Rand Paul must have had his track shoes on.
The other day, Kentucky’s Tea Party-tilting Republican U.S. Senate candidate stopped in Louisville, the Bluegrass State’s largest city, for what was billed as a “meet and greet” with local voters.
Paul pulled a speak and scram.
He dished the usual Tea Bagger tripe, but skipped the questions.
The doctor made a bee-line for the back door, hopped into a waiting car and was whisked away.
“Over three dozen union members from across Kentucky attended the public forum to ask Paul about his policies,” said an email sent by Bill Londrigan, Bluegrass State AFL-CIO president.
Londrigan and Jeff Wiggins were at the forum. “It was fun to watch Rand run,” said Wiggins, a steelworker and president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky Area Council, AFL-CIO. “I thought Forrest Gump was fast. I felt like yelling, ‘Run, Rand, run! ‘”
Londrigan’s email said that with election day fast approaching, “the working brothers and sisters represented by the Kentucky State AFL-CIO [still] have not had the chance to question Paul on social security, workplace safety, trade, unemployment or any of the other issues that will make or break the middle class in the coming years.”
They probably won’t get the chance, either. Fleeing from reporters and voters who might ask tough questions apparently is Dr. Paul’s prescription for his whole campaign.
“He’ll keep on ducking us and ducking the mainstream media right up to Nov. 2,” Wiggins predicted. Londrigan agrees.
“Since winning the GOP nomination, Rand Paul has completely shut himself off from both the press and the voters of Kentucky ,” his email also said.
Since union members can’t quiz Paul, Londrigan suggested they ask themselves a couple of questions:
- “How can anyone vote for Rand Paul if he or she doesn’t know where he stands on the issues that matter the most?
- “What will we tell future generations if we sit on the sideline and allow a candidate who expects your vote, but won’t even look you in the eye, to win this election?”
Maybe Paul decided to skip the Q and A when he spotted the union folks in the crowd. He hates unions. He’s proud of a $2,500 contribution he pocketed from the National Right to Work Committee.
The other Tea Party favorites running for the House and Senate are union-haters, too. Like Paul, they head for the hills when they see real newshounds or sense skeptical voters might be near.
“Paul is in his element at the podium where he can rely on empty rhetoric and baseless generalizations to soften his radical agenda,” Londrigan’s email also said. That’s true of all of the Tea Party Republican bloviators.
“But when faced with questions about his stance on the most pressing of middle class issues, Paul doesn’t have time for Kentucky voters. But, he does have time for the GOP elite. …Paul raised funds with the Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, a likely candidate for President in 2012.”
The labor leader added: “Just days before that, Paul held a $2,400 a plate fundraiser with Sarah Palin – also a likely candidate for President in 2012. And…he’s doing campaign events with Mike Huckabee – yes, ANOTHER likely candidate for President in 2012.
“…Mitch McConnell hosted a fundraiser for Paul with ticket prices ranging between $1,000 and $2,400. The event was attended by thirteen Republican Senators, nine of whom voted for the bank bailout, a policy Paul has fought against for months.”
Londrigan’s email quoted an Associated Press story about the Republican speedster: “Paul appeared to shun an earlier campaign promise that he had made while seeking to burnish his image as a political outsider. During the spring primary, the first-time candidate pledged not to accept contributions from any senator who voted for the $700 billion bank bailout in 2008.”
But Paul has no problem taking money from white separatists. About the time the candidate skedaddled in Louisville, the New York Daily News ran a story about three of these bigots who forked over $1,400 to Paul’s campaign.
One is a Mississippi lawyer and former member of the League of the South , a bunch of neo-Confederate nut jobs who want Dixie to secede anew and take another crack at creating a country run by white folks. The latter day Johnny Reb from the Magnolia State told the Louisville Courier-Journal he isn’t a white separatist. He said he was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and was “pro-Confederacy and anti-(Abraham) Lincoln .”
Not surprisingly, Paul vehemently denies he’s racist. But he attracts folks who are, and not just the white supremacist donors.
Early on, Paul’s campaign spokesman had to quit because he got caught posting racist doggerel on his MySpace page. In addition, Paul himself questioned parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Meanwhile, Jack Conway, Paul’s Democratic opponent whose poll numbers are improving, challenged Paul to give the bigots back their $1,400. So far, Paul has kept the cash.
Anyway, to set the record straight for the Lincoln-loathing Mississippian who inked a check for the Paul for Senate campaign:
- We Kentuckians rightly revere Lincoln as our greatest native son.
- We are proud that Lincoln ’s statue towers in the rotunda of our state capitol building in Frankfort.
- Kentucky , though a border slave state, didn’t join your Confederacy.
- About three times as many Kentuckians donned Yankee blue as put on Rebel gray.
Of course, not all Republicans are bigots. But Paul and his pals are more proof — as if proof were needed — that the GOP is mainly what the Southern Democrats were in slavery and Jim Crow days: the white folks’ party.
The first Kentucky Republicans ripped the Rebels for the traitors they were. Many Bluegrass State Republicans or their sons fought for “Lincoln and Liberty ” and helped whip the Confederates at Shiloh, Perryville, Stone’s River, Chattanooga, Atlanta and in other bloody battles.
The Kentucky ’s GOP founding fathers used to croon about hanging Jefferson Davis, the Kentucky-born Rebel president, “to a sour apple tree.” A lot of Rand Paul Republicans seem more likely to whistle “Dixie.”