Attention everyone! Senator Rand Paul will not be allowing Rachel Maddow to ruin his reputation with her (indisputable) claims that the Kentucky Republican has been plagiarizing parts of his speeches directly from Wikipedia. In fact, if it were up to him, he'd challenge her to a duel right here and now because, as every modern person knows, nothing quite says "I'm right" like resorting to violence to prove your non-existent point.
On Sunday, Sen. Paul was a guest on ABC's This Week, where he responded to Maddow's (again, indisputable) accusations, saying:
“Yes, there are times when [speeches] have been sloppy or not correct or we’ve made an error, but the difference is I take it as an insult and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting. I have never intentionally done so...And like I say, if, you know, if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know, it would be a duel challenge. But I can’t do that, because I can’t hold office in Kentucky then.”
Once more, the "they" he's referring to are Rachel Maddow — who first picked up the story — and the other media outlets that ran with it (mostly Buzzfeed). All entities, I'm sure, are shaking in their boots.
Vocalizing his desire for an ol' timey duel isn't Paul's first attempt to defend himself against Maddow. The Senator originally fired back by saying that MSNBC host had committed plagiarism on her own show as well, but the accusations ended up amounting to nothing other than another great response by Maddow herself.
"You can try to make this whole problem for yourself about me," she invited. "Try to make me the story. Go for it. Good luck. I can take it.”
Which leads us to Paul's pitiful and wishful threats. Unfortunately for the senator, however, his newest attempt to distract from the controversy only detracts from his credibility both as a politician and as a viable presidential candidate in 2016.
As Joan Walsh writes on Salon:
Paul’s assumption that normal people will hear his reference to fighting a duel and say, “Hell yeah!” betrays his permanent residency on the American fringe. He lives in a world where it’s always the 19th century south, and troubles are best handled with guns and guts, not government. Paul acts like nobody’s ever been either smart enough, or brave enough, to tell the plain truth – and once he does, common sense voters will recognize it and reward him. Instead, they recoil and go, “Huh?”
Meanwhile, Maddow continues to win the showdown with a rapier wit rather than an actual rapier.
Rand Paul Muses About ‘Dueling’ With His Accusers [New York Times]