First of all, the race is to fill the seat being vacated by the retiring Jim Bunning. Suffice it to say, I have a hard time envisioning anyone being anything but an improvement over Sen. Bunning, and it seems plenty of his soon-to-be-former colleagues would agree. At worst, we'll be replacing one hard-right GOP party-line voter with an Ayn Rand acolyte with a cussed streak. I can't think of anyone I'd rather sick an unruly underling on more than Mitch McConnell.
So, while I'm not eager to have Dr. Paul in the Senate (where I fear he'd try to destroy Medicare, abolish the Dept of Education and auction off the National Archives), neither do I think his election would be the Worst Thing Ever. And his opponent's recent ham-handed attempts to turn Christian conservatives against him has only endeared him to me.
For those of you unfamiliar with this phrase "Aqua Buddha," here's a precis:
The race for U.S. Senate in Kentucky got heated last week after Democrat Jack Conway ran a TV ad accusing his opponent, Rand Paul, of being part of a "secret society" that "mocked Christianity" and forced a woman to "bow down before a false idol."My one qualm about this incident is that I don't really like the idea of two guys coercing a woman to go somewhere. However, it seems that she knew it was a prank the whole time, and never feared for her safety.
Much of the ad's content came from an interview GQ conducted with an anonymous former college classmate of Paul's, who said she was the victim of a bizarre prank at Baylor University in 1983.
According to the August issue of GQ:
"Yes, he was in a secret society, yes, he mocked religion, yes, the whole Aqua Buddha thing happened," she said. "There was a different side to him at one time and he's pretending that it never existed. If he would just acknowledge it, it would all go away and it wouldn't matter anymore."If she wasn't frightened, then there goes my only problem with this story. Is Rand Paul trying to convince religious conservatives that he's one of them when he really isn't? Probably. That would put him in the same boat as Reagan, Bush (both I and II) and McCain. Somehow someone putting one over on the Religious Right fails to break my heart.
However, she also said that Conway's ad went too far in depicting college pranks as something frightening, and added that the topic wasn't consequential enough to drive the Senate race.
Furthermore, I think the whole Aqua Buddha story is hilarious. It's exactly the kind of thing my buddies from med school would think of while sitting around getting baked. That Paul chafed under the yoke of the profoundly religious authority of Baylor University and expressed his ire by staging a prank this random and absurd endears me to him in a way almost nothing else could have. If I didn't know he'd sell off the Smithsonian for scrap marble, I'd even consider voting for the guy.