It took Barry Goldwater the whole 1964 presidential election to implode.
It took the Gingrich Revolution two to six years for the wheels to fall off the bus, depending on how you measure it.
It took Rand Paul less than 24 hours.
Election eve, I was downright worried for Jack Conway, Paul’s Democratic opponent in November’s election.
Paul was (and still is) going to raise a ton of Tea Bucks. And, I had heard, Paul was shrewd, and was already working his way back to the center to capture the centrist vote.
But then Paul’s victory speech showed that, to the contrary, Paul was aggressively doubling down on Teabag Libertarianism.
Jack’s chances had just improved markedly.
Then yesterday Paul questioned the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — and therefore the racial integration of Kentucky’s businesses, from diners in coal country in the east to hotels in Paducah in the west.
Paul set himself up to be 2010’s Barry Goldwater — whose radical libertarianism and 10th Amendment states’ rights advocacy turns him from right wing darling to general election loser in record time.
Except that in 1964, Goldwater’s views were not counter to nearly 50 years of settled Supreme Court law and societal acceptance. Goldwater was a libertarian – but he was rooted in his time.
George Allen’s soft Macaca racism didn’t play, even in the most rural parts of my beloved Virginia where he said it. And in Kentucky, just one mile to the west, Paul’s refusal to endorse the Civil Rights Act of JFK/MLK/LBJ won’t play either.
It was a brilliant display of political self-mutilation.
While he quickly back-pedaled somewhat, the proverbial cat was out of the bag. One can claim to be against discrimination all day long, but when you advocate the repeal of a law making it illegal that’s a tough sell.
It is an even tougher sell when you, as a “man of the people”, are giving said speech safely in a private club in suburban Kentucky.
This might come across as a bit of a cheap shot, but is he the tea party favorite/populist or is he a country club Republican?
Paul’s Constitutional Hot Tub Time Traveling back to the 1950s (or even 1920s) – and his particular focus on state’s rights and the Commerce Clause open more and more opportunities for Conway.
(BTW, why stop at at 1930? Why not Constitutional Hot Tub Time Travel back to 1860? Seriously, a reporter needs to ask Paul if he believes states have the right to secede).
And seriously, we need Conway to engage Paul in a broad dialogue so that voters can really get a look at what Rand Paul is about.
I have followed his father for years and years, more than a little bit intrigued by some of his beliefs. The apple has not fallen far from the tree.
Paul and the Tenth Amendment true believers (who evidently haven’t read the rest of the Constitution, such as the Supremacy Clause) — see the Health Care challenge as merely the first domino to tip over.
If Health Care’s constitutional basis falls, so too falls Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and yes, the Civil Rights Act.
Legal precedent, stability and the rule of law. Something neither Rand Paul nor the Tea Party seem particularly concerned about.
Do your homework on this guy before you “fall in love” with some of his beliefs. Caveat emptor my friends. Let the buyer beware.