Friday, May 21, 2010

Rand Paul: A Wake-up Call

Tea Party favorite Rand Paul, who defeated Republican establishment candidate Trey Grayson in Tuesday's GOP Senate primary in Kentucky, warned Washington to "watch out, here we come."

Paul said the Tea Party movement has a message, loud and clear.
"We have come to take our government back," he said in his victory speech, drawing thunderous applause from his supporters.

After listening to the Republican candidate for Senator, I could only wonder how Rand Paul's civil-rights views escaped media scrutiny.

The editorial board of Louisville's Courier-Journal didn't mince words following its sit-down with Rand Paul last month. Much of what the Republican Senate candidate supports, it wrote, "is repulsive to people in the mainstream," including "an unacceptable view of civil rights."

Paul's view that the federal government should not have the power to force integration on private businesses — part of 1964's landmark Civil Rights Act — didn't get the attention of the national press until Wednesday, following interviews with NPR's Robert Siegel and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. Paul subsequently changed his position Thursday, after an intense 24 hours of media fallout.

So if Paul's view is controversial enough to dominate cable news and the political blogosphere all day Thursday, how come it wasn't an issue in the month leading up to Kentucky's primary? The national media focused on the Tea Party’s support of the candidate, who was expected to win, and the possible impact on Senate minority leader Mitch McConnel. It left the public to discover just how conservative, how radical, how extremist Rand Paul is.

Following up on his “private businesses should be allowed to discriminate” remarks, the Republican nominee for the Senate from Kentucky said President Obama’s harsh words for BP “sounds really un-American.” He went on, “I’ve heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it’s part of this sort of blame game society in the sense that it’s always got to be someone’s fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen.”

The moral of this story warns the public about judging 30 second sound bytes and quick and dirty media coverage as a means of determining their voting decisions. It even makes us weary of the voting decisions of voters in other states and cities. We are all affected by every one of these decisions. Better wake up and smell the coffee.

No comments:

Post a Comment