I'm not of the "I give him props for even going" school. These people are Americans, he wants to be the president of America, so why the f--- shouldn't he go speak to them? I would say the same, by the way, about a liberal politician appearing before a group of white gun-toters in Idaho, which I personally think they ought to do a lot more than they do.
So, grading not on a curve, how'd he do? Adele Stan has the right take, sez I:
He explained black history to black people. He suggested that he was brave to have shown up. He quoted a poem that is said to be the lament of a sexually frustrated middle-aged man.
Paul went on to deny killing budget autonomy for the District of Columbia, despite the three poison-pill amendments he added to the bill. During the question-and-answer period, he chided a young voting rights activist for comparing voter ID laws to the obstructions African Americans faced at the polls during Jim Crow. And he said he had nothing against the 1964 Civil Rights Act -- despite being on record as opposing the provision that desegregated the lunch counters that were occupied at great peril by the Freedom Riders who fought the South's Jim Crow laws.
In short, Rand Paul delivered a pretty embarrassing performance, but perhaps not in ways that the audience for whom his speech I believe his speech was intended -- Republican primary voters -- would notice.
The clip I watched last night was pretty hilarious. I bet you didn't know, he said to a bunch of black kids at Howard University, that the NAACP was founded by Republicans. Yeah, they catcalled, as a matter of fact, they did know. Aside from the fact it's pathetic that he has to reach back to 1909 for something positive, it's a pretty clear demonstration that he just never talks to black people. Hey, did you folks know that Jesse Owens could run really fast?!
Of course he lied to them about never being against the civil right act. Rachel Maddow nailed him to the wall on that back in 2010. He left himself a little wiggle room, but he clearly said that private businesses ought to be able to discriminate if they want. It's bad business, he hastened to add, but if that's what they want to do, the state should not be able to compel them otherwise.
I'm steeling myself for the approach of 2016 and the sight of a certain number of white hipsters attaching themselves like barnacles to Paul's little ship because he thinks they should be able to smoke a joint occasionally or whatever. I do think that upon examination, he won't hold up to scrutiny and thus would in the end have little crossover appeal if he should somehow actually wrest the GOP nomination, but I'm sure the party would recognize what a total disaster he'd be and do whatever they need to do to make sure he couldn't be nominated. Against Hillary, he'd win about 16 states.