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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Rand Paul’s Weird Day

So welcome to the Big Time, Rand Paul! Fresh from his primary victory on Tuesday, the Kentucky Tea Party idol managed to tie himself into knots on Rachel Maddow’s show last night under questioning about past remarks doubting the wisdom of the public accomodations section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This morning he “clarified” his remarks and then started blasting Maddow and his critics, as conservatives across the chattering classes characterized this unforced error as a “smear” of poor innocent Paul.
In better news for the son of Ron, Rasmussen released the first post-primary poll of the Kentucky Senate race, and showed an astounding 25-point lead for Paul over Jack Conway. Rasmussen, of course, has been known to find Republican support at levels higher than any other pollster, particularly in Kentucky (a pre-primary poll showed Paul up by 14 points over Conway, when other polls showed a close race). Nate Silver wrote up some pretty good reasons why Rasmussen may have gotten this is a little wrong, mostly relating to the traditional problem that robo-polls often produce skewed response rates based on the enthusiasm of the respondent, which is a particularly bad practice when you’re doing a snap poll in the wake of a big and much-hyped primary win.
All in all, it was an up-and-down day for the Republican Senate nominee, but he best start getting his story straight, because it doesn’t require the analytical or rhetorical skills of a Rachel Maddow to deduce that the man has some beliefs that are not within shouting distance of the political mainstream. I can’t wait for the first time an interviewer demands to know exactly how he would immediately balance the federal budget without tax increases.

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