JEFF PEARLMAN

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Rand Paul and privacy rights

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

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Found this interview fascinating. Not Rachel Maddow’s best work, because she talks over Paul, which sort of victimizes the man. But the chat does open up a real problem for Paul. It’s great to say, “Private rights!” and “State rights” and “Keep government out of our lives!” over and over and over again. But government does have a role—and a big part of that is making sure that all citizens are treated equally.

To me, the gun issue is an apple to Maddow’s orange. Guns are about safety, and if a business owner says, “I don’t want you bringing a Glock into my daycare,” well, it’s clearly because he/she doesn’t want people being shot. But when you allow businesses to potentially discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity, explaining it away with, “Well, I wouldn’t go there” isn’t good enough. Not by a longshot.

In some base way, I like Paul. I think he’s real, and there’s legitimate integrity—as there is with his father, too. If the Tea Party follows his lead, it’ll be OK.

But you can only repeat the same mantra so many times before people start requesting details. Maddow’s questions, while poorly conveyed, are good ones. And if he’s this thin on a core issue, how will he hold up with the real stuff starts popping up?