Will 'Aqua Buddha' Derail Rand Paul?

Tea Party favorite allegedly part of a secret liberal society, forced bong on college coed

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A new GQ profile of Rand Paul by Jason Zengerle alleges that while he was a student at Baylor University, the Kentucky GOP Senate candidate (and Tea Party darling) was a member of a liberal secret society, worshiped a God called "Aqua Buddha", and once tied up a coed and tried to force her to take bong hits. The story breaks just a week after Paul's campaign was forced to clarify that he never actually graduated from Baylor. Here's what people are saying about the effect the revelations will have on Paul's candidacy:

  • Problematic, Even In Kentucky The Atlantic's Joshua Green doubts the issue of Paul's degree will register with Kentucky voters "the same way it might if he were running in, say, Cambridge, Massachusetts." The same cannot be said for Zengerle's account "Paul's pot-fueled college antics in a liberal secret society called the NoZe Brotherhood that aspired to blasphemy--and his campaign's non-denial." Writes Green, "That's another matter entirely."
  • Troubling Non-Denials  Based on their initial response to Zengerle's story, Ben Smith of Politico questions whether Paul's campaign recognizes the story's political impact. Zengerle's profile, Smith argues, is "a bit too big a deal to be left in its ether of anonymity and non-denial."
  • A Non-Issue?  Michael McAuliff of the New York Daily News says Republicans believe the dated nature of the allegations in the piece "proved there wasn’t a lot to find [about Paul], since the incident is nearly 30 years old." Nevertheless, admits McAuliff, it's undeniable that the profile "makes for good reading."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.