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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On Balanced Budgets, Or, Hey, Rand, Why Not Show Your Cards Now?

Those who are regular visitors to this space know that I post stories across the country, and to do that I have to follow stories from a number of states.

Because I post at Kentucky’s Hillbilly Report, I’ve been paying particular attention to the Rand Paul campaign, and the news from the Bluegrass State (via “The Rush Limbaugh Show”) is that Paul’s planning to write his own balanced budget proposal for the Federal Government.

But there’s a catch.

He doesn’t plan on doing it until after the election.

Well, now, why in the world would a guy who’s running for office based on his really good ideas want to hold back the best one?

That’s not a bad question, and if we make the effort we can probably figure out the most likely answers.

“I cou’d be mighty foolish, and fancy my self mighty witty; Reason still keeps its throne, but it nods a little, that’s all.”

--George Farquhar, The Recruiting Officer

First things first: we’re having this conversation thanks to the Hillbilly Report story from RDemocrat that I mentioned above, and from the original source, a posting from Bluegrass Politics (“Covering Kentucky politics and government”). So…thanks, y’all.

Now let’s get to the business at hand:

Why wouldn’t Paul want to reveal his balanced budget proposal now?

--It’s possible that Paul does not have a proposal ready to go.

If that were true, it could be because right now he only has a “sort-of outline” as to how he would get there.

If that’s the case, that’s OK; just go ahead, Dr. Paul, and tell us what you have in mind so far, and we’ll start to work the numbers and begin to see if it makes sense.

It’s also possible that he made a promise to deliver this balanced budget proposal with little or no idea as to how he would actually make it work.

That’s not OK, Dr. Paul—and I’m guessing that Kentucky voters wouldn’t think it’s OK either.

--It’s possible Paul has a proposal ready to go, but the details of that proposal are not going to fly with Kentucky voters.

As we discussed in another recent conversation, you aren’t going to get to a balanced Federal budget without drastically cutting spending, drastically raising revenues, or both, especially if you want to do it immediately; it may be just too much of a political “lift” for Paul to explain exactly how he would actually do that—at least until after Election Day.

In this political environment, a candidate does not want to get caught being untrue to their “brand”, or afraid of their own ideas; it would be very much to Paul’s disadvantage if this turned out to be the correct explanation for what’s going on and Kentucky voters became aware of the situation.

And with all that in mind, here’s the thing:

I’m not trying to play “gotcha” journalism here, Dr. Paul, and I hope you don’t think I am—but it is a fact that you’re basing your entire campaign on the power of your new ideas, and that means I have to ask you why you’re not willing to explain exactly what you think a balanced budget would look like until after the election?

Imagine if I came into your clinic, and you told me you knew that the frames you were showing me would look great, and fit even better, and the lenses will make me see like an eagle—and after I’ve paid for them, and you’ve finished making them, then I can try them on?

You wouldn’t sell me a pair of glasses that way, Dr. Paul, would you?

Of course you wouldn’t…so why are you asking people to vote first, and try you on later?

It doesn’t make any sense, if you have good ideas ready to bring to the table—but it would make sense if you’re doing a “bob and weave” because you don’t want the voters to see that you either have ideas they won’t like, or no ideas at all.

You don’t want voters thinking that about you, so why don’t you clear things up and let people know, today, that you know what you’re talking about…before they begin to think maybe you don’t.

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