Some quick thoughts on Rand Paul’s interview with Rachel Maddow. (props to Maddow for her superior Kung Fu in that exchange.)
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Transcript after the jump.
Rand Paul on the Rachel Maddow show. Man. That was spectacular. If you didn’t see it, basically Rachel was asking Rand Paul whether he would have supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And she asked him that same yes-or-no question about 10 times in a row, and Rand Paul did some of the most acrobatic question-dodging I have ever witnessed in my life.
In case you didn’t see it, let me show you a clip of what that interview would look like if it was a scene from the classic Shaw Brothers’ film, Fist of the White Lotus:
Maddow: [over Gordon Liu-Chia Hui] Do you think Woolworth’s lunch counter should have been allowed to stay segregated? Sir, just ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
Paul: [over visual of Lo Lieh dodging Gordon Liu's punches] Well, one interesting historical tidbit…One of the interesting things about…Interesting thing is…I think it’s interesting…interesting…interesting…William Lloyd Garrison…Frederick Douglass….Gun organizations…The interesting…interesting…interesting…that I would’ve marched with Martin Luther King because I believed in what he was doing.
That is a question dodging master! I think he has a black-belt in here’s-the-interesting-thingjitsu. Some people are taking this interview as proof that he’s a racist – that he supports discrimination. Now, I don’t know if Rand Paul is racist. I don’t think this interview proves that he supports racism. But it does prove that his ideal government just happens to be one that would open lots of doors for racism. And make discrimination of all kinds easier than it is now.
Does that prove he’s some hard-core racist that doesn’t care about Black people? No. But it does suggest that he’s such a hard-core purist libertarian that he cares more about this abstract set of principles than he cares about any actual people – that he’s more committed to these rigid abstractions than he is to protecting the basic rights of human beings in the real world.
And if that’s the case, that means this Civil Rights Act thing is just the tip of the iceberg. That means there are a whole lot of cases where if Rand Paul has to describe his beliefs in detail, his beliefs are going to sound really weird, and alienating. And I think Rand Paul knows that, and that’s why he’s trying so hard not to describe his own beliefs in plain English.
And that is the part that really bothers me. It’s not even the ideological stuff, so much as the craven, weaselly, insulting-our-intelligence, non-answer-giving, cynical, political hackiness of that performance. It’s that this candidate, who’s supposed to be the alternative to politics as usual, when push comes to shove, would rather give the same old weaselly political non-answers than show the courage of his convictions, and speak from the heart about his weird, alienating beliefs.Rand Paul, stop weaseling.
[under the outro music] I’m gonna make stop weaseling t-shirts. I’ll be selling them on Edgecombe Avenue, come see me.
-transcribed by Julia Tillinghast-Akalin