Rand Paul: Civil Rights Act Is “Settled Law”

Two more statements this morning from Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul that serve to clarify the kerfuffle that arose yesterday over his statements regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

First, Paul was on Laura Ingraham’s radio show this morning and said that he considered the matter to be settled law:

Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul acknowledged Thursday that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was necessary to foster racial integration, a day after stumbling into a political mess by dodging questions about whether he would have voted for the law.

Appearing on Laura Ingraham’s show to do some clean-up after Wednesday’s interviews, Paul said: “There was a need for federal intervention so we can’t have segregation.”

The Republican accused liberals of trying to portray him as a racist for expressing philosophical concerns about the role of government in desegregating private business, explaining that he was not interested in revisiting the law.

“These are settled issues,” Paul said. “I have no intention of bringing up anything related to the Civil Rights Act.”

Audio here.

Second, the Paul campaign issued a statement shortly before noon stating the following:

“Let me be clear: I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws.”

“As I have said in previous statements, sections of the Civil Rights Act were debated on Constitutional grounds when the legislation was passed. Those issues have been settled by federal courts in the intervening years.”

“My opponent’s statement on MSNBC Wednesday that I favor repeal of the Civil Rights Act was irresponsible and knowingly false. I hope he will correct the record and retract his claims.”

That, quite honestly, should be the end of this entire episode. Opponents will continue to bring the matter up, of course, but the only responsible answer should be to refer them back to these statements and say that the the campaign considers the matters closed.

Welcome to the world of big time politics, Dr. Paul.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2010, Congress, Race and Politics, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    Aw, and we could have had days more fun.

  2. alkali says:

    A: Hey, I once killed a hobo, a long time ago. The statute of limitations has probably run out by now.

    B: You know, there’s no statute of limitations on murder.

    A: I misspoke before. I now consider the matter closed.

  3. Dave says:

    Why should this be the end? The role of the federal government in regulating private business is still very much relevant to contemporary politics. This is important stuff.

    Paul’s CRA kerfuffle here very much illustrates how he views the role of the legislative body he’s running to be a part of. We should be talking about this issue and what it means from now until November.

  4. Dantheman says:

    Dave has it exactly right. If Conway’s campaign is even half-way competent, by the time November rolls around, Rand Paul should be on record as opposing child labor laws, food safety inspection laws, minimum wage/maximum hour laws, and many other forms of governmental regulation which matters a lot more to the average voter than whether he intends to overturn the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  5. PD Shaw says:

    Next thing you know Robert Byrd will be taken to the wood shed, for you know, actually voting against the thing.

  6. Or being a Grand Wizard in a certain social organization

  7. Greg says:

    Agreed that this shouldn’t be the end of it. It’s not about Rand Paul being a racist, it’s about his very ideologically pure (and thus unyielding) view of the role of government and it’s practical effects. Josh Marshall had a good take:

    To a degree the argument Paul is making is something like saying that I don’t like rape or murder, I just don’t believe in a police force to prevent it or a judiciary to punish the offenders. The reason we, albeit imperfectly, have equality before the law and in the society at large (in terms of public accommodations and so forth) on racial grounds in the whole of the United States is because of federal legislation that forced that to be the case. The reason we don’t have white and colored drinking fountains or pools for whites only, etc. You can say you think all those things are awful and you may be telling the truth. But what are you going to do about it? The variant of libertarianism which Paul espouses, while internally consistent in theory and separate from race, has you saying, I wouldn’t do anything about it — though I’d decry it as an individual.

    Folks who espouse this kind of philosophy deserve to be held to account for that fact, whatever their inner beliefs about race and equality may be.

    Don’t get sidetracked by the police example. The point is that this is relevant because it informs us of his possible future positions. He may not be interested in revisiting this issue, but there may be issues in the future where his position will be that the government should stay out of it no matter what, regardless of how he feels about it personally. That’s not a bad position in some circumstances, but this shows he’s willing to take it to the extreme.

  8. Pug says:

    Dave has it exactly right. If Conway’s campaign is even half-way competent, by the time November rolls around, Rand Paul should be on record as opposing child labor laws, food safety inspection laws, minimum wage/maximum hour laws, and many other forms of governmental regulation which matters a lot more to the average voter than whether he intends to overturn the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    And, of course, he should be clearly on record in opposing all farm subsidies, which are nothing more than New Deal socialist programs. Kentucky’s tobacco farmers will love him then.

    If you’re going to be the anti-government guy, throw ’em all off welfare.

  9. Ugh says:

    Love this:

    Next thing you know Robert Byrd will be taken to the wood shed, for you know, actually voting against the thing.

    and this:

    Or being a Grand Wizard in a certain social organization

    Both of which happened in the past few days, of course.

  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    Yep. All done!

    Had I had my way restaurants in this country would still be segregated. So would apartments. And banks would be free to refuse loans on the basis of color. Movie theaters would be able to refuse entry to black people. Likewise privately-owned hospitals.

    If I’d had my way.

    But since I didn’t, hey, it’s settled law, nothing to see here. Move along.

    Puh-leeze.

    I assumed, Doug, you were being humorous. You really think an ideologue can just dismiss the real-world effects of his ideology? And you actually believe it’s wrong to reproach an ideologue by pointing how awful the world would be if his ideology had prevailed? Really? You apply that same standard to all ideologues or just the dumb-asses you kinda like who’ve just publicly revealed the depths of their ideological depravity?

    If it had been up to me, hey, all things would be held in common and there would be no private property. But hey, since we settled that I’d like to be your Senator.

    Yeah. That’s going to work.

  11. This is not about Rand Paul being a racist. It is, however, about being able to call Rand Paul a racist repeatedly and with impunity.

  12. Pug says:

    Both of which happened in the past few days, of course.

    Byrd joined the Klan 68 years ago, but it seems like it was just a few days ago.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    The issue is not Paul’s racism or lack thereof. The issue is that he’s a f—ing idiot.

  14. steve says:

    ” It is, however, about being able to call Rand Paul a racist repeatedly and with impunity.”

    Which is a shame. However, some of his real beliefs need to be understood, as they may be almost as bad. One would expect that he would, say, support Friedman’s contention that government should have nothing to do with a BP like situation, that it should be handled by torts. In theory, so many libertarians will tell you, if a company knows it will be sued, it will not take unnecessary risks.

    In reality, corporations are large with huge assets. They drag things out in court forever. They get special favors from judges and legislatures. So, in reality, the harmed person may not ever really made whole. In Rand, I fear we have a true ideologue who will not let reality affect his philosophical certainty.

    Steve

  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    Let me clarify: if you believe in an ideology, and believe that your ideology because of its pristine purity and intellectual coherence must trump reality regardless of human suffering? You may be a jihadist, you may be a communist, you may be a libertarian, you may be any number of different things. But you are definitely a f—ing idiot.

  16. G.A.Phillips says:

    The issue is not Paul’s racism or lack thereof. The issue is that he’s a f—ing idiot

    Good point Harry…. But thats not why most liberals will attack him it’s

    This is not about Rand Paul being a racist. It is, however, about being able to call Rand Paul a racist repeatedly and with impunity.

    But hey, as long as he is not for murdering babies, experimenting on their remains or burning Christmas cards I say give him a shot….

  17. G.A.Phillips says:

    Byrd joined the Klan 68 years ago, but it seems like it was just a few days ago

    Ya, thats kinda how someone joining the Klan kinda looks and feels to most us with eyes, ears and more the donkypoop between and behind them……

  18. Bobby says:

    I don’t think he’s a racist but he’s definitely an elitist idiot. And a dangerous one.

  19. G.A.Phillips says:

    I don’t think he’s a racist but he’s definitely an elitist idiot. And a dangerous one.

    ya like our President. And just like everyone of those sorry *** bastards who gave that dangerous elitist idiot from Mexico standing ovations, the same stupid bastards who don’t read bills that the use to stir racial hatred amongst the illegal racist aliens.

    The leadership of this country….lol..why dude!?

  20. john personna says:

    Having one or two nutty libertarians in congress is probably no big deal. Heck, a couple authentic socialists would just give comic relief.

    The Pauls can give speeches on the gold standard for the next 50 years. It won’t really matter. To rise above ‘counterpoint’ themselves, they’ll have to say what exactly to do about that looming Medicare mountain, etc.

  21. gVOR08 says:

    “That, quite honestly, should be the end of this entire episode.” No, no, no. This shouldn’t end until large numbers of people are waving flip-flop sandals at his rallies.

    This episode may or may not show that Paul is a racist. This episode may or may not show that Paul allows ideological purity to trump reality. This episode clearly shows that Mr. Paul is far from the sharpest tool in the shed.

  22. john personna says:

    Now Mr. Paul apparently says Mr. Obama’s criticism of BP is “unAmerican.”

  23. An Interested Party says:

    Is Rand Paul a racist isn’t the point and shouldn’t be the main focus of what he has said…

    There are those who think John and I are wrong to want to move the discussion of Rand Paul away from the topic of whether or not Rand Paul is a racist. Let me remind you: a few years ago, there was an extended back-and-forth between Bobo and Paul Krugman about the extent to which Reagan used racism to help himself politically. Republicans tried to deflect it into an argument about whether or not Reagan was racist himself and then trotted out old friends to say how much Reagan loved black people, had black best friends, didn’t see race at all, and so on.

    But, you see, it doesn’t matter whether or not Reagan harbored racist feelings in his own heart, he gave his first post-convention speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi and talked about “states’ rights”. He talked about “strapping young bucks” buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. Reagan’s “actual feelings” about race matter about as much as Lindsey Graham’s “actual feelings” about health care reform.

    Once things become personal, Republicans can wriggle off the hook. It’s just too easy to trot out black friends or at least stories about black friends and say “see, Rand Paul is not a racist, next question.” The last 40 years of American politics haven’t been destroyed by a bunch of dumb, racist crackers, they’ve been destroyed by cynical conservatives who were all too willing to manipulate dumb, racist crackers for political gain.

    Rand Paul is a nut. But the focus has to be on his nutty political positions and the extent to which other Republicans also believe them (the denials have not been strong so far, aside from McConnell, who already hated Paul), not on his “actual feelings”. Republicans have made a lot of hay out of white fear over the past few decades. And now, to use their own words, it’s time to shove it down their throat.

  24. Eric Florack says:

    And I’m using argument, with each side taking a predictable points.

    Let’s point out a couple of things, here.

    Let’s first off remember that if it wasn’t for the republicans that civil rights act of 64 wouldn’t even be on the table. They pushed it back in the day against the objections of the then ruling Democratic party. That’s a point that gets missed in all of this discussion. I think that important, here, because it’s a measure of how far the republicans have drifted from what is it is not constitutional, versus what is and is not politically correct. I find it amusing, personally, that Michael Steele is uncomfortable with Paul’s position. it tells me all I need to know about where his philosophy is based; “social justice” or a small constitutional federal government. Hint; it is certainly not the latter.

    Let me make my stand clear, here; do I think it’s OK for Woolworth’s lunch counter to refuse to serve minorities? No, I do not. Thing is, as much of an oddball as I consider Rand Paul to be, I don’t think that’s what he’s saying, either. His positions seems to me rather to be one build directly on the constitution. He’s raising the question as to whether not the Federal government has the constitutional mandate for such things. Certainly, the founders would not have intended it that way. That seems to me a constitutional stand, a small government stand, a libertarian stand, but most certainly not a racist one.

    So where did the racist charges come into play? Simple; whenever the left can’t argue something on its merits, it breaks out the label gun and the first selection on the label gun is “racist”…. That being one of the worst labels you can hang on someone in the lexicon of leftists. Mind, the charge doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to be , to be effective.

    And so the pattern is rather well established; when something can’t be argued on the merits, the racist label gets broken out, and the whole discussion goes off on a tangent away from the issue of individual liberty… On which ground liberals never win the argument.

    As to the success or failure of such government-based attitudes about minorities, Steel should perhaps look at the long-term implication of our government only wanting to help the American Indian. Those well meaning, yet disastrous results are of a piece with what has since happened with the American Black, the American Hispanic and so on. This is exactly why our founders never gave government the right and responsibility of such programs, within the confines of the constitutional government they left us.

  25. Juneau: says:

    Good job, Florack. Being able to throw out the racist label is the most important thing to the left. Meanwhile let’s just all not pay attention to the fact that the liberal left is the most racist ideology around. The ideology of the victim classes, emphasizing all of the differences between people of various races until the population is hyper-sensitive to how they look at, talk to, or even act around people of other ethnicity and cultures.

    You don’t have a job? It’s their fault! You don’t have hope? The gov’mint will give you hope! You don’t have an education? That’s OK … we know that your great, great, great, grand daddy was oppressed and that’s why you didn’t learn anything in our public school – and that’s all their fault.

    Personal accountability, personal initiative, and personal responsibility. The ideology of the left knows nothing of these principles. There will always be poor people. I’ve been one of them. In this day and age, poverty has very, very little to do with race.