Rand Paul’s America

May 20th, 2010 at 11:17 am | 75 Comments |

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For over twenty years conservative constitutionalists have held up Senator Kennedy’s tirade against “Robert Bork’s America” as the pinnacle of left wing political slanders of the right.

How dare he say that conservative constitutional views would return us to the days of segregated lunch counters?

It is too bad that the senator did not live to see Rand Paul, Kentucky’s Republican nominee for the Senate on the Rachel Maddow show. As it turns out in Rand Paul’s America, an America where the original Constitution (as Paul understands it) has been restored, we would in fact still live in a land of segregated lunch counters.

 

UPDATE:

Rand Paul has clarified his position on the 1964 Civil Right Act.

To his credit he stated that he thinks the act is settled law and that he would have voted for it.  I am willing to set aside the question of how the principled constitutionalist and libertarian Paul would justify voting for a bill that overstepped Congress’ constitutionally limited role. And I certainly do not think, as his left wing critics would like to suggest, that Paul has a racist bone in his body.

That said, this is what the president might call a “teaching moment.”  Might the conservative movement be going off the rails when its celebrated anti-establishment candidate needs to clarify his position on perhaps the most significant law in the nation’s history, one that has gone effectively unchallenged for over 40 years?

And what does this episode tell us about conservatives’ capacity to govern?  When Bob McDonnell was elected in Virginia we were told that he succeeded because he provided voters with a positive agenda in accord with conservative principles. The failure on Tuesday in PA-12 — where the GOP ran in opposition to spending and with no real positive agenda that speaks to voters — seems to confirm the lessons from McDonnell’s victory

Yet if ascendant conservatives, in their desire to restore the constitution in exile, believe like Paul does that the constitution so limits federal power that even the 1964 Civil Rights Act cannot be justified on originalist grounds, then how in the hell is the GOP going to develop a positive agenda that goes beyond politically destructive and strategically improbable efforts to cut spending and fiscally irresponsible calls for more tax cuts?

Posted at 2:15pm

 

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75 Comments so far ↓

  • sinz54

    LFC: Well, then you’re taking advantage of from friggin’ tax dollars to make money, so you can’t discriminate.
    That argument would be shot down by the Supreme Court.

    Because if it were accepted, it would mean that the Government had the right to force your business to do whatever the Government wished. Do you have a road leading to your house? Well, let’s force you to buy a GM car because those workers need jobs.

    Give me a break.

    It’s got nothing to do with that. It’s a simple question of human rights vs. property rights, as Little Green Footballs pointed out.

    Long ago, we decided as a society that we were going to extend human rights to black people. Even at the expense of property rights. Because it was the moral thing to do.

    The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal before God. It doesn’t restrict it to white people or to Christian people.

  • sinz54

    Rabiner:

    Right now, we’re engaged in a major national debate as to whether the human rights of gays and lesbians are equivalent to the situation that black people faced. (Most blacks, by the way,reject that idea.)

    Should the U.S. Supreme Court override state marriage laws across the country and mandate the legality of same-sex marriage? Many militant gays would like to see that happen.

    On same-sex marriage, I’m in the same position that the libertarians are in. I would be appalled to have the marriage laws of over 40 states overturned by a Supreme Court edict, regardless of what local people felt about it. On the other hand, the resulting backlash, while ugly, could only hurt liberal Democrats, so what the heck.

  • Rabiner

    Smarg:

    “Rabby,

    There you go again, trying to twist words and then equate them as racist. Can’t you progressive Demoncraps try something new?? Only your mainstream media outlets ever bite on that garbage anymore.”

    First it’s Rabiner, not Rabby. The root is Rabi which is Russian from Rabbi. Second, it’s Democrats not Demoncraps (although I bet you think you’re the first to come up with that). And second yes, the views you’ve been espousing are racist.

    “Most public schools in the country destroyed by violent, anti-White racist fatherless welfare children.” and “Cities teeming with millions of fatherless children, illegals and their anchor babies sucking the life out of their communities by emptying public treasuries and giving nothing back but crime, illegitimacy, thuggery…it is a horrible, irreversible mess.”

    Both those comments seem pretty racist to me and most likely everyone else in this chat besides you.

  • Rabiner

    Sinz54:

    I wasn’t just referring to Gay Marriage. The ‘quote’ by Smarg about Conservative homosexuals living their lives ‘quietly’ as the only acceptable way to go about it goes far beyond just Gay Marriage. It eludes to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, Gay Marriage, Gay Adoption, Hate-crime legislation, discrimination laws (look at how Virginia just removed those protections). I support Gay Marriage and voted against Proposition 8 in California but I’d prefer that we stopped calling it Marriage. Marriages are Civil Unions under the law and Marriages have a religious context in my mind. The problem is that States are making distinctions between the two in a legal context which is troubling. Its a nuanced position I know but something I’ve come to think: States should only be able to give Civil Union licenses, let society call it a marriage or not.

    While I understand African-Americans unwilling to accept the similarities between the Civil Rights movement and the Gay Rights movement now is the same way that Jewish people would hate for a genocide to be referred to now as another Holocaust. Both movements are very similar when stripped down to their core reasons for occurring but they ignore the historical context and emotional context of those movements or events. The Civil Rights movement was a movement attempting to grant minorities equality under the law and to end institutional discrimination. The Gay Rights movement is attempting to do the same thing but for a smaller segment of the population and for a group who historically in this country hasn’t had the same issues that the African-American population had to endure. The same goes with my other example of the Holocaust. Calling the Rwandan genocide another Holocaust would be in their minds taking away from the event of the systematic elimination of European Jewry by comparing something smaller to it. I come to this analogy from speaking with my Grandparents when they were alive about their experiences at Auschwitz and their view of the Rwandan genocide in particular.

    On a last note Sinz54, the Supreme Court has overruled many state laws regarding marriage in the past when they overruled laws that prevented mixed couples from marrying legally. Wasn’t it some 15 states that had laws at the time preventing that?

  • Smarg

    Ahem.

    Rabiner.

    You are so mericifully free from the ravages of intelligence. I speak of facts and statistics. Statistics do not lie. They give immediate and unbiased feedback.

    You, on the other hand, like most liberals, discard statistics and try to label as ‘racist’ anyone who disagrees with your worldview. Simply look at what the left is trying to do with Rand Paul here on this site.

    When you go to sleep tonight, know that your world will change forever this fall and in 2012.

    They say to get another Reagan, we need another Carter. We have our Carter now.

    Sweet dreams.

  • TerryF98

    JimBob, Sure you are, sure you have. Not!

    Dream on redneck….

  • Rabiner

    Smarg:

    What statistics did you offer? You haven’t typed one number in any post beyond ’2012′ I can recall. And Bush was our Carter.

  • Smarg

    Rabiner,

    I could cut and paste stats from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, city records, and numerous others simply by googling. And would it change your worldview? No. You are set in stone that anyone who does not agree with you is a racist, especially if they are White.

    And, you have a point that I understand about Bush being your Carter. So, is Obama your Reagan??

  • buddyglass

    ktward:

    “By isolated, you mean just in the South?”

    No, I mean “small town south”. But even there, overt racism is far less tolerated than it was in, say, 1960. My parents live in Fort Worth, Texas, which is a medium sized city in a highly conservative state. If a restaurant there were to, say, institute a “colored persons section”, I’m pretty sure it would amount to financial suicide.

    “In effect, Paul’s position would also fiat employment discrimination across the board. Don’t want to hire women? minorities? gays? Christians? Muslims? No prob. If you’re black, you might like your white neighbors but you gotta move to a black area to find work and buy goods.”

    Again, I think social pressure would largely mitigate this, except for very isolated communities where there’s a large enough “critical mass” of racism.

    You could also potentially apply political pressure. Restrict any “perks” given to business owners (small business loans, etc.) only to those businesses that don’t discriminate in hiring and service. Further tighten the financial screws on businesses that discriminate, to make it even *more* of a financial “win” to do the right thing.

    “And since Paul also wants to scrap the Dept. of Education and provide no more federal funding, oversight or educational mandates for public schools, our public school system falls into complete decay in any cash-strapped state.”

    Most states will pick up the slack if federal funds go bye-bye. One could also argue that “not enough money” isn’t the problem with U.S. education anyway.

    “Ultimately, our country devolves into nothing but pockets of economic/cultural isolation. Much like the Middle East.”

    This is highly anecdotal, but the U.S. managed to beat the Nazis and put a man in space without benefit of the Civil Rights act of 1964. I don’t think its revocation would plunge us back into the dark ages. (Though, one could argue that if there is ever enough political will to repeal it then we may already have regressed back that far.)

  • jakester

    Smarg
    Can’t you post anything more than simple minded right wing strawman drivel? If we needed your level of cranial flatulence, we would just listen to AM talk radio
    BTW, I just heard Dennis Prager, the king of the pseudo intellectual right wing talk radio pundits, tell his listeners to write to the LA Times to get a columnist pulled that Prager was upset with.

  • Smarg

    jakester,
    Ha ha you are so witty. Don’t you have a teleprompter reading you’d like to listen to from your Dear Leader? Shoo.

  • sinz54

    buddyglass: I think social pressure would largely mitigate this, except for very isolated communities where there’s a large enough “critical mass” of racism.
    It would today–boycotts could be very effective.

    But it would not have 40 years ago. 40 years ago, white racism was near-universal among white Southerners and even among snooty upscale Northerners. As Bartlett pointed out, a Southern business was MORE likely to profit by going along with racial discrimination than by welcoming black employees or black customers. Because there were a lot more affluent educated white people than affluent educated black people.

    As I said before, had black people been better educated, they could have simply left the South altogether and gone to some Northern town where they might be better respected. That’s one libertarian solution to their plight. But aye, there’s the rub. That same white racism ensured that black students got a greatly inferior education too.

  • Rabiner

    Smarg:

    “I could cut and paste stats from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, city records, and numerous others simply by googling. And would it change your worldview? No. You are set in stone that anyone who does not agree with you is a racist, especially if they are White.

    And, you have a point that I understand about Bush being your Carter. So, is Obama your Reagan??”

    So you want to use prison statistics to show that African-Americans are disproportionately sent to prison for crime? You realize still more Whites are in prison than African-Americans? How about the discrepancy in legal representation Whites spend less time in prison for the same crime than minorities?

    And looking at the trends Obama seems to be following Reagan pretty well so far in term of public opinion and has accomplished more legislatively already. And you do realize I am White, I just don’t come from the perspective that different is inferior like you do considering my family was persecuted and sent to Concentration Camps only 65 years ago.

  • Smarg

    Rabiner,

    It will only take one robbery, menacing, burglary, or other assault for you to change your worldview.

    Give it time.

  • Rabiner

    Smarg:

    No it won’t. I don’t blame a race for one person’s stupidity.

  • JimBob

    Majority Whip James Clyburn Discrimination is okay.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba2kfIc4Ttg

  • drdredel

    Rabiner,

    I’m not sure why you bother arguing (or even acknowledging the existence of) Smarg. You know the old the old saying “Who is more foolish? The fool, or the wise man that argues with him?”

    Very good point on the gay marriage issue btw. I thing it’s hilarious.. well… tragic really, but tragedy is what most comedy is born of… how the anti-gay crowd hangs their argument on the preservation of “marriage”, but conveniently failing to note that in both the legal and the religious contexts, “marriage” defined as the union of one man and one woman who choose of their own volition to agree to spend their lives together has a history of about 150 years. Before that law didn’t prevent parents deciding who marries whom and religion didn’t have any trouble with polygamy.

    Somehow we’re asked to believe that a gay couple’s marriage would be some sort of final affront to this totally arbitrary arrangement, while all the previous deviations from the norm (whatever you’d like to define that “norm” as, since there really never has been one) were steps in the “right” direction.

    But whatever the case, this is all wasted breath as it is an absolute certainty that within the next 10 years gays will have all the same rights as the ass-clowns that now rally against them. Homosexuality is a genetic deviation from the norm. Scientists already unlocked the “gay” gene in fruit flies (http://www.skeptictank.org/gaygene.htm), it’s just a matter of time before they do the same in humans, and at that point, preventing gay’s from marriage would be akin to preventing people with Downe syndrome from marriage (sorry to make that analogy, I am certainly not equating the two as “dysfunction” only as consequences of biological dice throwing).

  • rbottoms

    Yet if ascendant conservatives, in their desire to restore the constitution in exile, believe like Paul does that the constitution so limits federal power that even the 1964 Civil Rights Act cannot be justified on originalist grounds, then how in the hell is the GOP going to develop a positive agenda that goes beyond politically destructive and strategically improbable efforts to cut spending and fiscally irresponsible calls for more tax cuts?

    They can’t, that’s why they’ll have their behinds handed to them in 2012 and the 2010 mid-terms will be far short of a landslide against the Democrats.

  • Slide

    JimBob // May 20, 2010 at 4:16 pm: “Majority Whip James Clyburn Discrimination is okay. ”

    So according to JimBob, the Black Caucus’ not having white members is discrimination.

    What a ludicrous and rather silly comparison.

  • dante

    I love it that “Clarify” has come to mean “switch 180 degrees from what I said LAST NIGHT once I realized how unpopular it was”.

    This is the darling of the tea party? Glad they could find someone who sticks to his convictions, no matter how unpopular they might be……….

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  • JimBob

    Slide, why is it ludicrous. What he’s saying is some forms of discrimination are okay. White can’t join the congressional black caucus because it doesn’t hurt them. They can join another caucus. Well that’s the same thing as saying Slide’s Bar and Grill won’t serve black folks because they can always go to another bar.

  • ktward

    buddyglass.

    This entire discussion is academic, of course. I’m not concerned that we stand any chance of losing our hard-won civil rights, nor do I believe that Paul’s brand of extremism will infect our body politic. I do believe the GOP’s got its work cut out for them in finding its way out of the wilderness.

    That said, there isn’t much sociological evidence to support your optimistic opinion that if our civil rights were, in fact, no longer rights, that ‘societal pressure’ would mitigate any potentially horrific effects. I can tell you that in many downstate IL communities, such a scenario would prove very destructive to their social fabric. It would be too easy to avoid ugly Klan-like pressure by simply caving into various levels of discrimination among private biz.

    Even with Civil Rights laws long on the books, racial/cultural tensions are still palpable in large and small pockets all over the country. And not just with blacks and Latinos; many of ME or Indian descent–Muslim or not–would certainly face blatant, unapologetic discrimination.

    The Religious Right would like nothing more than to have me back in the kitchen, as it were. No thanks. (Though I do make a mean coq au vin.) Even with our anti-discrimination protections, women still require enforcement legislation like Ledbetter. Who knows if ERA will ever pass.

    bg: You could also potentially apply political pressure. Restrict any “perks” given to business owners (small business loans, etc.) only to those businesses that don’t discriminate in hiring and service. Further tighten the financial screws on businesses that discriminate, to make it even *more* of a financial “win” to do the right thing.

    In terms of Paul’s argument, how is this any different than our current laws against discrimination? He’d argue that both approaches are outside constitutional mandate. Oh … unless, as it now occurs to me, you’re suggesting that the Good-Ole-Boys club would make sure their fellow members would ‘do the right thing’. Yeah. Again, I don’t share your optimism.

    bg: Most states will pick up the slack if federal funds go bye-bye. One could also argue that “not enough money” isn’t the problem with U.S. education anyway.

    ‘Pick up the slack ..’? You need to seriously become better informed as to the current fiscal insolvency of many of our States. Underfunding is not public education’s only modern-day challenge, very true. But currently there is an enormous disparity gap in public education efficacy due to inequitable funding: the more affluent districts compensate for inadequate state funding via county taxes; poorer communities can’t do this. NCLB placed greater mandates on public school systems, but did not provide the funding necessary to meet those mandates. Without getting into all the complexities, NCLB set them up to fail.

    Point being, the absence of federal funding would make an already difficult problem near impossible to resolve on a national level. Indeed, it is only by federal funds that States are mandated to meet basic education standards. Lack of federal funds would be one more heaving wedge into our country’s economic divide, with no means to provide the education necessary to improve economic standing. (Sheesh, we’d have some states teaching creationism as science. Talk about regressing to the dark ages.)

    bg: the U.S. managed to beat the Nazis and put a man in space without benefit of the Civil Rights act of 1964. I don’t think its revocation would plunge us back into the dark ages. (Though, one could argue that if there is ever enough political will to repeal it then we may already have regressed back that far.)

    The nature of either our space program or WWII are unrelated to the civil rights issue. And then you seem to contradict your own supposition. I admit, I’ve no idea what your point is here.

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