While presidential campaigns have never exactly be dignified, high-minded affairs, the current one reached a new low this week when a self-described Rep. Ron Paul supporter announced he would be taking out a full page ad in a Texas alternative newspaper asking people to contact him if they had ever had sex with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The ad, which appeared Thursday in the weekly Austin Chronicle, says:
HAVE YOU EVER HAD SEX WITH RICK PERRY?
Are you a stripper, an escort or just a "young hottie" impressed by an arrogant, entitled governor of Texas? Contact CASH, and we will help you publicize your direct dealings with a Christian-buzzword-spouting, "family values" hypocrite and fraud.
The person behind the ad, who admits he is not only president of CASH (Committee Against Sexual Hypocrisy) but its only member is Robert Morrow, who told Salon.com that "he knows strippers in Austin who have stories about Perry, but none of them are willing to come forward to the press; hence, the need for an ad." [See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP hopefuls.]
"I think it's only a matter of time until somebody credible comes forward," Morrow told Salon’s Justin Elliot. And the moon might be made of green cheese.
As campaign tactics go this is the worst sort of thing, comparable to what Hustler’s Larry Flynt did several years ago while seeking to dig up dirt on anti-Clinton Republicans during impeachment. [Vote: Who is your pick for the 2012 GOP nomination?]
The Paul supporters are known to be a dedicated bunch—some might even call them fanatics—but this goes beyond the pale of acceptable. In the long run it may prove damaging to Perry—though I doubt it—but it is already damaging to Paul because it reinforces all the negative stereotypes about his campaign and about the people who want him to be the nation’s next chief executive. If Ron Paul is serious about becoming president, if he really wants to show he is a leader, then he needs to denounce what Morrow is doing and put a stop to it.