US Republican Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul addresses the 2015 Conservative Policy Summit at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC on Jan. 13, 2015.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

Rand Paul and ‘temporal’ relationships

Updated
No one likes admitting when they’re wrong, especially in politics, but owning up to missteps is occasionally necessary. 
 
Someone probably ought to let Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) know.
 
On a few too many occasions, the Republican senator and likely presidential candidate has caused trouble for himself, and in each instance, instead of acknowledging an error, Paul takes a less constructive course. When he objected to provisions of the Civil Rights Act, the Kentucky lawmaker lashed at out the media for reporting what he said. When he got caught plagiarizing, he again blamed journalists. When he argued that the U.S. should end aid to Israel, Paul denied saying his own words.
 
And yesterday, it happened again on vaccines.
Paul attempted to clarify his comments in a statement Tuesday, saying, “I did not say vaccines caused disorders, just that they were temporally related – I did not allege causation. I support vaccines, I receive them myself and I had all of my children vaccinated.”
A day earlier, in a nationally televised interview, the senator specifically said, on camera, “I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”
 
Paul’s new explanation is that vaccines and mental disorders are “temporally related”? Seriously? The senator would have us believe he thinks vaccines and mental disorders are roughly in the same place on some kind of space-time continuum?
 
Soon after, the GOP lawmaker tweeted a picture of himself getting a booster vaccine. “Wonder how the liberal media will misreport this?” he asked in the message.
 
So far, Paul hasn’t pointed to any evidence that news organizations “misreported” his original comments by airing portions of his televised interview.
 
Making matters just a little worse, additional details from Paul’s recent past came to light yesterday:
Video of an interview surfaced on Tuesday in which Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told the conspiracy theory website InfoWars.com in 2009 that mandatory vaccinations could lead to “martial law” in America.
 
“The first sort of thing you see with martial law is mandates, and they’re talking about making it mandatory,” Paul said of vaccinations on InfoWars’ channel “Prison Planet TV.” […]
 
It wasn’t the only time Sen. Paul had spoken to Jones’s site about creeping totalitarianism: In 2010, Paul spoke to another InfoWars reporter about the dangers of “world government” and the Bilderberg conference, a frequent fixation of small-government conspiracy-mongers. Asked what he knew about Bilderberg, Paul said, “only what I’ve learned from Alex Jones.”
Paul was, at the time, a member of a conspiracy-theory medical group that not only balked at vaccines, but also argued that HIV does not cause AIDS.
 
I realize much of the Beltway media has decided Rand Paul is “interesting” and deserving of credibility. I’m not entirely sure how, exactly, the political establishment reached this conclusion, but by all appearances, it did. But as we discussed yesterday, once any politician develops a reputation as a crackpot, his or her future is limited.
 
The Rachel Maddow Show, 2/3/15, 9:37 PM ET

Vaccine science becomes GOP point of debate

Rachel Maddow reports on the litany of declared and expected Republican candidates for president in 2016 who seized upon the unexpected contention over the validity of vaccinations to clarify (or run from) their positions on the matter.

Rand Paul and Vaccinations

Rand Paul and 'temporal' relationships

Updated