My chronology probably isn’t complete – it seems like Rand Paul’s been everywhere this week – but let’s review what I’ve got (also note that pretty much everything he says about racism and the 1964 Civil Rights Act applies to discrimination against the disabled, and the Americans with Disabilities Act):
5/19/2010, NPR: Dr. Paul explains that institutional racism is a terrible thing that he hates hates hates, but legislating against racism by private businesses is government overreach. Foot about 70% of the way in.
5/19/2010, Rachel Maddow: Paul claims that the Civil Rights Act was mostly about ending government discrimination and he’s all for that, but intervening against racist businesses is a violation of the 1st Amendment. Or the 2nd Amendment. Or something. Foot/mouth convergence 80%.
5/20/2010, Laura Ingraham: Paul describes anyone who finds his dislike for the Civil Rights Act’s non-public elements disturbing as “the loony left.” Foot insertion complete.
5/20/2010, official campaign statement: In what might be the lamest non-retraction retraction ever, Paul avers that he would not support repeal of the Civil Rights Act (which is not the issue, and certainly not the same as saying he would have voted for it), that he agrees with its public sphere elements, and that its private sphere elements were constitutionally iffy. Then he goes on about government overreach and power grabs and individual and state’s rights, not that he’s trying to draw a parallel or anything. In other words, his position hasn’t changed a bit. We’ll say 70% foot-in-mouth because at least he’s trying to sound conciliatory.
5/20/2010, campaign spokesman interview: Rand Paul supports the government’s anti-discrimination authority over private businesses because the courts ruled it to be constitutional. 20%!
5/20/2010, Wolf Blitzer: Paul says discrimination was such a huge problem that he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act, and scolds the media for making it sound like he wouldn’t have… but he’s not so sure about that Americans with Disabilities Act. He uses his ridiculous “common sense” let-the-company-put-the-disabled-guy-on-the-first-floor-so-they-don’t-have-to-build-an-elevator talking point for at least the third time since Wednesday. Back to 50%.
You see? Exhausting! Especially at the end there, where he does a double backflip on the government’s authority to tell private business owners to serve minority customers even though he had made it abundantly clear that he considers that to be almost as horrible as racism itself, if not worse. (Bonus style points for pretending that that was his position all along and the media and “loony left” just distorted it.)
The only thing that could be more exhausting would be trying to explain his giant politically expedient flip-flop on national TV without saying “My change in position will enable me to be e-lec-ted.”
And I haven’t even mentioned his defense of BP…