published Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Alexander's attempt to exploit Paul backfires

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee Liberty Dinner in Concord, N.H., in this file photo.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee Liberty Dinner in Concord, N.H., in this file photo.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

"Nobody wants to say no to Lamar Alexander." At least that's what Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., claims in Alexander's latest campaign ad. But the ad, like Alexander, isn't quite what it seems.

In the television ad, Alexander, a self-proclaimed conservative whose voting record is more in line with big-government liberals, plays a dubious trick on voters. It turns out that the clip of Paul seemingly praising Alexander featured in the ad is taken out of context in an attempt to appeal to the fiscal conservatives and tea party supporters who view Paul as a hero.

Alexander's dodgy decision backfired badly.

Sen. Paul's full comments, which are available on YouTube, are, "He goes around, he talks to everyone and nobody wants to say no to Lamar Alexander." Rather than the resounding endorsement the ad makes Paul's statement appear, the comment seems to imply that Alexander is known in the Senate for glad-handing.

A spokesman for Sen. Paul told the Times Free Press that despite what the ad attempted to imply, Paul had not endorsed Alexander. "The footage that Sen. Alexander's campaign is using is from a public press conference in regards to a bill they both cosponsored," said Sergio Gor, an aide to Sen. Paul. "At this time, Senator Paul has not made an endorsement in this race."

In fact, given Paul's principled stances aimed at limiting the size and scope of government, it seems that Paul would be more likely to endorse one of Alexander's opponents in next summer's GOP Primary than to endorse "Liberal Lamar."

Sens. Paul and Alexander have been at odds on a number of important votes during Paul's brief tenure in the U.S. Senate.

Alexander was a lead co-sponsor of a bill that empowered the federal government to assist states in collecting sales taxes on Internet purchases. Paul wrote a scathing commentary in the Washington Times calling the online sales tax mandate "nothing more than a huge tax increase on the American people backed by lobbyists and some state governments." He added that he was disappointed that some Republicans, such as Alexander, were "backing this ill-advised bill."

Paul and Alexander also butted heads on the Senate's recent comprehensive immigration overhaul legislation. The Kentucky lawmaker called the proposal, which Alexander strongly supported, "a crummy bill." Alexander also voted in favor of a fiscally irresponsible "fiscal cliff" measure that was highly unpopular among many tea party activists. Paul was seen as the guiding force in opposition to the scheme.

Whereas Sen. Paul is consistently viewed as one of the members of Congress most committed to the principles of fiscally responsibility and limited government, Alexander is often ranked among the least-conservative Republicans.

The National Journal and the Club for Growth graded every senator based on his or her conservative and limited-government votes. Both organizations ranked Alexander as the 39th most conservative GOP senator out of 45 Republicans.

So why would Sen. Alexander's new campaign ad feature eight words, taken out of context, spoken by a member of the U.S. Senate with whom he often disagrees?

Because unlike Alexander, Paul has credibility among conservative voters. One of Alexander's own campaign staffers said as much, telling The Hill newspaper that, "Paul's inclusion in the video is designed to boost Alexander's credibility among the grassroots tea party activists."

As a result of his fiscally irresponsible, big government voting record Alexander is viewed, rightfully, as untrustworthy among fiscal conservatives and tea party-minded voters in the Volunteer State. Clumsily exploiting a tea party darling, however, will do little to improve Alexander's conservative credentials -- or his prospects of re-election.

After Paul was elected to the U.S. Senate, Alexander offered him some advice on CBS' "Face the Nation." Rand Paul, according to Alexander, should "stick to jobs, debt and terror, and providing a check-and-balance on a runaway government in Washington."

If only the hypocritical Alexander would follow his own advice.

His ad may claim that "Nobody wants to say no to Lamar Alexander." The reality is, however, that more and more Tennessee voters can't wait to say "yes" to someone else.

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soakya said...

I got news for you Lamar, you aren't fooling anyone and neither is Bob Corker.

July 18, 2013 at 7:17 a.m.
TonyGottlieb said...

The State's establishment GOP needs to withdraw an unqualified endorsement of Alexander before they sink with him.

July 18, 2013 at 9:05 a.m.
msbs05 said...

Misleading the people is a constant tactic of Sen Alexander. I am fed up with him and will vote for any opponent that steps forward because they cannot possibly be worse than he is. TN is a conservative state and deserves a Rand Paul or Ted Cruz not a liberal NY Chuck Schumer. When others in GOP cross the aisle like Collins of Maine, they do so because they are from liberal states and are representing the people. When Lamar does it he is defying the will of the people he represents. I called his office over immigration bill and the lines were packed. It took over an hour to get through to his office, but all that outcry from voters did not matter to him. Congressional Quarterly said in 2012 Lamar voted with Obama 62% of the time; in 2011 63%. He is a huge environmentalist joining Obama in the war against coal. He stopped the drilling in ANWAR twice under Bush. He thinks government should be able to seize private lands for parks. And the policy of his that scares me the most is him saying that parents should hand over to the state their 3 month old babies from 6 am to 6 pm year round thru 8th grade. He is the ranking member of the Senate Education panel and that really scares. I read an article recently that said when he WAS the 3rd ranking GOP member McConnell had to tell him to dial it back a bit and make room for the party line sometimes. Instead Lamar stepped down which he said would free him to cross the aisle more often. The liberal media praised him for it, but I doubt Tennesseans would if they knew. It is time to rid our state from him. I went last month to the website and signed up and I hope all conservatives will. Lobby money is stuffing Alexander's pockets so it will take the grassroots rising up to defeat him. I believe we will! Madison Project, Freedomworks and the Senate Conservative Fund started by DeMint have all said they would support a conservative opponent to Alexander. I just pray one will step forward soon.

July 18, 2013 at 11:01 a.m.
cooljb said...

Agreed, soakya.

July 18, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

When Alexander replaced Governor Ray Blanton in 1979, it was merely changing crooks, not policies.

Alexander's wallet has expanded to match his ass and appetite for payoffs. Alexander needs to go and give another crook a chance at the political pie.

July 18, 2013 at 11:14 a.m.
utfan1 said...

lamar and bob ,yall are gone come next election . join the dempcraps where you will fit in.

July 18, 2013 at 5:05 p.m.
GameOn said...

Bob and Lamar will never get another vote from me. I will write my name in before I vote for either one of them again. Bob and Lamar represent Bob and Lamar. They don't represent Tennessee.

July 19, 2013 at 12:33 a.m.
klifnotes said...

Soooo, the right side of TFP and above posters support someone who refuse to distance themselves from their aide who believed Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, deserved to be assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Shows a lot about y'alls character {insert sarcasm here} and integrity. {insert sarcasm here too}

The Washington Beacon & Washington Post:

The Republican Jewish Coalition called on Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) on Friday to distance himself from close aide Jack Hunter, a former radio pundit with a history of supporting pro-Confederacy and pro-secessionist causes.

The Washington Free Beacon first reported on Hunter’s support for the Confederacy and praise for Abraham Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth during his decade-plus career as a radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger.

Paul has fallen spectacularly off the tightrope. It turns out that a senior member of his Senate staff, Jack Hunter, has a history of neo-Confederate radio rants. And Paul has come to the defense of his aide.

But Hunter’s offenses were committed as an adult. They included defending a regime founded on slavery, comparing Abraham Lincoln to Saddam Hussein and raising (in Hunter’s words) a “personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth’s birthday.” This was not a single, ideological puff but rather a decade spent mainlining moonlight and magnolias in the ruins of Tara.

Paul is rumored to be considering a 2016 presidential run. So his dismissal of the sympathetic treatment of a presidential assassin as the equivalent of sponsoring a wet T-shirt contest requires some explanation

July 19, 2013 at 9:02 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

I don't fully support Rand Paul, Lamar, or any of the other 100 Senators nor 435 Representatives either. It's time for a new slate to give other crooks a chance. Affirmative Action for the Next Generation of Political Thugs.

July 19, 2013 at 9:50 a.m.
MyGen said...

Despite keeping up with politics to the degree I do, why the right attacks more viciously those who they agree with 50-60% of the time than those who are their complete philosophical opposites really puzzles me. And that's a two-way street - moderates attacking conservatives and vice versa. I could be wrong, but it doesn't sound like a winning formula.

July 19, 2013 at 7:44 p.m.
GameOn said...

Why? We have 2 senators that pretend to be one thing in Tennessee and another in D.C. Been there, done that, and I am done.

The GOP called me and asked for a donation and I told them to forget it. I no longer recognize the party. GOP...Grand Ole Pretenders and the Democrats are not any better.

I don't think it really matters who we elect. When the lights go out, both parties jump in bed together. We all need to pick 10 issues we can agree on and start a third party. It's time to clean house.

July 19, 2013 at 9:58 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Alexander needs to go. He is already running ads with his 3 million dollar war chest, but he is not fooling anyone. Thanks Drew, for helping to hold Liberal Lamar responsible for his pathetic voting record.

July 22, 2013 at 7:39 p.m.
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