Rand Paul already on the hot seat

Bowling Green’s Rand Paul won the Republican nomination for Jim Bunning’s Senate seat Tuesday night.

And he hasn’t had time to catch his breath yet.

First, there was the appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America.

 “Some people find it a bit ironic that your victory party last night was at a private country club,” said interviewer Robin Roberts “Doesn’t that send a mixed message there?”

Paul replied: “I think at one time, people used to think of golf and golf clubs and golf courses as being exclusive. I think in recent years now you see a lot of people playing golf. I think Tiger Woods has helped to broaden that, in the sense that he’s brought golf to a lot of the cities and to city youth, and so now I don’t think it’s nearly as exclusive as people once considered it to be.”

Then came allegations that he was opposed to the Civil Rights Act.

Jonathan Chait wrote in a blog on  The New Republic’s webiste: “It’s fascinating to watch Rand Paul dodge and weave on the question of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Paul holds a position, standard to libertarians but alien to mainstream politics, that the government had no business forbidding businesses and employers from discriminating on the basis of race. Paul is honest enough not to abandon that position. But he’s not honest enough to defend it openly. So instead, every time he’s asked a question on the topic, he changes the subject. He’ll start saying that he personally opposes racial discrimination, or that the government has no business discriminating on the basis of race, or that we shouldn’t deny the free speech rights of racists, or that we shouldn’t limit the rights of people to carry weapons into restaurants. He repeatedly insists that the 1964 Civil Rights Act was mostly about voting and government discrimination, which is both untrue and a dodge.”

Democrats were filling  e-mail boxes across the country with copies of blogs like that.

So, Thursday morning, Paul e-mailed his own statement.

Here it is:

“I believe we should work to end all racism in American society and staunchly defend the inherent rights of every person.  I have clearly stated in prior interviews that I abhor racial discrimination and would have worked to end segregation.  Even though this matter was settled when I was 2, and no serious people are seeking to revisit it except to score cheap political points, I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

 “Let me be clear: I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws.”

 “As I have said in previous statements, sections of the Civil Rights Act were debated on Constitutional grounds when the legislation was passed. Those issues have been settled by federal courts in the intervening years.”

 “My opponent’s statement on MSNBC Wednesday that I favor repeal of the Civil Rights Act was irresponsible and knowingly false. I hope he will correct the record and retract his claims.”

 “The issue of civil rights is one with a tortured history in this country. We have made great strides, but there is still work to be done to ensure the great promise of Liberty is granted to all Americans.”

 “This much is clear:  The federal government has far overreached in its power grabs.  Just look at the recent national healthcare schemes, which my opponent supports.   The federal government, for the first time ever, is mandating that individuals purchase a product.   The federal government is out of control, and those who love liberty and value individual and state’s rights must stand up to it.”

 “These attacks prove one thing for certain:  the liberal establishment is desperate to keep leaders like me out of office, and we are sure to hear more wild, dishonest smears during this campaign.”

 The general election is still 5 1/2 months away. It’s going to be interesting.

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