The Kentucky Senate debate between Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Jack Conway got a little heated when Paul called Conway on an attack ad that Conway is running about a college prank committed by Paul 30 years ago.
The ad attacks Rand Paul, who is a committed pro-life Christian, for his participation in a prank at Baylor decades ago that mocked Christianity and organized religion. The ad also suggested that Paul was being somewhat less than Christian for wanting to defund certain faith-based government programs.
Paul was very direct in his response to Jack Conway, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal:
“Paul, the Republican candidate and a Bowling Green ophthalmologist and tea party favorite, hammered Conway, a Democrat and Kentucky’s attorney general, for ads focusing on allegations Paul joined a group at Baylor University that mocked Christians and once tied up a woman and asked her to worship an idol.
“‘Jack, you should be ashamed of yourself,’ said Paul, who described himself as a ‘pro-life Christian’ and refused to shake Conway’s hand after the debate. ‘Have you no decency? Have you no shame?'”
Conway was unrepentant.
“During the debate at the University of Louisville, Conway defended his attacks, which stemmed from published allegations about Paul’s time at Baylor, and refused to apologize.
“‘Why did he freely join a group known for mocking, for making fun of people with faith?’ Conway asked. ‘And … when is it ever a good idea to tie up a woman and ask her to kneel before a false idol, your god, which you call Aqua Buddha?'”
A couple of observations come to mind.
First, a lot of people do stupid stuff in college. College is, indeed, a place to get that sort of thing out of one’s system so that one can become a responsible adult after graduation. So is bringing up something one did in college decades ago that doesn’t involve murder or being a “bearded Marxist” really fair game? Even the George W. Bush administration turned a blind eye to casual drug use as long as it was in college when screening applicants for White House jobs.
True, tying a woman up, even in fun, may be just a little beyond the pale. But there appears to have been no criminal charges filed.
Second, while it is understandable that Paul did not shake Conway’s hand after the latter refused to apologize, this may suggest that Paul may have some difficulty adjusting to some of the customs of the Senate. Speeches by senators, even while excoriating another senator and all of his works, will always refer to the other Senator as, “The honorable Senator from (blank).” In context, by honorable, they often mean something different and likely unprintable indeed.
Still, running ads about college pranks displays a certain unbecoming air of desperation on the part of the Jack Conway campaign.
The Conway ad:
Rand Paul’s response:
Source: Rand Paul, Jack Conway toss angry barbs at Louisville debate. Chris Kenning, Louisville Courier-Journal, October 17th, 2010