‘OFF THE WALL’…. A couple of weeks ago, the National Republican Senatorial Committee launched its first ad of the cycle, going after Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (D) over Medicare. The argument was convoluted and wrong, but the message to voters was nevertheless fairly straightforward: if you love Medicare, don’t vote for the Democrat who supports Medicare.

In retrospect, Republicans probably should have picked a different issue.

In Conway’s new ad targeting right-wing ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R), the Democratic campaign reminds voters of Paul’s approach to seniors’ care: “The real answer to Medicare would be a $2,000 deductible.”

The spot proceeds to show a series of seniors, all of whom are less than pleased by Paul’s policy suggestion. One says, “I don’t know what planet he’s from.” Another says, “Doesn’t he know that we can’t afford that?” Another says, “The more we learn about Rand Paul, the worse it gets.” And then there’s the memorable one: “Rand Paul is off the wall with a $2,000 deductible.”

Remember, Republicans, it was your idea to make support for Medicare the key issue in the race.

Yesterday, Paul was livid about the ad, calling it, among other things, “a lie” and “dishonest.”

I have no idea what Paul is whining about. The ad simply airs a quote he repeated in public. Was it taken out of context? You be the judge — here’s what he said: “Medicare is socialized medicine! People are afraid of that because they’ll say ‘Ohhh, you’re against Medicare.’ No, I’ll say, ‘We have to do something different. We can’t just eliminate Medicare, but we have to get more to a market-based system.’ It’s counter-intuitive to a lot of people, but you have to pay for things if you want prices to come down. So you really need higher deductibles. And the real answer to Medicare would be a $2,000 deductible, but try selling that one in an election. But that’s the real answer.”

In other words, the ad shows Paul stating his beliefs. That’s not “a lie”; it’s the opposite of a lie.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.