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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Heck, They Got Color TV Sets

I don’t know how much Rand Paul’s latest tin-eared gaffe will cost him in terms of votes in the KY senate race (AP report here). But I’m pretty sure he didn’t win any hearts and minds in the Louisville forum, where he commented on poverty. Paul said “The poor in our country are enormously better off than the rest of the world…” and referenced an old propaganda film that showed color TV sets in homes of the poor.
For sheer arrogance, it may not top Jim Bunning’s ‘Tough Shit’ response to a question about unemployment, but it reflects a similar, clueless spirit. Kentucky has been hit harder by unemployment than most states, and tied for second of the 50 states in percentage of residents living in poverty.
Paul’s Democratic opponent Attorney General Jack Conway didn’t pounce on Paul’s remark, a missed opportunity to make Paul back up and eat it. All is not lost, however. Conway should still be able to make Paul elaborate. One possible response to get things rolling:

Mr. Paul’s remarks reveal a disturbing callousness about poverty and a profound ignorance about the economic hardships many Kentuckians are experiencing. Kentucky doesn’t need another deaf ear toward working people in the U.S. Senate, and we certainly don’t need another errand boy for the rich representing our state.

Kentucky is tricky political terrain, fairly described as a red state in recent years. That’s not the same thing, however, as saying a majority of KY voters have unlimited tolerance for would-be leaders who keep making embarrassing remarks.

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