Rand Paul has been doing back flips trying to rewrite his history on the subject of civil rights lately claiming that the things he has said such as his 2010 suggestion that he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act if he had been in the Senate in 1964, because it infringed on the rights of private businesses.
More recently he has said that if the Republican Party was “going to be the white party” they were “going to be the losing party” while he was in Shelbyville, Kentucky to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at a ceremony honoring civil rights leader Maurice Rabb.
In his continuing effort to reach out to the African-American community, and others, such as young voters who do not traditionally support Republican candidates, he will speak on Friday at the annual conference of the National Urban League in Cincinnati.
Paul has been going out of his way to distance himself from earlier comments with less than spectacular results for some time now, starting with his speech last year at Howard University where he thought he could impress the students by making them aware that the founders of the NAACP were Republican — only to find that they already knew that, as well as the fact that the Republican Party of the time was not the party it is today.
After that speech, he denied that he ever made his controversial remarks about the Civil Rights Act in 2010, claiming that he had been misunderstood when he said:
“I don’t like the idea of telling private business owners — I abhor racism. I think it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant — but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership. But I absolutely think there should be no discrimination in anything that gets any public funding, and that’s most of what I think the Civil Rights Act was about in my mind.”
As he attempted to back away from his own words, the Louisville Courier-Journal noted that his comments were very much like those of his father, Ron Paul, who, on the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, took the floor of the House to denounce it as “a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society.”
On multiple occasions he told interviewers that he would not have supported the parts of the law that applied to private businesses because, in his opinion, only institutionalized racism by government entities should have been affected by the law.
Last year during the Howard University speech Paul tried to tap dance around his statements about The Civil Rights Act, but Glen Kessler, in his well respected Washington Post fact checking column, awarded him Three “Pinocchios,” writing:
“We were tempted to give this Four Pinocchios but some of his language at Howard appears to be a product of fuzzy thinking. Still, Paul does earn Three Pinocchios for trying to recast and essentially erase what he said in 2010. It would be better to own up to his mistake — if he now thinks it was one — rather than sugarcoat it.”