Rand Paul managed to further alienate mainstream Americans as well as his white nationalist base on Wednesday. First, the NYT exposed the racist views of Paul’s latest hero, Cliven Bundy.
While holding court for a reporter and his followers last Saturday, Bundy explained why he thought slavery was such a good thing for black people.
I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.
Rand Paul has a resume full of race related controversies. In 2009, Paul’s campaign spokesman was forced to resign when his racist views were exposed by the media. There is that interview with Rachel Maddow in 2010 in which Paul admitted he opposes the provision in the Civil Rights Act that bars private businesses from denying services to black people, members of the LGBT community or any other minority group. Last year, the media revealed that Paul’s media director is a white supremacist, who expressed his views under the pseudonym “Southern Avenger”
Then there was that disastrous outreach, at Howard University, when Paul lied to students about his opposition to the Civil Rights Act.
Even if Paul manages to persuade people that he misspoke during the Maddow and Howard University debacles and somehow sweet talks people about his white supremacist staffers, it will be impossible to disentangle himself from Cliven Bundy. Of course, Paul can take solace in the fact that other Republicans, including Texas’ Greg Abbott have irrevocably tied their political fortunes to Bundy.
Things got worse for Paul during an appearance with former Obama adviser David Axelrod at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. During a discussion of the GOP’s vote suppression strategy, Axelrod cornered Paul into admitting that Republicans exaggerated about voter fraud. Well so much for Paul’s Tea Party base who will undoubtedly see this admission as a sign that Paul is willing to sell out conservative values.
Paul, who is fantasizing about occupying the White House in 2016, alienated establishment Republicans a long time ago and only added to that alienation when he tried to take on Dick Cheney. By admitting that Republicans exaggerate about voter fraud to justify their vote suppression strategy, he will raise the ire of his base who share Bundy’s belief that African Americans are “better off” disenfranchised and as property.