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Rand Paul vs Rachel Maddow

I watched the entire exchange between Senate candidate Rand Paul, and journalist Rachel Maddow last night, and it brought light rather than heat which is rare in television news.  Basically, Maddow cleaned his clock in a very calm, rational way.Paul has spent the day frantically backpedaling from his statements.  Statements that he has made in other venues — NPR, in speeches etc. 

He is trying to separate his ideology from actual facts on the ground and have an intellectual, dorm room debate.  But he’s not a pundit or a college student.  He is asking the citizens of Kentucky to send him to Washington to make laws that will effect their lives.

And he’s clearly way out there in his beliefs and attitudes.  The embrace of “personal freedom” sounds great in theory not so much in practice when it comes to civil rights.  The problem with people who are ideologues rather than pragmatists is that they never understand that the genius of the Constitution is that it gave us a framework in which to balance rights.

Yes, by passing civil rights legislation we told business owners that they didn’t get to exercise their personal freedom to discriminate on the basis of race.  Because the Congress, the courts and the president weighed the continuation of Jim Crow against the right to be a bigot, and put that belief into practice in the public forum.  It was determined that for the good of the society Jim Crow needed to fall so a person’s first amendment right was going to be slightly curtailed.

Paul’s rather petulant cries that this was settled forty years ago, and it shouldn’t cause trouble for him now doesn’t cut much ice because he’s going to have to consider these issues everyday if the people of Kentucky should send him to Washington.

What about equal access for gays and lesbians?  Immigration issues? 

I think as more and more of Rand’s ideas become better known he is going to find this a tough election to win.  This is the man who thinks corporations should pay no taxes.  That Medicare and Social Security were gross over reaches by the government.  So good luck, granny, I hope you like dog food, or that your kids will let you move in with you.

I still dream of a society where people have opportunities, but the weakest and poorest among us are protected when they lack the strength or youth to compete.  God help them, frankly, any of us, if  Rand’s extreme free market society were to become a reality.   His would be a society that makes no allowances for sickness or bad times, and they can come to all of us whether king or pauper.

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