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RAND PAUL at HOWARD UNIVERSITY: A for EFFORT but COULD HAVE BEEN more CONVINCING

I applaud the effort Senator Rand Paul made to go to Howard.  I think the GOP should reach out to African-American voters.  (I have talked the talk on this as my readers recall when ran for delegate in 1989, spoke at a black church and was endorsed by local African-American activists, primarily because I wanted to help them in some aspects of their causes such as preservation of black history in Prince William County.)  So the effort was sound.  But there should have been a more forceful historical context.

When the question was asked:  Which GOP are you in – the Radical Republican one or the Nixon/Reagan one, I’d have said well, Nixon did hire Mitt Romney’s father to be HUD Secretary, a GOP governor who once walked in a civil rights demonstration and could but for the fact it was Sunday, walked with Martin Luther King Jr.  (I would have used his full name not MLK in my speech.)  It was Nixon who set up one of the first affirmative action program, the Philadelphia Plan to open up the construction industry to blacks.  It was Reagan who signed the King holiday bill and the extension of the Voting Rights Act.  I might have gone further and said I am not sure affirmative action or bills that single out parts of the country for adverse treatment serve the interests we all have in racial harmony.  So, we need some of both the old Radical Republicans and some of the Nixon/Reagan progress, too.

I liked the answer about the ID card.  I would have said:  If there is a voter ID scheme that was written to make it hard for poor or black or Hispanic people to vote, I’d be against it.  But the concept of the ID card to vote is actually a protection of the right of all Americans to vote.

I think Senator Paul stumbled a bit on Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts (who is [yes he is still living] a principled liberal and was eventually defeated by another principled liberal, Paul Tsongas.) and on that the NAACP was founded mostly by Republicans.  it was awkward but that happens.

But Paul’s use of the Bush and Obama drug situations to show why drug use should be decriminalized was brilliant.  I am not sure where I stand on drug decriminalization; however, over-criminalization is to be criticized.  He did when Paul discussed the EPA’s overreaching regulations.  I think by discussing non-racial issues, Paul showed the reach of his efforts.

But I think he stated the long term benefits of the free market for African-American people.  That is good.  It was good that voters of all races saw his outreach and he seems to get good marks for trying that.  All the Republican party would need is 15-20 percent of the African-American vote and half of the Hispanic vote:  Get something like that and that GOP Presidential hopeful would almost certainly be sizing the drapes in the Oval Office.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood “Sandy” Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia’s first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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