Rand Paul pulls back from comments about civil rights and disabilityMay 21st, 2010 | By Tony Begley, Contributor and Literary Editor | Category: Kentucky Guardian News, Kentucky Political News
Less than 48 hours after tasting the thrill of victory, the Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate yesterday felt the burn of the national spotlight. The self-described “tea party” candidate who won the Republican primary Tuesday created a firestorm by suggesting that he does not favor portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
By midday on Thursday, Paul began to pull back from his remarks by issuing a statement saying he abhors discrimination, backs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and would not support its repeal.
A self described “constitutional conservative,” Rand Paul is also the founder and chairman of Kentucky Taxpayers United, also known as “Take Back Kentucky,” on their website. Kentucky Taxpayers United is also linked to the anti-gay American Family Association of Kentucky, the Kentucky Chapter of the American Family Association.
Paul is also linked to the KY 9/12 Project which states: “When given the choice between Washington and this great Commonwealth; Kentucky Knows Best!”
Paul, born in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the son of Libertarian-leaning U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), likened forced desegregation of lunch counters with the government forcing a business to allow patrons to carry guns.
“Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant? Or does the government own his restaurant? These are important philosophical debates but not a very practical discussion,” Paul told host Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.
“I think a lot of things could be handled locally,” Paul said. “I think if you have a two-story office and you hire someone who’s handicapped, it might be reasonable to let him have an office on the first floor rather than the government saying you have to have a $100,000 elevator. And I think when you get to the solutions like that, the more local the better, and the more common sense the decisions are, rather than having a federal government make those decisions.”
“Rand Paul has already embarrassed Kentuckians in the eyes of the world,” Yarmouth said in a statement. “The Commonwealth deserves better because we are better – and I call on Mitch McConnell and my other colleagues in the Kentucky Congressional Delegation to join me in condemning his despicable views.”
Yarmouth called Paul’s Libertarian Party take on the landmark 1964 law — Paul takes issue with portions of the legislation banning discrimination in private businesses — “simply appalling.”
Paul’s opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (D), who beat Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo (D) in the primary and will face Rand Paul in November, has also taken fire for refusing to bring Kentucky into a lawsuit against health care reform.
“Rand Paul has this tendency to get in public or get on national cable shows and feel like he wants to give me a lecture on constitutional law,” said Conway. “I’m the attorney general of Kentucky. He didn’t go to law school. I did. I don’t need a lecture on Constitutional law from Rand Paul or Sarah Palin.”
Governor Steve Beshear (D) issued a press release Wednesday calling for Democratic Party unity to defeat Rand Paul in November’s general election. Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo still hasn’t pledged to work on Conway’s behalf. And until he does, that could freeze large numbers of Democratic voters who are faithful to Mongiardo.
Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg), Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives stated: “Once Paul’s positions are explained in detail, many people will realize Paul is not good for Kentucky. They sound good, but once you start analyzing them and taking them apart and listening to what’s behind those ideas, it’s not good for Kentucky. For example, Paul argues there should be term limits but Kentucky has benefited from having longtime leaders in Congress.”
Tuesday’s elections uncovered great strife within the national Republican Party. Instead of working as a unit, they have broken off into smaller divisions and have begun to eliminate their brethren in divisive primary fights. But it also reinvigorated the Democrats and gave them hope that they can still win in November in spite of U.S. President Obama’s low approval ratings and their votes on healthcare.
Democratic leaders say that voters’ opinions of the U.S. President Obama have taken a backseat to the economy and job issues during congressional elections this year.