Pictured: a mainstream Republican.

In the wake of Rand Paul’s comments about the 1964 Civil Rights Act and BP, I keep reading some variation of this — and it’s dead wrong.

It’s not surprising that there should be tension between Republican officials, who want to guide Mr. Paul closer to the center, and libertarians who have said Mr. Paul’s criticism of the Civil Rights Act is in line with the doctrine.

Please. Republicans have zero interest in guiding Randy “closer to the center.” They just want him to STFU, because he’s clearly articulated what they really think.

Randy’s reluctance to embrace the CRA stems from his sincere belief that government shouldn’t be able to regulate private businesses. This is news? No, it’s the central premise of the entire modern “government is the problem!” GOP.

I admit it. My first reaction to the Randy/CRA story was to point and laugh, along with everyone else. But let’s not forget: Tom DeLay got into politics because he was pissed that the gubmint could regulate his poisons.

Before he ran for public office, Tom DeLay was in the pesticide business. In that business, he came face-to-face with “big government interference,” when the Environmental Protection Agency told him that he could no longer sell or use such pesticides as DDT. This regulation, the result of many years and millions of dollars of government sponsored scientific research, benefited song birds, birds of prey, and oh yes, young children and other vulnerable critters. At the same time, this “big government decree” was a damned nuisance to the chemical industry and to pest controllers such as DeLay, who came to refer to the EPA as a “Gestapo.”.

What business is it of “big government” to tell Tom DeLay that he can’t poison his neighbors and the ecosystem, as he goes about his business of eliminating “pests”?

Conservatives hate the minimum wage. They hate affirmative action. They hate the Fair Pay Act. They hate cap and trade. They hate the SEC. They hate OSHA. They hate the EPA. They hate corporate taxes. They hate hate hate everything that inhibits businesses from doing whatever they want. It’s not the high-tax, big government 1950s they romanticize — it’s the 1920s, or even better — the 1890s.

But they usually don’t get quite so explicit about it. They know saying Wal-Mart should be able to pay its workers whatever they want won’t win elections, and they’ve gotten very good over the past three decades about keeping it a little more abstract, i.e., “we’ve got to keep government out of the way so that businesses can create jobs.”

Make no mistake, Randy is not being shunned by the GOP because they think his views are abhorrent — he’s being embraced. They’re just a little peeved because he went off script and got way too analytical and specific. In short, he represented their beliefs too accurately and too honestly.

Let’s stop pretending Randy’s “extreme libertarianism” is any different from the views of practically every Republican in Congress, shall we?

Blue Texan

Blue Texan