John A. Tures: Vance ruined Rand's attack on Hillary

April 25, 2014 

Rand Paul has attacked Hillary Clinton for having a husband who took advantage of a staffer. But conservative GOP Rep Vance McAllister ruined Sen. Paul's main argument against former Sen. Hillary Clinton with his shenanigans.

Kentucky Sen. Paul, who is likely to run for president in 2016, started the line of attack against his likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Paul has chosen a unique line of attack. Instead of going after Hillary, who has plenty of baggage from Senate votes and her Secretary of State service, he decided to attack her husband, popular former President Bill Clinton.

"One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses should not prey on young interns in their office. And I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this. He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior … Then they (Democrats) have the gall to stand up and say Republicans are having a war on women," Paul said, according to Tom Curry with NBC News.

Of course, it is a bit of a stretch to blame the woman who was cheated on, for her husband having the affair. But that didn't stop Sen. Paul. "It's not Hillary's fault, but it is a factor in judging Bill Clinton in history … sometimes, it's hard to separate one [Clinton] from the other."

But unless Hillary knew about the affair and approved of it, the logic really doesn't follow.

It got even worse for Sen. Paul when it was revealed that Louisiana GOP Rep. Vance McAllister was caught on a security camera kissing one of his staffers. It turns out that she's a 33-year old married woman … or at least was. The staffer's husband said they may get divorced. He's devastated.

According to Bill Barrow's AP story on the subject, Heath Peacock, the husband of the woman in the video, told CNN that McAllister is "about the most nonreligious person I know" and "broke out the religious card" only for votes.

I give a lot of credit to GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. He called upon McAllister to resign. Given that McAllister won the district, which used to be represented by Democrat-turned-GOP congressman, such a resignation could open up opportunities for a Democrat to win this race. That took guts, Mr. Jindal, and I appreciate your willingness to put principle ahead of party power.

According to Huffington Post, the woman (who turned out to be the cleaning lady) was fired from her job. That doesn't help the argument that there isn't a war on women.

McAllister initially got elected because he touted his devout Christian credentials and strong family values (he has five kids). He claimed that he had admitted the affair to his wife, asked for forgiveness, and was counseled by a member of the "Duck Dynasty" show (remember back when some congressman would seek help from their pastor or a televangelist?). He refused to resign and said he wouldn't do so unless the voters made him leave.

While staying out of the public limelight, hoping the scandal will blow over while he hides, Rep. McAllister also missed several key votes on the Republican budget. He did take the time to call for an FBI investigation into how the security tape was leaked to the press.

After an extensive search, I couldn't find any comment from Rand Paul about this Louisiana congressman, who is clearly embarrassing the GOP the way Bill Clinton did for the Democrats in the 1990s.

We've already seen Gov. Jindal take a stand. Several GOP congressmen, the state GOP chair and the House Speaker have all told him to resign, or strongly suggested it.

When will Sen. Paul break his silence on the matter? Chances are, he's thinking up a new argument to use against Hillary, because he needs another one now.

John A. Tures, associate professor of political science, LaGrange College; jtures@lagrange.edu.

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