Rand Paul's surprise win in Kentucky's GOP senatorial primary made
him an overnight hero for the movements he
: the Tea Party, conservative libertarianism, and the
general anti-establishment sentiment of the day. While Paul's
libertarian-tinged philosophy puts him to the left of most Republicans
on some issues (he has questioned the size of U.S. defense spending, for
example), it puts him way to the right on others. Some observers are
beginning to ask, is he too conservative? Here's their case and the
- Too Conservative For Dick Cheney? The
New York Daily News' David
Saltonstall makes some trouble. "Some of his positions frighten even
staunch conservatives like former Vice President Dick Cheney, who
backed Paul's GOP opponent. ... [Rand Paul] wants to abolish the federal
departments of education, commerce and energy, as well as the income
tax. ... he is opposed to all government bailouts and earmarks, and
President Obama's 'socialist' health care law. He favors a
constitutional amendment banning abortion, even in cases of rape and
- Yet He's Just Like Cheney on Some Issues The
American Prospect's Adam Serwer writes, "When it
comes to due process for people accused of terrorism, Paul is
indistinguishable from the neoconservatives who tried to prevent his
rise. ... Paul's Gitmo NIMBYism and support for ineffectual military
commissions as a method of trying people he's preemptively declared
guilty puts him firmly alongside the likes of Dick and Liz Cheney on due
process and terrorism."
- Paul: 'Whites Only' Restaurants OK Paul told
the Louisville Courier-Journal, "I don't like the idea of telling
private business owners – I abhor racism – I think it's a bad business
decision to ever exclude anybody from your restaurant. But at the same
time I do believe in private ownership. ... this is the hard part about
believing in freedom." The newspaper balked: "he
holds an unacceptable view of civil rights, saying that while the
federal government can enforce integration of government jobs and
facilities, private business people should be able to decide whether
they want to serve black people, or gays, or any other minority group.
He quickly emphasizes that he personally would not agree with any form
of discrimination, but he just doesn't think it should be legislated."
Does That Mean in Practice? Gawker's Adrian
Chen mocks, "it's simple: Rand Paul hates racism, but wants to
allow businesses to be racist. He would definitely support a segregated
Applebee's as long as it instantly went bankrupt because no one liked
its racist food. He basically loves the idea of the possibility that
somewhere in America someone could open up a racist business, but as
soon as that business becomes a reality he hates it. Ideally, racist
businesses would shift between existence and non-existence at a rate
approaching infinity, such that they opened and closed at exactly the
same time, thus providing maximum individual freedom and minimum racism.
It's so simple!"
- Why This Is So Touchy The Huffington
Post's Taylor Marsh explains,
"There is an undercurrent of opinion dogging the Tea Party that posits
they are racist. It has also dogged the Republican Party since their
Southern strategy was implemented, of which the Tea Party is an extreme
- Will Make Trouble in General Election
Politico's Ben Smith evaluates , "I'm not
sure his evasive response to a question today on whether he would have
voted for the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1964 Civil Rights
Act, which outlawed discrimination in public places and in the
workplace, [will be satisfactory]." Smith says Paul must begin
"addressing a broader set of issues than the anti-tax, anti-spending
focus of his campaign."
- This Could Sink Him Talking
Points Memo's liberal blogger Josh Marshall shrugs, "I was
finding it kind of hard to believe that a Democrat would really have a
chance to win a Senate seat in Kentucky in 2010. But Rand Paul has some
positions that probably won't wear well even in Kentucky -- being
against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities
Act and supporting abolishing the Department of Education."
He's Pretty Liberal Reason's Radley Balko sees it coming. "Lefties: Before you start fringe-baiting Rand
Paul, note that he's better on civil liberties than most Democratic
senators. And Obama." Balko calls Paul "more anti-war,
pro-civil liberties than most Democrats."
Liberals Misread His Civil Rights Position Conservative blogger Allahpundit defends, "His
reservations about the law have to do not with the ends but with the
means of federal compulsion; he wants business owners to serve everyone
but clearly prefers using boycotts and local laws to pressure them. It’s
not a question of being pro- or anti-discrimination, in other words,
it’s a question of how federalism and civil-rights enforcement mesh."
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