[Guest post by DRJ]
“Rand Paul on Tuesday beat an establishment candidate in solidly Republican Kentucky to become the GOP nominee in the race to replace retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R). But he quickly found himself on the defensive over his views about civil rights.
Paul backtracked from comments in which he questioned whether the government should be allowed to block racial discrimination by private businesses.
And later in the week, he said that White House criticism of oil giant BP “sounds really un-American.”
His civil rights comment, in particular, resulted in two days of “bruising media coverage” that reportedly caused Paul to cancel an appearance on Sunday’s Meet the Press.
In the current climate where Democrats think government is the answer to every problem, will Paul’s suggestion that government isn’t the answer hurt him with Kentucky voters? It will if voters believe Paul is a racist as liberal website Firedoglake claims, or if they believe he is an extremist as suggested by the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein. Some may view Paul’s comments like this Washington Times editorial:
“The possibility that fiscal stalwarts like Dr. Paul the Younger and former Club For Growth President Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania might have the senatorial power to filibuster wasteful proposals must keep Ms. Maddow up at night. So it should not have come as a surprise that instead of a pleasant interview following his primary victory, the ascendant Dr. Paul was subjected to interrogation about how he would have voted on legislation pushed through Congress 46 years ago.
For all of its faults, the country is a better place in the wake of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The problem with Dr. Paul is that his intellectual honesty – a malady we wish would infect other politicians – would not let him overlook the faults. He rightly pointed out that if one accepts the ability of the federal government to decide that all customers must be accommodated, Congress could use the same power to force liberal restaurant owners to serve people carrying guns.
Ms. Maddow wasn’t interested in logical consequences, she was interested in tarring Dr. Paul and the Tea Party movement in general as racist.”
Paul has since affirmed he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So will this incident hurt his chances or is it yesterday’s news?