Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Maddow Interviews: Paul vs. Sestak

On the pages of The Moderate Voice website where I toil as a columnist much tsk tsk tsking and hand wringing of crying towels is being made of Republican nominee Rand Paul for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.

It seems the libertarian, when asked his views on private property rights for citizens in the Civil Rights Act, Paul doesn't like that one section.

In the broadest example of that section think Lester Maddox. As a restaurant owner he refused to serve African-Americans. The government said, no, his restaurant is a public accommodation and he must serve everyone as long as they can pay for the service. Maddox rode that vehicle to become elected governor of Georgia.

That was in 1968. What I don't understand is why are we fighting that battle already won today, some 42 years later?

I have no fried chicken on this plate because I don't live or vote in Kentucky.

Nor do I live in mortal fear of libertarians or even the most conservative Republicans on our soil because the nation has survived my first Congressman, Rep. James B. Utt, who represented Orange County, California, for 22 years.

Utt voted against the Civil Rights Acts of 1960, 1964 and 1968 and against the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He.despised the United Nations and fought fruitlessly for the U.S. to drop its membership. As a ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Jimmy's comrades pacified him by allowing him carte blanche with federal projects for his district.

Only because the rules in the Senate allow a freshman member occasionally more power that an 11-term House member, would Rand Paul be a mover and shaker for his libertarian principles.

But, the rallying cry against Paul is not whether he would vote against additional military funding for the troops in Afghanistan. It is like, Dude, he's gonna repeal one section of the Civil Rights Act.

What a goofy argument, this is. And, the guy was only answering a question.

Rand Paul is who he is. It's for the voters in Kentucky to drop the hammer on him. Not liberal advocates in the form of Rachael Maddow on her MSNBC show. Or progressive flame throwers.

Much is being made that Paul, who announced his candidacy on her show a year ago, made a mistake by appearing on her show Wednesday night. I'm not here to defend that decision one way or another. Nor would I vote for the guy even if I lived in his state.

I will say anyone who is opposite Maddow's passionate political leanings appear at their own risk. Maddow was as a junk yard dog, biting Paul's leg on the property rights issue and not letting go.

But if viewers hung around for the next segment on that Wednesday show, lo and behold she threw cup cakes at Joe Sestak, the Democratic winner of the senate nomination in Pennsylvania.

That stark contrast between the tone of the two back-to-back interviews is what struck me as the news event of the evening, not Paul's pitch on an issue decided four decades earlier.

Much to my chagrin, I have learned to accept that from Maddow who I normally enjoy watching except for those moments of geekiness.

Is it asking too much that Maddow just might have asked Sestak a point of vulnerability over his command Arlen Specter raised about  Sestak's retirement as a vice admiral in the Navy?

Had she done that, I would have been pleased in the interest of journalism finally poking its head above petty arguments cast at Paul and waived for Sestak..

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