Of course, any black person with a working brain knows this "effort at engaging black voters" means one thing, and one thing only: giving more "street money" to black pastors in hopes of influencing votes. And quite honestly, I couldn't blame them. This tactic worked in 2004 when Bush used it to get black votes by pushing fear of gay marriage via the pulpit. And while nobody was paying attention, last Fall President Obama only won 93% of the black vote (down 2% from 2008) because the GOP played the exact same card. The party has no interest in addressing it's systematic problems that offend/hurt black voters. You know it, I know it, and so do they.
All of this makes Rand Paul's decision to go to Howard University and deliver a speech on the merits of Conservatism somewhat puzzling. It wasn't an appearance "sanctioned" by the party, and given some of Paul's past statements, had the potential to end very, very badly.
I'll save you all the trouble of watching the entire tape. Except for a few notable exchanges (and one really embarrassing audience question about Malcolm X's assassination, and another from a dude who appeared to be wearing a FUBU jersey... WTF, HU?!?) it's mostly boring, boilerplate "Party of Lincoln" crap you've already heard a million times. The kids were civil, and the thunderous applause is deceiving, given the fact that Paul obviously shipped in a bunch of his supporters, as seemingly all Conservatives do when speaking in front of "The Blacks".
Paul does get called to the mat for his past statements about the Civil Rights Act, and wouldn't you know it, he made some "factual inaccuracies". The Washington Post's "Fact Checker" reviewed Paul's speech and gave him a vaunted 3 Pinnochio's.
Rand Paul, a potential GOP candidate for the 2016 presidential election, gave an interesting speech on Wednesday to historically black Howard University, but his remarks were overshadowed by his attempt to explain the controversy over his 2010 comments on the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.If there's anything I actually admire about Paul, it's his a ability to tell complete lies with a totally straight face, and spin his way into a suitable answer. This dude's gonna be a serious problem come the 2016 debates. He's really, really good at peddling bullsh*t.
“I have never wavered in my support for civil rights and the Civil Rights Act,” he said in his speech. “The dispute, if there is one, has always been about how much of the remedy should come under federal or state or private purview.”
But then Paul expanded on his remarks in the question-and-answer period, saying in response to a tough question that he had been concerned really only about the “ramifications and extensions” of the Civil Rights Act.
The problem for Paul started when the Louisville Courier-Journal placed on its Web site an April 17, 2010, interview between Paul and the paper’s editorial board. Presumably that is the extended interview that Paul referenced. We have embedded the relevant section below and have highlighted the key sections.
Then here’s what Paul said on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show on May 20, in which he suggested he would have wanted to modify one section of the Civil Rights Act, one dealing with “private institutions.” However, his logic is a bit confusing because he appears to be referring to Title 2 — “public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce” — (such as hotels and restaurants) — but there is also Title 7, which prohibits discrimination in businesses of a certain size.
Paul is rewriting history here. We don’t see anywhere in these interviews “an extended conversation about the ramifications beyond race,” at least in the way that Paul describes it at Howard University.
Indeed, Paul claims he “never wavered” on the Civil Right Act but in the MSNBC interview he mused openly about possibly wanting to change one provision if he had been a senator. Ironically, the issue that troubled Paul was what Senate Republicans at the time had modified in order to deal with the very concerns that Paul raises almost five decades later.
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.
But more than anything else, this speech highlight's the party's biggest problem with engaging black voters: a total and utter amnesia about everything the party has done (ie: The Southern Strategy) to turn away those voters in droves since the mid-60's. Paul keeps harping on the fact that Democrats were the party of segregation, that Lincoln freed the slaves, and Booker T Washington was an ideological Conservative. But guess what? Black people care about what you're doing today, not 2 centuries ago.
What have you done for us lately?
Question: How, assuming they actually cared, could the GOP honestly engage black voters?!?