Rand Paul, The Negative Side of Conservative Extremism and What it Means for the Republican Party

In one of the more shocking moments of recent political theater, Rand Paul, current candidate for Senate from Kentucky has went from the darling of the Tea Party Movement and is now the albatross hanging from the neck of the Republican Party in less than 24 hours.

Rand Paul who is an ardent Libertarian much like his father Ron Paul was supported by the Tea Party Movement during his run for the Republican nomination for Senator. His views are very radical. The Tea Party Movement decided to align themselves with his candidacy for clear reasons. His viewpoints were on the fringe of what is expected, especially when it comes to government and its limitations or lack thereof on citizens and private businesses. He was able to make a huge push and win the nomination due to much of the anti-incumbent fervor that exists in the nation, as well as the push for more extreme candidates and views to come to the forefront. This is especially true for the conservative segment of the electorate. But a funny thing happened on the way to the nomination.

On Wednesday, the day after Paul won the nomination, he appeared on the Rachel Maddow show (coincidentally the same show where he launched his campaign). This time things went very differently. Maddow pressed him on his view on the Civil Rights Act, and although Paul said he is against discrimination, he made a point to wax philosophical about key segments of the law that banned private businesses from segregating their establishments. Paul also did not agree with key segments of the Americans With Disabilities Act that allowed for governmental protection for people with disabilities.

In what can only be described as misery loving company, Paul then said that he did not like the way that the Obama administration was attacking BP. Paul stated that “I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business. 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.” Comments like this shows just how out of touch Paul is with the larger viewpoints of most Americans. BP is getting blame across the political aisle and to say that criticizing them is "Un-American" may be one of the most ass-backwards comments I have ever heard, especially due to the increasing evidence that shows they are to blame for much of the disaster in the Gulf.

Common sense would say to most people that saying you are against segments of two of the most transformative pieces of legislation ever passed by the American government would be stupid. Common sense would also say that the President is un-American for calling out a big business for its handling of a disaster is equally stupid. I guess common sense increasingly is leaving the table in our discourse. I believe that Paul is such a political novice that this did not occur to him. I also believe that he comes from a segment of the electorate that is so radical in its ways that his views simply aren't in line with much of mainstream society. And frankly this radicalism falls on both sides of the political spectrum and should be called out as such. I believe that anarchists, Libertarians, Evangelical Christians, Fundamental Muslims among others all sleep in the same extremist bed and should be called out as such.

The larger problem with Paul and the GOP is that they are now connected forever. By supporting him as a candidate for Senator of Kentucky, what Republicans are saying not only to voters in that state, but to the larger country is that as a party becoming increasingly extreme is the trend. Very few people in the GOP have come out and said just how out of touch Paul is. To be silent on his views is to condone them. Essentially that is what is occurring. I remember when Michael Steele was chosen to lead the GOP. Steele had grand ideas of how the Republican Party could do a better job of reaching out to various segments of the American populace that have long felt abandoned by the Republican party, primarily younger people and non-whites. Rand Paul is just another example of how verbal rhetoric quickly meets blatant reality. What makes this case all the more interesting is that in the process not only were people of different races left out, but people with disabilities (many who happen to be military men and women) and people who are suffering to rebuild their lives after a man-made disaster. I have always believed that when people show you who they are the first time, you should believe it. Unfortunately with the GOP this is not the first time at all....


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