Rand Paul Lied To Howard University Students, Or Did He?

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul lied to students at Howard University yesterday when he told them he was never against the Civil Rights Act. Well, actually, no he didn’t. Wait, yes – yes he did.

The confusion stems from Paul’s answer to a question from a student at the historically black university.

“I’ve never been against the Civil Rights Act, ever,” Paul said.

This much is true. Paul has been careful not to state that he thinks that the Civil Rights Act should never have been passed or that it should be repealed. Unfortunately, his answer didn’t stop there.

“I do question some of the ramifications and the extensions, but I have never questioned the Civil Rights Act and never come out in opposition to the Civil Rights Act,” Paul added later on in his explanation.

This part is untrue. Paul is well known for having questioned the Civil Rights Act two years ago. His original stance on the issue was that the federal government should bar discrimination when public funds are concerned, but it should not have the authority to direct what happens in private businesses.

The 2010 interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal includes this now quazi-famous political tongue-dance:

“PAUL: I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains, and I’m all in favor of that.


“PAUL: You had to ask me the “but.” I don’t like the idea of telling private business owners — I abhor racism. I think it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant — but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership. But I absolutely think there should be no discrimination in anything that gets any public funding, and that’s most of what I think the Civil Rights Act was about in my mind.”

Rand Paul did not come out against the Civil Rights Act, he simply portrayed it as the wrong approach to a social problem that needed to be, well, approached. He argued that private citizens and the free market should have solved the issue of segregation, not Washington.

“Lie” is a dirty word in politics. What is qualified as a lie? Rand Paul never said the Civil Rights Act should be repealed, so he could justifiably say to Howard University students that he isn’t against the Civil Rights Act. Yet since he has criticized what the law did and opposes the “extensions and ramifications” of the law being pushed today, critics can justifiably say that he opposes the law.

Here’s one of America’s favorite liberals doing precisely that:

The Howard University student who posed the question already knew Rand Paul’s record on the issue.

“This was on tape,” the questioner said when Paul first tried to dodge the question.

In an age where everything any politician has ever said can be googled, wikied, or YouTubed; politicans should stop trying to dodge their past answers. Paul should have owned his previous statements — Yes, I do take issue with certain parts of the Civil Rights Act — then proceeded to clarify what parts of the law he supports and what parts he doesn’t. Then today’s headline wouldn’t be that Rand Paul tried to lie his way out of a tough question about a very nuanced position.

Actually, the headlines still would have sucked. The senator said many other things during his speech that, as The Inquisitr has previously reported, equate to a distortion of history at best. Rand Paul gave the first speech by a Republican lawmaker at Howard University in decades, and all he really did was remind everyone why it’s been so long.

[Image by Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons]