Rand Paul’s faint praise for Mitch McConnell

In Kentucky last week, the Herald-Leader/WKYT Bluegrass Poll offered some bad news for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R). Not only did the survey show him losing to Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) in a hypothetical match-up, but the Bluegrass Poll found that McConnell is slightly less popular than President Obama among Kentuckians.
And in 2012, Obama lost Kentucky by nearly 23 points.
It would appear, then, that McConnell has some ground to make up when it comes to in-state popularity. Indeed, as we learned last summer, even McConnell’s campaign manager said he’s “sort of holdin’ my nose” while working for the Minority Leader.
But at least McConnell still has Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in his corner, right? Well, sort of.
In a radio interview posted to YouTube on Saturday, the conservative freshman was asked by an incredulous Glenn Beck why he’s endorsing the Senate Republican leader.
After an awkward pause, Paul tried to change the subject. “Um … I’m here in Texas today to endorse Don Huffines,” he said.
Beck burst into laughter. Paul laughed with him, and then took a stab at answering the question. But he couldn’t muster up a single nice thing to say about his fellow Kentuckian and leader of his party.
Eventually, Rand Paul, apparently struggling to explain why he endorsed McConnell, told Glenn Beck, “Uhh, because he asked me. He asked me when there was nobody else in the race. And I said yes.”
It’s reminiscent of the time Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) endorsed Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign by saying, “There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president, but they didn’t.”
Asked why he or she is supporting a colleague’s re-election, a senator can turn to some fairly obvious lines. The incumbent “is doing a fine job,” or maybe, the senator “works hard for the people back home.”
But by the time you get to “he asked me when there was nobody else in the race,” you’re pretty much scraping the bottom of the endorsement barrel.
As for why Rand Paul, unlike most senators and presidential aspirants, is so chummy with Glenn Beck, let’s not forget that the junior senator from the state of Kentucky is unnervingly comfortable with the fringes of American politics. It’s an issue that comes up from time to time, and as Paul continues to try to raise his national profile, it’s likely to raise some awkward questions about who the senator choses to associate with.