Jack Conway, Rand Paul, And Religious Smears In Politics

As I noted earlier today, the Kentucky Senate race has turned nasty, largely thanks to this ad that Jack Conway started running last week:

Even pundits on the left are criticizing Conway for the ad. Ezra Klein called Conway’s ad dishonorable and ugly, which is true, but Jonathan Chait detects something more sinister:

The trouble with Conway’s ad is that it comes perilously close to saying that non-belief in Christianity is a disqualification for public office. That’s a pretty sickening premise for a Democratic campaign.

It’s a sickening premise for any campaign regardless of political party. Elizabeth Dole tried the same tactic herself two years ago when she was running a tougher-than-expected campaign against Kay Hagen in North Carolina:

In this case, the ad was widely condemned in the media, and Dole ended up going on to lose the election. Hopefully, Conway will learn the same lesson.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Brummagem Joe says:

    ‘It’s a sickening premise for any campaign regardless of political party.”

    Oh puhleeze. Smears about the next life are quantitatively different than smears about this one. Pure sanctimony.

  2. Neil Hudelson says:

    Really neither of those ads can produce the political bite needed to win an election. It pales in comparison to what our neighbors to the North can do.