Rand Paul is a nut. But the focus has to be on his nutty political positions and the extent to which other Republicans also believe them (the denials have not been strong so far, aside from McConnell, who already hated Paul), not on his “actual feelings”.

I agree, always have. But to shift the focus just a little, this is also why it’s driven me slightly mad to see what a reflexive, thoughtless position it is for liberals to take when confronted with yet another insanely stupid statement from Beck, Coulter, Bush, Cheney, or any in between: They don’t really believe that, they’re just saying it for attention/money/votes/etc.
Who. The. Fuck. Cares. WHY. The point is, there are plenty of people stupid enough to believe it, it serves a purpose by being put out there, and unless we’re all just characters in a novel, it doesn’t make the slightest fucking difference what the deepest motivation was for doing it. I suppose it makes one feel superior to have supposedly seen through the charade, but while progressive bloggers pat themselves on the back for not being one of the gullible marks, this stuff has a real-world effect. It wouldn’t matter if you could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are utter hypocrites and send them slinking off into obscurity and disgrace. The problem is that there are millions of people who, for whatever reason – no education, no empathy, no logical ability, no relevant experience – find that what they say makes sense to them.
Of course, there is no shortage of liberals who also spend time scrutinizing tea leaves and goat entrails worrying about what Obama is really thinking or feeling way down in his heart of hearts, too. Where does this come from? Why are people so much more concerned with what people are thinking than what they’re doing?