Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 22, 2010

NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME -- OR SUNDAY MORNING.... After Rand Paul won Kentucky's Republican Senate primary this week, he was invited to appear on "Meet the Press." The right-wing ophthalmologist agreed. Why not try to capitalize on a victory that drew national attention?

Of course, that was before the media took notice of Paul's extremist ideology -- and before Republicans noticed that Paul's media appearances seemed to make things worse. Yesterday afternoon, the GOP candidate broke his commitment and backed out of the interview.

After a series of interviews on national TV that stirred an uproar over his views on civil rights and other issues, Rand Paul, the Republican nominee for Senate in Kentucky, has canceled a scheduled appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" program on Sunday.

Betsy Fischer, the producer for the news program, said that Mr. Paul's press secretary, Jesse Benton, had notified them a few hours ago that he would not be appearing on the show. She said Mr. Paul's campaign had committed to the show on Wednesday, but that his aide said he was tired after a long week.

It's only the third time in the show's history that a guest agreed to appear on the program, and then backed out -- Louis Farrakhan and Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia were the other two. "Meet the Press" could have invited Paul's opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (D) -- who, incidentally, received 20,000 more votes than Paul did on Tuesday -- but the producers decided not to.

In terms of an explanation for breaking the candidate's commitment, Paul aides gave conflicting accounts. By one account, Paul cancelled because he's "had a long week," and "he's tired." Around the same time, the campaign suggested the cancellation has less to do with fatigue and more to do with message: "Rand did Good Morning America today, set the record straight, and now we are done talking about it. No more national interviews on the topic."

Neither explanation is compelling. The former sounds weak -- he needs more than 48 hours to recuperate after an interview on "Good Morning America"? If Paul is so exhausted, why didn't he also cancel his campaign event in Frankfurt this morning?

But it's the latter justification that's especially odd. Indeed, I'm not sure what "no more national interviews on the topic" even means. If Rand Paul talks to a national news outlet again sometime over the next six months, his radical worldview is likely to come up. Will the Republican campaign try to come up with ground rules for journalists? You can interview the Senate candidate, just so long as you don't ask about his views on government?

I have no idea how voters in Kentucky will respond to developments like these, but from a distance, the entire fiasco appears humiliating -- for Paul, the Tea Party "movement," and the Republican Party of Kentucky.

As for my favorite headline, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this gem from my friend John Cole: "And I Rand, I Rand So Far Away."

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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Comments

Perhaps 'Rand' should inquire of the Coast Guard...they could scurry reporters away from him as they are doing for BP down yonder in the Gulf.

Posted by: neill on May 22, 2010 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

"Will the Republican campaign try to come up with ground rules for journalists? You can interview the Senate candidate, just so long as you don't ask about his views on government?"

That sounds familiar. Didn't the Republicans do that for somebody else, like about two years ago?

What was that name again, Sarah-something?

Posted by: 2Manchu on May 22, 2010 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

When the word comes down from corporate MSM HQ to lay off Paul we won't be treated to any more of his dumb, if honest, beliefs. The strategy from here on will be to keep him below the radar and not make him a national figure (of ridicule). The guy is obviously not ready for prime time except within his cocoon of fellow believers from which he hasn't ventured forth before.

The country could use a thorough airing of Libertarian dogma, which would expose it as a thoroughly juvenile belief system. There's a reason why Libertarians can't get elected to anything. Even if we give the benefit of the doubt on race (I don't), their style of government, actually non-government, advocates and invites chaos and anarchy.

So it's too bad the eye doctor with blinders on is too chicken to go on MTP. His handlers are obviously tightening his leash, and thus have deprived us of much needed political entertainment.

Posted by: rrk1 on May 22, 2010 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

2Manchu: Heck, they've been doing it since Reagan.

Posted by: T-Rex on May 22, 2010 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

"No more national interviews on the topic."

Wowsers...they sure adpoted the 'isolate problem candidate from media' strategy (aka 'Palinizing a candidate') quickly, haven't they? Paul's handlers will let him out in the open if he proves he's coachable and can talk around 'hard-hitting' questions from the likes of David Gregory.

*Very minor revelation: one possible reason for the lack of quality political leadership in the US is that a politician only has to out-debate and out-think the likes of Gregory, Blitzer, etc...Candidates that can't do that are in trouble. Candidates that are afraid to do that...

If Paul is so exhausted, why didn't he also cancel his campaign event in Frankfurt this morning?

Hell, if Grampy McCain can muster the energy to make the Sunday shows every weekend, then Paul should have no problem.

"And I Rand, I Rand So Far Away."

Try "Bitchin' Amero" from Cole's prior post.

Posted by: grape_crush on May 22, 2010 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Rand Paul sat on a wall;
Rand Paul had a great fall.
All the Teabaggers---both women and men---
Couldn't put Rand back together again!

Posted by: S. Waybright on May 22, 2010 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

I assume that he WILL appear again on national TV and it will be strictly on Fox.

Republicans are getting so predictable. It's very annoying that very few people in the national news media calls them on their crap.

Posted by: phoebes-in-santa fe on May 22, 2010 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

"Candidates that can't do that are in trouble. Candidates that are afraid to do that..." book interviews with Katie Couric in the hopes that she'll be sweet and nice and ask softball questions. And when they make fools of themselves anyway, they then try to portray her as an evil dragon-lady who asks cruel "gotcha" questions, and airs only the parts of the interview that went badly, leaving all the proof of the candidate's brilliance on the cutting room floor. And what's worse, conservative commentators pick up that party line and run with it.

Cole also mentions the double standard we can expect with regard to Paul's cancellation of his MTP appearance: if a Democrat had done that, the media would go after him like Dobermans after prime rib for the remainder of the campaign. But when a Republican does it, they're so afraid of being accused of "bias" that they'll probably drop the matter quietly. Of course, the press is still enjoying a good fit of righteous indignation over Obama's shocking affront to freedom of the press when he didn't take them all along to his daughter's soccer game. How can democracy survive such a lack of transparency in government? I don't know, but we'll hear it parsed for months to come.

Posted by: T-Rex on May 22, 2010 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

What T-Rex said sad but true. Especially ..."if a democrat had done it"

Posted by: johnr on May 22, 2010 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

It's Frankfort, KY. Frankfurt is in Germany.

Posted by: Amy in Pasadena on May 22, 2010 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

"I have no idea how voters in Kentucky will respond to developments like these, but from a distance, the entire fiasco appears humiliating -- for Paul, the Tea Party "movement," and the Republican Party of Kentucky."

Well let's see, the first poll from Rasmussen on the race says Paul 59 percent, Conway 34 percent.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on May 22, 2010 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

I would think that the DSCC and the DNC would make defeating Paul in November the # 1 priority. A solid trouncing of Paul by Conway, just might drive a stake thru the heat of the Tea Partiers.

Posted by: Chief on May 22, 2010 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Biden treated Sarah Palin with kid gloves because she'd have whined "sexism" if he'd treated her the way he'd treat a male opponent and slammed her avoidance of the press. Check out the clip of Jack Conway on Kos today -- if Rand Paul avoids the national media, Conway clearly intends to capitalize on that and in his polite reasonable way, keep hammering Paul for his ridiculous views. And Mr. Scallon, Rasmussen is a house organ of the Republican party -- its polls are always skewed in their favor. The impressive Mr. Conway will probably turn even their fudged numbers around pretty soon.

Posted by: dalloway on May 22, 2010 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

No more interviews? cf. Sarah Palin.

Posted by: EL on May 22, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Libertarianism as a Philosophy

Most people have a generally positive view of libertarians - until they've listened to a libertarian for 5 minutes or more. I'm constantly hearing basic liberal views of freedom of speech, responsibility, etc described as "Libertarian Principals".

That, of course, is nonsense. Libertarian principals center around extreme selfishness, callousness towards your fellow man, belief that of course everyone will play nice if nobody's there to make sure they do, and even more importantly, zero to few taxes. Oh - and the Gold Standard.

Posted by: Zandru on May 22, 2010 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican Media Strategy

Blame and/or avoid the media so you don't get asked substantive questions that you have no answers to. This has manifested in several interesting ways over the last few decades.

Ronald Raygun always acted like he couldn't hear questions about Iran/Contra over the whump-whump of his presidential helicopter, or the roar of his presidential limosine, or the chirps of crickets in the presidential rose garden (Richard Belzer did a spot on impersonation of this).

Dubya avoided Helen Thomas in favor of gay prostitute Jeff Gannon. When he was finally cornered by a journalist who was afraid to press him for fear of being called a "big time" asshole and black-listed, he gave meandering, incoherent answers to questions he wasn't asked. He frequently mumbled "The murican people unnerstand" and "In other words" to fill in the gaps in his idiotic rambles.

Dick Cheney stayed in undisclosed locations and only ventured out to field softball questions from Fucksnooze or his BFF, Tim Russert.

Sarah Palin, after proving to the world that she was a dumb as a bag of wet rocks, went into full attack the "Lamestream Media" mode (she really thinks that's clever) and only appeared with friendly, sympathetic "journalists." Even Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly were visibly shocked by her stupidity. Thus, Palin developed the Twitter strategy.

Now Rand Paul, after being exposed as Sarah Palin with a penis, backs out on Meet The Pimped, cries liberal media bias, and whines about not getting a post-victory honeymoon. He'll probably be restricting alll future interviews to Fucksnooze, so he can be assured of not being asked to explain why he thinks BP is the victim in the Gulf of Mexico.

Posted by: Winkandanod on May 22, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

MTP has had plenty of guests on that the same question could have been asked and Gregory choose not to ask that question or any other relevant questions of them. I guess he can not think of his own questions, NBC should can his ass and hire Maddow.

Posted by: Fed Up and Tired on May 22, 2010 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Paul will lose, just give it time. He'll figure out a way to get his message out, and will be surprised at how poorly it is received. Some people have questioned if the racism will hurt him in Kentucky -- I think it will, that Kentucky might accept a less obvious racist, but there is stil the proud mmory of John Sherman Cooper and other Kentucky Republican anti-racists -- who even McConnell mentiooned.

But the real ticking bomb out there. How long is it going to be before the 'good Republican preachers' out there suddenly discover that "Rand" stands for Ayn Rand, that it is her philosophy that both Daddy and Sonny Boy follow, and that she was *shudder* an atheist.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on May 22, 2010 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

The sad thing is that Rand will probably be replaced by John McCain or Newt Gingrich.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on May 22, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

T-Rex,

Heck, they've been doing it since Reagan.

Yep:

ON BENDED KNEE

Posted by: Joe Friday on May 22, 2010 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

@Amy in Pasadena on May 22, 2010 at 9:39 AM

It's one thing to have this guy representing Kentucky in the Senate, but if he gets elected to the Bundesrat that's just more than I can bear.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on May 22, 2010 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know why Democrats are trying to run Paul out of the race. The guy will be easy to beat in November. If the GOP forces him out, they might replace him with someone who can win.

So lay off the dude!

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on May 22, 2010 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Winkandanod!

Stop insulting rocks. :)

Posted by: bigtuna on May 22, 2010 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Treasure of the Sierra Kentucky

Dobbs: "If you're the US Senator what are your government policies?"
Gold Hat: "Government policies? We got one policies. We don't need no government! When elected I don't have to support your stinkin' Federal Government!"

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on May 22, 2010 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

It strikes me as funny that this GOP/Libertarian hack, who thinks that the disabled, the chronically ill, the uninsured, the unemployed, victims of discrimination, and those damaged by the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf should just hang tough and "suck it up," is just too "exhausted" from campaigning to show up for a talk show. This guy's not only a wingnut, he's also a weakling and a coward.

Posted by: ameshall on May 22, 2010 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

So true, ameshall. Rand reminds me of that other jerk, who got to be president mainly because his dad was. Would Rand Paul be anywhere on the national radar if not for his father's high profile (or John McCain randomly plucking him from obscurity)? I just love these arrogant little sons, who think they did it all by themselves.

Posted by: dalloway on May 22, 2010 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Two things:

1) I posted during the HCA aggravation, that I don't understand how Paul and a bunch of other fnckung GOP MDs, who after all were trained as scientists, can believe even a fraction of what they say they believe. Remember Frist and Terri Schiavo? The guy was a bleeping cardiac surgeon for cry-eye.

2) And Rand is an ophthalmologist, a highly trained precision surgeon. And BTW a hypocrite: his practice accepts medicare and medicaid patients. Let him act on his alleged beliefs.

Posted by: efgoldman on May 22, 2010 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

This is a quote from a post on the blog, http://nyliberalstateofmind.blogspot.com,
which was referenced in the balloon-juice thread Mr Benen cited above:

"It [Kentucky] has an adult illiteracy rate of about 40%."

A whole heck of a lot of explanatory power right there.

Posted by: smartalek on May 22, 2010 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Remember Frist and Terri Schiavo? The guy was a bleeping cardiac surgeon for cry-eye."
Posted by: efgoldman on May 22, 2010 at 4:08 PM

Yes, but he wasn't a brain surgeon -- and even if he had been, it's entirely possible that you don't have to be a brain surgeon to be a brain surgeon.

Posted by: smartalek on May 22, 2010 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

[...] his aide said he was tired after a long week.

Only in Galt-land can two-and-a-half days (Wednesday, Thursday and half of Friday) constitute a "week", never mind a "long week". There, of course, the blasted government doesn't dictate the hours; you take off when your job is done. It's only the drones at the lower levels whose job is never done and who have to toil 16hrs a day, 7 days a week (thank goodness that the govt has nothing to say about that, either)

Why, the guy could never stick it out in the Senate! The Congress week is shorter than many others but it's still at least full three days long.

Posted by: exlibra on May 22, 2010 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Lord I was born a randlin' man

doo doo

Lord I was born a randlin' man.

Kneer kneer kneer near!

Trying to make a living and doing the best I can....

This is the whole problem with the Teabaggers, etc.

Incoherent.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on May 23, 2010 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

Wonderful writing!, it is interesting. Looking forward for your new posts!

Posted by: Shizue Hammerlund on January 22, 2011 at 5:52 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: An Spanswick on January 22, 2011 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

Nice writing!, very informative. Continue making stuff like this, Looking forward for your new posts!

Posted by: Joann Kokesh on January 25, 2011 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Nigel Viscera on January 25, 2011 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: August Skocilich on January 25, 2011 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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