Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) believes in ID requirements for voting, but he doesn’t think he or other Republicans should talk about it because doing so is “offending” African Americans and hurts the party.
“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Paul told The New York Times in an interview. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”
Republicans push for Voter ID law as a way to crack down on fraud at the polls. Democrats liken the laws to poll taxes and literacy tests and argue that the real motive behind measures is to disenfranchise poor and minority voters.
A year ago, at Howard University, Paul defended the Republican position that voter ID did not constitute much of a burden.
Showing a driver’s license “to have an honest election is not unreasonable,” he said.
He tried clarify his stance again during an interview with Sean Hannity explaining that his point had nothing to do with the reality of the law, but the perception of the law.
“I’m trying to go out and say to African Americans ‘I want your vote and the Republican Party wants your vote’,” he said. “If they perceive, rightly or wrongly, that showing their ID is an attempt to get them not to vote because they perceive it in the lineage of a time when it truly did happen through poll taxes and questioning to try and prevent people—if they perceive it that way—we have to be aware that the perception is out there and be careful about not so overdoing something that we further alienate a block of people we need to attract.”
Paul has complained that the GOP needs to look more like America and that mostly white people attend events for GOP candidates. He has also visited historically black college campuses over the past year in an effort to reach beyond his libertarian-leaning base and to reach out to blacks.
It’s true that Republicans have not been effective at building support among minorities, but caving in to the Democratic position—playing the race card against those of us who think you ought to show photo identification to vote—is not the right way to go about broadening the base.
Suggesting that an ID requirement imposes a hindrance to minority voters, but not to other voters, is an insulting and inherently racist argument. It implies that black and Hispanic people are not as able as other ethnic groups to merely get to a DMV.
ID verification is necessary to buy cigarettes or alcoholic beverages or Sudafed, to drive or go on air plane, get into a night club, to get a library card–and so on and so on—this is not racist and the idea of anyone regarding these regulations as racist should be laughable.
But, Democrats have been considerably successful in their propaganda tactics of getting people outraged over the law. People who believe their repeated claims, that “the GOP wants to “drag us back to the days of Jim Crow by enforcing Voter ID Law”, must not think for themselves.
Paul may be strategizing to preemptively extinguish claims that he is racist prior to his presidential bid, but as long as he is a Republican, the Democrats are going to relentlessly call him racist regardless.
Black leaders gave him no credit for his renewed outlook on voter ID laws.
“Get real, Senator,” G.A. Hardaway, a black Democratic member of the Tennessee General Assembly, told the Times. “To come here, to Memphis of all places, and espouse the principles and ‘goodness’ of today’s Republican Party, excuse me if I’m not buying it.”
This is not an isolated incident of flip-flopping with Sen. Paul. He theatrically filibustered for nearly thirteen hours on the Senate floor last year against the use of domestic drones. The spectacle boosted Paul’s political prominence and propelled him into the national spotlight as a formidable presidential candidate.
A month after his famous filibuster, during a Fox news interview, Paul completely contradicted his initial argument.
“If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash. I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him,” he said. “But it’s different if they want to fly over your hot tub or your yard just because they want to do surveillance on everyone, and they want to watch your activities.”
The Washington Times’ Steve Deace points out several more occasions of the Senator waffling on issues.
It is politically smart to disregard your personal values in order to draw support of more voters and reconcile different interests. Oh wait, that’s called pandering.
Let’s be for clear, consistent conservative conviction! But let’s not talk about it because it’s offensive.
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