Chris Matthews Discovers Rand Paul's Extreme Views on Civil Rights
After watching this interview with Kentucky Attorney General and Democratic Senatorial candidate Jack Conway, I have a feeling we won't be seeing Rand Paul coming on Hardball any time soon. After Chris Matthews discovers just how extreme Republican candidate Rand Paul's views are on civil rights among other things, he's none too happy.
Taylor Marsh has a great post on that interview with the Courier-Journal that Jack Conway was describing to Matthews. Rand Paul on Civil Rights: Private Restaurants Wouldn't Have To Serve Martin Luther King. She does a good job summing up just how out of the mainstream and frankly dangerous Paul's views are.
MATTHEWS: Attorney General Jack Conway is the Democratic nominee for Senate in Kentucky. He`ll face Republican Rand Paul in November. Congratulations, Governor. You won that tough fight from Mongiardo. Let me ask you this. What do you got on -- to put it bluntly, you must have your notion of beating Rand Paul. What`s your best case, that he`s outside the mainstream, that he`s too flaky, too tea party, whatever? What would you say?
JACK CONWAY: I`d say, just look at the statements he`s made here in the last few weeks, Chris. He`s stated that he would like to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He said that he would like to repeal the Americans With Disabilities Act and let the private marketplace take care of it. In a state like Kentucky, he wants to do away with the Department of Agriculture, wants to do away with the Department of Education.
That`s not what Kentuckians want. I mean, Kentuckians are angry, like the rest country. They have fear. They have anxiety. They`re concerned about jobs. But I`m frustrated, too, Chris, and I think the question, the central question here is, How do we use that passion? How do we use that anger? Do we use it to heat the building or do we use it to burn the building down?
MATTHEWS: Well, you know, you just said something so incredible to me, having grown up during it. You`re saying that this fellow running for Senate -- from Kentucky, the United States Senate, wants to repeal the Civil Rights Act which says you can`t deny -- you can`t deny an African-American a chance to use your bathroom at a gas station. You can`t deny them the right to sit at your lunch table, your lunch counter. You`re saying he wants to get rid of that law and let people be discriminatory again?
CONWAY: He made a statement in his editorial board interview with "The Louisville Courier-Journal," Chris, said that we don`t need a Civil Rights Act, that the commerce clause was interpreted too broadly and that the private marketplace could take care of the Civil Rights needs of this nation. He said something to that effect. It`s on -- it`s on a streaming video at "The Louisville Courier-Journal."
And Kentucky`s come a long way. We have people who have bled and fought for the right to sit at lunch counters, for example, and that`s not going to be acceptable in a place like Kentucky. And it`s not going to be acceptable across the country.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the president of the United States, Barack Obama. Is he a help to you in this coming November election?
CONWAY: Well, I think I`m going to have to win this election. I don`t think Barack Obama`s going to -- going to be able on win in election in Kentucky. I understand that Rand Paul is going to -- he`s going to taunt and he`s going to -- he`s going to ask how many times Obama`s coming in. I think you welcome the president of the United States from either party anytime he wants to come to your state. If you disagree with, him you tell him that. But I`m going to have to go out and win this election, and I`m going to be an independent Kentucky Democrat, if I get elected.
MATTHEWS: What`s this say about the power of your state? I was trying to figure out Kentucky. It`s always an interesting state. I think it`s a bit more Republican than Democrat historically, at least the last 50 years. But -- but what`s this whole crazy fight in the Republican Party in your state, where Mitch McConnell dumps Jim Bunning, and then the people who vote on the Republicans` side, who will vote in your election, they dumped Trey Grayson. All this dumping going on. They`re getting rid of everybody.
CONWAY: Yes, well...
MATTHEWS: They don`t like Mitch McConnell much, either, apparently. They like Trey -- they like the guy you`re running against more than they like Mitch McConnell, according to the polling last night.
CONWAY: Kentuckians are fiercely independent. You know, Kentucky`s traditionally been a Democrat state. It still enjoys almost a 2-to-1 advantage in registration, Democrats over Republicans. They`re just -- the conservative Democrats, particularly in the western part of the state that Mitch McConnell helped engineer a change, where they`re voting Republican in federal elections. The majority of our state officeholders are still Democratic.
CONWAY: So I think -- I think -- I think you have a lot of Republicans that may be recently registered or recently switched, or just didn`t want to be told how to vote by Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell`s been in Washington now since -- since 1984. He is the epitome of the establishment. And I just don`t think that his endorsement meant much in this particular race.
And then you have the phenomenon of Sarah Palin coming in and endorsing my opponent in the general, and then you had Jim Bunning sticking it to Mitch McConnell. So they`ve got a lot of healing to do over on the other side of aisle.
MATTHEWS: You know, I grew up when there were moderate Republicans or centrist Republicans in your state, and now the tea party`s taking -- I think of Thruston Morton. I used to love Thruston Morton growing up. He was a real personality. You just liked him, no matter what his politics were.
CONWAY: And people like...
MATTHEWS: And John Sherman...
CONWAY: ... Marlo Cook (ph), too.
MATTHEWS: And John Sherman Cooper. Are they all gone and dead? Has that Republican Party just been swamped now by the tea partiers?
CONWAY: I think so. I think that the idea of the liberal to moderate Republican is long gone, for the most part, in places like -- in Kentucky. A lot of business establishment -- the business Republicans, as I call them, in the cities consider themselves now to be independents or vote both ways.
CONWAY: So I think it`s changed considerably.
MATTHEWS: Well, you know, you`ve got a good argument there against -- I didn`t know that about Rand Paul. I now know it. If he`s against Civil Rights bill and wants to get rid of it, he`s not on my list of favorites for my Christmas card this year.
Anyway, thank you, Jack Conway. Congratulations on winning the nomination to fight Rand Paul. It`s going to be one of the national races we watch night after night here. Thank you so much. And congratulations again. Coming up...
CONWAY: Good to be with you again, Chris.
Transcript via Lexis Nexis.
Here's the shorter portion of the interview with Paul talking about the Civil Rights Act. (h/t Paddy)
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