It goes without saying, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is riding high right now. His 13 hour filibuster instantly skyrocketed him from a reputation as nothing but a noisy GOP attack dog to libertarian-flavored Republican superstar.
Not counting the op-ed he penned for this site, PolicyMic has seen 30 or so articles (most of them positive) about the man, with a handful of them talking about how Paul is "the answer" to the GOP's millennial woes and how Paul is a defender of civil liberties and human rights. That's not even getting into the comments, with an uncountable number of pundits and regular commentators alike swarming to see who can sing his praises loudest.
You would think the man had never spoken before, that he was one of those dime-a-dozen classmates from high school that never said anything and then was proclaimed a savant when he finally did and got the answer right.
It's undeniable though that he got the answer right. He was so spot-on with his civil rights-oriented filibuster that he caused me (a blood hungry hippy with a gun liberal) to symbolically stand with every neoconservative warmongering hack left in the Senate (something that hasn't improved my disposition towards Rand or the Republicans). Rand Paul has talked though, oh yes he has talked, and when you get past the bright shine of that 13 hour filibuster and the one thing he has said that was right, it doesn't take much to realize that Rand Paul is hardly different from his Republican colleagues, and is hardly a defender of civil liberties and human rights.
1. Rand and the Civil Rights Act
I'll admit I haven't seen many Republicans hitting at this issue, though it's regressive enough for them. Like his doofy father, former Congressman Ron Paul, Rand has issues with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In an interview with Rachel Maddow in May 2010, Paul stated the following: “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.” That Title that the Paul family seems to have a bone to pick with is Title II, which (As per Wikipedia summary to avoid a TL;DR of legalese) “Outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce."
The Pauls have argued that their enmity to this part of the Act has to do with property rights, and perhaps that actually is where their hearts are. However good they see their intentions as, though, that title is what cut Jim Crow's sole lifeline. Anyone who has wandered the Deep South can tell you that there are an uncountable number of bars and restaurants that only allow non-white patrons because they'd get sued for putting up “Whites only” signs (And they still curse angrily about it). All I get from this is “Jim Crow in government is bad; Jim Crow in the private sector is all well and good.” No it's not Rand, no it's not.
2. Rand Paul and Human Rights
Rand Paul was right when he stood against drone strikes against American citizens on American soil. What can be said, even a blind pig finds an acorn once in awhile. Scratch out the two times I said American in that first sentence though and you will see Rand Paul stop caring entirely. If they're not American (like all of the children on this list) their rights are irrelevant.
“Foreign terrorists do not deserve the protections of our Constitution ... These thugs should stand before military tribunals and be kept off American soil.” So Rand Paul said.
In other words never mind that the United States is supposed to be a moral beacon to the rest of the world, the law can be set aside when it comes to these monsters who attack us. Anyone care to take a tally of power mongering murderous dictators who have expressed the same sentiment? After Obama, Rand Paul is one of Guantanamo Bay's best friends (it's common knowledge how dangerous the inmates at Guantanamo are). A message to you Rand: If the United States doesn't wish to be looked at as just another hypocritical masked avenger by the world, it has to treat even it's enemies by the laws it claims to live by.
3. Rand Paul and Free Speech
Rand Paul has said: “I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they've been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they've been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn't be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.”
Oh Rand, Rand Rand Rand Rand Rand. You just refuse to not step in it do you? I'll agree that there is a line where a free speech argument isn't acceptable; going into a crowded movie theater and yelling “fire!” is, to be polite, a genuinely dick act that deserves just about whatever punishment and prejudice is sent it's way. However just attending an event where some unhinged dingbat is calling for the destruction of the United States government is a little vague.
By virtue of that I should be arrested or thrown out of America because every now and then I stop and listen to the mad hobo preacher under the bridge rant and rave about why a revolution is necessary for America to become grand and good again. The dig at Obama over Reverend Wright is impossible to miss here, and given how the Tea Party and many of it's darlings have been calling for revolution for awhile one must wonder if the good senator is in favor of jailing the people who put him into power over their desire for revolution. I wonder how that goes over with the Constitution. Also, why mention racial profiling or deportation if that wasn't exactly what he was getting at? A Game of Thrones quote comes to mind: “My brother once told me that nothing someone says before the word but really counts.”
These are just a smattering of Rand Paul's quotes, and these are telling enough. He has proven as hypocritical as his father when it comes to the issues he talks about, and at the end of the day simply lives up to the role given to him in the John Cole cartoon. As for his PolicyMic op-ed? All I get out of it is “Trust my Party, we won't screw your generation again!”