JONATHAN CHAIT OCTOBER 18, 2010
There's a certain noir quality to the Kentucky Senate race. Republican nominee Rand Paul is a longtime devotee of devote atheist Ayn Rand, and has a history of youthful irreligious hijinks. Democrat Jack Conway has attacked Rand with a grotoesque ad that seems to suggest that failure to accept Christianity is a disqualification for office. Rand replies that he does too love Jesus:
This is so depressing. The data points cited by Conway are true; what's gross is the insinuation that if you're not Christian there's something wrong with you. Paul, predictably, has chosen to attack the facts of Conway's charge rather than the insinuation. Thus we have a debate between a purveyor of religious bigotry and a liar.
There's also a comic sub-theme about what journalistic outlets are trustworthy. Paul's reply in the debate was comical: "Don't make up stuff about me from college that you think you've read on the Internet blogs." The premise here is that we have two categories of journalism: legitimate journalism that is published on newsprint, and tawdry innuendo that is published on blogs. Like many journalists, I engage in both kinds, and fail to see the metaphysical distinction. In any case, the allegations in question come not from "internet blogs" but good old-fashioned GQ magazine.
I also noticed that Paul's ad cites, as his authority for the claim that Conway should be "ashamed," the Weekly Standard blog. Now Paul says we should believe the blogs? I'm so confused.