This is pretty crazy. Other than federal fiscal and tax policy I don’t think I’ve ever done three posts on the same topic, and here I am doing just that on the nomination of Rand Paul, of all things. Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not obsessed. I’m not. I’m not. I’m really not. Really.

So anyway…

Now Dr. Paul is working to clarify that he does not support repeal of the civil rights legislation, or the Fair Housing Act. And I do believe him. I am sure he is thinking, “How the hell did we get to talking about this??? It has nothing to do with what I want to emphasize in my campaign, or as Senator.” But his original comments do provide a glimpse into his mindset. My blog friend Thrasybulus sees Paul as a full-blown libertarian, with all the conceptual and ideological baggage that represents. And as much as Paul wants this topic to simply vanish, it’s pretty hard to put that genie back in the bottle.

Dr. Paul’s original comments on the Rachel Maddow show stated, essentially, that private businesses should not be subject to government mandates to adhere to societal civil rights standards. If he believes that, then it is fair to ask where he does, and does not, think government should intervene in the workings of private business.

  • Should government regulate safety in privately owned coal mines (certainly near and dear to the voters of Kentucky, which accounts for 10% of total U.S. coal extraction)?
  • Should government regulate oil extraction practices by private companies such as BP?
  • Should government regulate fair lending practices by private banks?
  • Should government regulate fair hiring practices by private employers?

If he does believe in such regulation, then what is the difference between those examples and civil rights? If he does not believe in such regulation, well, then I guess we’ll just know that.