Liberals are aflame because Rand Paul doesn’t think the 1964 Civil Rights Act was constitutional.
This, of course, is being interpreted as Paul saying that he is racially uncool.
Republicans who have been squeamish about libertarianism making inroads into their party are getting panicky at the thought that they will again get branded with the same claims of racism that dogged the party after Paul’s intellectual forebearer, Barry Goldwater, opposed the act back when it was passed.
Democrats were very successful in suggesting that because conservatives opposed the federal government integrating private establishments, conservatism was racist.
I can’t say how this will affect the race in Kentucky just yet. The state has a not-negligible black population (8 percent) and certainly lots of folks who would not like to be associated with anything that smacks of the era of segregation in Louisville and elsewhere.
Some in the press even got in a huff because Paul held his victory party at his country club (gasp) in Bowling Green. I don’t suppose many network reporters had been to Bowling Green (pop. 56,000) before, but it’s not an en event planner’s paradise. Paul and his family seemed like a very normal, professional-class Kentucky bunch at the event. Painting him as an elitist and racist will be pretty hard.
There is no reason to believe that Paul himself is racist. And there’s certainly no reason to believe that he finds segregation morally justifiable.
If Paul can articulate his belief in racial equality, he should be able to weather this storm. And if his Democratic opponent, who is a country club kid from Louisville, tries to push too hard on this, it could certainly backfire.
The Left may think it has a way to stop Paul, who starts the general election race in the driver’s seat. But if he can answer the questions in a way that emphasizes compassion and decency, this attack may tend to galvanize, not erode, Paul’s support. Racial McCarthyism gets annoying pretty fast.