Politics Daily's columnist David Corn says the Kentucky Senate race is "Campaign 2010's Most Important Senate Contest" because of Rand Paul. While Paul supporters may agree with the headline, they will certainly disagree with why Corn made his conclusion, after reading Paul's quote in a Details magazine piece:
"The bottom line is I'm not an expert, so don't give me the power in Washington to be making rules. "
Ponder the implications of this. So members of Congress who are not oil industry engineers should not regulate deep off-shore drilling? Actually, by Paul's logic, legislators should not impose any health, safety, or environmental standards on any industry. And the answer to such tragedies as mining disasters is . . . well, nothing. The workers in unsafe facilities can simply quit their jobs -- that is, unless they've already been blown apart due to bad company practices.
Paul wants to become a senator so he can do nothing. No doubt, that's an attractive notion for some Kentucky voters; he's been leading Democrat Jack Conway in the polls. But when the economy is in the dumps following a crash of free-wheelin' Wall Street, when climate change is a continuing threat, and when U.S. global competitiveness is slipping, doing nothing ought not be a top-priority item. Worse, Paul is celebrating his lack of knowledge, while suggesting that no one in Washington is really capable of governing. As his comments about the BP oil spill suggested, he would have no problem granting corporations free rein -- even after they screw up. His motto could be "BP Knows Best."
Here is the entire quote, as reported by Details:
"Is there a certain amount of accidents and unfortunate things that do happen, no matter what the regulations are?" Paul says at the Harlan Center, in response to a question about the Big Branch disaster. "The bottom line is I'm not an expert, so don't give me the power in Washington to be making rules. You live here, and you have to work in the mines. You'd try to make good rules to protect your people here. If you don't, I'm thinking that no one will apply for those jobs. I know that doesn't sound..." Here he stumbles, trying to parse his words properly but only presaging his campaign misstep. "I want to be compassionate," he concludes, "and I'm sorry for what happened, but I wonder: Was it just an accident?"