Was Rand Paul's civil rights gaffe intentional?
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."