This week, Texas’s baby debate, the Zimmerman trial winding down, and Obamacare topped the news. So you could forgive Sen. Rand Paul if he ignored the news that broke about one of his advisors was a southern sympathizer.
Instead, Paul replied – and did so defiantly:
Paul (R-Ky.) stressed that he opposed such views, many of which have been recanted by the Senate aide, Jack Hunter, who co-wrote Paul’s first book in 2010 and who is now his social media adviser in Washington.
“I’m not a fan of secession,” Paul said. “I think the things he said about John Wilkes Booth are absolutely stupid. I think Lincoln was one of our greatest presidents. Do I think Lincoln was wrong is taking away the freedom of the press and the right of habeas corpus? Yeah.
…“Are we at a point where nobody can have had a youth or said anything untoward?” the senator asked rhetorically.
Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer are both running for office with scandals much closer in the rear view mirror, so it’s an apt question. But more than that, it’s a departure from the usual playbook on politicians handling negative information. Usually, Republicans will apologize, fire the offending staffer, and then pose for awkward pictures with black people.
Paul seems to understand that plan sends the public bullcrap meter off the charts. He answered honestly, instead.
And maybe it’s time for politicians to start doing things like that. Politically inconvenient sincerity builds good will (or what passes for good will when dealing with a politician). After all, if we was going to lie about something, surely he’d lie about this, right? It also demonstrates a healthy respect for the electorate’s intelligence.
Will it help him stand out during the GOP kumite in Spring 2016? Maybe not, since another likely candidate will have the same type of tough-talking honesty as his signature, too. At least it will set a good example.