Rand Paul is now on record saying recently among other things  first to the Louisville Courier-Journal who notably refused to endorse either KY Republican candidate for Senate:

The trouble with Dr. Paul is that despite his independent thinking, much of what he stands for is repulsive to people in the mainstream. For instance, he holds an unacceptable view of civil rights, saying that while the federal government can enforce integration of government jobs and facilities, private business people should be able to decide whether they want to serve black people, or gays, or any other minority group.

He quickly emphasizes that he personally would not agree with any form of discrimination, but he just doesn’t think it should be legislated.

Then he famously went on Rachel Maddow’s show to attempt to explain himself, including the following (emphasis mine):

Well, there’s 10 — there’s 10 different — there’s 10 different titles, you know, to the Civil Rights Act, and nine out of 10 deal with public institutions. And I’m absolutely in favor of one deals with private institutions, and had I been around, I would have tried to modify that.

But you know, the other thing about legislation — and this is why it’s a little hard to say exactly where you are sometimes, is that when you support nine out of 10 things in a good piece of legislation, do you vote for it or against it? And I think, sometimes, those are difficult situations.

What I was asked by “The Courier-Journal” and I stick by it is that I do defend and believe that the government should not be involved with institutional racism or discrimination or segregation in schools, busing, all those things. But had I been there, there would have been some discussion over one of the titles of the civil rights.

And I think that’s a valid point, and still a valid discussion, because the thing is, is if we want to harbor in on private businesses and their policies, then you have to have the discussion about: do you want to abridge the First Amendment as well.

Paul is referring here to Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that forces de-segregation of hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce.

Now why would a man running for Senate say these things — things that he has to know on some level are controversial at best and most likely to be interpreted as very very racist at worst. And why in tarnation would he not simply answer Rachel Maddow’s basic question straight up which was:

“And should Woolworth lunch counter should have been allowed to stay segregated? Sir, just yes or no.”

and instead choose to dance around the questions with non-answers and seek bizarrely to connect gun-toting into restaurants as a civil rights issue? (Can I just say that Maddow is my hero right now?)

There are only 2 reasons that Rand Paul would take this line of argument. He’s either 1) too naive, ignorant & impractical to lead or 2) he’s too radical and racist to lead. Let’s explore further, shall we?

REASON 1) Rand Paul is naive and unaware of how segregation & Jim Crow actually operated in the South. It wasn’t a question of some restaurants or hotels refusing to serve African-Americans. It was almost *all* of them. It made travel, for example, very difficult for African-Americans — and anyone else traveling with them. The clause about interstate commerce basically said: look, if you use public roads to receive your inventory and conduct your business, then you are relying on federal taxpayer dollars and you have to abide by federal rules. And unless a citizen is disobeying the law in some fashion (drunk, disorderly, etc), you have to serve them for the public welfare.

Furthermore Paul is unable, in his vigorous defense of the First Amendment, to separate word and deed. If someone wants to join a club of white supremacists, that’s one thing. It’s also protected speech if that white supremacist group wants to launch a big ole online forum called “Stormfront”. It’s your right under the Constitution to say whatever you want on Stormfront — unless it’s libel, slander, treason or incitement to violence. Speech has limits. And “abhorrent behavior” as Paul calls it is usually not tolerated under America’s laws when it comes to race. Saying something is different, very different from doing something that impacts another citizen in a damaging way.

Let’s call it the “soft bigotry of blissful ignorance”. How a man can claim that Martin Luther King’s speeches make him “emotional” and question why Title II was necessary…well, it’s cognitive dissonance at its highest. So that’s reason number one — he’s a naive, ignorant “philosopher” whose abstract approach to governance leaves him unprepared to help the people of Kentucky triumph over the difficult times we face which require real and practical solutions to big problems. I mean, if this guy doesn’t think we should regulate private businesses, what does he think about unemployment insurance?

There’s evidence that Paul may be out of his element and not ready for primetime, not unlike his booster, Sarah Palin. His objections against the Americans with Disabilities Act, another landmark piece of legislation that has changed lives for the better and increased freedom in America are not based in any real knowledge of the actual legislation. No, his problems with the ADA are more about how he feels about it. From Yahoo!’s Newsroom blog:

Yesterday on CNN’s “Situation Room,” where Paul rushed to do damage control from his disastrous remarks the night before on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” he repeated the charge:

[L]et’s say you have a local office and you have a two-story office, and one of your workers is handicapped. Should you not be allowed maybe to offer them an office on the first floor or should you be forced to put in a $100,000 elevator? … [M]y understanding is that small business owners were often forced to put in elevators, and I think you ought to at least be given a choice. Can you provide an opportunity without maybe having to pay for an elevator?

But Paul’s “understanding” about the ADA is wrong. The legislation specifically exempts the vast majority of buildings three stories and under from any requirement to install elevators. In other words, if you own a small business and you have a two-story office and one of your workers is handicapped, no one can force you to build an elevator. It’s true that  the exemption doesn’t apply to health-care facilities or shopping malls or buildings four stories and up — and Paul, who has an ophthalmology practice, may have been thinking of those provisions when he insisted that businesses are “often forced to put in elevators.”

Trouble is, we searched far and wide for a single instance in which a private employer was successfully sued under the ADA for failing to provide an elevator, or was compelled by a lawsuit to do so, and we came up empty. We searched the case law, contacted ADA experts — both proponents and opponents of the law — the Justice Department, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Not one of them knew of any case involving the government-ordered installation of an elevator. It looks like Rand Paul is either peddling a myth or spinning some vanishingly small number of elevator installations we’ve yet to hear of into an epidemic big-government overreach.

Here’s Elon James White on how dumb this guy must be:

When I hear Paul say he is against discrimination based on race “I” believe him–pause–I also think it’s very easy to take the stance he’s taking as a White man in America. Saying that private business owners shouldn’t be told what they can/cannot do with their business is fine…in “Theory.” But as Americans we should also be keenly aware of the fact that we live in a place where, when left to their own devices, people do dumb shit.

Normally they do dumb shit to people they think they CAN do dumb shit to…i.e. minorities.

Dr. Paul says he’s against institutionalized racism. The government shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate but if a private business owner were to discriminate, then he’d fight for their right to do it. He’s trying to use the same argument people use in defense of free speech in a situation that doesn’t work.

Diagnosis: Disqualified from public office on account of ignorance and incompetence.

REASON 2) Rand Paul is pursuing a radical and racist agenda. Is it possible that all this Civil Rights Act talk and the refusal to answer direct questions regarding his support of it is not a dogwhistle but a shout across America. A shout that says essentially:

“I’m not a racist (wink) but if you’re the kind of person who’s somehow uncomfortable with having a communist nigger in the White House — I’m your candidate. I’m against discrimination (wink) but if local governments had just been allowed to solve their ‘negro problem’ in their own way and time, is it possible that we would have been spared having to deal with a black president? Vote for me and I’ll do what I can to put minorities back in their place.”

See I disagree with Rand Paul — I don’t think this is a valid discussion at all. And most Republicans are running away — far away from criticism of the Civil Rights Act and with good reason. This is not a way to get elected nor re-elected. We could no longer wait for people’s hearts and minds to change at the time this legislation came to be. The time to act in favor of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all citizens was long overdue in 1964. It’s interesting that Paul questions that concept now. Even more interesting is his deep interest in guns. From the Wall Street Journal (emphasis mine):

In an interview, Mr. Paul expressed support for purely in-state gun industries, in which firearms are produced in one state with no imported parts and no exports. Guns produced under those circumstances can’t be subjected to a federal background check, waiting period or other rules, he reasons.

I’m not for having a civil war or anything like that, but I am for challenging federal authority over the states, through the courts, to see if we can get some better rulings,” he said.

To supporters, such ideological purity has made the Bowling Green ophthalmologist a hero.

“He’s going back to the Constitution,” said Heather Toombs, a Louisville supporter who came to watch him at a meet-and-greet at a suburban home last week. “He’s taking back the government.

Hmm…wow, that sounds really scary. So, just so we’re clear — Rand Paul wants to make it easier for anyone, no matter how crazy or criminal their background, to procure deadly weapons. But no — he’s not at all for a civil war that might “take back our government” from whom, you ask? From a black president? Because again, let’s be clear, Paul is all for “challenging federal authority over the states” and “states’ rights” to discriminate, even if we find that “abhorrent”. Am I getting this straight?

If Paul is indeed using race in a cynical and inflammatory way, it would be in keeping with his father’s legacy. Daddy Ron refused to return a $500 donation from top white supremacist Don Black during his 2008 presidential campaign. There’s of course, Ron Paul’s infamous racist newsletters from back in the day. What about those newsletters? Here’s a few quotes (thanks Black Star News):

Why should anyone be surprised that Rand Paul harbors obnoxious views and desires on race matters? His father, Ron Paul, made his own views clear judging by several articles that were published in the 1980s and the 1990s in The Ron Paul Political Newsletter.

Following race riots in Los Angeles, the newsletter opined that order was restored only when it came time for Black folks to pick up their welfare checks.

Another article from his newsletter, in 1992, concluded that 95% of Black males in Washington, D.C., were either “semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”

This view was expressed shortly after the turmoil that erupted in Los Angeles following the acquittal of the police officers who viciously beat up Rodney King, the unarmed motorist.

The newsletter also denounced the government for creating a national holiday recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. According to the Ron Paul newsletter, M.L.K Day was actually “hate whitey day.”

Articles in the newsletter claimed Dr. King was a world class philanderer who “beat up” his paramours. According to Ron Paul’s newsletter, Dr. King even seduced “under age girls and boys” and made a pass at Ralph Abernathy, his legendary colleague in the Civil Rights struggle.

Of course, Ron Paul later claimed that even though he was the publisher of the newsletter, he did not personally author the offending articles and was unaware of them. A racist and a liar to boot.

What’s more, Ron Paul had never sought to repudiate the articles until he was exposed during his 2008 Presidential run. His incredible excuse was that publishers don’t read every article in their publications. What’s more, he’s never –up today– made any attempt to reveal who the authors of the racist articles were; perhaps because the author was actually Ron Paul himself.

Is it so hard to imagine that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Adam Holland has been tracking the Neo-Nazis’s strong interest in Rand Paul’s candidacy since 2009. And there’s also both Rand and Ron Paul’s cozy relationship with kook & anti-semite Alex Jones. Add to that Rand Paul’s (now former) Senate campaign spokesperson Chris Hightower (from Mother Jones):

Flash forward to the early days of Rand Paul 2010. Back in December, before the MSM was paying much attention to the campaign, a Kentucky blogger exposed Paul spokesman Chris Hightower’s unusual taste in fashion. On his MySpace page, Hightower had written:

So, I was in Rivergate Mall today in line to get some pizza and I noticed a group of Afro-Americans were looking at me with hate and whispering stuff. I was wondering WTF and procceeded to sit facing them and give them the “what the fuck are you looking at look”. Anyway after a few snarls they quit looking at me. I was like do these fuckers think I am someone else or what? Anyway I finished my food and went to find some new shoes. About 10 minutes later, another group of Afro-Americans are giving me the same looks, it then dawns on me, there has to be something on this hoodie that is pissing off the Afro-Americans. And sure enough when I get outside the mall I look and bingo. KKK …. LOL!

He also left this post from a friend up on his wall for more than two years:

Rand Paul eventually fired Hightower over the affair. Still, the ties between the Pauls and racists may now seem a bit too cozy for comfort. It’s one thing to espouse a governing philisophy that just happens to appeal to shiny-headed cape wearers. It’s another thing entirely to let them speak for you, maybe accidentally, or maybe not, but nonetheless over and over again.

There starts to emerge something of a pattern. A pattern I’m not willing to minimize but one I take very seriously. Rand Paul has run very much in the style of his father’s campaign in a “if you liked Ron Paul, you’ll LOVE Rand Paul” style. Both Ron and Rand Paul’s denial of racism ring false to me. I’m not willing to give him the benefit of doubt that some white men who don’t normally agree that often like Sam Donaldson, George Will, Ezra Klein & David Weigel (the WaPo’s new right-wing blogger) seem willing to extend. I think there’s every sign that this dude is a hard-boiled, ambitious and cynical racist who is absolutely ready to invoke the Tea Party’s dogwhistles of “socialism” and “fascism” designed to mask racist, populist agitation against a black president — in pursuit of activating a fear-motivated base. Who of course isn’t even an American citizen — why hasn’t anyone asked Rand Paul his thought on Barack Obama’s citizenship or immigration?

Diagnosis: Disqualified for public office on account of trying to pull a dashiki over that Ku Klux Klan robe. Telling me how much you love MLK and deciding belatedly, under pressure, that you’re not planning to seek repeal of the Civil Rights Act after all? I ain’t fooled and neither should you.

I think, like Sarah Palin, Paul manages to combine intolerance and incompetence into one campaign for public office.

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