The Rise of Rand Paul and the Mainstreaming of the Racist Right
Just what is this Rand Paul phenomenon anyways?
Shortly after taking on the Republican political establishment– and winning– in the Kentucky Senate primary, Paul has Republicans, Libertarians, and Democrats all wondering if he’s the real deal or not. For starters, his comments that the Civil Rights Act should be abolished and private businesses should have the right to discriminate on the basis of race (and presumably other factors) caused an immediate firestorm of controversy both within and outside the GOP.
That alone would be news, but Paul has been running as the Tea Party darling, advertising himself as an anti-establishment Libertarian and drawing on his father Ron Paul’s deep ties with the party. But the more Rand Paul opens his mouth, the more it becomes clear that, if he does represent the Tea Party movement, the Tea Party movement does not represent Libertarians.
For starters, Paul’s views on racial segregation were offensive enough in the Libertarian movement that the Libertarian Party is giving serious consideration to running a candidate against him. Should a Libertarian candidate enter for the November election, it would almost guarantee the Senate seat would go to Rand’s Democratic opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.
Paul’s anti-abortion views also do not align with Libertarian principles of minimal government reach into the lives of individuals. Paul describes himself as 100% pro-life, believing that life begins at conception and supports any and all legislative efforts to restrict abortion access, including a “Human Life Amendment” to the Constitution and a “Life at Conception Act” as federal answers to the abortion debate.
Paul has also sided with the Arizona legislature and its ongoing draconian and racist legislation as a solution to the immigration problem. Paul went so far as to say that he opposes citizenship for the children born in the U.S. to parents who are undocumented. Of course, this view is also supported by the neo-fascist Sen. Pearce of Arizona, the primary architect of Arizona’s crackdown on Latinos. These neo-nazi ties may not come as a surprise to those familiar with Ron Paul’s supporters, including Stormfront, the white nationalists who also support Rand Paul.
So what does all this say about the Rand Paul candidacy, and the Tea Party movement in general? It would appear that, rather than an offshoot of Libertarianism, the Tea Party movement and its candidates is truly the mainstream of white nationalists hate. It’s good to see the Libertarian Party rise up and denounce Paul as a result of these views and finally take measures to distance itself from the purposeful infection by the racist right. At the end of the day the Rand Paul candidacy shows that the Tea Party movement is really the mainstreaming of the racist arm of the Republican Party, an evolution popularized and somewhat sanitized by Pat Buchanan, who coincidentally, is one of Rand Paul’s biggest cheerleaders. And if Paul wins in November then the GOP will have to answer the question it has been dodging for the first part of the Obama presidency–just how entrenched is the GOP establishment with the racist wing of its party?
photo courtesy of Image Editor via Flickr