Rand Paul.

Two months before the election, the libertarian-leaning Paul, son of the Texas congressman and quixotic presidential contender, has tapped into anti-Washington grass-roots fervor on the right and staked out an advantage over Grayson, Kentucky’s secretary of state and establishment favorite.

There have been few polls in the race, but an automated survey earlier this month showed Paul leading by double digits. Even Grayson backers acknowledge that their candidate is lagging, if not as badly as the public polls indicate.

A win by Paul, a Bowling Green ophthalmologist, would represent the first true electoral success of the tea party movement. Equally important, it would embarrass Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose political organization is running Grayson’s campaign, thrust onto the national stage a Republican with foreign policy views out of the conservative mainstream and, strategists in both parties believe, imperil the GOP’s hold on the seat now held by retiring Sen. Jim Bunning.

Recognizing the threat, a well-connected former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney convened a conference call last week between Grayson and a group of leading national security conservatives to sound the alarm about Paul.

“On foreign policy, [global war on terror], Gitmo, Afghanistan, Rand Paul is NOT one of us,” Cesar Conda wrote in an e-mail to figures such as Liz Cheney, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Dan Senor and Marc Thiessen.

With an attached memo on Paul’s noninterventionist positions, Conda concluded: “It is our hope that you can help us get the word out about Rand Paul’s troubling and dangerous views on foreign policy.”

In an interview, Conda noted that Paul once advocated for closing down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and sending some suspected terrorists to the front lines in Afghanistan.

“This guy could become our Republican senator from Kentucky?” he exclaimed. “It’s very alarming.”

Paul’s lead has also caught the attention of the pro-Israel community, a group not known for paying close attention to Bluegrass State politics.

“Despite the hard financial times and plenty of incumbents who are asking for help, there is a lot of support for Trey Grayson, and it has definitely become a priority,” said one political operative who works on Israel issues...

He’s appealing to the frustration toward Washington,” said longtime Republican Rep. Hal Rogers, who represents much of eastern Kentucky and is officially neutral in the race, though widely seen as sympathetic to Grayson. “He’s been able to speak the tea party language.”

Paul said that he’s already begun to campaign for Republican House candidates taking on incumbent Democrats in Kentucky and believes he’ll be in the vanguard of a conservative comeback.

“A tea party tidal wave is going across the country, and we’re going to sweep a lot of folks out of office,” he said...MORE...LINK

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