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Rand Paul Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Rand Paul
Rand Paul

What goes around comes around. That’s the way it is in politics.

Rand Paul is a favorite of Tea Party Republicans in large part because he has based has his entire political career on refusing to cooperate with the Democrats on anything, regardless of the consequences.

The tactic has worked well for him. In 2010, it got him elected as the junior US Senator from Kentucky.

And it has even propelled him into the limelight as a possible Republican Presidential candidate in 2016.

Some polls even show him as the favorite to win the nomination.

But yesterday, Rand Paul’s presidential ambitions suffered a significant setback, when the Kentucky House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Democrats, would not pass a bill to change Kentucky’s election law.

Rand Paul’s problem is that Kentucky does not have an “LBJ law” which allows someone to run for two different elected positions on the same ballot.

In Kentucky, it is illegal to run for the US Senate and for President or Vice President of the United States in the same election.

Since Paul was elected to the Senate in 2010, he has to run for re-election in 2016, which is also a Presidential election year.

Last month Rand Paul’s supporters asked the Kentucky State Senate’s majority floor leader, Senator Damon Thayer, a Republican, to introduce a bill in the Kentucky Senate to change the law so that Ran Paul can run for re-election to the Senate and run for President or Vice President at the same time.

The bill passed in the Republican-controlled Kentucky State Senate, but it did not pass in the Democrat-controlled Kentucky State House of Representatives.

Last night, Rachel Maddow reported that yesterday, the Democrat-controlled Kentucky State House of Representatives effectively killed the bill by letting the current legislative session end without bringing the bill up for a vote.

But even if the State House of Representatives had passed the bill, it is unlikely that Kentucky Governor Steven L. Beshear, who is also a Democrat, would have signed the bill into law.

Do to others what you would have them do to you.
Matthew 7:12
English Standard Version (ESV)

According to the New York Times, Rand Paul is not the first politician to face this problem:

“Many states prohibit candidates from running for multiple offices in the same election, but the Kentucky bill (to change the law) has many precedents. A similar law was passed in Wisconsin in 2012 to allow Representative Paul D. Ryan to run simultaneously for vice president and his House seat. The vice-presidential candidacies of Joseph R. Biden Jr., Joseph I. Lieberman and Lloyd Bentsen spurred their states to reverse bans.

“These measures are often called L.B.J. Laws because of a law passed in Texas in 1959 allowing Senator Lyndon B. Johnson to appear on the ballot a year later for re-election and as John F. Kennedy’s running mate.”

Johnson, Bentsen, Lieberman, and Biden were all masters of the one hand washes the other style of politics; and each of them knew exactly which brand of soap to use for every Senator whose vote they needed on a particular issue.

Ryan on the other hand is a right-wing radical from a State with a long history of supporting right-wing radicals.

The infamous Senator Joseph R. McCarthy was also a far right-wing Republican from Wisconsin. McCarthy grabbed nationwide headlines in 1950 by alleging that the State Department had been infiltrated by hundreds and possibly thousands of Communists.

McCarthy attacked State Department employees as “Communist” until 1954, when he decided to attack the Army too. That backfired, and McCarthy’s political career was destroyed, when the Army-McCarthy hearings were televised nationwide, and the American people realized that McCarthy was a wacko on a political witch hunt.

Rand Paul faces the same kind of challenge. He has built his entire reputation on saying no to everything the Democrats try to do.

Now he needs some Democrats to say yes to a change in Kentucky law that would allow him to run for the Senate and the Presidency (or Vice Presidency) on the same ballot in 2016.

But Rand Paul may have burned too many bridges along the way.

What goes around comes around. That’s the way it is in politics.

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