Rand Paul’s personalities split on voter ID

As we’ve noted here many times, Sen. Rand Paul is getting more and more comfortable at “playing the game” of becoming our next president. Time after time, Paul will craft his message in different ways depending on what his audience is at the time, and carefully choosing his words so that he can easily backtrack when needed. He’ll go on CNN to talk about how the GOP needs to become more “socially tolerant” and soften his rhetoric on gay marriage and abortion, but get him in a room full of evangelicals in an early primary state and he’ll talk about how “gay” Obama is and our future dystopia of forced government abortions. Paul talks a big game about the need for comprehensive immigration reform in front of Latino and immigrant rights groups, but he’ll proudly vote against such a bill on the Senate floor.

Lately, Rand is pitching his “New GOP” re-branding to African-American audiences, stressing his admirable stance against the Drug War’s devastating effect on this community (not so much his desire to gut the social safety net and that Liberty-stealing Civil Rights Act). Rand continued this pitch in Memphis this weekend, speaking to a group of African-American pastors. Though Rand has stated his support for voter ID laws in states like North Carolina that would disproportionately disenfranchise African-Americans, while in Memphis he appeared to do a turnabout:

MEMPHIS — Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky broke Friday with fellow Republicans who have pushed for stricter voting laws as a way to crack down on fraud at the polls, saying that the focus on such measures alienates and insults African-Americans and hurts the party.

“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Mr. Paul said in an interview. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”

When I say he “appeared” to do a turnabout on voter ID, I use that word intentionally. The morning this story came out, I immediately said that Paul appeared to be hedging just slightly, and if he faced even the slightest bit of pushback from his right flank, he would walk that statement back.

While some liberals were quick to celebrate Paul becoming a new advocate against repugnant voter ID laws — “he admits they’re crazy and offensive!” — and some conservative lashed out at him for surrendering to the neo-ACORN forces of rampant minority voter fraud, the inevitable walk back happened today in a statement from Doug Stafford, Paul’s former chief of staff and current director of his PAC:

“At no point did Senator Paul come out against voter ID laws. In terms of the specifics of voter ID laws, Senator Paul believes it’s up to each state to decide that type of issue.”

Ah, that was fun while it lasted. The lunatic conspiracy hucksters at World Net Daily still have Rand’s back, for now. And liberal New York Times readers who saw that article this weekend and cheered Paul’s stance will probably not see Rand’s guy walking back his words two days later to show he’s not really against voter ID bills.

That’s what “playing the game” is all about…

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3 Trackbacks

  1. […] Joe Sonka (who knows KY politics) on Rand Paul: […]

  2. […] After receiving backlash from the right, Paul immediately backtracked to say that he actually doesn’t oppose these voter ID laws (he doesn’t), he just thinks that the GOP shouldn’t talk about their position (that he […]

  3. […] might also help him to stop supporting voter ID laws that disproportionately disenfranchise African-Americans. Or not spread blatantly false rumors […]

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