Rand Paul's Obama-Gay Marriage Slag: Does Anyone Else Wonder What The Joke Was Supposed to Be?


On Saturday, May 12, while speaking at an event sponsored by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) commented on President Barack Obama's recent endorsement (as a "personal" matter) of same-sex marriage.

Paul cracked the crowd up by saying:

The president recently weighed in on marriage. And, you know, he said his views were evolving on marriage. Call me cynical but I wasn't sure that his views on marriage could get any gayer. Now it did kind of bother me, though, that he used the justification for it in a biblical reference. He said the biblical Golden Rule caused him to be for gay marriage….

And I'm like: What version of the Bible is he reading? It's not the King James version. It's not the New American Standard. It's not the New Revised version. I don't know what version he is getting it from.

Now that doesn't mean we have to be harsh and mean and hate people. We understand sin and if we believe it's sin we still understand that people sin. And we understand that we are not out there preaching some sort of hateful dogma against people. But that doesn't mean that we have to go ahead and give up our traditions. We've got 6,000 years of tradition. There's a lot of stability, even beyond religion, there's stability in the family unit. Just from an anthropological point of view, the family is really important thing. We shouldn't just give up on it.

More here, via CNS.

I'm with Gawker's Louis Peitzman on this one:

I don't get it. I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to be delighted or offended, but I'm mostly just scratching my head.

If Rand Paul is using "gayer" in the pejorative sense — "that's so gay" and the like — he's saying he didn't think Obama's views on marriage could get any worse. But that would suggest there was something wrong with them before, and prior to his statement, Obama hadn't expressed support for marriage equality.

By the same token, if Paul means "gayer" literally, he's saying he thought Obama's views on marriage were already pretty fruity. Paul didn't think they "could get any gayer." Try as I might, I can't figure out what was homosexual about Obama's refusal to endorse marriage equality.

More here.

The lesson here may simply be that pols - even very smart ones such as Rand Paul - shouldn't ab-lib in an age of ubiquitous recording devices. Especially in front of red-meat audiences. The Golden Rule is simply about treating others as you want them to treat you; Sodom and Gomorrah need not apply. Marriage circa 4000 B.C. was a very different institution then it is now. And needless to say, it's patently unclear how creating marriage equality for all Americans might imperil "the family."

Was Paul simply getting belly laughs from an uptight crowd by effectively calling Obama kinda faggy, in the sense that grade-schoolers might? If so, that's really weak, especially from a guy who is undoubtedly the most libertarian member of the Senate. And the most interesting member, period. He understands better than most that politics and the state best be squeezed out of our lives, not interjected into them. Paul is pushing for the right thing in so many ways - he's backing fellow Sen. Mike Lee's budget plan, trying to kill the Ex-Im Bank, pushing the FOCUS Act, just to name three current initiatives. It's a shame to see him cast a shadow on those good efforts with obscure-but-offensive quips on things with which the government shouldn't be involved in the first place.

Read Matt Welch's and my interview with him or watch below.

NEXT: Reason Writers at the Movies: Peter Suderman Reviews The Dictator

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  1. The lesson here may simply be that pols - even very smart ones such as Rand Paul - shouldn't ab-lib in an age of ubiquitous recording devices.

    Definitely. The audience you're currently pandering to isn't necessarily going to be the only audience you have.

  2. I have no doubt that this will come back to haunt Rand Paul in the future.

    1. Let's hope so!

    2. Not in Kentucky.

      If he runs for president and wins the Republican primary, he's gonna have to do some serious backtracking when the general election polls come in.

  3. Is it just me, or does that picture look like something out of Star Trek?

    Needs a caption like "Beam me up, Daddy!"

    1. "Come and have some Tranya. That is, if you're not a fag."

      1. "No, really, I'm not a Vulcan."

      1. Is that Warty's dad?

        1. The terms dad and mom have no meaning to those who reproduce asexually.

    2. "Andrea, kiss Captain Kirk. Now strike him."

    3. Speaking of gay and Star Trek, remember Kirk's son? What was up with that?

      1. That's not gay. That's California college student.

  4. My guess is the joke was that Obama's views couldn't be any more gay because privately he's always been pro-gay-marriage or anti-traditional marriage.

    1. The logic breakdown by Peitzman is a reading comp answer on the LSAT. Most people don't express themselves logically while speaking as it is. Good ol' Rand was making a dehumanizing remark that plays well to "Real America". The belly laughs in the audience sound like a lot of people chafing under the cognitive dissonance of "hate the sin, love the sinner".

    2. I agree with this. The use of "call me a cynic" is the tip off.

      1. I wonder if politicians speeches show a tendency for "evolving" to be followed by adjectives ending in +er +est?

        On a comparative basis Obama was pro-gay as could be. Ergo, he couldn't evolve to be more +er.

  5. "Can't there be a politician I like that never says anything stupid I disagree with?"

    1. No.

      Any other questions?

    2. Only unless you become a politician...

      (...and that's only a necessary, not sufficient condition)

      1. I doubt even that would ever be sufficient. I know as t approached infinity, the probability that I said something stupid that I don't even agree with would approach 1.

        My personal theory, is that he was saying that Obama already basically had this position, but was too chicken to admit it. But he got caught up in the pandering of the moment, so there is also a fair amount of beavis-and-butthead level name calling in there.

    3. "Can't there be a politician I like that never says anything stupid I disagree with?"

      Only if you run for office yourself.

      And in denial about your capacity to say stupid shit you later ought to regret.

      My experience of running for office was every day was a fresh opportunity to be deeply ashamed of myself.

  6. Much ado about very little.

    Seriously, it's not like Paul slaughtered a newborn puppy and devoured its heart in front of an auditorium full of nuns and five-year-old childrunz.

    Either that, or there should be an equal outrage when blacks talk about "crackas" or gays using the term "breeders". Either it's across-the-board eggshell-treading, or it isn't.

    1. Come on!

      You know that tolerance means not tolerating intolerance!

      Tolerant people are obligated to go on the offensive when they see intolerance!

      Terms like "cracka" and "breeder" are expressions used by tolerant people to describe the intolerant people they are under no obligation to tolerate!

      1. Gosh, sarcasmic, I can't decide if I'm being microaggressed, or othered.

    2. When Senators are calling people crackas and breeders, I really hope you say it's much ado about very little.

      1. Why are you singling out politicians, and not including them with non-political scumbags?

        1. Because politicians make laws. Other people do not. What they believe is more important (in regards to the impact it has on my daily life) than what other random people believe.

        2. Because Rand Paul is a politician. I'm willing to forgive him for this stupid remark, because his general policy ideas are far better than just about any other schmuck in the Senate. But you're lowering the standard on public figures to that of the angry teenagers saying the N word with their bluetooth on Call of Duty.

    3. No one who says "breeders" is trying to stop gay people from getting married.

      No one who says "crackas" is trying to stop white people from getting married.

      This isn't about offensive language. This is about equality under the government's rules.

      But FIFY, I don't think you even have the intellect to process the distinction.

  7. "Don we now our gay apparel."

  8. Seems like a calculated move to me. I don't think you're giving Rand Paul enough credit. He throws out this kind of stupid 'red meat' for the same reason he pretends to humor Sean Hannity's dumb foreign policy opinions -- in an attempt to build what might actually be a winning coalition. Just pandering to libertarians isn't going to do it. There aren't nearly enough of us. He needs to excise chunks of the much larger socon and neocon movements, while hopefully keeping most libertarians happy enough.

    It's a risky strategy but it has a decent chance of working on a national scale, at least compared to his father's long shot attempts.

    1. He needs to excise chunks of the much larger socon and neocon movements, while hopefully keeping most libertarians happy enough.

      It's a risky strategy but it has a decent chance of working on a national scale, at least compared to his father's long shot attempts.

      What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? [Mark 8:36]

      1. Well he gets a really nice generally rounded office with an impressive desk

        1. And fat chicks to diddle with Cuban cigars (if he's into that kind of thing).

    2. Maybe, but this is exactly the kind of mental gymnastics various strains of lefties use to justify Obama's behavior too.

      1. No maybes. Rand is a Republican senator from red state Kentucky -- this sort of stuff probably boosts his approval ratings in that state.

        Not a good idea if he plans to run for president, though.

  9. and prior to his statement, Obama hadn't expressed support for marriage equality.

    not actually true. he evolved before he devolved before he revolved.

    1. Ummm, go to the tape. Obama was for gay marriage, then backtracked when that position became politically inexpedient, then forward tracked when he perceived his original position would give him momentary advantage, if I read Obama's motivations correctly.

      1. that's what I said in fewer words.

  10. Obama hadn't expressed support for marriage equality.
    He was fence-straddling, hence the "evolving views" quote Rand referred to. Seems obvious to me he is using "gayer" in the pejorative sense. It works as double-entendre to play into the perception of the president as effete.

    Fag-baiting is a great political strategy.

    1. I think the pejorative sense of 'gay' he used for the purpose of humor was 'lame'. Obama's lame views on gay marriage just got lamer. True in the sense that Obama's evolving views have always been about political necessity, but where Rand Paul fails is in not recognizing his own pandering.

  11. Not to throw scripture around, but I always thought a fundamental idea was at the heart of this:

    The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

    That being, institutions do not supersede individuals. To think that gay marriage is a threat to the institution of marriage you must assume the later.

    1. you must assume the later.

      you must assume the opposite to be true.

      Given I did not set up a former and a later above. Airplane modeling and the sweet nectar scent of Epoxy glue when I was a kid is what I blame it on.

    2. Paul made a lot of concessions in order to gain new converts.

      1. Ron, Rand or the Apostle?

        1. I was talking about Saint Paul but I was wondering after I typed it if anyone would think I meant Ron Paul:)

  12. the bible doesnt say gays cant marry

    1. No, it says they have to be killed.

      Or is that witches? Probably both gays and witches.

        1. He did catch hell for that.

    2. Traditional Biblical marriage has always been between a man and a woman. And then maybe some other women, plus some concubines and war trophies to bonk on the side. IIRC by the New Testament times, Jewish men were effectively limited to 4-5 wives by being tasked with pleasing each wife once a week.

      And then we get to the New Testament's bizarre invocations against marriage. Of course, you may just want to avoid all that pain and become a eunuch.

      1. I've used that argument with socons, and they've flatly denied that any of that is in the Bible. When I've pointed out where it is in the Bible, they've used either a bizarre explanation that those passages don't count or that all-purpose scathing rebuttal, "La la la, I can't hear you."

        1. My brother was dating a girl from a very religious family. He would draw her mother into theological debates, but he would just make shit up (e.g., quoting from Evolutions 2:17)and she'd believe him.

          1. I betcha she was hot.

            1. The girlfriend or the mother? (Or both?)

        2. Well, if they like an OT passage, they'll say Jesus came to fulfill every jot and tittle. If they don't like it -- or the passage is just untenable in modernity -- then Jesus came to free us from the old law. If you can believe both, you can really believe anything. I've heard a Christian quote Genesis 2:24 -- you know, the supposed justification for monogamous marriage about "one flesh" that's echoed later when talking about a man and a hooker -- and in the next breath say she was a person of the New Testament once the other lady brought up some OT silliness (I think something about period blood).

          I can understand people who don't quote scripture and think the whole thing's a moral guide that shows the evolution of our understanding and morality. And I can understand fundies. But I don't get cafeteria Christianity.

          Oh, and thanks H(ampersand)R for banning ampersands. They're pretty damn important in URLs.

              1. Sorry*, but there is something of an interpretive tradition re the Bible, both in Judaism and Christianity, and it's more sophisticated and complex than the either/or analysis may suggest.

                Even in Judaism the mainstream tradition makes the death penalty for sodomy, disrespecting parents, etc. unenforceable in practice, so all these capital crimes form a "holiness code" rather than a criminal code.

                And Jesus quoted the passage in Genesis about how God made them male and female - in the context of explaining marriage and decrying divorce (Mark 10:1-12). By gay-rights standards, this is a grossly homophobic statement.

                *not really.

                1. The point of the "one flesh" statement is not that only a man and a woman can marry, but that their connection creates indissoluble bonds:

                  What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

                  1 Corinthians 6:16

                  It's more about respecting those bonds than an invocation against other marital practices, like polygyny. After all, Abraham follows it up with a few wives.

                  And no, I have no reason to respect an "interpretive tradition" if it's used merely to relegate untenable teachings to the realm of allegory. Many of these things were meant as literal truth when written, but now we can no longer accept many of them. The fact that certain religions acquiesce to modernity is not an indication of a vibrant dialogue among believers but that wealth or subsequent moral philosophy or greater sympathy for others has demanded religions to change.

                  Theologians can do whatever they want. But we're talking about lay believers and often adjacent passages here.

  13. Sounds like a pretty good plan to me dude.


  14. I knew I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up that he was the first-ever non-pandering politician.

  15. We've got 6,000 years of tradition.

    And about 4,000 years of that tradition was polygamous. When are the SoCons going to stand up for traditional multiple marriage?

    1. Don't forget the marrying off of young 14 year old girls.

      1. 14-years old? Yaweh was a Cougar-hunter compared to Allah.

  16. Over-sensitivity is gay.

    1. Fair enough. Perhaps Rand is still a little over-sensitive about the prank Sacha Baron Cohen pulled on his dad?

      1. That guys a total dick if for no other reason than subjecting my eyes to his hairy oxen looking friend masturbating covered only by a magazine. I had to wash mY eyeballs out with a hydrogen pyroxide solution. I really only caught like 5 minutes of Borat and unfortunately that scene was part of it.

        1. PAUL: No, no. Movies I used to see are 'Sound of Music.' Tonight, I was sitting here watching 'Gone with the Wind.' So, I don't watch that kind of stuff. And I understand he makes a lot of money. But, if he makes a lot of money, I have to permit the market to do this.


          1. Gone with the wind? Racist!

        2. "I really only caught like 5 minutes of Borat and unfortunately that scene was part of it."

          That's your loss. Honestly, I've got to argue that was one of the funniest movies ever.

          1. I honestly don't feel too upset about not seeing the rest:)

          2. Wait that was supposed to be funny?

            Here I thought he was just part of a biggest moron competition.

            I lasted 10 minutes into the movie and then decided I had recieved enough punishment and turned it off.

  17. BTW, slightly off topic, and I would save it for the evening links but I'm cooking for guest tonight, but does finding Katherine Heigl attractive in this pic make me gay? Whatever else you say about her, I wished more women had her sense of fashion and even modesty.

    1. I don't think that skirt is covering a penis, so I'd say no.

    2. My boner says no.

      1. Yeah, but I'm not sure it's because I find her hot, or I really love those boots.

        1. Yeah, I would have her leave those boots on.

          1. The boots are adorbs. /official female ruling

          2. Yeah, the boots are hot, but so is the dress.

            I'd have her leave everything on and just lift the dress a few inches.

        2. The boots are awesome.

    3. She does look like a very passable TG in that pic, but being attracted to a woman is never ever gay.

    4. If that's modest, give me slutty!

  18. Yeah I am continually dismayed that the best voices for limited government in the public sphere are also Fundamentalist Christian whackjobs. I mean it is great that they do a pretty good job of keeping their religious beliefs out of their legislative agendas but damnit can't we get a big name politician whose generally libertarian and at least a religious liberal as well (sadly an atheist is impossible, we'll see Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim presidents before an Atheist gets into the oval office)

  19. Overall I think his line of pandering should have been what I read on here a week ago : "I congratulate Mr Obama on moving to the left on this issue and finally agreeing with Dick Cheney, that this is fundamentally a states right issue". The amount of cognitive dissonance caused by this statement leaves him impervious to attacks from either the left or right.

    1. Also, We need to remember that Pat Robertson is now for ending MJ prohibition, and use this same line of attack whenever a TeadBlue guy budges in the right direction.

  20. No updates, but it does appear we have proof that God loves the French.

    From Drudge . . .

    FLASH: New French President Fran?ois Hollande's plane hit by lightning...

  21. I don't think it was a joke. He was saying, call me a cynic but Obama already supported this. He was already gay for gay marriage. Somehow that came out as "gayer" (i.e. as pro-gay as they could be).

    The audience got a joke that wasn't a joke.

    1. If that was the case he probably should have tried to make that point.

      Citing his views in the 90's would have been a good start.

  22. OT: When the fuck is Billy Graham gonna die?

    1. About 10 years ago, but the devil decided at the time that Graham was doing such a good job turning people away from Jesus that his undead ass was sent right back to keep up the hate.

  23. When the Paulites complete the take over of the Iowa Republican party infrastructure, Rand won't have to go talk to the So-Cons any more, unless he really wants to.

  24. I am sorely disappoint in Rand for this comment. I think a fucking US Senator should know better than to use gay in the pejorative sense. Call me cosmo if you want, I don't think pandering to SoCons should take priority over representing the ideas of liberty in a coherent fashion.

    1. You're a cosmo.

      How is it pandering if Rand really agrees with them? Regardless, pandering is a necessary political tactic. Why do you think both Gary Johnson and Mike Huckabee support the "fair tax"?

      1. Well, Johnson might be pandering, but Huckabee is just a slimy statist fuck who can play the bass.

      2. Yeah I'm actually totally ok with being of the cosmo variety. You are correct on it not being pandering if Rand agrees. I guess I'm pretty strongly convinced that if you can't get government out of the marriage business marriage rights need to be offered to all consenting adults regardless of whether their chosen partner makes SoCons uncomfortable.

  25. The joke is all the libertarians who though Rand Paul would choose us over social conservatives when it came down to brass tacks.

    1. Why can't he choose both?

      1. Because a group that demands the government monitor and correct the behavior of individuals according to their personal aesthetics and a group that demands to be left alone are irreconcilable.

  26. Seems like a bad phrase for a politician, unless he's like Shakespeare and makes up his own words. But didn't Newsweek pretty much vindicate him with their cover on "the first gay president"?

  27. But that doesn't mean that we have to go ahead and give up our traditions. We've got 6,000 years of tradition. There's a lot of stability, even beyond religion, there's stability in the family unit.

    Hmmm, last time I read the Old Testament cover to cover, that stable family unit included polygamy.

    I am disappoint at Rand here.

  28. More so wondering what the point of this article was supposed to be...

  29. gay marriage - what else do you expect from the Everybody Gets a Trophy generation?

  30. When Christmas comes around, they'll all be donning their gay apparel and fa-la-la-la-lating anything that drops trow in their face.

  31. Sheeyat, another limited government guy who backs up his points on social issues with Biblical references. Why not throw in some Leviticus in there as well? He's on the wrong side of history. We're doomed. I just hope Johnson runs in 2016 for the Republicans and is allowed to debate next time. Hopefully he'll get some glow by then, too.

  32. This isn't hard at all.
    There's no way you can rationally/consistently appeal to the Bible to justify same sex marriage.
    IOW it's pretty "gay" to do so, much less Geo. W. Obama has been pretty obtuse about his real position up until now.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, we don't believe in the Bible, the Bible is not reasonable yada yada yada.
    But that's not the point. GWO claims to believe in Scripture and to be a Christian. Likewise Rand P.
    Ergo the latter's comments - whether you agree with his presuppositions and faith or not.

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