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What Rand Paul could learn from Jack Conway's ugly ad

Jon Chait calls this "the ugliest, most illiberal political ad of the year," and he's right. Also, it's from a Democrat:

Jack Conway embarrasses himself by indulging in this sort of demagoguery. Though you do wonder if being on the wrong side of the dominant majority might sensitize Rand Paul to the need for things like the Civil Rights Act. A mean ad about your anti-Christian college pranks isn't comparable, of course, to being the target of a state-sponsored campaign of terror and discrimination against you and everyone who looks like you. But the emotions that Conway is playing on here are the same that, in an amplified and legally unchecked environment, can lead to the persecution of those who don't find themselves comfortably within the majority's definition of itself.

Paul remains a white, wealthy Senate candidate, and is in no danger. But others weren't so lucky. Paul should think a bit harder before dismissing the efforts we've made to protect them, and ourselves.

By Ezra Klein  | October 18, 2010; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Comments

if there is an aqua buddha...
may he mercifully spare our country
from a rand paul victory.


i didnt hear a peep about sarah palin referring to her fellow citizens, in the country she claims to love, founded on united-ness,as residents of a unicorn ranch.
if she can be cheered for her bullying and her mockery, if glenn beck is beloved for his messages of life-threatening violence, if rush limbaugh can spew hate speech everyday, and the moderate voices in their party remain completely silenced and intimidated, what do they find wrong with this campaign advertisement?
the hatred and low blows of the republican leadership now threaten the safety of all americans.
i hope there is an aqua buddha who will stop them, if the democratic voters wont.
it was sarah palin and rush limbaugh who took the discourse of american politics into the gutter, smiling in the face of violent innuendos.
the pied pipers of hate.

Posted by: jkaren | October 18, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I fully agree with "jkaren" above

Posted by: fairness3 | October 18, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I dislike everything about the Tea Party, but in this case Jack Conway was a flaming jerk. He will deserve whatever he gets on election day.

Posted by: rhhkrnrw | October 18, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Oh, come on. Rand REPEATEDLY said even in the Maddow interview that he opposed as horrible any state sponsored discrimination whatsoever.

Posted by: sailingaway1 | October 18, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I dislike everthing about the Tea Party, but in this case Jack Conway was a flaming jerk. He will deserve everything he gets on election day.

Posted by: rhhkrnrw | October 18, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Come on, Ezra -- I hope David Broder isn't rubbing off on you. Paul want voters to believe he's a disciple both an Ayn Rand and Christ, when the two sets of values are wholly incompatible. Democrats need to be doing more to call out this sort of hypocrisy among GOP elites.

Posted by: JEinATL | October 18, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

This is the ad that loses Conway the election.

It reminds me of the ad Elizabeth Dole ran against Kay Hagan.

Sad all the way around.

Posted by: gmart68b | October 18, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I disagree. Conway's fighting hard to win this election. The ad is pointing out that Paul is a) an unstable nutjob and b) not really a solid Christian-conservative.

Both of those attacks are true: Paul has done
some very flaky stuff in the past, he has a
lot of crazy views, and he's a hardcore libertarian, which conflicts with some of the
preferred policies of the Christian right.

I daresay if Conway gets elected I'll be
unhappy with some of his votes. But I'm
not going to get squeamish about him playing hardball. And I find this ad much
less objectionable than the spate of
anti-immigrant Republican ads with pictures
of scary-foreign-looking men.

Posted by: richardcownie | October 18, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Of course I hate Conwway's ad, but this nonesense is the kind of nonesense that wins elections in some states... the kind of states where someone like Rand Paul, if he wants to be elected, has to declare that he carries Christ around in his heart. We still have places where Christianity is the only faith that will get you elected.

I would rather see all my candidates walking the high road, but what does the press cover? All we have heard about the debate today is this piece of twaddle. When the press gives ink to the serious stuff then the public will be better informed and they will come to expect that candidates will speak seriously about their goals and the press will actually do a little fact-checking and analysis and help the voter determine who to vote for.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 18, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Of course I hate Conwway's ad, but this nonesense is the kind of nonesense that wins elections in some states... the kind of states where someone like Rand Paul, if he wants to be elected, has to declare that he carries Christ around in his heart. We still have places where Christianity is the only faith that will get you elected.

I would rather see all my candidates walking the high road, but what does the press cover? All we have heard about the debate today is this piece of twaddle. When the press gives ink to the serious stuff then the public will be better informed and they will come to expect that candidates will speak seriously about their goals and the press will actually do a little fact-checking and analysis and help the voter determine who to vote for.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 18, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

It is sadly obvious that campaign ads are out of control. But unfortunately they are only following Obama. This administration first tried "racist" and wore it out. Then it went to "crazy" and that seems to be very popular in his campaign speeches and ads. Another new approach is the scare tactic that the opponent if elected will destroy this country by taking away social security and health care, etc. Obama is the leader of the lies and distortions and general ugliness in these campaigns. He has set the tone and should be held accountable for it. The reason for this type of attack is that the administration is unable to run on its record - record spending, record muck ups, etc. So it is necessary to destroy the opposition by destroying their character and demolishing them personally. The goal is to turn off the public from voting and/or to make the only viable message that of the administration - all others being crazy or downright dangerous - if you believe this administration. You will not be free to exercise your right to decide because there will only be one decision left and that is that you must vote for the administration's candidates or you will be bringing down all sorts of hell on this country. So much for freedom of speech. The speech use by this administration can be more dangerous than guns or knives held to one's throat in it's use of visual deception and explosive language. This very dangerous group mind control technique is the weapon of dictators. Will the public see through this or will Obama achieve the dictatorship he is seeking?

Posted by: mlbduffy | October 18, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

@jkaren

The actions of people who associate with the GOP do not represent Dr. Paul. Rand Paul's campaign is not about Beck or Limbaugh and he is not accountable for them or even of their like.

Myself and many many other grassroots supporters beat back at McConnell, Cheney, Giuliani, 17 bailout voting GOP Senators, and the rest of the GOP machine in the Republican primary. Maybe you forgot or missed that whole run up where the establishment rejected him?

How are you going to blame Dr. Paul for today's political circus?

Rand Paul is the serious candidate that not just KY but everyone in the US needs.

We can either cut back some of our spending now or cut back completely on EVERYTHING if we were to have a dollar collapse caused. Rand Paul says it best though. "We have a spending problem, we do not have a revenue problem."

Posted by: joshlowry | October 18, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

OK, I agree that this is a scurrilous ad and that Conway should be embarrassed for doing it. Given who his opponent is, and given the history of the last 30 years of gop attack ads, and their utter lack of embarrassment, and utter lack of consequences, explain to me why I care.

Posted by: gVOR08 | October 18, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

So let's review:

When a Republican does it: Hard-hitting politics so stop whining like a little girl, Mr. Democratic Candidate.

When a Democrat does it: Below-the-belt, unfair, beyond-the-pale. Mr. Democratic Candidate should stick to the issues, like why is he rumored to be a Nazi socialist homosexual rapist? Just asking the question...

Posted by: Froomkin_fan | October 18, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

@richardcownie

You wrote: "And I find this ad much
less objectionable than the spate of
anti-immigrant Republican ads with pictures
of scary-foreign-looking men."

1. Two wrongs don't make a right.

2. Rand Paul is not a warhawk and these Republican ads you reference have absolutely nothing to do with him. Why would you try and tacitly approve Conway's ad with a completely unrelated one?

Posted by: joshlowry | October 18, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul deserves what he gets. He lied repeatedly about writing for a blog, Dirty Scottsdale, for months. The blog was a rancid, sexist series of comments that he flatly denied until the founder of the site said not only did Rand write for the blog, but the founder even brought a hottie home to Rand's house to have sex (presumably because his parents didn't like drunk floozies boinking on the couch in the basement.)

So, when the "Aqua Buddha" story came out, Rand immediately denied it. It was obviously a silly college prank like James O'Keefe's "love den" that he had prepared for the CNN reporter. Just funnin', right?

Except it isn't funny. Blatant hypocrisy combined with the inability to tell the truth. Sounds like a good Republican to me.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | October 18, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

This ad represents the sort of thing that Tea Party partisans engage in regularly -- but it doesn't go *nearly* as far as the ludicrous rumor and lie campaigns put out by many political operatives on the right.

I fail to be outraged.

It was only a matter of time before the ugly tactics of the right began being adopted by their opponents.

Did they expect a principled response to the onslaught of ugly, unprincipled Tea Party rumor and lie campaigns.

It may be sad, it may be a sign of the further degradation of political discourse in the US -- but it is a mild form of tit for tat, so far.

Maybe the Democrats should adapt *all* the dirty tactics of the Tea Party and Republicans.

Posted by: dogmo | October 18, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

actually the Taliban Dan "LIE" by former Rep Alan Grayson is the worst ad in my book. Blatent misrepresentation of the facts.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 18, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"Blatant hypocrisy combined with the inability to tell the truth. Sounds like a good Republican to me."

Replace "Republican" with "any elected official"

Posted by: NoVAHockey | October 18, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The ad calls Rand Paul a hypocrite. I'm fine with it.

Posted by: vorkosigan1 | October 18, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

What's the problem with the ad?

Look, you want a flake for your Senator. Looks like you're going to get one. OK, that's you're right.

But if you expect those of us on the left to ease up, well, you've got another thing coming! (Ask Falafel Bill O'Reilly!)

Same goes for Niki Haley, btw.

She'll win in SC, but if you expect us to stop reminding you that she was blowing some guy, not her husband, in her Ford Explorer, fuhgeddaboutdit!!

Posted by: trenda | October 18, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Froomkin_fan

I have no problem with this ad. It's based on facts, some of the statements are as recent as 2008. Christians in Kentucky who want their elected officials to reflect their beliefs should be told what Rand Paul believes and what his definition of Government would mean for faith based initiatives. Chait continually complains about the left not being as strong as republicans, well - here the Democrat is taking a strong stance and he get accused immoral subversion - what a joke.

Posted by: ChicagoIndependant | October 18, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

MLB: Your meds are calling. [ghostly chant:] prooooooooozzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaaaac. thoooooooooooorrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaziiiiiine.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | October 18, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Klein,

You are incredibly annoying.

"Paul remains a white, wealthy Senate candidate, and is in no danger. But others weren't so lucky. Paul should think a bit harder before dismissing the efforts we've made to protect them, and ourselves."

These few paragraphs, especially the one quoted above, ought to be required reading for anyone who can't figure out why liberals have so much trouble getting traction in America.

It's not so much the policies, it's the smug and comically self-righteous preaching that inevitably goes with them.

The sad thing is that you, and a lot of other people on the left, probably can't see what I am getting at even now that I have pointed it out.

The real threat to America isn't hard-line conservatives, it's liberals who taint what might be otherwise good ideas with their self-righteous preachiness.

Posted by: anon99 | October 18, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Ezra here. While the ad is sleazy and disappointing from a Democratic Senatorial candidate, Rand Paul is still both a hypocrite and outside the mainstream. If some bible-thumping Kentucky voters wind up voting for Conway, or staying home, as a result of this ad, that's ok so long as it keeps Rand Paul out of office. And it is relatively mild compared to the Willie Horton ads and Swift Boat ads that Republicans have launched during Presidential campaigns.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | October 18, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Whenever Republicans crave power, politics get ugly.

Republicans don't promise anything to the American People because they know they're not going to do anything for the America People except take our money.

Republicans only work for big corporations.

Republicans tax the American People, but not big corporations.

Republicans take money from big corporations, and betray the American People.

Republicans have operated the same way for decades, which is what nearly bankrupt this country, and they could care less because they have the money from big corporate payoffs to take care of themselves and their families.

Posted by: lindalovejones | October 18, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

paul is a dangerous kook. So what is the "ugly" part of using his own words to prove that he is a dangersou kook before he could get into a position of power and ruin hundreds of millions of people's lives?

Posted by: John1263 | October 18, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

Huh?

Posted by: mitchflorida | October 18, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@RogerRamjet2

You wrote: "So, when the "Aqua Buddha" story came out, Rand immediately denied it. It was obviously a silly college prank like James O'Keefe's "love den" that he had prepared for the CNN reporter. Just funnin', right? "

The source for this story is conveniently anonymous. Do you have any proof or do you just like to pretend that they are facts?

Do you think that if the allegations of Rand Paul were about rape or murder that an anonymous source would be ok?

Why does kidnapping and attacking a man's faith not require actual sourced facts before a candidate for the US Senate approves them for television? Anyone can make things up. It's called a lie. Look for facts before you make accusations.

Posted by: joshlowry | October 18, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

@OHIOCITIZEN: "While the ad is sleazy and disappointing from a Democratic Senatorial candidate, Rand Paul is still both a hypocrite and outside the mainstream. If some bible-thumping Kentucky voters wind up voting for Conway, or staying home, as a result of this ad, that's ok so long as it keeps Rand Paul out of office."

I think the problem with this (and much of the commentary) is that this sort of advertising doesn't miss the mark. While both right and left ads might yell nasty things, some resonate with the electorate, while others do not. This ad, and these sorts of ad, might actually cost Conway in a close election, and help, rather than hurt, Paul.

It seems to me to be an ad that basically announces: "Well, this is what you redneck rubes and hayseeds care about, so, here ya go! Now, vote for me. Morons."

I may be wrong, but I don't think the ad helps Conway. Attack ads, in and of themselves, don't make the difference. The willingness to go negative doesn't make the difference. It's how you do it, not just the fact that you do, and the Conway ad seems (to me) to be a pretty good example of how not to do it.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 18, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Attack ads by the republicans, paid for by foreign interests via the Chamber of Commerce is fine, but heaven forbid a democrat run ANY ATTACK AD TO EXPOSE THE REPUBLICANS FOR THE INSANE IDIOTS THEY ARE!

Posted by: blarsen1 | October 18, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

No one who favors a party that has Karl Rove as their chief strategist should complain about any dirty ads or dirty politics in general, Rove practically wrote the book and the GOP goes back to him time and time again to run their strategy. Conway's ad a low blow? You bet it it, and if that's all that America can respond to these days then give them more. The Republicans are big (rich) boys (or girls), they can take it. Cry no tears for them.

Posted by: curtb | October 18, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

It's a terrible ad but what a stange post.

Posted by: wswest | October 18, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"Though you do wonder if being on the wrong side of the dominant majority might sensitize Rand Paul to the need for things like the Civil Rights Act."
----------------------------------------

Only if one was clueless about the Constitution, as it appears to be the case with the author.

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 18, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

This ad is insulting to me and unfair given it's drawing on Paul's irreverent behavior from 30 years ago. But the realpolitik in me says... well, if the other side is crying foul, it probably was a good ad.

In a time and a country where about a third of the population thinks that the President of the United States went to a madrassa in Indonesia when he was 6 (he didn't) which proves he's actually a Muslim terrorist confederate.... well, it's hard to get particularly incensed about an "Aqua Buddha" ad about Paul's college years.

Still, two wrongs don't make a right.

Posted by: vvf2 | October 18, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Boy, this is terrible! What's next, raising questions about the President's Christianity?

Posted by: Garak | October 18, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The right wing says ANYTHING in its ads and you get sensitive about this silly business?

Posted by: sufi66 | October 18, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse


I don't see anything wrong with this ad. In fact, it is rather tame compared to others I have seen.

The ad cites sources for the statements. Don't be so picky. Political ads are going to be insensitive for the foreseeable future.


Posted by: mortified469 | October 18, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@curtb"No one who favors a party that has Karl Rove as their chief strategist should complain about any dirty ads or dirty politics in general, Rove practically wrote the book and the GOP goes back to him time and time again to run their strategy. Conway's ad a low blow? You bet it it, and if that's all that America can respond to these days then give them more. The Republicans are big (rich) boys (or girls), they can take it. Cry no tears for them."

What does Rand Paul have to do with the GOP establishment? Did you happen to miss the Republican primary? Do you recall Giuliani, McConnell, Dick Cheney, and many other Rove friends endorsing Rand Paul's opponent and trying to fear monger the GOP base into voting for Grayson?

Conway makes a terrible ad that lacks any factual info. Rand asks for an apology.

Your response: LOL THE GOP STARTED IT.

That's unproductive.

Posted by: joshlowry | October 18, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I suppose if you can't win on issues, and you're willing to degrade yourself, then nasty is the only way to go.

Jack Conway has stooped awfully low on this one. He shows his own true colors, and they're not pretty.

Posted by: Benson | October 18, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Just goes to show what might play well in Kentucky might not play well in (or apparently sit well with) other areas of the country. By all news accounts, Conway is behind in the polls and it looks like he isn't going down without a fight.

Posted by: tuber | October 18, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

@curtb"No one who favors a party that has Karl Rove as their chief strategist should complain about any dirty ads or dirty politics in general, Rove practically wrote the book and the GOP goes back to him time and time again to run their strategy. Conway's ad a low blow? You bet it it, and if that's all that America can respond to these days then give them more. The Republicans are big (rich) boys (or girls), they can take it. Cry no tears for them."

What does Rand Paul have to do with the GOP establishment? Did you happen to miss the Republican primary? Do you recall Giuliani, McConnell, Dick Cheney, and many other Rove friends endorsing Rand Paul's opponent and trying to fear monger the GOP base into voting for Grayson?

Conway makes a terrible ad that lacks any factual info. Rand asks for an apology.

Your response: LOL THE GOP STARTED IT.

That's unproductive.

Posted by: joshlowry | October 18, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

" The speech use by this administration can be more dangerous than guns or knives held to one's throat in it's use of visual deception and explosive language"


this, to my way of thinking is a patently untrue and sorry to say it, ridiculous statement.
there has not been one utterance of president obama or his administration that rivals the detestable hatred, derision, racism and recklessly violent innuendos, the bold mockery and bullying and not even subtle calls for violence, that has built its nest in the midst of the republican party.
that mccain, gramm, cantor, romney.....more moderate members of the republican party stayed craven and silent in the face of limbaugh, beck, palin and o'donnell and rand.... so afraid of the savage rhetoric and their power, that they have remained silent...that the country remains silent....shows history repeating itself.
to the republican party: "i stayed silent and didnt speak out, and now they are coming after me."
this is what has been unleashed on us.
a pandora's box was opened as a last desperate resort, by mccain....no-one in the republican party had or has the courage or decency to speak out against this hatred....against anti-intellectualism, homophobia, racism, brute attacks aimed at our president, against decent people.....
the solutions of their leadership are as vacuous as their references to "residents of a unicorn ranch in fantasyland."
why??? because like any bully.....all that they can resort to, is mockery and brutality....and their followers find it comical, when it is really tragic.
if the democrats dont get to the polls, and we all stay silent, apathetic, intimidated....waiting for a perfect world, their ignorance and cruelty grow an an atmosphere of discontentment and anti-intellectualism, fear.
it should be deeply worrisome for every thinking american.
worrisome enough to get all democrats and "normal people" who are terrified of extremists gaining power, to get themselves to the polls.


Posted by: jkaren | October 18, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

jkaren, the "pied piper of hate" is alive in Obama and the dems. Their racism and class division is ruining this great nation.

mlbduffy said it well.

There are alot of dems on this post running scared. Hope you are thoroughly trounced on Nov 2.

Posted by: annnort | October 18, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

What group is actually being demonized by this ad? It is simply a demonstration that Paul is really self-indulgent atheist, not the pious Christian he pretends to be. HIS bible is anything written by Ayn ("get yours and to H-ll with anybody else) Rand, who was about as far from Jesus Christ as one can legally get.

Posted by: threedy | October 18, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse


Kudos to Ezra for pointing out that Conway's ad goes way, way over the line and goes against common decency.

But the "maybe this will teach Rand a lesson" sentence makes no sense. Rand Paul strongly opposes discrimination. He has said so again and again. Rand Paul is not as articulate as Ezra Klein, but it's clear his commitment to equality is every bit as strong.

Posted by: junomoneta88 | October 18, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody else actually get what Ezra Klein is saying here? He is being deliberately opaque.

Posted by: Radical_Centrist82 | October 18, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"Border fence proposals are a dime a dozen among Republican candidates, but Rand Paul's is different: it's underground, and it's electrified. "My plans include an underground electric fence, with helicopter stations to respond quickly to breaches of the border," state the Kentucky senatorial hopeful's website"
newsweek


the only thing that this commercial proves, is that rand paul's ideas were as crazy then, as they are now.


if voters wont spare us from a rand paul victory,
may the aqua buddha have mercy on us.

Posted by: jkaren | October 18, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

joshlowry: Rove tried to "fear monger" Paul in the primaries. Yes indeed he did, that's what Rove has always done. But you're drawing this distinction between the GOP and the Tea Party and I don't think that there really is one. The GOP, with the able assistance of FOX, helped create this new entity and now we're all stuck with it, all of us. You say that my point isn't "constructive". Please tell me what is josh, what can we do to rebuild a broken system, broken in so many places? So Conway stops and apologizes, do you think Rove will or the GOP in its entirety, and that includes the Tea Party? Yes, they're taking their lumps, because they're backward and regressive and second-rate and they deserve every lump they get. They were created out of anger, and very little good comes from politics born from anger. Americans want everything to be simple

Posted by: curtb | October 18, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

." Rand Paul strongly opposes discrimination. He has said so again and again. Rand Paul is not as articulate as Ezra Klein, but it's clear his commitment to equality is every bit as strong."


rand paul's commitment to human dignity and equality is so strong, that he wouldnt have a problem with underground electrical fences.
well, that makes waterboarding look like child's play, to my way of thinking.
i dont want anyone in a position of leadership, who thinks that underground electrical fences are "okay," in the united states.
what comes next, lobotomies?
when i read that statement, i found it completely chilling.

Posted by: jkaren | October 18, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

ZOMG! Jack Conway questions Rand Paul's faith! Can you imagine the outrage if someone were to question Barack Obama's faith?

Posted by: GBMcM | October 18, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Okay, just watched the ad.
....
What was the problem? I mean, attack ads aren't really my thing, but they must speak to somebody otherwise no one would produce them. This honestly seems pretty tame compared to accusing the President of brainwashing school children or accusing John Kerry of breach of duty. Can someone explain to me why this is worse? I mean, other than that it is a Democrat running the ad and, well, Democrats just aren't very good at this sort of thing.

Posted by: klautsack | October 18, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

joshlowery: You have not been paying attention. The "Aqua Buddha" story has been around for in excess of two months, (and heavily lampooned in Wonkette), and acknowledged by Mr. Paul after the woman was quoted in GQ telling a silly sotry about his membership in the NoZe secret society, which was evidently secret because they liked smoking pot, which was and is illegal. It is a snippet of the pampered life of an Ayn Rand Libertarian (which invokes blanket atheism) and his promise of being an honest to goodness Christian who likes to lampoon other religeons, notwithsanding the Atlas Shrugged baggage.

The Dirtyscottsdale episode is revolting.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | October 18, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

@joshlowry - "What does Rand Paul have to do with the GOP establishment?"

Because he'll vote with the establishment 98% of the time? Maybe that's why?

Posted by: klautsack | October 18, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Aren't you that Journolist guy?

Posted by: TheChileanPresidentIsMuchBetterRespondingToDisastersThanObama | October 18, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm grateful for this article. The most hateful ad I've ever seen is this one. Believe me it's a dangerous ad. And it IS an ad. It effects the entire Western Hemisphere.

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0804119.htm

YHWH doesn't look anything like ADWNY to me. Sorry if you don't own the cdrom The Trope Trainer. Sorry if you can't read, even unskillfully like myself, Hebrew the In the Beginning of Western Civilization. Not only that I think YHWH was an atheist when I read it Hebrew the forensic way.

The Pope is resorting back to NAZIism. That really is a hateful news item is really an ad folks from Europe.

Posted by: macnietspingal1 | October 18, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow, this ad looks like something the GOP would've come up with. Good for you Jack Conway. I guess in Kentucky, you have to use their fears against them to make them vote the right way. Lord knows if Conway wasn't running an ad like this, they'd vote for Rand Paul (as nutty as he is).

Posted by: fbutler1 | October 18, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

That was the ugliest ad of the campaign season? We've come a long way from Willie Horton, babe.

Posted by: MartinZook | October 18, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"Rand Paul strongly opposes discrimination. He has said so again and again. Rand Paul is not as articulate as Ezra Klein, but it's clear his commitment to equality is every bit as strong."

I believe Rand Paul's position is that while he personally is opposed to racial discrimination, he is also - and more strongly - opposed to any government action to stop discrimination. If that's a "strong ... commitment to equality", then I've got a bridge you might be interested in. I have a strong commitment to animal rights, and I said so clearly to Michael Vick when I sold him my pit bull ...

Posted by: richardcownie | October 18, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

@klautsack

klautsack observation: The GOP machine fought Rand Paul tooth and nail with their establishment candidate Trey Grayson.

klautsack conclusion: Rand Paul will fall in step with the whatever the party tells him 98% of the time.

Great analysis.

__________________

@curtb: ""Rove tried to "fear monger" Paul in the primaries. Yes indeed he did, that's what Rove has always done. But you're drawing this distinction between the GOP and the Tea Party and I don't think that there really is one.""

I am making a distinction between Rand Paul and the GOP. My point loses its meaning if you substitute Rand Paul with Tea Party. Rand Paul was opposed by the establishment fiercely for a reason.
__________________


@curtb: ""So Conway stops and apologizes, do you think Rove will or the GOP in its entirety, and that includes the Tea Party?""

Rove and his past are completely unrelated to this campaign. Conway screwed up. Why point to Rove as if Rand has some relation to him? Rand has every right to call out Conway for making things up about his faith and criminal history. This is between Conway and Paul. Not Conway and the GOP or even Tea Party.

Posted by: joshlowry | October 18, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul sounds like a creep, but wait, e is a creep.

Posted by: johng1 | October 18, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

"Though you do wonder if being on the wrong side of the dominant majority might sensitize Rand Paul to the need for things like the Civil Rights Act."

Though it is certainly unclear whether Ezra understands the Civil Rights act, he certainly does not understand Rand Paul's position on it.

"...isn't comparable, of course, to being the target of a state-sponsored campaign of terror and discrimination against you and everyone who looks like you."

And if Ezra bothered to understand his position, he'd know that Rand Paul stands firmly against this type of descrimination.

"...in an amplified and legally unchecked environment, can lead to the persecution of those who don't find themselves comfortably within the majority's definition of itself."

Again, a part of the Civil Rights act which Rand Paul agrees with. Please do some research.

"Paul should think a bit harder before dismissing the efforts we've made to protect them, and ourselves."

I believe he already has and he fully understands the dangers that can arise from a Federal Government that can create and expand its own powers whenever a majority of 545 people want it do.

Posted by: MDLaxer | October 18, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Gee oshwhinerpants, I gave you the info to google the Aqua Buddha story; why no apology to me for your ignorant rant about "facts?"

And anyway, Willie Horton begat Rove begat $100,000,000 in Koch attack ads. And you wonder about the precedent. I'm sure all you needed to learn about Islam was learned on 9-11, and you don't give a gosh darn about atheism v Christianity as long as you keep your money. That's what teabaggery is all about.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | October 18, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

" It is a matter of letting regular voters who themselves care deeply about Christian belief know that Paul is basically playing them"


yes. that is true.
rand paul's principles seems to have little in common with the teachings of Christ.
what would Jesus do?
i dont think He would be casting a vote for rand paul.
no faith-based initiatives, no government intervention.
Jesus did want to see hungry, ill, needy people, twisting in the wind.
Jesus would not be using electronic underground fences on people.
Jesus was about helping other people, who needed help.
i dont think that Jesus would have been a libertarian in today's society.
He would look at suffering, and know that we needed an organized way to help the sick, the poor and those who could not help themselves.
in our greedy society, He would want a safety net that would not be dependent on the whims of corporate grants, or "me-first, take care of yourself" people, who would help some, and forget about others, whose views they didnt agree with.
what would Jesus do?
i sincerely think that He would not be in favor of voting for rand paul. especially after hearing paul's views on the civil rights act and the electronic underground fence.
rand paul would create a selfish and hurtful society, that would not appeal to our better angels.
it would chase away our better angels.
as they are already being chased away.

Posted by: jkaren | October 18, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

So, to the Republicans/Conservatives/Tea Partiers out there: Is Rand Paul responsible or accountable for anything he has said or done?

Posted by: AMviennaVA | October 18, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

As far as being the "ugliest" ad some of those anti-Mosque ads are a lot more insidious, because they impact a lot more people and play on a much deeper well of ignorance.

Even for candidate focused ads, this one strikes me as pretty silly. To be the worst it would need to be truly effective in stoking prejudices about something that is completely false (the substance of the ad is arguably true -- even if Conway oversells the "abduction" incident). Paul's response to the attack is also pretty telling.

Posted by: JPRS | October 18, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

WHATEVER.

Democrat Spitzer gets busted in a prostitution scandal and resigns...David Vitter is still in the Senate after being busted TWICE in prostitution scandals.

John Edwards is a pariah in the Democratic party after his marital scandals, John Ensign is under FBI investigation for abusing his office to cover up his affair...and is still in the Senate.

The only way you get rid of nonsense like this is to burn the other guy with it as hard as he's burning you. You have to hit the bully, otherwise he will NEVER stop hitting you. Why should he?

Why would Republicans ever stop doing this? It's all upside for them, no downside. They can do whatever they want to their candidates, knowing that these standards will never be applied to them.

You stop the race to the bottom by making sure the other guy goes down with you. It's that simple.

You guys have been handwringing about this behavior for 20 years. It hasn't made a lick of difference. Jack Conway is sending the 100% right message: live by the sword, die by the sword.

Posted by: theorajones1 | October 18, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

It's sad that campaigning on the basis of a religious affiliation is effective, but that shows the level of thought engendered by the religious experience.

Posted by: staticvars | October 18, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

joshlowry -

Thinking that Rand Paul is not part of the Republican establishment requires believing that the Tea Party is NOT just a re-branding effort to dust off a badly damaged Republican Party. In my mind, I see no difference between the two.

A more interesting question for me is:
"Is it worse for all of these Tea Party (tm) nutjobs vote like they campaigned or if they vote like every other Republican?"

Obviously, voting like they campaigned is worse. So they will vote like any other Republican. Sorry, we will not be returning to the gold standard in 2012. And you will never know whether Obama is actually an American citizen.

Posted by: klautsack | October 18, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Nope... Jack Conway is dead on with this. As the old saying goes, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. The Republicans have questioned every Democrat's patriotism, loyalty, faith, bravery and more during the last few election cycles. When they can question whether a candidate is a citizen, is or isn't a Christian, mock their families, personal disabilities, sexual preferences, prowess, manhood and worse -- their kindergarten homework? -- Conway is well within rights to ask what Paul was doing in this organization during college. Paul doesn't dispute his membership, nor the sanctions imposed by the Baylor president at what is a premier Christian college. Paul doesn't even dispute the events -- hazing or otherwise -- with the woman (who hasn't backed off of her claims.)

If they can dish it, they better be ready to take a wet, sloppy, messy one right in the face.

Posted by: jade_7243 | October 18, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

You are too kind. At least a lot kinder than I would have been.

Beyond that, I would suspect that folks like Rand Paul just won't get it. Some never do, and others do, but much later in life, and by then it's too late.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | October 18, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Ayn Rand and Christianity are not incompatible. Neither have anything to do with the other.

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | October 19, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

lcarter, what is there for Paul to get? He has done nothing wrong here. He is the victim.

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | October 19, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Oh poor conservative with their lapdog Wapo reporters all crying unison over this very fair political ad. Why if we could just bottle the outrage of the conservative over this ad we could sell it and reduce the national debt, which they mostly created. Of course when the press goosesteps with the rightwing it does so under the guise of objections “fair and balanced” reporting. Now where is the story on David Vitter’s racist and xenophobic ad which shows brown skinned Hispanics leaping though a hole in a fence and into a limo driving by Cassidy? Conservatives are the perpetual victim and take note to cry even louder when they are slimed in the same manor that they slime their opponents

Posted by: hansenthered | October 19, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

What Rand Paul could learn??? How about how not to be a despicable human being. I'm sorry, sure we have all had a heads hung over toilet bowls in college, we had bad dorm room hook-ups, we slacked in our classes, but we are old enough to know how to respect others and the opinions of those that may not fall in line with our own. To make fun of something a sacred as a individual's religious beliefs is wrong. And, quite honestly this is as relevant as a candidate believing evolution is a myth or dabbling in witchcraft! The fact is, Rand Paul has shown a disrespect for others in college, and continues to do so - to name a few, the disabled, gay Americans and black Americans. The tea party is the most UNdemocratic group going, and quite scary!

Posted by: taraohare | October 19, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein wrote:

"Paul should think a bit harder before dismissing the efforts we've made to protect them (civil rights), and ourselves."

We? What a smug, self-righteous statement.

I'd love to see a comprehensive list of the sacrifices on behalf of civil rights made by Ezra Klein -- the military service against fascism or communism, the civil rights marches at risk of personal safety, even the community service. I'm guessing he's counting on attendance at the Stewart-Colbert hootenany to establish his bona fides as a civil rights hero.

Posted by: PigSkin | October 19, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, you may want to read a piece by your colleague in The Plumb Line a couple of days ago. He spoke that day with the woman who was subjected to the antics of Rand Paul and his buddies. She again confirmed that the facts were as Mr. Conway's ad presented them.Mr. Conway has not attacked Paul's religion or his family,as Paul tries to pretend. Rand Paul is the liar here by claiming Jack did something he did not do.A look at the debate will show that he did not attack Paul's religion, he only talked about his actions in this matter. Rand Paul wants to continue to misrepresent the facts and play the victim. Its his lies and cover up that are at issue and voters can see through that. Rand Paul is the dishonest one here.

Posted by: kyvoter | October 20, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I didn't much care for the ad myself but in this case, the ad was TRUE. Therein lies the difference.

Posted by: carolo43 | October 21, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

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