Taranto aptly called it “a rookie mistake” when newly nominated Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul told an interviewer that he was troubled by the fact that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — which Paul otherwise supported — crossed the line of regulating behavior by private businesses. However intellectually coherent Paul’s position might be in a narrow, libertarian-absolutist, freshman-dorm-room kind of way, politically and realistically it’s nuts.
Or as Taranto says:
In this matter, Paul seems to us to be overly ideological and insufficiently mindful of the contingencies of history. Although we are in accord with his general view that government involvement in private business should be kept to a minimum, in our view the Civil Rights Act’s restrictions on private discrimination were necessary in order to break down a culture of inequality that was only partly a matter of oppressive state laws.
If he’s going to play in the big leagues, Paul needs to stop making rookie mistakes. In discussing the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Paul apparently felt a need to stick up for the spiller:
“What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,'” said Paul who overwhelmingly won Tuesday’s GOP Senate primary in Kentucky and is a favorite of Tea Party activists. “I think that sounds really un-American in his criticisms of businesses.”
“I’ve heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill,” Paul continued. “I think it’s part of this blame game society in the sense that it’s always got to be someone’s fault, instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen.”
I’m a big fan of capitalism myself, but geez. There will be other, better opportunities to criticize Obama and the Democrats for excessive corporate-bashing. For now, Paul would be wise to simply refrain from joining the dogpile on top of the oil industry.
If I were to describe my political philosophy in one word, that word would be “libertarian.” My libertarian slogan of choice is “free people and free markets, under the rule of law.” The “rule of law” part is a recognition that if you go too far down the spectrum toward small government, you wind up with anarchy. To become a Senator, Rand Paul needs to stop following his father that far down the libertarian trail.