Monday, January 23, 2012

Rand Paul Run-In With TSA: Here Comes a New Campaign Issue

[Photos: Your tax dollars at work]

My hunch is we're only in Stage One of crazy so far in this presidential campaign, and God help us as Stages Two and Three (and maybe Four) roll up as the election approaches.

So today while Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney hurled rude insults at each other down in Florida, here comes an incident at the Nashville airport involving the TSA and Kentucky Sen. Rand (Name Has Nothing to Do With 'Ayn' Dammit!) Paul, son of the presidential candidate and current holder of the amusing-old-coot chair, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

It seems that Rand (Name Has Nothing to Do With 'Ayn' Dammit!) Paul triggered one of those infernal body scanners at the TSA checkpoint and was required to undergo a full-body patdown, which he declined to do.

The issue of those ridiculous, worthless, invasive and probably dangerous body-scanners aside, Sen. Paul's refusal created a stir at the airport, and a bigger one online. Quick as you can say "police state," the presidential candidate Ron Paul issued a statement denouncing the TSA for "detaining" his son.

Except the son wasn't technically detained, the TSA says. Dad's statement has now been revised to denounce the TSA for "inconveniencing" his son. It reads in part:

"The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe."

The ever-excitable Republican handmaiden Drudge, of course, is in a red-font tizzy over all of this, and among his hysterical links is one to the right-wing Daily Caller quoting Rand Paul saying he was "barked at" and ordered to remain in the TSA cubicle -- which I would readily agree arguably constitutes being "detained."

Quick as you can say message-of-the-day, the TSA has now become a controversy bubbling inside the presidential campaign.

The White House would be wise to stay far away from this one, in my opinion. And the TSA, which only last week was quietly admitted to be at fault in the manner in which two elderly women were strip-searched at separate airports late last year, again has some 'splaining to do. Not over the requirement for the patdown, which at least is a clear protocol, but in the evidently thuggish way Rep. Paul was treated after refusing that patdown.

No excuse for that, and again the TSA has to confront the issue of inapproproate behavior by its screeners.

Meanwhile, Paul is already promoting a conspiracy theory about his being inconvenience and/or detained. Stand by for Stage Two.


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