A new GQ article,Rand Paul's Kooky College Days (Hint: There's a Secret Society Involved) , is richoceting across the blogosphere. Jason Zengerle has apparently spent a good deal of time interviewing Paul's college classmates at Baylor University in the early 1980's. Paul's campaign manager calls it "character assassination" and threatens a libel suit.
The "strangest" anecdote in the GQ excerpt is retold by a woman who was on the swim team with Paul. She alleges that Paul and another male student tried to force her to smoke marijuana, then as she was blindfolded, drove her to a creek where she was forced to bow and say "I worship you Aqua Buddha, I worship you."
"We have consulted our attorney about avenues for a libel suit," Paul's campaign manager Jesse Benton said in an e-mail Monday night, "I think that speaks to the story's validity."Asked if the campaign expects more articles by media scouring Paul's past, Benton wrote:
"I am sure that some leftist agenda driven writers will try to drub up other nonsense, but they will find slim pickings even when they take extreme liberties with truth. Jack Conway and the liberal elites cannot win on the real issues of jobs, debt and out of control spending, so they will try the only avenue left to them: the character assassination of good man."
“I suspect the number of Senate candidates who kidnapped a fellow student, forced her into some bizarre ritual, and worshiped the ‘Aqua Buddha’ is fairly low," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Alec Gerlach.
The online publication of the GQ excerpt will certainly pique interest in the entire article when it is published. Who knows what else Zengerle will report. He writes that while Paul was at Baylor,
According to several of his former Baylor classmates, he became a member of a secret society called the NoZe Brotherhood, which was a refuge for atypical Baylor students. "You could have taken 90 percent of the liberal thinkers at Baylor and found them in this small group," recalls Marc Burckhardt, one of Paul's former NoZe Brothers. Sort of a cross between Yale's Skull & Bones and Harvard's Lampoon, the NoZe existed to torment the Baylor administration, which it accomplished through pranks and its satirical newspaper The Rope. The group especially enjoyed tweaking the school's religiosity. "We aspired to blasphemy," says John Green, another of Paul's former NoZe Brothers.
The strangest episode of Paul's time at Baylor occurred one afternoon in 1983 (although memories about all of these events are understandably a bit hazy, so the date might be slightly off), when he and a NoZe brother paid a visit to a female student who was one of Paul's teammates on the Baylor swim team. According to this woman, who requested anonymity because of her current job as a clinical psychologist, "He and Randy came to my house, they knocked on my door, and then they blindfolded me, tied me up, and put me in their car. They took me to their apartment and tried to force me to take bong hits. They'd been smoking pot." After the woman refused to smoke with them, Paul and his friend put her back in their car and drove to the countryside outside of Waco, where they stopped near a creek. "They told me their god was 'Aqua Buddha' and that I needed to bow down and worship him," the woman recalls. "They blindfolded me and made me bow down to 'Aqua Buddha' in the creek. I had to say, 'I worship you Aqua Buddha, I worship you.'
The Jack Conway campaign called me Monday to make sure I had seen the GQ article. I asked if Conway was concerned about any of his college experiences being investigated. Spokeswoman Allison Haley assured me that Conway never forced anyone to bow to Aqua Buddha.