Of all the Tea Party-inspired candidates running this cycle, there are few more insufferable than Rand Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul who is running for Senate in Kentucky. His campaign has stooped to epic lows in its attempts to convince one of the poorest electorates in the country that his brand of Country Club Republicanism is what they're desperately searching for.
But I'll admit, it was great to see Paul lay the smackdown on Democratic candidate Jack Conway for injecting xenophobia into the race. Conway recently ran an ad against Paul accusing the opthamologist of being a member of a college society that...gasp..."mocked Christianity," as well as forcing a woman in college to bow down to "a false idol." It's hard to describe you gotta watch it yourself.
"How ridiculous are you," asked Paul at a later debate. "Have you no decency?"
Conway was visibly uncomfortable during the debate, and clearly did not enjoy launching the accusations his strategists advised him to make.
A similar incident occurred two years ago, when Elizabeth Dole ran an ad accusing her opponent of accepting donations from the "Godless America PAC," which promotes secularism and the separation of Church and State. "Kay Hagan took Godless money," intoned the announcer.
In the North Carolina race, the ad likely backfired. It didn't help Dole's cause that Hagan was a Sunday school teacher.
These are examples of ads that can backfire. I am guessing the Conway one will as well. When you make a character attack, you can't half-ass it. You can't tepidly toss mud. Just like Joe McCarthy, Jack Conway will likely wake up in a cold sweat with the phrase "Have you no decency?" ringing in his head for the rest of his life.