Comment of the Day: The ‘Why Politics Sucks’ Editionby Stephen Littau
This is why politics sucks. When you actually consider what the significance of Paul’s very nuanced view on this is and then juxtapose over what his potential duties as Senator would be, you quickly come to the correct conclusion that this matter means absolutely nothing.
He will be voting on budgets, taxes, appropriations and so on. And yet, while we can debate whether or not it is good or wise or prudent to have so much money and influence voted on in DC (I am opposed), the fact that such a decision about who should be qualified to do all this voting on behalf of the citizens of KY would be seriously and deliberately dumbed down to this irrelevant gotcha argument about civil rights and federal power is just frightening and simply further proof to how bad this process is.
Comment by John V — May 20, 2010 @ 7:32 pm
I think John V did a better job of making this point than I did. What Rachel Maddow was trying to do was use this gotcha play straight out of the Left’s playbook. Anyone who has libertarian leanings who wishes to run for office should be advised that because you have these leanings, you will be asked about your thoughts on the Civil Rights Act, particularly the title that deals with private businesses.
When I watched this interview, at first I was frustrated that Dr. Paul didn’t go into a more detailed explanation of this position that I admit is out of the mainstream* of modern political thought. Why did he keep going back to the gun argument** and why did he focus so much on the other nine titles that he, Maddow, and probably most who have libertarian leanings agree upon?
While I still believe Dr. Paul could have made a more persuasive argument or explained his position better, it has since occurred to me why he chose to respond as he did: he didn’t want to give his opponents too many sound bytes that could be used for attack ads.
Paul’s opponents, if they haven’t already, are busy producing negative campaign ads showing segregated lunch counters and juxtaposing his worst picture they can find next to Bull Connor’s. They will no doubt make the claim that Rand Paul wants to ‘turn back the clock’ on civil rights even though he has repeatedly said that the matter has been settled and that he would do no such thing***.
Rather than have an honest debate about this particular point, this kind of manipulation is what the debate is going to be reduced to.
John V is quite correct: This is why politics suck.
*I would point out that just because an idea is ‘out of the mainstream’ (or as some would say, ‘extreme’) doesn’t make it wrong. I would also say that just because an idea is popular doesn’t make it right. There have been many popular ideas throughout human history that are morally repugnant.
**The right for business owners to prohibit customers from bringing guns into their establishments is a very valid argument.
There was a sign in this one bar in Arizona I went to several years ago that read: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason; we don’t care who your daddy is” (or something to that effect). Now suppose that some hate group wants to patronize this establishment (i.e. neo-Nazis, the KKK, Westboro Baptist Church…take your pick). Shouldn’t the owner of the establishment have a right to enforce his or her policy? I don’t know about you but I certainly wouldn’t want to be forced to associate with these people.
***Has Dr. Paul even said that he would have voted against the Civil Rights Act? I don’t think he has really said one way or the other. What he has said is that he agrees in principle with nine of the ten titles and ‘hadn’t read the whole thing.’
And why should he have? He wasn’t in a position to vote on the legislation. He may have decided to compromise and vote in favor of the bill or he may have decided the one title was too much of a bitter pill to swallow. We will probably never know.
What we do know is that the Civil Rights Act was opposed mostly by Democrats from the South. Among them were Al Gore’s father, Bill Clinton’s mentor J. William Fulbright, and current Democrat Senator and former KKK member Robert Byrd. Why is it that the only person we normally hear criticized for voting against the act is Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater? If not for the help of Republicans in congress, the Civil Rights Act would never have passed.