Jon Stewart skewers Rand Paul for yet another case of failed Republican minority outreach with his speech at Howard University. Senior Black Corespondent Larry Wilmore weighs in as well.
Chris Hayes took a shot at him the night before and this Thursday, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart took his turn skewering Rand Paul for his appearance at Howard University. Paul asked the audience there how his party has managed to go from being one that elected the first twenty African American congressmen to becoming a party that now loses ninety percent of their vote, and Stewart was happy to answer that question for Sen. Paul.
Stewart proceeded to explain for Paul that maybe that pesky Southern Strategy employed by Nixon and St. Ronnie and Bush Sr. -- all the way up to recent times and presidential contender Gov. Rick Perry and his Niggerhead Ranch -- might tend to alienate a voting bloc.
We talked yesterday about Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) speech at Howard University, a traditionally black school in Washington, D.C., and his willingness to brazenly lie about his previous positions on the Civil Rights Act. But before we move on, there's one other angle of this that's worth noting.
The point of the speech was not to talk about the Civil Rights Act, but rather, Paul believes his African-American audiences will be more receptive to his party and worldview after hearing his sales pitch. In particular, Paul seems to think history is on his side.
"We see horrible Jim Crow and horrible racism in the '30s, '40s, '50s -- it was all Democrats," he said. "It wasn't Republicans." Paul added, "How many of you -- if I'd said, who do you think the founders of the NAACP are, do you think they were Democrats or Republicans, would everybody here know they were all Republicans?"
"Yes," the audience responded, since he was speaking at Howard University, where the students and faculty understand the history of the struggle for civil rights better than the self-accredited ophthalmologist ever could.
"I don't mean that to be insulting," Paul responded. I suspect that's true, though condescension seems to come naturally to him.
But the tension between the speaker and his audience underscores a larger issue. Paul seems to think his superficial understanding of history ought to be enough to persuade African-American audiences -- Lincoln was the Great Emancipator, liberal Republicans helped form the NAACP, and segregation was a product of racist Dixiecrats. Ergo, in Paul's mind, black voters should necessarily gravitate to the Republican Party.
Paul's rudimentary grasp of history overlooks all of the relevant details -- a point that was not lost on those who listened to the senator yesterday at Howard.
Go read the rest where Steve explains, as Stewart did in the clip above, that Paul glossed over that whole part about how those Southern Democrats left the party and became Republicans precisely because of the party's embrace of civil rights. I really hope if Republicans like Paul continue to attempt this sort of blatant revisionist history, we see more responses like Stewart's above with the humor mocking him for it and with more articles like Steve's calling him out for the lies. Here's a bit more from the end of his post.
By Rand Paul's reasoning, voters should care less about the last four decades, and more about the Democratic Party's divisions four generations ago. I'm afraid that's backwards.
If history ended in the 1960s, Paul may have a slightly more legitimate point. But given what we've seen over the last half-century, the more salient point is that Dems have been part of the solution on race, and the GOP has been part of the problem.
Stewart and Wilmore wrapped up their segment with Wilmore telling Stewart that black people aren't coming back to the party until Republicans admit that we aren't just dealing with "accidental racism." I'd say the chances of that happening are about zero percent.