… back to the pre-civil rights era. KY-SEN Republican nominee and Tea Party fave Rand Paul on NPR yesterday:
SIEGEL: You've said that business should have the right to refuse service to anyone, and that the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA, was an overreach by the federal government. Would you say the same by extension of the 1964 Civil Rights Act?
Dr. PAUL: What I've always said is that I'm opposed to institutional racism, and I would've, had I've been alive at the time, I think, had the courage to march with Martin Luther King to overturn institutional racism, and I see no place in our society for institutional racism.
SIEGEL: But are you saying that had you been around at the time, you would have – hoped that you would have marched with Martin Luther King but voted with Barry Goldwater against the 1964 Civil Rights Act?
Dr. PAUL: Well, actually, I think it's confusing on a lot of cases with what actually was in the civil rights case because, see, a lot of the things that actually were in the bill, I'm in favor of. I'm in favor of everything with regards to ending institutional racism. So I think there's a lot to be desired in the civil rights. And to tell you the truth, I haven't really read all through it because it was passed 40 years ago and hadn't been a real pressing issue in the campaign, on whether we're going for the Civil Rights Act.
SIEGEL: But it's been one of the major developments in American history in the course of your life. I mean, do you think the '64 Civil Rights Act or the ADA for that matter were just overreaches and that business shouldn't be bothered by people with the basis in law to sue them for redress?
Dr. PAUL: Right. I think a lot of things could be handled locally. For example, I think that we should try to do everything we can to allow for people with disabilities and handicaps. You know, we do it in our office with wheelchair ramps and things like that. I think if you have a two-story office and you hire someone who's handicapped, it might be reasonable to let him have an office on the first floor rather than the government saying you have to have a $100,000 elevator. And I think when you get to the solutions like that, the more local the better, and the more common sense the decisions are, rather than having a federal government make those decisions.
So, without all the misdirects, the answer to Siegel's question is No: Rand Paul does not support the ADA or the Civil Rights Acts. Alrighty then!
Is this outright racist/anti-disabled rhetoric? No. Does it demonstrate an overdetermined ideological inflexibility (aka political correctness), moral cluelessness, a lack of knowledge of history, an absence of compassion? Ya think?
So, is this the Tea Party position? Any comment on Dr. Paul's, uh, idiosyncratic views of civil rights from our oh-frabjous-day Tea Party Pals?
Surely, in light of the ascent of folks like Dr. Paul and our good pal Mark Williams … one has to rack one's brains to imagine why African-Americans (for instance) make up all of 1% of people who identify with the Tea Party.
Heh. Indeed. The Tea Party is right-wing PC, no more, no less.
Addendum: Bruce Bartlett puts the ideological inadequacy in a nutshell:
In short, the libertarian philosophy of Rand Paul and the Supreme Court of the 1880s and 1890s gave us almost 100 years of segregation, white supremacy, lynchings, chain gangs, the KKK, and discrimination of African Americans for no other reason except their skin color. The gains made by the former slaves in the years after the Civil War were completely reversed once the Supreme Court effectively prevented the federal government from protecting them. Thus we have a perfect test of the libertarian philosophy and an indisputable conclusion: it didn't work. Freedom did not lead to a decline in racism; it only got worse.