Rand Paul’s father, Ron Paul (R-TX-14) developed a tremendous following on the Internet, and swayed a pretty significant number of young net-hip professionals to profess a belief in Libertarianism. It’s not surprising; political neophytes could guess the whole marketplace of ideas concept of the early Internet might just work for politics as well.
So I’m not surprised Rand Paul thought he could use the Rachael Maddow show on MSNBC to mine the liberal base for new voters. What he didn’t count on, is that libertarianism itself got a fair hearing. Paul had 18 minutes to answer Maddow’s question about the public accommodations clause of the civil rights act, and he couldn’t, because he knows Americans don’t like “letting the marketplace decide” people’s rights.
So now Paul and his lukewarm supporter Sarah Palin are trying to float the theory that Paul somehow got ambushed, even though that question had become a major problem for Paul in previous newspaper and radio interviews where he tried to make his case.
Blaming MSNBC is not an avenue available to a libertarian. As the conservative media group AIM pointed out, he chose to go on Maddow’s show, it’s a privately owned channel on a non-scarce distribution system, which its viewers watch as an act of free-market capitalism.
The free market doesn’t always work, but it worked this time. It pointed out what’s wrong with libertarianism as a 21st Century political philosophy. If Rand Paul were truly committed to his belief system, he’d be happy that it worked so well in practice.
When Sarah Palin posted a map of “red” congressional districts whose incumbent congresscritters voted for the health care reform act, she used gunsight crosshair icons to designate them. Perhaps she was intentionally feeding into a political climate marked by some recent right wing calls for violence or maybe she was just trying to be cute. Either way, she’s given us one more reason to fear her.
It’s possible she is so completely out of touch with the acrimony of last week’s Health Care protests that she doesn’t understand how this kind of imagery makes her look like a demagogue. Or maybe she’s just a demagogue.
I’m picking the latter, because when even folks like Elizabeth Hasselbeck called her out for it, she chose to counter it with a tortured piece of writing on her Facebook page that tried to claim it was all just one big metaphor, which could just as easily be hoops talk.
While Palin gets props for trying to walk back the rhetoric by claiming its just taken out of context, the whole misdirection attempt has the “dog ate my homework” feel of a 10th grader.
Most 10th graders grow up, and if their thoughts wander back to their immature lies and deceptions, they’re embarrassed. That hasn’t happened yet to Ms. Palin, so we’ll have to collectively be embarrassed for her.
It would be like me trying to argue that my headline is a reference to Ms. Palin doing her hair. Even if I could convince you that was my intent, it would leave you wondering why I chose something so meaningless when I could have found a thousand better ways to make my point.
When the Sarah Palin apologists tried to explain away her hedge to Charlie Gibson’s “Bush doctrine” question on her first major television interview, the talking point went that it was unfair that when a similar “Bush doctrine” question was asked during the ABC Democratic debate, it was defined. But Charlie Gibson didn’t define it when it was asked of Sarah Palin.
Of course, one was a real-time statement the audience was sure to hear, the other was a raw interview which would be heavily edited for time, and the questions and question definitions would either be eliminated, re-shot, or handled in voice-over.
Today, on Meet the Press, when Tom Brokaw asked Michael Bloomberg about Joe Biden, adding “vice-presidential candidate with Barack Obama,” as an appositive, Bloomberg quipped, “I know who he is.”
There was a time that interviewing a major political figure, you could assume you could talk in shorthand. They were busy, and would be more than happy to launch into a long explanation at even a pregnant pause.
But Sarah Palin, and more important, her apologists, have moved the goal post. Now, if you don’t ask the question the same way for the candidates as you do when you’re trying to teach the audience, you’re unfair.