Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rand Paul Commits GOP Heresy and Criticizes Voter ID Laws

I find Rand Paul to be a scary loose canon, but it is most pleasurable to see him from time to time call out GOP policies for what they truly are.   As the GOP base has grown older, whiter and extremely more racist, the policy of the party has been to push for voter ID laws that have voter disenfranchisement as their only real goal.  Such laws are time and time again claimed to be necessary to "prevent voter fraud" even though no documented voter fraud exists as claimed.   Indeed, if the GOP were honest, it would start having KKK robes handed out at the beginning of every GOP gathering.  Enter Rand Paul who made the heretical statement that such voter ID laws are wrong and that they are alienating people from the GOP.  KKK loving Tony Perkins at Family Research Council must have let loose with a torrent of spittle on hearing of Paul's remark!  Here are highlights from the New York Times:

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky broke Friday with fellow Republicans who have pushed for stricter voting laws as a way to crack down on fraud at the polls, saying that the focus on such measures alienates and insults African-Americans and hurts the party.

“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Mr. Paul said in an interview. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”

Mr. Paul becomes the most prominent member of his party — and among the very few — to distance himself from the voting restrictions and the campaign for their passage in states under Republican control, including North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, that can determine presidential elections. Civil rights groups call the laws a transparent effort to depress black turnout.

Speaking here in a mostly black and Democratic city with its own painful history of racism, Mr. Paul said that much of the debate over voting rights had been swept up in the tempest of racial politics.

The senator has had his own struggles with civil rights issues, hedging at times on his support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

[I]n his comments, he suggested that Republicans had been somewhat tone deaf on the issue.  In the last three years, the voting rights fight has extended to more than 30 states and taken on a more partisan tone. The measures that have passed or are under consideration vary. Some require that voters come to the polls with a birth certificate, passport or other proof of citizenship. Others would cut back on early voting.

Mr. Paul’s remarks seem certain to stir up concern among Republicans over whether the senator — a libertarian-minded ophthalmologist who was first elected to public office three years ago — can appeal to the conservative voters who have so much influence in selecting the nominee.

He is not getting much support from Republican leaders in his efforts to change the discussion or the party’s tone. Colin L. Powell and Michael Steele, the former party chairman, have spoken against the restrictions. But no ranking Republican has done so, and there was no indication Friday that any would change their minds.

After his meeting with the pastors in Memphis, Mr. Paul traveled a few blocks to address the Republican gathering, but he made no mention of voting rights. Instead, he hit on the message that the party needed to soften its edges and show more sympathy to populations that have felt overlooked and maligned by Republicans.

In trying to explain previous comments about the Civil Rights Act, Mr. Paul recently clarified that he would have voted for the landmark law, although he has expressed concern that its provisions may infringe on the rights of private institutions.

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