Six weeks out from the Kentucky Republican primary for Senate, Secretary of State Trey Grayson and ophthalmologist Rand Paul are in a pitched battle over that most touchy of political subjects: the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Grayson, the underdog in the May 18 primary, began the back and forth with an ad that began airing over the weekend in which the narrator says that Paul “wonders whether 9/11 was our fault”.
Grayson doubled-down on the attack today with a 90-second web video that splices comments from Paul, Texas Rep. Ron Paul (Rand’s father) and, yes, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Here’s the Grayson ad:
There is much that could be said about this ad, not the least of it being the use of the Jeremiah Wright footage, but the fact is that Grayson is making the same sleazy argument that Rudy Giuliani did during the debate that the clips of Ron Paul came from:
Did Paul really say that American foreign policy was to blame for 9/11 ? Personally, I don’t think so. What he said was that American foreign policy was a contributing factor to the formation of the forces that now seek to destroy us.
And Andrew Sullivan contends that Giuliani openly lied about what Paul said:
Giuliani, interestingly, openly lied about Ron Paul’s position on 9/11. Paul specifically did not make a statement, as Giuliani immediately claimed, that the U.S. invited 9/11. I rewound to double-check. It was the Fox questioner who ratcheted up the stakes on that question, not Paul. Paul demurred on a specific answer and switched the question to the general issue of blowback. As to who’s right, the answer is both. Bin Laden – still at large and operating within the territory of Pakistan, an alleged ally which Cheney recently visited – both justified the 9/11 attack on those grounds but has a theology that doesn’t require such a casus belli. But now he doesn’t even need the theology. We have, alas, made more terrorists by our bungling in Iraq than Bin Laden could have dreamed of just six years ago.
That, I think, is the point that Congressman Paul, somewhat inarticulately, was making last night. American intervention and adventure-ism in the Middle East, which has been marked mostly by a history of bungling and backing the wrong guy 9 times out of 10, has helped guys like bin Laden recruit from among the Arab masses.
Of course, points like that don’t always matter in politics, and they are hard to make in sound bites, but, I think Rand Paul did a fabulous job of countering Grayson in the television ad that he released mere hours after the Garyson hit piece:
Good for you Dr. Paul ! Shame on you Grayson.
Update If you’re as perturbed as I am about Grayson’s shamelessness, you can do what I did — donate to Rand’s campaign.