May 22, 2010

Mr. I'm-Never-Right-About-Anything Bill Kristol shares his thoughts on Rand Paul on Clusterfox and describes Paul's views on the Civil Rights Act as "sophisticated and complicated". Sorry Bill, but quite the opposite is true. His simplistic, purist views which have no basis in facts when it comes to their real world application are anything but "sophisticated and complicated". He probably just reminds him a little too much of his girlfriend Palin, so of course he loves him. Even Charles Krauthammer thinks that Rand's statements about the Civil Rights Act and his libertarian views are going to be a problem for him in his Senate race.

BAIER: The Republican nominee in the Kentucky Senate race Rand Paul explaining a number of times today his stance on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

He's not apologizing for his libertarian views. He does not care for the laws that dictate to private business but says he does support overall the Civil Rights Act.

This is causing quite the kerfuffle, as you can imagine. We're back with panel. Bill?

KRISTOL: He has a sort of sophisticated, complicated libertarian view of the Civil Rights Act. One of the ten provisions of the act applies to private businesses.

Look, the country decided 45 years ago we have to abrogate our normal deference to the private sector to do what it wants to insist on non- discrimination even in private restaurants and private hotels and the like because the segregation was so deep in the south, especially, and the injustice was so great.

I think that was the right thing. Rand Paul thinks it's the right thing. It's probably unwise if you're a Senate candidate to engage in some theoretical discussion of what might have been or could have been.

But I also have to say, and I'm not a huge fan of Rand Paul, but if you watch the clips with him, there is something attractive about him. I mean, he's plainspoken and seems like an honest and good-natured guy.

This could be one of these flaps that everyone in Washington has a heart attack about and if you are a voter in Kentucky you think, you know what, he thought about this and says he won't change the Civil Rights Act.

He's a thoughtful guy with a libertarian bent. You could do worse than having him in the Senate.

I'm not sure it hurts him at all with the actual voters in Kentucky.

BAIER: The Democratic National Committee sent out over a dozen e-mails to reporters all over the airways on all kinds of channels saying that Paul was an embarrassment to Kentucky.

LIASSON: Rand Paul is a libertarian and he wants to have a debate about first principles and about constitutionalism. This is what the race in Kentucky will be about and it will be fascinating. He will have to defend his position on all sorts of things like Social Security and federal government intervention in all parts of society he doesn't like.

And we will see if the voters like it or not. It's a libertarian moment among the conservative and Republican-leaning independents. Maybe that's why he has done so well. Even in the head-to-head match-up in the polls, he's still ahead of Jack Conway who is going to be his Democratic opponent.

But he will be pressed now. He has never run for anything before. I think a Senate race is not always a place for high-minded theoretical discussion about these things, but he is going to have one.

BAIER: But Charles, he won in part by saying he doesn't favor government solution for every problem. This esoteric argument is getting jumped on, but is there some way it could be positive for him in Kentucky?


BAIER: At all?

KRAUTHAMMER: This is not going to sink him, but it is a negative. If on the first day of the general election campaign you have to issue a statement saying I'm not in favor of repealing the Civil Rights Act, you have a problem. Why are you even discussing it?

There is a reason why in America that libertarians are admired and their ideas are current, but they get half a percent of the vote when they actually want to govern. People don't want this purist individualism actually in government.

And I think he should have had an easy answer saying the Civil Rights Act was one of the great achievements of our day and it made our country enormously better in every way.

But he says our real problem today in part because of the prestige that the federal government acquired as a result of the success on civil rights it thought it could solve everything, and for the last 50 years we have been injecting it in every area of life, and I'm saying it's not the way to approach things.

But to actually debate the first principles about desegregation on day one of the campaign, this is a huge unforced error.

LIASSON: He should have Charles as a speechwriter, but he doesn't.

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