May 20, 2010

Normally, I'd cut this video down from its full 19 minutes, but truly, to appreciate the wonderfulness of Maddow's approach and the sidestepping Rand Paul attempts to avoid the corner Maddow in which deftly places him, you really must watch the whole thing.

And boy, does Rand Paul squirm under the surgical questioning of Rachel Maddow. He never answers her questions, and how can he? His stance makes no sense. Taylor Marsh:

It's the nakedness and naïveté of Mr. Paul's views on civil rights laws, that legislation should not impact businesses, that is not only evidence that he's unfit for Congress, but that he's actually dangerous. To think that the United States would no longer require laws to protect minorities is just ignorant and lacking in experience in the real world.

As for his anti-women's rights views, especially on individual freedoms, it's absolutely discriminatory against women. It's appalling in this day and age that a doctor would believe that women should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against her will. The editorial board found his views "repellent" and they are correct. To say that the unborn has "equal" rights to the woman is simply wrong.

I think Taylor hit it on the head: his naïveté is dangerous. Like many--if not most--"isms", libertarianism may make sense on an academic level, but only when conceived in vacuum of intellectual exercises. In the gritty friction of the real world, the exercise falls apart. To say that only publicly owned entities should be legislated from discriminating ignores centuries of oppression and injustice. Glibly dismissing any real examples such as the Woolworth's lunch counter by claiming his "abhorrence of racism" and saying that people would vote with their dollar to not patronize those business is laughably naive.

Obviously, the tea party adulation, in all its authoritarian and uncritical glory, did not prepare Rand Paul for prime time. He's clearly uncomfortable with follow up questions and being confronted with his own stances. Even though he brought it on himself by telling the Louisville Courier-Journal and NPR that he thought the Civil Rights Act should be done away with, Paul whines about "red herrings" and that the act is forty years old, so why is anyone asking him about it? Joan Walsh:

You've got to watch the whole interview. At the end, Paul seemed to understand that he's going to be explaining his benighted civil rights views for a long, long time – but he seemed to blame Maddow. "You bring up something that is really not an issue…a red herring, it's a political ploy…and that's the way it will be used," he complained at the end of the interview. Whether the Civil Rights Act should have applied to private businesses – "not really an issue," says Tea Party hero Rand Paul.

Methinks Paul better get used to having to answer for his tacit endorsement of racism and oppression of minorities, especially if Tweety's outrage is any indication of the larger media response. That may play well with the teabaggers, but they're not going to win Paul the elections. If I was Jack Conway, I'd be smiling right now.

UPDATE: John Amato:

My own quick and not quite perfect transcript of 'Baby Paul' trying refusing to answer Rachel Maddow.'s simple questions..

Maddow: Do you think a private business has the right to put up a 'Blacks Not Serverd Sign?'

Baby Paul: Well the interesting thing is if you look back to the 1950's, 1960's, that the problems we faced, there were incredible problems. The problems had to do with voting...blah, blah, blah.

Madow: I don't want to badger you, but I do want an answer on this sir, do you think a private business has the right not to serve black people?

Baby Paul: I'm against all discrimination of any kind, I wouldn't join a club .(my golf club is cool, though) but I think what's important about this debate is not to get into any gotcha on this but asking the question. What about freedom of speech. Should we limit speech. Should we limit racists from speaking?

Maddow: I'm asking straight you forward questions. Do you realize that businesses wouldn't let black people use the bathroom?

Baby Paul: I abhor racism. Am I a bad person because I hate racism?

Maddow: I'm asking you a yes or no question, Baby Paul. What about lunch counters? It's not a hypothetical.

Baby Paul: I'll give you a hypothetical. What about the owner of the restaurant? Should the government tell him that AK-47's aren't permitted in his place of business? That's when we're in a slippery slope, Rachel.

Maddow: This isn't a debate about the second amendment. People were beaten to death trying to stand up against racism at Woolworth's.

Baby Paul: I think you're conflating the issue...

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