A reader writes:

You wrote, "What I like about Paul - his artless honesty - is unlikely to survive the media churn."  Forgive me for invoking Orwell, but I think you are failing to see what is in front of your nose. What is going unseen by many is that the Maddow interview and Paul's desperate lurches since have exposed him as an evasive, dishonest prevaricator who either doesn't have a coherent philosophy, or wants to obscure the philosophy because he knows articulating and defending that philosophy would make his path to office more difficult. He's "artless" only in the sense of being unprepared and inarticulate, neither of which are virtues.

Crisis, the saying goes, doesn't build character; it reveals it. This revealed a lot about Rand Paul.

Another writes:

Artless honesty?!? That's a great euphemism for ignorance. Or maybe for zealotry. Two things you deplore in Sarah Palin. But you accept them in any American political figure with the last name of Paul.

To compare Paul's clumsy intellectual libertarianism with Palin's proud ignorance seems unfair. Another:

I understand and respect why, at least in theory, you support Rand Paul's candidacy. But despite his libertarian rhetoric and intellectual intrigue, he's still very much at home within the Republican Party. So I have to ask you: Will you condemn Paul the way you condemn others like Sarah Palin who call the president "un-American?"  Because that's precisely what he did, saying, "What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.' I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business."

If you want to champion his economic platform, that's fine. But please don't let him get away with the same kind of shit for which you criticize Palin just because Paul is more of an intellectual. He still succumbs to the same kind of rhetoric that is damning the majority of the Republican Party.

Agreed. And I will. I just felt the pile-on was already pretty thick. And look: all I hope is that no one among those now tarring and feathering Paul at some point expresses disappointment with the way all politicians follow talking points, we never have nuanced or interesting political conversations on cable, we need to elevate the discourse, etc. etc. However flawed, Paul has strayed outside the media and political comfort zone into sincerely held, if complicated and controversial, beliefs. And he has now been pummeled for it.

You get what you ask for in the end.

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