By Carole on May 23, 2010
I wanted to watch Kentucky's Republican Senate Candidate Rand Paul on Meet The Press today. After a week of sound bytes from and about Dr. Paul and his confrontational appearance on Rachel Maddow's program, I was hoping an interview on the more mainstream Sunday morning staple would allow the candidate to give a clearer impression of his views on civil rights and, specifically, the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Unfortunately, he refused to show up.
As a strong believer in smaller government and less government interference in the lives of American citizens, I consider myself part of the Tea Party movement and have been interested and intrigued by the candidacy of Dr. Paul. Many of his positions resonate with my own ideals and, though I haven't agreed with everything he has said, I did believe his opinions on the issues should be part of our national discussion. Then , the day after winning the Republican primary, he made his infamous statement that, had he been in Congress then, he would have opposed forcing private businesses to integrate under the landmark 1964 law that banned racial discrimination.
Those comments upset many on the left and on the right and even some of Dr. Rand's strongest supporters. He immediately attempted to clarify his remarks; stating that he agrees with the goals of the law but questions the federal government imposing its will on businesses but still left himself open to criticisms that he might be in favor of some forms of racial discrimination. (source)
Next chose to appear on the Rachel Maddow program on MSNBC where he ineptly attempted to defend his position with rambling and obscure historical references under questioning by the ultra-liberal host. (watch the video) While I would personally love to bash Ms. Maddow for taking things out of context or asking unfair hypothetical questions, her interview was generally fair and Dr. Paul seemed hapless and unable to clearly state his positions on civil rights and discrimination in the brief exchange.
This is all why I was so looking forward to the candidate's appearance on Meet The Press this morning. While the program and host David Gregory do have a pronounced liberal bias, the format allows for meaningful discussion of the issues and usually allows guests to fully express their ideas and positions. But Dr. Paul cited exhaustion as well as a desire to put his recent comments behind him as his reasons for canceling the previously scheduled appearance. A Paul spokesman also issued a statement saying Paul wanted to avoid the "liberal bias" of the media. (source)
Actually appearing on the NBC program was Senator and Senate Republican Campaign Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) who tried to explain Dr. Paul's current troubles by saying, “Novice candidates occasionally stumble on questions." I sincerely hope that's all this is. I also hope that Dr. Paul will stop ducking the hard but fair questions and will learn quickly to state his positions with more clarity the first time. The movement that helped to get him this far and the party he now represents deserve at least that much from their candidate.
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