As predicted, Rand Paul is going to debate Jack Conway on Monday night, even after his elaborate show of taking offense at Conway's inflammatory "Aqua Buddha" ad and suggesting he wouldn't. That's unquestionably the right move. The race has become a referendum on the ad, which I can't see being particularly helpful to Conway (local Republicans agree), but which has had one interesting effect that might: Paul has stopped talking about Obama, which seems like a not smart thing to do in Kentucky. Presumably, getting past the Aqua Buddha stuff will allow Paul to focus on pinning his opponent to Obama in the closing days of the race. Except....well, see if you can spot whose name is missing from Paul's remarks yesterday announcing his decision:
I continue to be astounded that Jack Conway thinks it is appropriate to attack my pro-life Christian faith and by inference my family. To date, he has refused to apologize for his abhorrent behavior and that is a shame.
For the past week, Republicans and Democrats across the nation have condemned my opponent's ad as "despicable," "odious," and "dangerous."
Throughout the last year and a half, dozens of people have brought personally damaging information to us about my opponent and his family. My instructions to my staff, "We won't go there."
Do I want a pat on the back for this? No. But would I like to raise the debate to a higher plane? Yes.
For that reason, while I do not respect Mr. Conway's inappropriate attacks, I do respect the voters of this state and therefore will participate in Monday's final debate.
Kentuckians deserve another opportunity to understand the very real differences between Jack and myself.
With ten days to go, I wish the campaign were about who has the best vision for Kentucky and America. We face a serious debt crisis in this country and I want to be part of finding the solution. I don't think the debate is advanced by personal invective and slander.
As the campaign comes to a close, I will continue to talk about the main issues of the day: an unsustainable debt, the federal takeover of healthcare, the President's desire to raise taxes in a recession, and the President's policies that are destroying coal related jobs.
I ask my opponent to do likewise, to aspire to statesmanship, to seek a higher plane for the betterment of our citizenry and cast aside the politics of personal destruction that diminish us all.