The Republican Senate primary in Kentucky is heating up, as candidates Rand Paul and Trey Grayson trade charges that each is exploiting the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for political gain.
Paul -- the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and the favorite of many "tea party" activists in the race -- released a campaign ad Tuesday that uses images of the burning Twin Towers and the blackened Pentagon, a controversial choice. The ad is designed to rebut charges from Grayson, the Kentucky secretary of state and party establishment favorite, that Paul is soft on national security issues.
After recalling his own experience on Sept. 11, Paul says, "America was attacked and fighting back was the right thing to do. Now a desperate Trey Grayson is using September 11th to attack my integrity and my patriotism. Trey Grayson, your shameful TV ad is a lie, and it dishonors you."
Paul's spot was a response to a pair of ads aired by Grayson, directing viewers to the Web site RandPaulStrangeIdeas.com. In the ads, Grayson alleges that Paul wants to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and send detainees there back to their home countries, that Paul believes Afghanistan "is not a threat to our national security" and that Paul is unconcerned by whether Iran develops a nuclear bomb.
Grayson has the backing of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), a heavyweight in Kentucky politics, and recently picked up the public endorsement of former vice president Dick Cheney. But Paul -- aided by his father's popularity and fundraising network -- has built up significant grassroots support.
Comment: It's too bad the race has turned away from Kentucky, where it should be, and to the international scene. While I won't argue that this isn't important, I am reminded of Chuck Baldwin's recent comment, "For all intents and purposes (at least in the larger states), US Senators are more like "mini-Presidents" than they are representatives of sovereign states." The "states" are the missing factor.