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An old proverb states: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.”
The Tea Party cult got its wish this week with the election of Rand Paul — son of the sometimes Republican, sometimes libertarian, always controversial Ron Paul — to the Republican Senatorial nomination in Kentucky.
Now the Tea Party pot is boiling over and scalding anyone standing too close.
Like his father and many libertarians, Rand Paul is an extremist, driven by an unrealistic belief that government must be driven from nearly all areas of life. While government is too pervasive in modern American life, it also is a necessary evil in a democratic Republic. The problem cannot be solved by going to far in the other direction.
Rand Paul proves this point by saying that a private business like a restaurant should be allowed to discriminate against minorities, gays or anyone else they don’t like.
When asked about his stance right after his election, Paul again answered “yes” when MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asked if he still supported the right of a business to discriminate.
“It was stupid,” conservative Republican talk show host Joe Scarborough said today. “It makes us wonder if Rand Paul is ready for prime time.”
Defenders to the mantra according to Rand Paul defend his actions by saying he makes it clear that he would not discriminate but defends the rights of others to do so.
This is a standard libertarian cop out. They claim that they are not racist but defend the rights of others to be so. By doing so, they condone racism in our midst and that — in my view — makes them just as racist as those they ignore.
Such passive racism is just as racist as those who don white sheets, burn crosses and terrorize minorities.
It also reinforces that belief that the Tea Party is driven, in part, by racism.
Writes Arian Camp0-Flores in Newsweek:
Try as it might, the Tea Party just can’t shake the accusations of racism. As I wrote in an article last month, recent polling seemed to confirm many people’s darkest suspicions about the movement—that it was motivated not just by antipathy toward big government but also by racial animus. When confronted with such allegations, Tea Partiers offer a standard response: any evidence of racist sentiment can be chalked up to a tiny minority, and hey, what group doesn’t have a freaky fringe?
Rand Paul has just severely compromised that argument. By refusing to say whether he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act and claiming that the federal government has no business fighting discrimination in private establishments, he comes across as an avatar of 1950s thinking on race. And as Kentucky’s newly crowned Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, he is anything but fringy. In fact, he’s about the closest thing to a national leader that the Tea Party has.
Paul later told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he would have voted for the Civil Right Act but on screen he looked like a man with a gun to his head.
By condoning racism as an American right, Rand Paul is a racist.
So is his father.
For many years, Ron Paul’s newsletters — used primarily as a fundraising tool — were filled with racist diatribes. The elder Paul later claimed he didn’t write the pieces and didn’t even know such trash was being distributed in his name.
Ron Paul’s claims are hard to believe because while he has disowned the comments made in his name, a Nexis search of news articles plus transcripts of radio and television appearances has not uncovered a single apology for the racist comments.
Both Pauls offer a similar defense to past statements and misdeeds: It’s all the fault of a liberal media that they claim constantly misquotes and misinterprets their comments.
It’s a tired old excuse that Republicans have been using since the days of Spiro Agnew.
Didn’t work then. Won’t wash now.