Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington February 10, 2011. The CPAC is a project of the American Conservative Union Foundation.  REUTERS/Joshua Roberts    (UNITED STATES - Tags:
A half-sober assessment of the GOP's political fortunes from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul:
Sen. Rand Paul is warning his party that Republicans will not take the White House again unless the party changes.

“I think Republicans will not win again in my lifetime for the presidency unless they become a new GOP, a new Republican Party,” Paul said on Glenn Beck’s show on TheBlaze in an interview that aired Thursday. “And it has to be a transformation, not a little tweaking at the edges.”

But while he may be onto something, the specifics of his message quickly deteriorated into hilarity, especially in light of the fact that he was talking to a website run by a guy who accused President Obama of holding a "deep-seated hatred of white people":
“Republicans haven’t gone to African-Americans or to Hispanics and said, ‘You know what? The war on drugs, Big Government, has had a racial outcome. It’s disproportionately affected the poor and the black and brown among us,’” Paul said.
I mean, one the one hand, it's hard to argue with Paul that Republicans need to figure out how to appeal to the entire country, not just one demographic. But for him to use Glenn Beck's media outlet as a platform for distributing that message is absurd on its face.

Moreover, to equate "Big Government" with "the war on drugs" is ridiculous. When Republicans talk about "Big Government" they aren't talking our nation's completely backwards drug laws. They are talking about the things they really hate: Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, food stamps—the social safety net in general. And given that the social safety net is particularly important for "the black and brown among us," Rand couldn't be more off base.

It would be a welcome development if Republicans decided to embrace criminal justice reform and embraced the idea that we should put an end to the counterproductive drug war. But the fact that Paul wants to conflate the drug war with the social safety net isn't exactly an encouraging sign.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 04:00 PM PST.

Also republished by My Old Kentucky Kos.


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