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YouTube/America's Liberty PAC

Pro-Rand Paul Super PAC’s explosion-filled Patriot Act attack ad, by the numbers

'Sunday. Sunday. Sunday.'


Aaron Sankin


Posted on May 29, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 5:31 pm CDT

Politics is often compared to a bare-knuckle brawl. It’s a comforting metaphor—our elected leaders getting metaphorically bloody to defend our interests. In reality, politics is a lot more like professional wrestling—the outcome of each contest is usually scripted in advance, there’s far more trash talking before the match than actual fighting, and also Jesse Ventura is there for some reason.

Professional wrestling is such an apt metaphor for politics that the America’s Liberty PAC, a Super PAC backing Republican presidential candidate and Kentucky senator Rand Paul, used it as the framework for what’s likely the first attack ad of the 2016 primary season.

As you’ll recall, pro wrestling, much like politics, is insane.

Let’s break down the ad by the numbers.

  • Explosions: 9
  • Bald eagles: 5
  • Days until Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act expires and the government loses its ability to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk: 2
  • How strongly Paul would like to see Section 215 expire (scale of 1-17): 17
  • Hours Paul filibustered on the Senate floor against the bill’s renewal: 11
  • Number of Paul’s primary opponents slammed for supporting the USA Freedom Act, which would shift the responsibility for bulk collection to the phone companies rather than end it altogether: 2
  • Why the ad attacked Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham for supporting the USA Freedom Act instead of Jeb Bush for pushing for the law’s full renewal: ¯_(ツ)_/¯
  • What happens of this section of the Patriot Act expires:
(Sorry, this embed was not found.)
  • No, seriously. What happens if this section of the Patriot Act expires? Well, it’s complicated.
  • (Those last three weren’t numbers. So let’s give them the numbers 7, 10, and 31.)
  • Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it references to Michael Dukakis’ infamous tank photo: 1
  • References to Ted Cruz’s moose-infested country of birth: 1
  • Likelihood, according to betting market PredictWise, that Paul gets the GOP nomination, in percent: 7
  • Weeks until another presidential hopeful blasts the Obama administration—and, by extension, Hillary Clinton—for not doing enough to bring Zayn Malik back to One Direction: 5
  • Amount of money the America’s Liberty PAC is expecting to raise during the 2016 election to support Paul: $20-30 million
  • Functionality of the Super PAC’s website (scale of 1-17): 2
  • Number of Rand Paul’s fathers for whom Jesse Benton, the head of the Super PAC, managed a presidential campaign: 1
  • Number of Rand Paul’s father’s granddaughters to whom Benton is married: 1
  • Amount of direct coordination America’s Liberty PAC is legally allowed to have with the Rand Paul campaign (scale of 1-17): 0
  • Number of Supreme Court justices who voted to uphold this ridiculous system of organizing political campaigns: 5
  • Number of Supreme Court justices who voted to strike down this ridiculous system of organizing political campaigns: 4
  • Percent by which this article is improved with a Chrome browser extension that automatically changes every instance of Rand Paul’s name to “Taco Bonerstink” and Ted Cruz’s name to “Little Baby Pee Pee”: 53

Screencap via America’s Liberty PAC/YouTube

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*First Published: May 29, 2015, 12:42 pm CDT