Rand Paul, the ophthalmologist son of congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-Texas), is proving to be something of a headache for Republican’ts in Kentucky. He’s campaigning to fill the seat currently occupied by U.S. Representative Jim Bunning (R), a guy best known for his “odd and erratic behavior” and the fact that, in early March, he blocked a bipartisan measure designed to extend unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans. But Paul, a favorite of the Tea Party cultists, looks as if he’s no more a team player than Bunning.
He apparently refuses, for instance, to buy into the GOP (Gridlock and Obstruction Party) orthodoxy that terrorism is all and always the fault of foreign attackers, such as those who launched the assaults on New York City and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001. That position has now become a hot issue, as the previously favored Kentucky Republican’t candidate, Secretary of State Trey Grayson, tries to curtail Paul’s rise in the polls.
If Paul’s loose-cannon nature wasn’t already made clear by this internecine--and, to many Kentucky voters, abstract and diversionary--confrontation, then his denunciation of seat belt laws should do the trick. In a recent interview with The New York Times Magazine, the amateur politician said he doesn’t believe Americans should be required to wear seat belts when they drive. This, even though a statistical analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that the wearing of seat belts saves more than 10,000 lives every year in the United States.
Has his conservative ideology and obvious bent toward libertarianism made Paul so determined to keep government out of our lives, that he would turn back a quarter-century of safety legislation intended to keep people from dying in traffic accidents? Where was he when the TV public safety message embedded above was broadcast incessantly over the airwaves?
If these sorts of irresponsible spoutings are hallmarks of the cranky Tea Partiers, it’s no wonder that even moderate Republican’ts want no part of them.