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Kentucky Senator Rand Paul continued his book tour this week, appearing on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The 15-minute interview (in three parts—1,2,3) covers current issues and the philosophical differences on government between Stewart and Paul. The second part, specifically, deals with the cause and effects of the recession, and whether budget crises federally and in the states are the result of government overspending or the economic slump.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was on the Late Show with David Letterman Thursday night.

Paul was promoting his new book “The Tea Party Goes to Washington.” Letterman asked the Senator about the Tea Party platform, and the conversation centered largely around tax cuts for wealthy Americans. It started with Letterman making a joke about Paul’s decision to wear jeans with a tie and blazer and ended with a brief discussion of education funding and the protests in Wisconsin. You can watch the whole clip online.

On a side note, while discussing the advantages of the private sector, Paul said Letterman can do better because he has to compete with other late night hosts. This set Letterman up for a joke about Jay Leno, but for astute public radio listeners, the conversation may be familiar. New York Times correspondent Bill Carter—who has written two books about late night television, one of which centers on the Letterman/Leno feud for the Tonight Show—recently discussed late night TV competition on The Sound of Young America. Carter says increased competition has made a few new stars (Letterman, Conan O’Brien, their writing staffs), it’s also hurt late night in general by splintering the audience and ultimately weakening the power of the Tonight Show. Carter certainly wasn’t arguing for state-run comedy shows or regulations on how many shows there can be, but his story connects to Paul’s argument in an interesting way.

Democratic consultant Paul Begala has penned an op-ed for The Daily Beast arguing that the small government rhetoric of Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, and Representative Hal Rogers is hypocritical, given Kentucky’s dependence on federal money.

Take Kentucky, please. Kentucky has given us Makers Mark bourbon, Churchill Downs, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Kentucky has also given us Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, tea party favorite Sen. Rand Paul and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers. While Rogers was once dubbed the “Prince of Pork” and McConnell has hauled so much pork he’s at risk for trichinosis, they are now converts to Sen. Paul’s anti-government gospel.  McConnell says President Obama’s new budget is “unserious” and “irresponsible” because it merely cuts projected deficits by $1.1 trillion.  “The people who voted for a new direction in November have a five-word response,” McConnell said, “We don’t have the money.”

Fair enough.  So here’s my two-word response: Defund Kentucky. Cut it off the federal dole. Kentucky is a welfare state to begin with. The conservative Tax Foundation says the Bluegrass State received $1.51 back from Washington for every dollar it paid in federal taxes in 2005 (the most recent data I could find on the Tax Foundation’s website.)  We need to listen to the people of Kentucky. They don’t want any more federal spending in their state—and they certainly must be appalled by the notion that they’re a bunch of welfare queens, living off the taxes paid by blue states like California(which only gets 81 cents back on the dollar), Connecticut (69 cents), Illinois (75 cents) and New York (79 cents).

The issue was briefly raised during Paul’s race for the U.S. Senate. In recent years, we’ve seen many rural writers and advocates take increasingly bold stands against federal program cuts. From Post Office closures to poorly-expanded internet access, rural areas often see the effects of altered spending first. Of course, Louisville benefits from federal spending as well. Many previously-proud earmark earners say now is the time to end the process and close the deficit. Others, however, argue that in times of recession, a balanced budget should not be a high priority. When asked about the cuts in various federal budget proposals in the House, Third District Congressman John Yarmuth told WFPL:

“A lot of us, for whom some of these cuts the Republicans have proposed and even cuts like the ones the Obama administration has proposed would be much more acceptable if we didn’t have 10% unemployment and so many people suffering.”

What are your thoughts on how to square rural difficulties with small-government politics?

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has made a few headlines (including this one) over the last week.

The freshman Republican discussed his possible interest in running for the president. He also introduced a plan to cut $500 billion from the federal budget.

Like everything Paul does, these latest steps have brought out commentaries that run the gamut from enthusiastic support to fervent detraction. It’s the budget plan, though, that’s drawing some of the most varied criticism. The blog Barefoot and Progressive (if the name doesn’t give it away, the site is often critical of Paul) has documented several of the most recent criticisms from inside Paul’s own chamber of congress. First, Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) sent Paul a letter saying the proposed cuts to the FAA would block modernization efforts, among other things. Next, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he disagrees with Paul on foreign aid.

The Hill has a rundown of Paul’s changing relationship with his colleagues. He’ll introduce one of those colleagues, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the Jefferson County Republican Party’s Lincoln Days dinner Saturday night.

Freshman Kentucky Senator Rand Paul continues his push to cut $500 billion from the federal budget.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Paul, a Republican, spoke for the Tea Party Caucus  “Bring on the cuts! And then, bring on more!”

Paul’s budget plan would cut billions from the departments of education, housing and agriculture, among others. It puts him and his Tea Party Caucus (which is a minority in the Senate and in the GOP) at odds with both major parties, which are championing different spending plans.

Writing for the Daily Beast, Ben Adler points out what he calls a hypocrisy in Senator Rand Paul‘s stance on abortion and immigration. Paul wants to eliminate birthright citizenship, but he also supports legislation declaring that life begins at conception.

Under the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which Paul and Vitter oppose,citizenship is given automatically to anyone born on U.S. soil. So Paul wants to expand the 14th Amendment to cover the fertilized embryos of American citizens while restricting it to exclude the babies of illegal immigrants. It’s not clear where the fetus in an illegal immigrant’s uterus would fit into this equation.

What are your thoughts?

Republican Senator Rand Paul has released his plan to cut $500 billion from the federal budget. It keeps Medicaid and Medicare untouched, but eliminates HUD and slashes transportation spending, the CDC, NIH, EPA and other agencies.

The plan is unlikely to pass both chambers of Congress.

CN2 has the bullet points.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will soon address a General Assembly committee to support a state bill that would encourage federal lawmakers to balance the U.S. budget. Historians and economists still debate whether it would be wise to balance the federal budget in poor economic times.

From CN2:

During the fall 2010 election, Holmes worked for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, including on behalf of Rand Paul in Kentucky. Two years earlier, he spent much of the 2008 general election in Kentucky working on McConnell’s re-election bid against Democrat Bruce Lunsford.


President Barack Obama and Senator-elect Rand Paul talked on the phone this week. Paul isn’t likely to be any more cooperative with the President than outgoing Senator Jim Bunning, but Paul says he has promised to engage in polite, civil discourse.

The AP story says Obama initiated the call, but it appears that the White House isn’t saying much about it. Such calls are regular occurrences, so it makes sense that the conversation makes more news in Kentucky than in Washington. Still, it would be interesting to know what both sides thought about the call.

Programming note:

The Edit is on vacation Thursday and Friday. Regular posts will resume Monday, unless breaking news occurs.

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