Rand Paul has spent the better part of a week ducking accusations that he harbors racist beliefs. By burying his racial attitudes under a veneer of libertarianism, he has almost convinced our worthless mainstream media that it's possible to believe businesses should deny people the right to enter their establishment (and presumably their workforce) based upon their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
It isn't difficult for me to understand how Rand Paul can hang his hat on libertarian beliefs until they don't fit the narrative, but it's surely another case of whitewashed truthiness on the part of the press.
Strike #1. Rand Paul's campaign spokesperson Chris Hightower was fired for posting "Happy Nigger day" with Lynching pics at Facebook along with posts describing how he liked to go to the local mall in KKK garb.
Strike #2. On The Rachel Maddow's Show and NPR Rand Paul, repeatedly, objects to Title II of the Civil Rights Act, stating that Businesses should be able to discriminate based on race. Upon learning of the controversy he had stirred by airing his pro discrimination views, he backtracks and goes into hiding/damage control.
And now Strike #3. Rand Paul has received funds and promotion from white supremacists, Neo-Nazi's and KKK leadership via Stormfront.org
Here's a screenshot of Stormfront.org head Don Black's tweet calling for Twitter followers to support Rand Paul's money bomb in March:
As Dave Niewert pointed out last week, the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree, and now that seed has grown into the Kentucky choice for the Republican party's Senatorial candidate.
Corporations were strong supporters of Rand Paul, especially toward the end of the primary race
Corporate PACs love Rand Paul too. Lots of last-minute corporate donations fell his way, in addition to some big money in earlier days. The medical establishment, insurance companies, telecommunications, defense industries, all the standard Republican donors were present and accounted for in Paul's campaign disclosures.
It's easier to argue a market-based justification for their support than it is for Neo-Nazis, however.
It's time for Republicans to own their racist wing
All Republicans are not racists, but some Republicans are racists, and one way to identify those who are is by their attitudes, beliefs, public statements, associations, and public support. Rand Paul descends from the John Birch Society right-wing elite bear-hugged by his father in plain view of anyone who cares to look. Here are a few examples:
- Little Green Footballs has photos of Ron Paul posing with Stormfront's leader Don Black (author of the tweet pictured above), and his son Derek Black (who has actually been elected to office in Florida, by the way) at the 2007 Values Voters Conference. They look pretty friendly in those photos.
- This post on the Campaign for Liberty website in Rand Paul's defense. Campaign for Liberty is the Ron Paul organization created for his 2008 run for the Presidency, which now serves as a libertarian/Tea Party clearinghouse for the ultra-right parading as libertarians. Here's their defense of Paul's view of the Civil Rights Act:
How would things have turned out if businesses had been left free to discriminate? Well, does anyone today get into an uproar over the fact that people are free to discriminate in their homes? And yes, people get into an uproar over a Nazi march in Skokie, just as they get upset over the periodic burning of the flag, but how many people lose sleep over the fact that people have such rights?
The same thing would have happened if private businesses had been left free to discriminate. In fact, the likelihood is that the bigoted businesses would slowly but surely have lost market share to businesses that would sell to everyone, especially given the power of social ostracism, boycotts, moral condemnation, and the like.
- Stormfront members' own acknowledgement that Rand Paul's walkback of his original statements on the Civil Rights Act was necessary to get elected. Member WhiteRights put it all in perspective:
We're in a transitional period right now guys. We can't just break out the SS uniforms and start goose-stepping our way into power right now.
- Denunciation of Neo-Nazis on market-based principles, as Baby Paul does in the video at the top, is just patently absurd intellectually dishonest nonsense intended to mask the truth. He denies that he sympathizes with Nazis (I don't believe he is a Nazi either, but I do personally believe he holds white supremacist views based upon his reply) Even Reason Magazine acknowledges the difference between actions of the state and actions of the markets, noting markets would not have likely to corrected the Jim Crow actions of the state on their own.
What about freedom of speech? Citizens United, all that?
Neo-Nazis have just as much right as anyone else to contribute to campaigns. I certainly do not begrudge them. It is their right to support candidates who they believe share their views, goals, and will represent them. Clearly, the expectation is for their guy to do right by them when he gets there, and frankly, there's no reason for them to doubt that, based on the evidence.
However, it is equally fair for candidates who receive those funds to come under scrutiny for accepting (and keeping) contributions from those groups, particularly when the candidate in question has plainly stated that he would support modifications to the Civil Rights Act which would exempt businesses from a requirement to treat everyone equally.
Now, there are some who argue that it's difficult to know who actually associated with Stormfront and gave to Paul's campaign. Perhaps. However, when Ron Paul was confronted with the very same issue and indisputable evidence as to the source of a $500 contribution, he decided to keep it, saying if they chose to 'waste their money' on his campaign, he'd spend it in the name of liberty. Yet, we've see what the Pauls believe liberty is.
Liberty for them is the right for a business owner to refuse people from based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender.
Liberty for them is living by the whim of the 'free market.'
Liberty for them means property rights trump human rights.
Call it whatever you want. There is still a standing apologetic for discriminatory practice underneath the libertarian banner. Now Republicans, and their corporate courtiers own it. There's clear evidence of racism in Arizona's state legislature, in Rand Paul's beliefs about civil rights and the Civil Rights Act, in the signs held high at tea party rallies, in Sarah Palin's dog whistles, and in Republicans' cynical injection of race and gender-based wedge issues to their political campaigns.
There's a name for it, but that name isn't liberty.