Rand Paul is a totally unwavering supporter of the Civil Rights Act. Speaking of the Paul family, I have never wavered from my conviction that any progressive could plausibly prefer restoring the Articles of Confederation to a moderate Democrat.
So Paul made it quite clear in 2010 that he didn’t believe in federal law banning discrimination in privately owned businesses that are open to the public. At Howard, Paul seemed to be saying he never opposed the Civil Rights Act in its entirety, but he certainly opposed a key part of it that completely reshaped American society. Supporting the right of white business owners not to serve blacks may be the “hard part of freedom” for someone, but not for anyone who looks like Rand Paul.
Paul got a warm reception from the Howard audience for some of his positions on foreign policy and the war on drugs. But in what seems like a tacit acknowledgement that his past position on a piece of historic civil rights legislation is embarrassing, Paul fibbed about what that position actually was.
UPDATE: Edroso, of course, hits it out of the park like he was world-historic power-hitting catcher John Buck:
In other words: The Democrats bribed you to forget all your old friends. No mention of Republican racial politics from the Compromise of 1877 to Nixon’s Southern Strategy, nor of the traditional conservative attitude toward integration and equal rights, nor Jesse Helms, nor Strom Thurmond, et alia and ad nauseam. The Civil Rights Act Paul only mentioned defensively, as something from which he’d “never wavered” except for that part about using the power of the state to enforce it.
Layer in a generous helping of self-pity (“and when I think of how political enemies often twist and distort my positions… My hope is that you will hear me out, that you will see me for who I am, not the caricature sometimes presented by political opponents… Republicans are often miscast as uncaring or condemning…”) and you’ve got a perfect speech — not for the folks at Howard University, but for the commenters at Reason who seem to understand Paul perfectly (“Maybe Paul should have offered up more free shit since that seems to work so well”).