Unity: Rand Paul endorses Mitch McConnell

posted at 8:01 am on March 28, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Many people expected to see a Tea Party challenge to Mitch McConnell in next year’s Kentucky primary, and it could still happen.  However, that challenge will not include any support from the Tea Party’s 2010 candidate for US Senate, Rand Paul.  Late yesterday, Paul threw his support behind the highest-ranking member of the GOP establishment in the upper chamber:

The Daily Caller has learned that Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is endorsing Sen. Mitch McConnell for re-election in 2014, ending speculation that Paul would back a tea party challenge to the Senate minority leader.

“Rand Paul has endorsed McConnell,” Jesse Benton, McConnell’s 2014 campaign manager, told The Daily Caller.

Benton, who has worked for both Rand Paul and his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, is credited by insiders with brokering Paul’s support for McConnell.

The move quashes a determined effort by Kentucky Republican Liberty Caucus chairman David Adams, who launched Paul’s Senate bid and served as Paul’s campaign manager through the 2010 primaries, and other tea party leaders to mount a primary challenge against McConnell.

Sounds as though we have unity on one level, and a split on another. Bear in mind that McConnell’s primary is a year or more away, so this endorsement is coming mighty early in the cycle.  So why do this now? Paul might want to quash any hint that he’s fomenting an attack on leadership before it gets started, in order to make it easier for him to build support for his own initiatives in the Senate.  There may have been some sort of fallout between Paul, Benton, and Adams over recent votes by Paul, perhaps on the Chuck Hagel confirmation.

It seems beyond doubt that there will be fallout now.   The Tea Party had really wanted to take aim at McConnell in order to drive a harder line against Democrats; if immigration reform passes in a bipartisan effort, that desire may rapidly increase, too.  The next budget may heighten tensions.  But without Paul — or worse for the Tea Party, with Paul actively backing McConnell — the grassroots will split, and without the organizational force of the Ron Paul movement, will probably fall well short of a Mike Lee-type victory.

That’s going to create a lot of hard feelings on the ground among those grassroots, and Paul may end up dissipating some of his support by rushing to endorse the establishment incumbent.  We’ll see what how far the fallout spreads, and how long it remains potent.


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After Delaware, Indiana, and Missouri – what did you expect?

Marcus on March 28, 2013 at 8:06 AM

Supporting the elite
*sigh *

cmsinaz on March 28, 2013 at 8:09 AM

Gayness.

hillsoftx on March 28, 2013 at 8:10 AM

McConnell stood with Paul during the filibuster. I think that Paul will influence his elder Senator more than the other way around.

beatcanvas on March 28, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Sounds as though we have unity on one level, and a split on another. Bear in mind that McConnell’s primary is a year or more away, so this endorsement is coming mighty early in the cycle. So why do this now? Paul might want to quash any hint that he’s fomenting an attack on leadership before it gets started, in order to make it easier for him to build support for his own initiatives in the Senate. There may have been some sort of fallout between Paul, Benton, and Adams over recent votes by Paul, perhaps on the Chuck Hagel confirmation.

Could it be possible that Rand Paul is light years ahead of our “cleansing party” who want to “throw them all out” at once, and realizing that party unity might be a part of maintaining or improving control of the House and Senate? Yes, I agree with many here that have “had enough” of McConnell and Grahamnesty, but perhaps Paul knows he may have to work with these people to get anything done as Ed says above.

Rovin on March 28, 2013 at 8:21 AM

So why do this now? Paul might want to quash any hint that he’s fomenting an attack on leadership before it gets started, in order to make it easier for him to build support for his own initiatives in the Senate.

“To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Paul gains nothing by a direct frontal attack on leadership. When all is said and done, he still is a freshman Senator in a body that rewards seniority and loyalty. It is much smarter to praise the senior Senator from your state and let others work on that primarying thing.

Happy Nomad on March 28, 2013 at 8:23 AM

I think that Paul will influence his elder Senator more than the other way around.

beatcanvas on March 28, 2013 at 8:11 AM

In a nutshell, ^^^this^^^.

egmont on March 28, 2013 at 8:25 AM

Mitch has been tagging along with Rand. I don’t see how this is shocking. Focus on getting rid of Graham.

aryeung on March 28, 2013 at 8:29 AM

There are no legit primary candidates against McConnell. What else could any Republican Senator do? Endorse Gurley L. Martin?

Forget McConnell, Lindsey Graham is the prized RINO trophy head in 2014.

TheDriver on March 28, 2013 at 8:30 AM

McConnell is a good negotiator and has power which Paul hasn’t accumulated as of yet.

I think it’s a smart move on Paul’s part.

Kini on March 28, 2013 at 8:31 AM

Focus on getting rid of Graham.

aryeung on March 28, 2013 at 8:29 AM

AMEN! McConnell has been too establishmenty at times but not nearly the pain-in-the-bottom RINO that idiots like Graham.

Happy Nomad on March 28, 2013 at 8:32 AM

AMEN! McConnell has been too establishmenty at times but not nearly the pain-in-the-bottom RINO that idiots like Graham.
Happy Nomad on March 28, 2013 at 8:32 AM

McConnell is definitely establishment. Graham, though, is an ideological progressive. Worse in my opinion.

aryeung on March 28, 2013 at 8:36 AM

First, let me say that I don’t like Mitch McConnell and never have. Our situation in Kentucky is a little strange. When it comes to Presidential races, we’re RED, but the state is controlled by the Democrats. There are 67% more registered D’s than there are registered R’s. We’ve only had two Republican governors in the last fifty years and the last one was destroyed by methods similar to what the anklebiters did to Sarah Palin. The Republicans do not have anyone on the bench who is capable of beating whichever candidate the Dems put forth. I see a lot of comments from those outside the state that we should primary McConnell, but the simple fact is that there is no one who would be strong enough to hold on to that seat. Hate McConnell if you must, but having the devil that you know is better than having the one you don’t know. Our goal should be to retake the Senate. Giving this seat away is not the way to do it.

I’m not saying that there won’t be someone who will step forward and run against Mitch in the primary, and the Dems will spend a lot of money to help that person beat McConnell. Some of the TP factions will also spend time and money to beat Mitch, without regard to the fact that he’s the only one capable of keeping the seat for the R’s. The Dems have no fewer than five people who would absolutely beat a new face, and three of them will probably give Mitch a run for his money.

If we look toward the future, I’m hoping that Andy Barr(R) will be ready to take that seat in 2020. He’s my 6th district Congressman who beat incumbent Ben Chandler(D) in 2012 in a very Liberal district. It helped Andy that it was a Presidential election year. We Kentuckians DO NOT like Obama, so the turnout was pretty strong. Barr came close to beating Chandler in 2010, but didn’t quite get there.

NoNails on March 28, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Paul gains nothing by a direct frontal attack on leadership. When all is said and done, he still is a freshman Senator in a body that rewards seniority and loyalty. It is much smarter to praise the senior Senator from your state and let others work on that primarying thing.

Happy Nomad on March 28, 2013 at 8:23 AM

Careful there HN, you’re sounding far too practical this early in the morning. :)

Rovin on March 28, 2013 at 8:38 AM

McConnell stood with Paul during the filibuster. I think that Paul will influence his elder Senator more than the other way around.

beatcanvas on March 28, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Thanks for the insightful comment. Strategy! I am sure many
posters here (as in the commentary) will mention Chuck Hagel as
the “benchmark” Rand Paul crossed that eliminated their support.

Whine!!! “What about that Chuck Hagel vote?” Whine, whine, whine
some more. Its no wonder we get the idiots
in congress and the White House.

Amjean on March 28, 2013 at 8:43 AM

I suppose he could’ve endorsed Ashley JuGGs, but then again she dropped out. There is no serious candidate who is going to challenge McConnell.

Lindsey Lohan [r-SC] needs to be the real target.

De Oppresso Liber on March 28, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Rand Paul is a phony. He grandstands but always votes against Conservative principles. He’s a real wolf in sheep’s clothing.

FactsofLife on March 28, 2013 at 8:44 AM

If the entire party supports him, I wish they’d trade off and have him step down after 2014 as leader. Maybe that’s a deal that’s been reached (in my dreams).

Marcus on March 28, 2013 at 8:47 AM

So, you are saying he is a lying conniving sack of manure that is willing to damage his credibility in order to… what?

astonerii on March 28, 2013 at 8:50 AM

What?! No “dead to me” declarations yet??

Bradky on March 28, 2013 at 8:51 AM

RINO’S

voiceofreason on March 28, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Standing on principle accomplishes nothing if you alienate the Senate leadership and marginalize yourself.

That’s the difference between Rand Paul and Ron Paul. Rand understands he has to scratch backs to even have a chance of moving the GOP establishement in his direction. Ron was happy tilting at windmills.

DRayRaven on March 28, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Paul and McConnell recently teamed up to get hemp legalization passed in KY:

http://reason.com/archives/2013/03/04/mitch-mcconnell-and-rand-paul-join-force

It passed overwhelmingly a couple of days ago too. It now awaits the Governor’s signature (or veto.)

TheDriver on March 28, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Old Mitch might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but he is neither progressive nor evil or senile. The one who has to be pushed – or thrown – out is Boehner.

Archivarix on March 28, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Can someone primary Boehner?

JellyToast on March 28, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Paul knows not only can’t he win in 2016 if he runs for president with just his dad’s coalition, he can’t win in 2016 without openly alienating some of his dad’s coalition.

Rand has to show at some level he can work with other Republicans in a way his dad would not. So if you’re a Ron Paul supporter who’s steaming mad at Rand now for his endorsement of McConnell and letting the world know about it, congratulations. You’re playing the role Rand wants you to play perfectly.

jon1979 on March 28, 2013 at 9:06 AM

I’ll admit that I do wish he was more like his dad, but if this whole Mr. Smith goes to the GOP and does a libertarian inside job shtick actually works, then I will humbly bow to the master.

(#_#) – sometimes you just can’t believe your eyes!!

abobo on March 28, 2013 at 9:06 AM

I’ll admit that I do wish he was more like his dad,

abobo on March 28, 2013 at 9:06 AM

He’d be unelectable if he were more like his dad. For all the good things Ron Paul says about smaller government, he is a complete nut job when it comes to foreign affairs. A toxic combination of isolationism, protectionism, and ignorance.

Happy Nomad on March 28, 2013 at 9:17 AM

ZZZ

steebo77 on March 28, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Happy Nomad on March 28, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Must we really refight the 2012 primaries at this point? I repect your difference of opinion but it should be clear by now that we’re mostly talking at each other instead of speaking to each other.

abobo on March 28, 2013 at 9:32 AM

I think that Sen. Rand Paul understands the benefits of unity and what Sen. McConnell brings to the chamber.

Take a look at this analysis{ http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/341391/re-mcconnell-throws-no-hitter-mario-loyola

onlineanalyst on March 28, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Unity: Rand Paul endorses Mitch McConnell

…now I’m going to question his judgement!

KOOLAID2 on March 28, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Must we really refight the 2012 primaries at this point? I repect your difference of opinion but it should be clear by now that we’re mostly talking at each other instead of speaking to each other.

abobo on March 28, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Sorry but Rand Paul hasn’t proven that he is any less crazy than his daddy when it comes to areas like foreign affairs. This isn’t re-fighting 2012 primaries it is part of full disclosure of potential 2016 candidates.

Happy Nomad on March 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Picking battles. i.e. not picking every one just because you can.

22044 on March 28, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Sorry but Rand Paul hasn’t proven that he is any less crazy than his daddy when it comes to areas like foreign affairs. This isn’t re-fighting 2012 primaries it is part of full disclosure of potential 2016 candidates.

Happy Nomad on March 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

He has proven enough with me and I plan on casting my primary vote for him come 2016.

Punchenko on March 28, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Sorry but Rand Paul hasn’t proven that he is any less crazy than his daddy when it comes to areas like foreign affairs.

Happy Nomad on March 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

I’ll tell you who’s crazy you NeoCon leftover: the people who want to fight a major world religion and babysit half the globe when we’re broke.

Picking battles. i.e. not picking every one just because you can.

22044 on March 28, 2013 at 10:02 AM

This. Rand Paul learned from what happens to his father. Romantic notions to the contrary, you cannot take on a national issue of serious magnitude without some kind of backing.

This is also why he hasn’t gone full-out on antiabortion or border security: with the GOP useless on either issue he’d be up against the entire liberal machine basically by himself. Boom, career’s over.

MelonCollie on March 28, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Standing on principle accomplishes nothing if you alienate the Senate leadership and marginalize yourself.

That’s the difference between Rand Paul and Ron Paul. Rand understands he has to scratch backs to even have a chance of moving the GOP establishement in his direction. Ron was happy tilting at windmills.

DRayRaven on March 28, 2013 at 8:54 AM

That’s the difference between a politician and a philosopher.

Philosophers rarely, if ever, become POTUS…

JohnGalt23 on March 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM

That’s the difference between Rand Paul and Ron Paul. Rand understands he has to scratch backs to even have a chance of moving the GOP establishement in his direction. Ron was happy tilting at windmills.

DRayRaven on March 28, 2013 at 8:54 AM

That’s the difference between a politician and a philosopher.

Philosophers rarely, if ever, become POTUS…

JohnGalt23 on March 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Exactly. The liberals have amply demonstrated that they don’t give a hoot about ending overseas occupations, meaning Ron was constantly up against the paid and unpaid military lobbyists on his lonesome. (at least politically speaking)

Rand literally grew up watching this approach go nowhere fast and make hid dad some powerful enemies in the bargain.

MelonCollie on March 28, 2013 at 11:03 AM

hid = his

MelonCollie on March 28, 2013 at 11:03 AM

If we look toward the future, I’m hoping that Andy Barr(R) will be ready to take that seat in 2020. He’s my 6th district Congressman who beat incumbent Ben Chandler(D) in 2012 in a very Liberal district. It helped Andy that it was a Presidential election year. We Kentuckians DO NOT like Obama, so the turnout was pretty strong. Barr came close to beating Chandler in 2010, but didn’t quite get there.

NoNails on March 28, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Works for me. Grahmanesty is the one that needs to be piked. Give him another term and he’d be the snarling Arlen II.

AH_C on March 28, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Where is the PrimordialPairedIdiot to declare Rand Paul a treasonous worm?

John the Libertarian on March 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM

NoNails on March 28, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Thank you for this. It’s always good to hear from people in the area who see the day to day activities.

kim roy on March 28, 2013 at 12:21 PM

I’ll admit that I do wish he was more like his dad, but if this whole Mr. Smith goes to the GOP and does a libertarian inside job shtick actually works, then I will humbly bow to the master.

(#_#) – sometimes you just can’t believe your eyes!!

abobo on March 28, 2013 at 9:06 AM

This is a society fed on idiot reality TV and voted for Obama twice.

The more theater the better. It distracts from that pesky reality.

Now whether Paul is the real thing is another matter, but don’t discount the value of putting on a good show for the rubes… er… low info voters.

kim roy on March 28, 2013 at 12:23 PM

DC is full of egotistical self-interested bastids, incl. Rand Paul.

It didn’t take long. He can go to Hades, with McConnell.

McConnell is NO different than Obama, just with an R next to him. I despise the aristocrat equal to Obama. They care only about their own positions, their own well-being.

McConnell, just a week ago, after 13 hours of budget deliberations on the senate floor said this “it was one of the senate’s finest hours”. Said crap vote produced 1 trillion in additional taxes, zero cuts and myriad of wasteful new programs. Thank God it won’t get through the House…oh, wait, you got dummy Boehner over there.

It’s incredible how full of fools the land is. Since every one of these bloated oafs are elected, YOU deserve them, in full. May they destroy all which is good. Stupid free people deserve their rulters, in full. The sooner the destroy the sooner there’s nothing left to plunder. They live like kings and you get to work harder, for less, and for huge debts for your kids and grandkids.

So, good luck with McConnell and Rand Paul. They are no different than Obama.

Schadenfreude on March 28, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Now whether Paul is the real thing is another matter, but don’t discount the value of putting on a good show for the rubes… er… low info voters.

kim roy on March 28, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Exactly. If he doesn’t at least ATTEMPT to reach out to the average American, he’s so toast you could butter him and have him for breakfast. Rand is not responsible for the state of American intelligence, so don’t yell at him for it, and don’t yell at him for having to speak simply enough for them to understand.

MelonCollie on March 28, 2013 at 12:28 PM

So, good luck with McConnell and Rand Paul. They are no different than Obama.

Schadenfreude on March 28, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Confusing two other people with Romney?

Somebody play the sad violin for this retard.

MelonCollie on March 28, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Exactly. If he doesn’t at least ATTEMPT to reach out to the average American, he’s so toast you could butter him and have him for breakfast. Rand is not responsible for the state of American intelligence, so don’t yell at him for it, and don’t yell at him for having to speak simply enough for them to understand.

MelonCollie on March 28, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Remember when we (myself included) laffed and laffed when Obama went on Entertainment Tonight and all those idiot celeb shows.

Yeah. I stopped laughing November 7 too.

It disgusts me to my core that this has happened, but we can either play to win or change the game. It appears that Paul has chosen to play to win.

kim roy on March 28, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Remember when we (myself included) laffed and laffed when Obama went on Entertainment Tonight and all those idiot celeb shows.

Yeah. I stopped laughing November 7 too.

It disgusts me to my core that this has happened, but we can either play to win or change the game. It appears that Paul has chosen to play to win.

kim roy on March 28, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Exactly, and it’s not physically possible for Rand or for us in general to change the game at the moment. Thus, play to win.

To rephrase an old quote, “you go to an election with the voters you have, not the voters you wish you have.” And while I’m sure Rand wishes used their noggins for something besides hat racks, that’s what he has to work with.

MelonCollie on March 28, 2013 at 1:04 PM

McConnell, just a week ago, after 13 hours of budget deliberations on the senate floor said this “it was one of the senate’s finest hours”. Said crap vote produced 1 trillion in additional taxes, zero cuts and myriad of wasteful new programs.

Schadenfreude on March 28, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Who is the “retard”? Which part of the above did you not get?

Schadenfreude on March 28, 2013 at 1:39 PM

“…if immigration reform passes in a bipartisan effort, that desire may rapidly increase, too.”

-Conehead Morrissey

Mr. “Head” Morrissey, you silly man. When you use the term “immigration reform”, you’re no better than any State Media hack that referred to Govt-Run Healthcare as “healthcare reform”.

Call it what it is- Amnesty.

sartana on March 28, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Exactly, and it’s not physically possible for Rand or for us in general to change the game at the moment. Thus, play to win.

To rephrase an old quote, “you go to an election with the voters you have, not the voters you wish you have.” And while I’m sure Rand wishes used their noggins for something besides hat racks, that’s what he has to work with.

MelonCollie on March 28, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Exactly.

Until we start taking the fight to the educational system and start getting a coherent message out then we have to try to win the game.

kim roy on March 28, 2013 at 5:29 PM