Most people (Americans anyway) know who Ron Paul is. For those of you who don’t, and didn’t feel like clicking the link, here is his picture.
Well, his son is in politics–he’s running for the Kentucky Senate–and now in the news. And he is in the news big time at the moment, for something that would be downright hilarious if not for one small detail.
Here is the article. It is also below so you don’t have to click on the link if you don’t want to. Can you guess what that small detail is?
Just when the weird anecdotes involving Kentucky Republican Rand Paul appeared to have been exhausted, GQ published a profile of the Tea Party favorite that included a bizarre, colorful and decidedly sketchy episode from his college years.
The strangest episode of Paul’s time at Baylor occurred one afternoon in 1983 … when he and a [brother in his liberal secret society] 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.”
The story is almost too bizarre to digest in full — from the blindfolded, pot-infused kidnapping to the weird worship of the Aqua Buddha deity. And, in that respect, it’s important to note that it was delivered via anonymous attribution.
Paul’s campaign has not yet responded to requests for comment, telling GQ merely that “During his time at Baylor, Dr. Paul competed on the swim team and was an active member of Young Conservatives of Texas.”
But there is an important thread to be drawn between the candidate’s Baylor years and his current run for office. Both then and now, Paul showed something akin to an abject disdain for the establishment. His involvement in a secretive society that was targeted by school authorities; his instigation of various pranks around campus (digging up a time capsule, for one) seem echoed — to a certain extent — in the anti-government libertarian philosophy that has defined his Senate campaign.
UPDATE: The Paul campaign responds with a statement from spokesman Jesse Benton that ignores post-John Edwards scandal media realities: “National Enquirer type stories about Dr. Paul’s teenage years should be left to the tabloids where they belong.”
UPDATE II: As Ben Smith notes, the Paul campaign still has yet to deny the charges, but is now threatening to sue. “We are investigating all our options – including Legal ones,” Paul aide Jesse Benton emailed Smith. “We will not tolerate drive by Journalism by a writer with a leftist agenda.”
“We’ve vetted, researched, and exhaustively fact-checked Jason Zengerle’s reporting on Rand Paul’s college days, we stand by the story, and we gave the Paul campaign every opportunity to refute it,” GQ Editor-in-Chief Jim Nelson responded. “We notice that they have not, in fact, refuted it.”
If you said “kidnapping” then you would win the prize, that is, if there were a prize to be won. But there isn’t, so sorry if I got your hopes up there for a millisecond. Yes, what keeps this from being the best story in politics since that one guy “hiked the Appalachian Trail” (I can’t wait to see what Stewart does for this Rand Paul “scandal”) is the kidnapping aspect, which really is too bad since this story about Rand Paul and his crazy college hi jinx totally trumps the one about the dude and his Latin American lover.
I like the idea of a hedonistic and heathenistic evening, complete with illicit substances and worship of some crazy water god–probably nothing more than a result of the reefer. This is classic college type behavior, strange as it is. Still, there is the whole issue of the kidnapping, and that really sullies the whole thing, taking it from a fun and harmless night of worshiping the Great Old Ones. In fact, the existence of the kidnapping really bums me out, and almost makes it so that I cannot enjoy the sheer absurdity and impishness of this action. I say almost because even with the nausea inducing kidnapping and subsequent attempted stoning by force (They were probably listening to too much Bob Dylan at the time) and compulsive worship of some kind of pagan false idol nature god of water thingy this whole story is so ludicrous that I can’t help but smile at it a little bit.
There is no excuse for any of their actions as far as the girl is concerned. Had she gone along willingly then there would be no problem because the whole incident would fall under the “we did a silly thing, but we all acted as consenting adults so whatever” category, but unfortunately that is not the case and now ole Randy Rand might have to face the music, and by that I mean Kentucky voters, of course. After all, this is an election year.
Now, I don’t really care about Rand Paul, or Ron Paul for that matter. To me, they are both crazy as loons. But as the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day (and here we are of course talking about old school clocks and watches that had hands, not these newfangled digital watches (I know, digital watches aren’t new, I was just trying, and failing miserably I am sure, to be funny)) and Ron Paul does sometimes say something that I can appreciate/agree with.
For example, not considering a nuclear option, no matter how limited, as far as Iran is concerned. (These aren’t his exact words, but I do seem to remember him being the only Republican Presidential Candidate in one of the debates to say that he would not use nuclear weapons against Iran or any other country and that he was appalled that the other nine candidates not only endorsed the idea, but did so quickly and without hesitation. I made a half ass search to find a video of Paul addressing/chastising his opponents, but I didn’t have any luck.)
I think what really creeps me out about this story is that I just finished watching “The Millennium Trilogy,” which is a series of movies about, among other things, the abuse and violence of women. Here is the trailer for the first movie, which in my opinion was the best of the three.They are Swedish movies, that is why there is no speaking in the trailer.
I found the second one to be quite formulaic and pretty boring (though I am sure it was a good book because the movie hints a lot of plot threads and goings on, but it never reconciles them in such a way that they feel connected and relevant to one another). The third one is closer in artistry and composition to the first one, but (thankfully) there is relatively little new violence against women–most of the violence and abuse of women that we seen in the third film is implied, and literally what we are shown in Part One.
Anyway, the idea of kidnapping a woman, forcing her to do drugs and then worship water reminds me of these movies. Granted, there was no violence toward this woman who Randy and his friend abducted, at least very little as I am sure there was some because it cannot be easy to force someone to take bong rips without using a little bit of violence, like maybe holding her head to the pipe to make sure that she smokes it–hey that’s kind of like a rape scene (of course it is not a rape scene, and I am in no way implying that Randy is a rapist, I am simply stating the similarities between the two images) because a bong is a phallic type symbol. But I digress…
There is always an element of uncertainty concerning the authenticity of stories like this, and I suppose it is possible that this story was made up or at the very least exaggerated. After the whole Shirley Sherrod fiasco anything is possible and sources must be quadruple checked. Still, I believe this story to be true. It is simply too bizarre and weird to be a fabrication–cliché alert! cliché alert!–“the truth is often stranger than fiction,” is the common phrase, but I prefer this variation, “you couldn’t make that shit up if you tried,” and it is that assumption under which I am working.
So when this story is verified and there is no doubt of its authenticity I hope the good people of Kentucky will exercise their rights as voters, do the moral thing, and NOT elect Rand Paul to the U.S. Senate. We don’t need someone who kidnapped a girl when he was in college representing a state in the U.S. Senate. Now I realize we live in a representative democracy and that there are probably others out there who have behaved similarly to Randy and that he would in fact be the best choice to represent them, since he is truly on of them, but to that sentiment I say hogwash.
That’s right, hogwash, I say.
Sure I believe in forgiveness and redemption and all that crap, but electing Randy Paul to the U.S. Senate is not the right thing to do. It would be like re-electing Ted Kennedy after his actions resulted in the death of another person. Oh wait, I guess that’s not the best example since Kennedy was still a senator 40 years after that incident, but then again Rand Paul is no Ted Kennedy so I do not think the “mitigating circumstances” (he was a Kennedy after all) justification should or can be applied to Paul.