This sense of shock is particularly shameless coming from conservatives who sat quietly during the last 18 months, rarely even pushing back against the most bizarre right wing canards, such as those regarding President Obama's place of birth. Conservative responses to this controversy have ducked the serious issues and focused more on Paul's flaws. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), one of Paul's most prominent supporters, made comments indicating that DeMint was either unaware of Paul's basic views or thought that Paul needed better media training. Ross Douthat's New York Times piece on the topic was a somewhat tortured attempt to dismiss Paul as somebody too beholden to ideological rigidity. Both seem bizarrely unaware that Paul's victory is a product of months of ideological hyperbole of the kind that characterizes President Obama as a dangerous socialist. Both DeMint and Douthat conveniently, and wrongly, absolve mainstream conservatives from any blame in the matter.