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WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Did Rand Paul accomplish anything with speech at historically black Howard University?

Kentucky's junior U.S. Senator Rand Paul - his national stature elevated with his recent old-fashioned filibuster on drone attacks - took his libertarian strain of Republican outreach to Howard University.

By many accounts, Ron Paul's son received a rather lukewarm reception at the historically African-American University. The Tea Party favorite acknowledged his predicament, telling students he had been called "either brave or crazy" to deliver a speech in such a setting.

Obviously seeking to relate to his audience, Paul declared, "I've never wavered in my support for civil rights or the Civil Rights Act."

Rand Paul's critics were quick to pounce, and it DOES seem the senator from Kentucky was trying to reshape his personal narrative. Lest we forget, as a candidate seeking that Senate seat in 2010, Rand Paul raised questions about the constitutionality of Title III of the Civil Rights Act, which bars PRIVATE discrimination. Here's the RP quote from an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: "I don't want to be associated with those people, but I also don't want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that's one of the things freedom requires..."

At that Howard University forum, RP suggested in the modern context, the concern was for the Civil Rights Act being applied not to race, but to smoking, menus, listing calories, and guns.

But, the thrust of the senator's speech was to recount the Republican Party's intertwined history with first, slavery abolition, and later, civil rights.

Rand Paul noted the first popularly elected, African- American senator was a Republican (Edward William Brooke III), but RP managed to mangle the name saying "Edwin Brookes". The audience corrected him.

Again, RP resurrecting the G.O.P./civil rights association: "If I were to have said, 'Who do you think the founders of the NAACP are? .. would everybody in here know they were all Republicans?" Some in the audience responded, "Yes".

This portion of Rand Paul's speech was not all that unique. The conservative commentariat loves to recall those segregationist Democrats, without noting how the GOP courted them.

What Rand Paul and other conservatives conveniently ignore:

Lyndon Johnson's signing of that very Civil Rights Act of 1964, where LBJ is reputed to have told Bill Moyers: "I think we have just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come." (Which was more heroic: LBJ embracing the Civil Rights Act in 1964 - to the great detriment of his party's political fortunes - or Dems jumping on the marriage equality bandwagon today?)

Then you had Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy", and Ronald Reagan famously beginning his 1980 post-convention, campaign with a "states' rights" speech at the Neshoba County Fair just outside racially scarred, Philadelphia, Mississippi. Segregationist Dems left the national Democratic Party in droves into the welcoming arms of the Republicans.

You won't hear Rand Paul putting the G.O.P.'s history in that kind of context.

Indeed, a student questioner at Howard wanted RP to differentiate between the two Republican Parties: "Are we discussing the Republican Party of the 19th century? Or are we discussing the post-1968 Republican Party?"

RP didn't exactly win hearts and minds when he castigated Dems for favoring "unlimited Federal assistance" and called private-school choice "the civil rights issue of our day". Memo to Ron Paul: Be careful, very careful, when broaching a current debate as a civil rights issue. For many, especially older, African-Americans, the civil rights movement of the 1960's was unique. In fact, the term should be capitalized: Civil Rights. (I recall an old news account of an African-American woman in the South upbraiding a Democratic Presidential candidate - perhaps Dukakis? - for daring to compare gay rights to civil rights!) Analogy: The Holocaust of World War II was unique; other genocides, however brutal, should not be called "holocausts".

RP did better when he noted the libertarian strain of Republicans who "don't clamor for war" and his advocacy for repealing mandatory/minimum sentences.

To return to Senator Edward Brooke (still living, by the way), one wonders if Rand Paul would have been intellectually honest enough to note the former senator's positions. It's difficult to imagine Senator Brooke in today's Republican Party.

And that is the fundamental obstacle as Rand Paul and other contemporary Republicans try to win African-American hearts and minds.

Most of today's Republicans have a fundamental antipathy towards government. Most African-Americans do not. Most of today's Republicans (and some centrist Dems) seek to reduce the power of organized labor, particularly public employees' unions. Most African-Americans do not. (In fact, budget-cutting at all levels of government is having a disproportionate effect on black Americans.)

For the forseeable future, it just doesn't seem Republicans will win very many hearts and minds among African-Americans.

Hispanic-Americans? I've covered here before how Hispanics also don't seem to have such a fundamental antipathy towards government. That said, for cultural/religious reasons, EVANGELICAL Hispanics (although not Roman Catholic Hispanics) represent more fertile ground for the G.O.P., especially if & when Republicans are no longer perceived as the roadblock to immigration reform.



Posted at 8:35am on April 11, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

teatime
Thu, Apr 11, 2013 9:35am
Hate to speak in broad sweeping strokes about an entire group of people, but Rand Paul's address makes sense.

Paul believes in cutting government, including 'defense' spending, and this benefits all taxpayers, including those in the African-American community.

Rand Paul for you-know-what in 2016.

billsmith
Thu, Apr 11, 2013 10:37am
"The Holocaust of World War II was unique; other genocides, however brutal, should not be called "holocausts"."

This is an extremely offensive statement, AllanLoudell. Shame on you. The organized Zionist movement places greater significance on atrocities committed against Jews than atrocities committed against anyone else - especially Palestinians who suffer and have often died at the hands of Zionists. The first recorded instance of deliberate genocide was by Israelites invading Canaan in the Book of Joshual their ancestors invented genocide. The Nazi genocide claimed some 12-million lives - not six. Apparently the organized Jewish community thinks the OTHER six million who were exterminated don't count.

It ill-behooves a group calling for compassion from the rest of the world for what they suffered, to show no compassion for anyone else. Stalin murdered 24 million (by some estimates killing more Jews than Hitler) but we hear little about that. The Armenian genocide by the Turks in World War I doesn't get talked about. The deliberate starvation of the Irish by the Brits in the 19th century is largely forgotten. Meanwhile the PR machine or organized Judaism keeps flogging the "holocaust." They are the ultimate "holocaust deniers." They deny all the other "holocausts," especially the holocaust of their own making in Gaza and the West Bank.


kavips
Thu, Apr 11, 2013 2:45pm
When applied to racial intolerance Libertarianism cuts both ways.... On one hand, it sets all equal so no barriers exist between races, because... all people are equal.

On the other hand, if a group of people decide they don't like a particular race, Libertarians are not quick to condone them, because, well, everyone should be able to do what they want....

If one takes that the role of government is to provide organization and a direction and purpose to society, then Libertarians are probably the least effective at managing that role...

That said, it is the force of the Libertarians from the outside, that provide the American consciousness, its support of private rights.

billsmith
Thu, Apr 11, 2013 3:25pm
Kavips: While I often agree with your comments, this time you have misrepresented libertarian principles. These are reflected in John Stuart Mills' "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." Libertarianism does not condone any right to harm others or to infringe on the rights of others.

PS: I think you meant "not quick to condemn them." Not condone. The fact is a lot of people, like many in the tea party, call themselves libertarian but are quick to either condemn or condone when it seems convenient. The tea party talks about freedom and demands restrictions on reproductive freedom, freedom of sexual orientation and freedom to consume mind altering substances for pleasure. Just because they call for freedom from taxes for rich people, does not mean they are libertarian.

kavips
Thu, Apr 11, 2013 5:16pm
Oops. sub "condemn" for "condone". My editor (me) missed that one....

You might be right. I am well aware that a libertarian's code of ethics does not harm others... And in the emotional heat of typing, I might have misplaced the Libertarian's values temporarily with my experience with those demoniacally possessed with the Tea Party's values.

For those Libertarians who rightly find being called a Tea Partier the lowest insult, I wholeheartedly apologize.

mrpizza
Thu, Apr 11, 2013 10:47pm
I'm very proud to be "demonically possessed" with the Tea Party's values, and I consider Rand Paul to be among the few politicians who represents my views.

Did his speech accomplish anything? Yes, indeed. The more places we can send Rand Paul to speak, the more we can accomplish for the greater good. Now if the dictator Obama would just shut his mouth, that would accomplish even more.

Any comments, Bill Smith/Mark Rice?

billsmith
Fri, Apr 12, 2013 3:45am
Yes, mrpizza. I have a comment (not sure about the other guy). The Pauls, pere et fils, do not represent your values, at least not the values you post here. Libertarians, which is what they are, do not want to regulate people's sex lives, their reproductive choices, their use of recreational drugs ... all the ares where the religious right wants to impose its dogma on other people.

The tea party started out as libertarians and then sold out by letting in the religious right.

mrpizza
Fri, Apr 12, 2013 5:55am
billsmith: I'm a proud card-carrying, Bible-totin' member of the Religious Right.

By the way, I'm still waiting for you to come clean, Mr. Rice.

billsmith
Fri, Apr 12, 2013 6:12am
mrpizza: Bully for you. Then you are not a libertarian and neither Paul represents your values.

I'm waiting for you to "come clean" that you want to force your values on everybody else regardless of all the lip service you pay to freedom and liberty.

I'm also waiting for you to acknowledge that the tide of public opinion has turned against you tea people. You lost. Most people support gay marriage and legal grass. Most people are sick of the tea caucus obstructing Congress. You people had your chance and you blew it.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Apr 12, 2013 8:34am
I can totally agree with this statement from Billsmith:
"These are reflected in John Stuart Mills' "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." Libertarianism does not condone any right to harm others or to infringe on the rights of others."

I believe that many on both sides of the aisle want to force THEIR view of America on the other, and YES, this cuts both ways across the political divide: For example the left wants to force religious groups to have to provide parts of the Obamacare that go against their beliefs. Someone choosing to work for such a religious organization will just have to realize that group is not going to provide free birth-control or abortions and THAT is their right as that goes against their religious beliefs. If having free birth-control and/or abortion is a problem for you, then go work for another company.

Many companies within the last 3-5 years have added spousal benefits for gay/lesbian couples even though they are not married [yet did not offer this to heterosexual "shackup" couples, because they can get married whereas the gay/lesbians as of now cannot]. The reason for the change in policy is many of these gay/lesbians people are well-educated and have the skills these and other companies seek. As a result of not having those benefits, the LGBT community tends to choose to NOT work for a company that doesn't give them that benefit. So to gain a better competitive advantage over their business competitors these companies now offer this benefit, even though not required by the government.

So there are plenty of companies that will gladly pay for birth-control and abortions via their health-care plans. Go work for them. But those religious organizations should not have to provide something that goes against their beliefs. Maybe if those religious institutions lose enough employees or have a difficult time in getting new employees they'd change their policies, but they then get to make that choice and not be forced by the government to do it. THAT is the difference.

The same thing also applies to those on the right side of the aisle. The secular society has the right to allow things that we in the church may not agree with, as these thing may go against our beliefs, i.e., gay/lesbian marriage.

As long as the government doesn't try to force a church/synogogue/mosque to have to perform gay/lesbian marriages or ordain gay/lesbian pastors, etc., then those churches that CHOOSE to perform gay/lesbian marriages, etc., are free to do so and those that choose not to are also free to do their thing.

So it works both ways for both sides of the aisle.


billsmith
Fri, Apr 12, 2013 10:33am
MikeFromDelaware: I am pleasantly surprised.

As a general rule, it seems companies should only have to provide spousal benefits to employees with a non-working spouse. If both are working, as is often the case, then each spouse should be getting his/her own benefits.

If Obama had backbone and hadn't caved in on single-payer before negotiations on health-care reform even began, this wouldn't be an issue.

The sticky part here is where to draw the line on what is and what is not a religious institution? A secular company owned by a religious organization (a newspaper, commercial TV station, department store, bank...)? A hospital which is open to the public and with staff and employees hired regardless of whether they are church members? A general curriculum college or university with students, faculty and staff hired or admitted without regard to religious membership? I say organizations that hire from the public and do business with the public should not be allowed to discriminate by imposing their beliefs on members of the public who may not share them. These are secular companies even if the owners are religious institutions.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Apr 12, 2013 11:51am
The problem with that is, those who set up these hospitals ARE these churches and they view these as part of their ministry. Many go to a Catholic hospital, because no abortions are done there, etc. Again, if you're going to work for a Catholic hospital, daycare, homeless shelter, etc, etc, then expect no benefits for abortions or birth control.

You mention hotels, newspapers, radio/TV stations, department stores and banks. THAT I could agree would be a different situation. Those are NOT ministries.

billsmith
Fri, Apr 12, 2013 2:43pm
MikeFromDelaware: Fair enough. However, there are different degrees of church affiliation. Sometimes hospitals, or schools and universities, maintain an historic tie to a founding church but are now functionally and financially independent. The governing board is not composed of church representatives and not chosen by church officials. The institution receives little or no financial support from the church. In such cases, I'd call it a secular institution. The line seems to be drawn based on control and financial support. When an institution is independent it may still do good but is not part of a church ministry.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Apr 12, 2013 3:19pm
Billsmith: I'd agree with that. Makes sense.

kavips
Sat, Apr 13, 2013 12:00am
Although I don't agree with forcing others, immediately I think of these historical incidents.

Paying tax on Whiskey.
Banning slavery
Draft: Civil War.
Income Tax
Forcing SS Tax
Draft: WWII
Desegregation of the South
Draft: Vietnam
Forcing Medicare Tax
55 mph Speed Limit
Drunk Driving laws
Insurance Cost tied to One's Driving Record

That's enough to give an idea. Sometimes it is to everyone's advantage to make people do what they don't want.
If it benefits everyone, then it should be done....

One of the best examples of imposing rule and control on one's freedom is this...

In a community cars drive up and down the street with no speed limit. Some go very fast, some go slow. The potential for danger and small children finally persuades someone in authority to post a 25 mph speed limit. One redneck libertarian, who always has been free to do what he wants, objects. He says, "I've been safe all my life. Never had an accident. What right does anyone have to tell me I have to putt, putt, putt, when I should vroom, vroom, vroom? He continues to speed, always having foresight when and if a police has entered the neighborhood... He is not going to respect the limit, because he is a libertarian as long as no policeman is there to track him... So he speeds.

Now this is a violation of set law, yet it hurts no one, and has never hurt no one... should he be allowed to continue? In his mind, the 25 mph limit is exceedingly slow, and is a stupid rule....

But, before you decide, let me finish. Along that street in a house at the top of the hill, a two year old, unbeknownst to his mom, has figured how to unlatch the back door, and while she cleans thinking he is tucked in the safe zone at the back of the porch, he walks through the back yard to the street, and hidden by the parked car alongside the street, steps into the traffic zone just a hundred feet from this driver. ..

If the driver was doing the speed limit, the car would stop 50 feet away. But if the car was doing 50... splat....

Point is, society decided that to protect their children, traffic should move at 25 mph. They made the law for a very good reason, but Mr. Libertarian, who never had children, never understood the value of such a law, until too late.

So by whose directive do we determine whether a law is beneficial, or harmful? We all have opinions based on our varied experiences. So how exactly do we come about to establishing laws that are good over some objections, and not passing laws that are bad, also over some objections?

Why shouldn't a person willing agree to follow all laws made by the representatives of his society, his group, his tribe, even though he can see no reason it should be done?

When is a law that benefits all, but limits one, deemed oppressive?

Just interested in your outtakes.



mrpizza
Sat, Apr 13, 2013 4:48am
billsmith: I could care less about the tide of public opinion. I care about GOD's opinion.

What's right isn't always popular, and what's popular isn't always right. I'll DIE for what's right if I have to.

billsmith
Sat, Apr 13, 2013 7:17am
mrpizza: Unless you have your own person burning bush in your backyard, how can you presume to know what god's opinion is on anything?
Keep in mind that when you die for what's right, it is because you are opposing somebody else willing to die (or kill) for what's right.

billsmith
Sat, Apr 13, 2013 7:28am
kavips: Some of you examples prevent people from harming others. Some require people to be responsible for their actions. The rest involve some forcing their will on others.
Nothing benefits all. If you assume society's "representatives" act in the interest of all, you haven't paid attention.
You really don't get the libertarian philosophy. Fine. But please don't put words into the mouths of libertarians. Your argument is essentially authoritarian and I doubt that's what you intend.

mrpizza
Sat, Apr 13, 2013 10:46am
billsmith: I don't need a burning bush. I have God's written word, the bible, which has sold more copies than all the books ever written throughout the history of man.

billsmith
Sat, Apr 13, 2013 11:15am
mrpizza: Are you really going to base what's right on number of copies sold? In that case Gone With The Wind is right about slavery and the Civil War (and about as far removed from the actual events as the gospels are from Jesus).

And all those people who bought Bibles or got them free got very different ideas about what's right. They all quote the Bible and they are all ready to die (or kill) for what they think is right. What makes you think your idea of what's right is really what's right? What even makes you think there is such a thing as absolute right (or wrong)?

The Bible is like ink blots. You see whatever you want in them.


mrpizza
Sun, Apr 14, 2013 2:17am
I see the TRUTH in them, which is in fact, what I want. This isn't about what I think is right. It's what GOD thinks.

You really need to get right with him before it's too late.

billsmith
Sun, Apr 14, 2013 6:46am
mrpizza: That's the problem. You think whatever you want to see is THE TRUTH. And then you use god as your justification - excuse. The Catholics only have one guy who claims a monopoly on THE TRUTH. Holly Rollers all think they've got THE TRUTH. You people live in an intolerant little mental bubble where you are right, everybody else is wrong (and going to hell). Then you all get together and become the Tea Party and being the whole country to a halt. Then you pat yourselves on the back. No wonder the US has become second rate and second class by almost any measure. Welcome to the Chinese Century.

mrpizza
Sun, Apr 14, 2013 9:15pm
"Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord". Romans 14:11

That's EVERY knee and tongue, yours included. Do you really want to take the chance that I may be right? You're going to confess it eventually, either in this life or the next. If you wait until the next, it'll be too late to get into heaven. What if all of us arrogant intolerant Christians are right about hell? Is it worth your eternal soul to scoff at God?

billsmith
Sun, Apr 14, 2013 10:11pm
mrpizza: I have no interest in spending eternity sucking up to a supernatural being so cruel that he torments people forever for making a wrong guess on theology based on zero hard information. Being with arrogant, intolerant people does not make this version of the afterlife any more appealing.

It sounds like you go to church not because you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself. But because you are afraid of dying and want to hedge your bets. If you really want to CYA in eternity, you better become Catholic. If they are right, you will still join us in hell. If you want the best deal in the afterlife, answer the door next time Mormon missionaries come knocking. You will get to be god of your own planet some day. And if your slippery slope fears about gay marriage are realized, maybe you get to have a whole harem of wives.

mrpizza
Sun, Apr 14, 2013 10:37pm
You're funny, Bill!


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