Commentary: Rand Paul lacks real world experience

The Lexington Herald-LeaderMay 24, 2010 

It hurt a bit — listening to Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul say he sees nothing wrong with private business owners deciding who can enter their establishments even if those decisions are based on race, physical disabilities, sexual orientation, or any characteristic that marks a person as a minority.

For a moment Wednesday evening while watching the Rachel Maddow Show, I was transported to a time decades ago when similar words were rolling from the lips of noted segregationists Lester Maddox in Georgia and George Wallace in Alabama.

Back then, those men proudly proclaimed their beliefs that states' rights superseded federal laws when it came to equality for African-Americans.

I don't think Paul is racist, not in the vein of a Maddox or a Wallace back when the civil rights movement was gathering steam.

I truly believe he is an intellectual with conservative views that haven't really been tried out in the real world.

Paul honestly said he was in favor of most of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and I believe him.

The only part he didn't like, apparently, was the part that required private businesses to get with the program.

When pushed, Paul had to stick to his Libertarian/Tea Party guns. He believes that government has the right to rule over public institutions, but no right to dicker with the policies of business owners. If he abandoned that idea, he would have to join the rest of us in reality who know that selfish policies negatively affect lives.

My brother, who was an electronics engineer, said he was always glad he had been an electronics technician first, because he understood both the worlds of ideas and implementation in the real world.

Paul needs more real world experience.

As I watched that show, my 19-year-old son entered the room and focused on the exchange unfolding. Maddow tried to pin Paul down about his views of the Civil Rights Act. He did a verbal tap dance. After several minutes, my son said, "He's not answering the questions. He's dancing around the subject."

Well, he has to, I said. Paul's a politician, one appealing to his conservative base.

Paul did say he wouldn't frequent discriminatory businesses and might even picket them to get them to change their ways. But, he said, no matter how boorish, those owners had the right to determine who they served or admitted.

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