Rand Paul, the GOP candidate for Senate in Kentucky, generated shockwaves when he suggested he might have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Paul was forced into a humiliating U-turn after lawmakers from both parties condemned the remarks, which were widely written off as a blunder by a eccentric liberatarian out of touch with political reality. But Jason Whitlock at the Kansas City Star disagrees with that assessment, suggesting Paul made the controversial statements as a "calculated, bold, political-branding move" to stamp his independent, man-of-the-people credentials on this election." "Paul, a doctor, is not stupid, nor is he a political novice," says Whitlock. To win November's election he needs to raise his profile, and stir up passion. This calculated "mistake" did both:
"Rand Paul did not hurt his political brand by taking a day to criticize legislation that provided black people genuine American freedom. He's running for office in Kentucky, not New York. He's operating in a political climate in which both the anti-Obama outrage and pro-Obama blind support are fueled in part by race.
Paul chose a side. He let the 24-hour news cycle turn him into a household name, and then he retreated, claiming to be a victim of the liberal media and putting out a statement clarifying his position on civil rights.
...This was no mistake made by a political amateur. And I don’t believe Paul will pay a negative political consequence for it. The bet here is that he’ll benefit."