Here’s Weigel, whose panties are in a wad because Rand Paul’s refusal to give a simple “yes” or “no” answer on whether he’d vote for the 1964 Civil Rights Act has landed him in hot water today.
So is Rand Paul a racist? No, and it’s irritating to watch his out-of-context quotes — this and a comment about how golf was no longer for elitists because Tiger Woods plays golf — splashed on the Web to make that point. Paul believes, as many conservatives believe, that the government should ban bias in all of its institutions but cannot intervene in the policies of private businesses. Those businesses, as Paul argues, take a risk by maintaining, in this example, racist policies. Patrons can decide whether or not to give them their money, or whether or not to make a fuss about their policies.
First of all, Weigel doesn’t know if Paul is a racist. Very few racists, especially those running for the US Senate, actually admit they’re racists. The only person who really knows if Rand Paul is a racist is Rand Paul. It’s conceivable that even Mrs. Rand Paul doesn’t really know — let alone Weigel.
But in any case, “Rand Paul isn’t a racist” is a straw man. Paul’s position, that government shouldn’t have the authority to regulate private businesses, is, to put it mildly, fucking crazy. And that’s why Paul’s in trouble.
Does Paul think Philip Morris should be able to pay children a nickel an hour to make cigarettes twelve hours a day? Does he think BP should be able to drill however and wherever they want? Does he think grocery stores should be able to sell tainted food? Does he think drug companies should be able to sell unsafe medicines? Does he think Wall Street should be able to sell whatever subprime crap they want — and then bet against it?
Because all would be perfectly consistent with government not being able to “intervene in the policies of private businesses.”
I mean hey, if your kid dies from taking bad cough syrup — you just won’t buy that brand any more — and the manufacturer will go out of business. The market works! Problem solved.
Expect to see a lot more spin like Weigel’s from the right. “How dare you call him a racist” is the song they always sing when one of their own steps in it.