There’s been a lot of discussion out there in the past couple of days regarding Rand Paul. The left is calling him a racist, and many associated with the right-wing establishment are wondering if he is too far right for America. The answer to the latter question is: it doesn’t matter. Mr. Paul isn’t being elected by America, he’s being elected by the people of Kentucky. Is he too conservative for Kentucky? While it’s still early, it doesn’t look like it.
With respect to the former question, is he a racist, the answer is: who knows? He certainly hasn’t said anything that I’ve heard that would define him as a racist. He says he’s not in favor of discrimination, and until someone offers proof to the contrary, I’m inclined to believe him. All of this hub-bub about him not necessarily being in favor of the Civil Rights Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act is largely nonsensical rhetoric being spewed by the left. At no point did Mr. Paul say he wasn’t in favor of the Federal Govt. barring discriminatory hiring practices for govt. jobs. That’s obviously in the government’s sweet spot, and is keeping in line with the Constitution. What Mr. Paul did criticize however, was the federal government telling private companies who they can and can’t hire, or what they have to do to their property to make it handicap accessible. And you know what? He’s right. The idea that federal government can tell a private business who it has to serve is ridiculous. It’s also settled law.
In what has been glossed over by the talking heads, Mr. Paul also stated that a business would be stupid for discriminating against anyone, regardless of the Civil Rights Act. This topic was covered in detail by Thomas Sowell in his excellent book “Economic Facts and Fallacies.” If a business wants to survive, and thrive, then it will serve anyone with money that comes in the door. If it doesn’t, then it won’t be in business very long.
The Civil Rights Act is an interesting, and politically dangerous, issue, because it represents two competing interests: it was no doubt an important and beneficial piece of legislation regarding equal rights, but it also significantly intruded on private property rights. Mr. Paul identifying these interests doesn’t make him a racist, or even a “crazy” libertarian. It simply makes him right.
When you spend as much time as I do listening to progressive talk radio, it becomes painfully obvious to figure out who the left is truly frightened of, because they talk incessantly about how bad of a candidate so and so is for the Republicans, or how dumb such and such is. That’s how I figured out they were so scared of Sarah Palin. The left spent far more time trashing her than even addressing McCain. Why? If they truly thought she was a damaging Vice Presidential candidate, then they simply would have giggled at her selection and moved on. But they didn’t. In fact, they continue to talk about her constantly now, and she’s not even an elected official. Why? Because she was, and largely still is, a refreshing conservative voice, who isn’t covered in Washington sludge. “Regular people” identified with her, and often agreed with her small government mantra. Rand Paul shares those same characteristics, and that is why the left is so preoccupied with what would usually not receive much attention: a Republican likely winning a Senate seat in a heavily Republican state.
Rand trounced establishment pick Trey Grayson to win the Republican nomination on Tuesday. Grayson enjoyed the support of just about every establishment Republican around: Mitch McConnell, Dick Cheney, even (somewhat ironically) Sarah Palin. Now, the left is doing everything they can to color Rand as a racist extremist. Why? It’s very simple: Rand scares the hell out of the Dems. He scares them because he’s not typical, and he’s not typical because he doesn’t resemble a Republican all that much. Many of the established Republicans in Washington aren’t any different from the Democrats. They’re all married to big business, big government, big money, and generally ignore their constituents back home. Rand, who was basically elected by the Tea Parties, isn’t so much a Republican as he is a Conservative. That’s also why he scares the Republican establishment.
Rand is a sign that the Tea Parties both haven’t died, and haven’t been co-opted by the Republican Party, despite its best effort. He may also be a sign that many have reached their breaking point with the Federal Govt. Congress if full of lifetime politicians who simply hand power back and forth to each other, without much changing. Let’s face it, the only reason the current Congressional Republicans are acting like conservatives is because their spending-like-drunken-sailor ways have alienated their base (it also helps that the Democratic leadership has shifted so far left; Mitch McConnell looks a lot more conservative standing next to Chuck Schumer). They’re simply fighting for their careers, and after watching three-term Senator Robert Bennett get broomed in Utah, and now Rand winning in Kentucky, they’ll have to fight harder.
There is no doubt that Rand holds some far-right views, but at least he’s honest about being a small-government conservative. That honesty, and the connection it creates with the public, should scare the left.