Rand Paul is already making a splash as the new rising star of the Republican Party. Last night on the Rachel Maddow Show, he reiterated his views that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should not prohibit private businesses from discriminating on the basis of race.
If that is his position and he’s sticking with it, then Ezra Klein has a few more questions for him:
For instance: Can the federal government set the private sector’s minimum wage? Can it tell private businesses not to hire illegal immigrants? Can it tell oil companies what safety systems to build into an offshore drilling platform? Can it tell toy companies to test for lead? Can it tell liquor stores not to sell to minors? These are the sort of questions that Paul needs to be asked now.
And Steve Benen has a few more:
If we follow the logic he’s already articulated, Paul must necessarily oppose the minimum wage, for example. The Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, in light of their burdens on private companies, would be equally problematic. Social Security must be out of the question. Child-labor laws would obviously be a problem, as would workplace safety regulations and OSHA.
We can even start exploring more details on discrimination. Paul talked about segregated lunch counters yesterday, but let’s also explore employment discrimination. If a private company decided to fire a woman for getting pregnant, Rand Paul would necessarily conclude that it’s not the government’s business. If a private employer refused to hire Jewish applicants, that, under Paul’s worldview, would be legally permissible, too.
I eagerly wait to hear Rand’s answers to these questions and many more.
Rand is an interesting guy. As the son of radical rightwing Libertarian Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, he has an unusual poltical pedigree, but one that makes him popular with the current day Tea Party crowd. His Dad’s sterling reputation among the far-right Tea Partiers and his unusual first name made him the odds on favorite to win the Republican primary in the wingnutopia that is Kentucky. (Afterall, he is running to replace one of the looniest far-right Republicans in office today - Sen. Jim Bunning).
With a first name of Rand, many people are left to assume that he was named after the rightwing objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand, who is exceedingly popular among Tea Party cultists. Rand has not tried very hard to deny that he was named after the Goddess of Greed, even though it is not true. As it turns out, his birth name is Randall and he went by Randy for years before deciding at some point to shorten it to Rand. But he is without question a big fan of Rand and her objectivist philosophy.
I think there is a good chance that Rand will win in November in spite of the brewing Civil Rights controversy. And that will NOT be good news for the Republican Party as they try to distance themselves from his extremist views.