Stateside,  The Right

The appalling Mr. Paul

Republicans have been saying some really weird stuff recently, but Rand Paul, who actually stands a chance of being elected to the US Senate, is vying for top honors in the field.

As you may recall, Paul– son of weird libertarian Congressman Ron Paul of Texas– won the GOP nomination for senator from Kentucky and immediately suggested that the 1964 Civil Rights Act– by barring private businesses from discriminating on the basis of race– goes too far. He later said President Obama’s tough criticism of BP in connection with the horrendous oil spill in the Gulf was “un-American.”

Now– in a state where coal mining employs thousands– Paul has spoken his remarkable mind again.

The Republican running to replace outgoing Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.)… said recently that Washington has no business formulating mine safety rules.

“The bottom line is: I’m not an expert, so don’t give me the power in Washington to be making rules,” Paul said at a recent campaign stop in response to questions about April’s deadly mining explosion in West Virginia, according to a profile in Details magazine. “You live here, and you have to work in the mines. You’d try to make good rules to protect your people here. If you don’t, I’m thinking that no one will apply for those jobs.”

“I know that doesn’t sound … I want to be compassionate, and I’m sorry for what happened, but I wonder: Was it just an accident?”

Say what? Congress can only impose regulations if its members are “experts” in the field to be regulated? Paul is an opthamologist. Does that mean he’ll only consider himself qualified to vote on eye-related legislation?

And does he really think that in areas of high unemployment like eastern Kentucky, residents will refuse badly-needed mining jobs because safety standards aren’t strong enough? These people have families to feed, house, clothe and educate. They’re in no position to be choosy. What sort of privileged bubble is he living in?

As for “Was it just an accident?” Please, Rand, explain exactly what you mean by this. The voters of Kentucky have a right to know.

Finally, Joshua Green quotes from a GQ article about Rand Paul’s years as a student at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he belonged to a secret society called the NoZe Brotherhood.

The strangest episode of Paul’s time at Baylor occurred one afternoon in 1983 (although memories about all of these events are understandably a bit hazy, so the date might be slightly off), when he and a NoZe brother paid a visit to a female student who was one of Paul’s teammates on the Baylor swim team. According to this woman, who requested anonymity because of her current job as a clinical psychologist, “He and Randy came to my house, they knocked on my door, and then they blindfolded me, tied me up, and put me in their car. They took me to their apartment and tried to force me to take bong hits. They’d been smoking pot.” After the woman refused to smoke with them, Paul and his friend put her back in their car and drove to the countryside outside of Waco, where they stopped near a creek. “They told me their god was ‘Aqua Buddha’ and that I needed to bow down and worship him,” the woman recalls. “They blindfolded me and made me bow down to ‘Aqua Buddha’ in the creek. I had to say, ‘I worship you Aqua Buddha, I worship you.’ At Baylor, there were people actively going around trying to save you and we had to go to chapel, so worshiping idols was a big no-no.”

Ha ha. Those crazy college kids.

And still Paul leads his Democratic opponent Jack Conway in the polls. The good news is that the election isn’t for another three months, which gives Paul many more opportunities to make a fool of himself– perhaps enough to allow for a Democratic victory in a heavily Republican state in an election year favoring Republicans.

Update: The Barefoot and Progressive blog is running an Aqua Buddha Photoshop contest. I like this one: