Last month, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) raised eyebrows with his comments about voter identification laws. In Memphis for the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting, Paul told the New York Times he thinks Republicans are taking the wrong approach when it comes to the voter ID debate. More recently, Paul touted his “very warm personal relations” with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Reid is supporting Paul’s bill aimed at creating a fund for emergency transportation projects. While Glenn said just a few days ago that he really enjoyed what Rand Paul had to say at a dinner in Texas, Pat discussed his growing frustration with Sen. Paul on radio this morning.
“I'm starting to sour. Someone help me… I need a Rand Paul lifeline,” Pat said. “He endorsed Mitch McConnell in Kentucky… That kind of seems like a betrayal. [Then the] voter I.D. thing a few weeks ago… Something else we're finding out this week: [He is] pretty good friends, has a pretty good relationship with Harry Reid.”
When it comes to the voter ID laws, Stu failed to understand where Paul is coming from. He ran through some statistics that show nearly all demographics support some sort of voter ID.
“Let me give you some of these numbers. Voter ID is among the most popular things that a Republican ever speaks of… Among various demographic groups, who opposes voter ID? What percentage,” Stu asked. “Among men, 19% oppose it. Among women, 19% oppose it… Retirement age people, 18% oppose it. Young people between 18 and 39, 18% oppose it… How about white people? 17% oppose it. But you'd expect that because they're evil white people… African-Americans, only 26% oppose it… Only 32% of Democrats oppose voter ID.”
With that in mind, one has to wonder why the Republican Party doesn’t make a bigger issue out of the policy. Furthermore, why is Paul encouraging the GOP to not make a big deal out of the issue?
“We like Rand Paul, and he does things well… I think he's trying to play the game, which is the opposite of what his dad played. His dad was Dr. No, and he said no to everything,” Stu said. “He's trying to say, ‘Well, look, we don't want people to be offended’… That doesn't seem to be his thought process on a lot of other issues – minimum wage, tax hikes on the wealthy. All these things are, around the country, very unpopular… But he still talks about those.”
Another head scratcher is Paul’s recent praise of Reid. During an appearance on CNBC, Paul explained how his new legislation would pay for emergency transportation projects with repatriated taxes. The bill has apparently garnered bipartisan support, including Reid.
“Senator Reid and I actually have very warm personal relations and we’ve been meeting informally for months, both us and staff, to try and do something good for America,” Paul said. “I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy. I like Harry Reid personally. I’m working hard with him.”
“Now, I know we're supposed to love everybody, get along with everybody,” Pat said. “I don't get the political gamesmanship of being polar opposites on the political spectrum and then you pal around with the guy. You don't have to hate him, you don't have to spit on him as you pass him in the continue building… [But] I don't understand how that happens. When you're diametrically opposed. You don't agree on anything that's good for America supposedly. How is it possible?”
The interesting thing about Paul is that he is so strong on so many issues, and he has attempted to bridge gaps between the GOP and certain demographics in ways few others have. Ultimately, Pat and Stu look forward to having the opportunity to ask Paul about many of these things in the future.
“Beyond this particular issue, he's known for being soft on the border. He's been in touch with that sort of Chamber of Commerce sort of position,” Stu said. “Again, we can't say enough that Rand Paul is really, really freaking good on a lot of things and has stood up for a lot of important issues, at times where it's been really tough to do so. And in many times he's been one of the only people out there doing it.”
“So this is not to say Rand Paul has all of a sudden gone from this wonderful guy to this terrible guy,” he concluded. “That's not what we're talking about. But these stances have added up lately, and it's something I think worth talking to him about.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP