Give Some Answers, Dr. Paul

By Eugene Robinson

WASHINGTON — Not so fast, everybody. Rand Paul can't abruptly disavow the extremist views on civil rights that he's been espousing for years and expect us all to just move along. Was he lying then? Is he lying now? Or has the tea party movement's newly crowned Mad Hatter changed his mind?

Republican crisis managers wisely didn't allow Paul to stray within range of the Sunday talk shows, but they can't keep him hidden away in some Kentucky cave until November. Sooner or later, the Senate candidate is going to have to answer a direct question: Was he being untruthful on the occasions when he said the federal government has no authority to outlaw racial discrimination in private businesses such as restaurants? Or is he being untruthful now in claiming he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

Actually, there are quite a few direct questions that Paul will be asked. Does he still believe it ought to be permissible to deny Americans access to housing because of the color of their skin, as he argued a few years ago? I have a personal stake in this one, since I live in a neighborhood where a legal covenant once kept African-Americans out. Is this sort of thing cool with him?

I'd also like to know whether Paul really believes in a conspiracy among the U.S., Canadian and Mexican governments to turn North America into a "borderless, mass continent" bisected by a 10-lane superhighway. Because that's what he said in 2008.

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Now that he is running for the Senate as a card-carrying Republican, Paul is going to have to abandon, or pretend to abandon, many of his loopy beliefs. This won't be easy, as illustrated by the hemming and hawing he did before finally endorsing the Civil Rights Act. Even then, he suggested that the law was justified only by the prevailing situation in the South. As soon as Paul is allowed out of his cave, someone should ask him whether the landmark legislation properly applies to the rest of the country.

Sarah Palin accused reporters of practicing "gotcha" journalism in seeking to elicit Paul's views. As we know from the 2008 campaign, Palin's definition of a "gotcha" interview is one in which actual questions are asked. But think about it: Did anyone imagine the Republican Party could possibly field a candidate who makes Sarah Barracuda sound like the voice of reason?

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joseph81
    May 25, 2010 @ 13:04:00

    I'm sorry i can't be more helpful. I get the same form of trouble at times. Good luck with solving this issue…

    Reply

  2. sjohnson
    May 25, 2010 @ 13:39:00

    In a perfect world, businesses would be able to make all their own rules. In a perfect world, everyone would be caring and honest. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world, so certain behaviors have to be legislated to keep the playing field somewhat level for everyone. The idea is to give all people an equal opportunity for happiness and success in America. The Tea Party people and many Republicans don't understand that government often grows in response to uncivilized behavior such as that which we witnessed not long ago in the banking industry. If certain entities weren't so fricking greedy, we wouldn't need healthcare and banking reform. We wouldn't need all the new oversight agencies etc. DUH!! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

    Reply

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