Thursday, May 20, 2010

From The Catbird's Seat to The Hot Seat in 20 Minutes Flat: Rand Paul on Maddow

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So, Kids, I'm not sure if you caught Our Gal Rachel interviewing Rand Paul last night, after his win in the GOP Senate Primary on Tuesday night. If you haven't, feel free to peruse it below, because it's a masterful piece of interviewing by Maddow and an amazing job of circumlocution in its most extreme form by Rand Paul. Take a peek:  

Maddow felt so strongly about the importance of getting an answer from Rand Paul about his stance on  whether it should be legal for private businesses to discriminate based on race that she kept him in the  hot seat for 20 minutes, skipping commercial breaks and station identification. She persevered in attempting to get a direct answer from Paul, a simple yes or no, about whether he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and he continued to play ring around the rosie, dancing and side-stepping an honest response. Amazing.

Amazing, I say, on two counts. Make that three. First of all, Dr. Paul, if you haven't noticed, it's 2010. Yes, the new millenium has arrived! For my entire lifetime, discrimination has been illegal, in both the private and public realm. Welcome to the modern era, Rand. Secondly, would you just grow a pair and stand up for what you really believe, man??? For God's sake, if you believe that it ought to be legal for private businesses to discriminate against people, whether it's based on race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, disability or any other reason, man up and say so. Don't do your piss-poor, circle-the-wagons tap-dance around the issue. "A straight answer on this issue? But that would be political suicide!" Dr. Paul, I sure as Hell hope so. This is the United States, after remember, don't you? "We hold these truths to be self-evident," "that all men are created equal." I think it might even be written down somewhere...Google it, Sir. And thirdly, if you are a Libertarian masquerading as a Republican, come out of the closet already! A little advice to others with Dr. Paul's political persuasion: come clean before someone asks you a simple question on TV that exposes your desire to codify bigotry into law. Do not claim the ruse of defending the property rights issue, the First or Second Amendments, or state that while you would never dream of discriminating, or being a party to it, that you would never interfere with someone else's right to do so. Yeah, right. We're all buying that argument. Even the Rethugs like Boehner are running sprinting the other direction as fast as their little hypocritical feet will carry them.

By now, most of you know I am a huge fan of The Maddow. This sort of incredible work, the probing interview, her "To Hell with the sponsors, this is important!" integrity is exactly why I think she is one of the best journalists of our time. This is why she has risen so quickly and to such heights. Even if we at the Politico household didn't absolutely love the wonkiness, the snark, the plain old goofy nerdiness, the celebration of geek, (which we do, we love all of that!), we would still watch, simply because the girl is a hard-hitting interviewer, insightful and smart. Wicked smart. And civil. Above all else, she is civil. She had this discussion without voices being raised, without shouting over each other, with courtesy and respect for her guest. Isn't that what we want in our democracy, let alone in our living rooms for our kids to see each night?

Do I believe Rand Paul thinking that putting discrimination into law, or to speak about it, is within his rights, (if he could ever grow some huevos and do so directly...)? Absolutely. Will I vehemently disagree with him, will I be vocal in my disagreement with Dr. Paul? With every ounce of my being. As campy and wonky as it sounds, this clip from The American President says it best:

Okay, so I could have shortened the clip for the quote about Democracy being advanced citizenship. But, God, I love that movie. That, and The West Wing, of course...Ah, but I digress!

My point is, that the reason the Tea Party movement is alive, the reason the Rand Pauls of the world are, sadly, electable, is because of that fear being propagated by those who want to be in power. Harken to a better time, remind people of how life was easier once, then attach a scapegoat that you can paint as an easy target for anger. Get folks riled up, and give them someone, something to hate. Make it illegal immigrants in Arizona. Or African-Americans in Kentucky. Or those damn bleeding heart Liberals (with a capital L)...God knows they're lurking everywhere! And you're off and running. And if you're Rand Paul, you're off and running for Senate.

If you're a bigot, the Bill of Rights gives you every protection to be one. Speak your hate speech. Even try, as Dr. Paul did, to hide it behind the guise of such Libertarian ideas as property rights or gun ownership. But you'd better be prepared to try and defend your views against the tough questions. Because we will challenge your assertions and  we will hold you accountable to empirical fact. We will debate you point for point and expose your true colors for the world to see. Dr. Paul, America is advanced citizenship. And there will always be room for other points of view, whether they be right or wrong. But the Maddows of the world, and, yes, in our own small way, those of us who inhabit the intertubes, will strive to keep you honest, to expose your hypocrisy and to spread the word that there is still a moral imperative to which we, as a nation, are accountable. That's what democracy is all about.

Outstanding job, Rachel, as always. My fellow Politicos and friends, I await your take on these recent developments. Please put your two cents in right here at Momma Politico!