Thursday, May 20, 2010

the art of the backdown iii

kentucky's spanking-new libertarian teabagging senate nominee rand paul opining on that part of the 1964 civil rights act that he would have tried to "modify":

well, there's 10 — there's 10 different — there's 10 different titles, you know, to the civil rights act, and nine out of 10 deal with public institutions and i'm absolutely in favor of ... one deals with private institutions, and had i been around, i would have tried to modify that.

... should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent? should we limit racists from speaking? ... 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 is that we allow people to be boorish and uncivilized, but that doesn't mean we approve of it.


rand spokesperson jesse benton:

civil rights legislation that has been affirmed by our courts gives the federal government the right to insure that private businesses don't discriminate based on race. dr. paul supports those powers.

finally:

i've never really favored any change in the civil rights act ... they seem to have unleashed some of the loony left on me.


update: greg sargent @ the washington post underscores why the question of what's in paul's heart is neither irrelevant nor a matter of sheer speculation:

i think people still aren't focused enough on the core issue at the heart of the controversy over rand paul's comments about the civil rights act.

specifically: paul, the darling of the tea partyers and one of the highest profile GOP senate candidates in the country, cannot bring himself to say — clearly and unequivocally — that the federal government should have the power to prohibit private businesses from discriminating on the basis of skin color, religion, or national origin.

sure, paul has now said he would have voted for the civil rights act. and his spokesman has clarified under questioning that, yes, paul believes the federal government should have this power.

but paul himself can't manage to say this. he visibly doesn't want to say this. it's remarkable..

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