to "...take the country back". Now we know the answer to where he wishes to take it. Paul
has had an interesting post-election week. First, on Rachel Maddow's show, he said he did not
support the 1964 Civil Rights Act because it forces private businesses to end discrimination
against African-Americans and other minorities. Second, he defended BP saying that President
Obama had no right to insist BP be held accountable to pay for all the oil spilled in the Gulf
and the clean-up. Finally, he defended the Massey Energy Company whose mine exploded last
month killing 29 miners. Paul does not believe it is the role of government to affix blame or
demand accountability from private industry. In his mind, corporate America is beyond
reproach. He thinks it's un-American to criticize American business.
Dr. Paul is entitled to his opinion. He is in good company in the Republican Party.
Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, fondly yearned for a president such as Strom Thurmond,
who would have made sure segregation remained in place creating a calmer, more stable and
elite nation. Paul is an intellectual soul mate with Arizona Senator John McCain, who believes
the government should be able to stop anyone in his state and ask for their papers to prove
they are here legally. Paul will fit in nicely with Congressman John Boehner and his fellow
Kentuckian Senator Mitch McConnell who promised Wall Street if they contributed money
to the Republicans, they would protect them from increased government regulation.
BP had no emergency plan if their deep sea well exploded. The company knew it had
problems with the "blowout preventer" and hadn't even tested it at the depths they were
drilling. It has been criticized for sacrificing safety for profits in a number of reports. Massey
Energy miners say they had warned the company about gas buildup in their mines and safety
inspectors had found numerous violations of federal law in those same mines. Dr. Paul
believes to regulate or criticize either company is un-American. He believes the government
has no role in insuring safety in private industry nor is it the governments responsibility to
insure the fair treatment of workers. Dr. Paul believes the free market will solve all problems
and the government should stay out. He does not believe the Constitution gives government
any power over the private sector except in cases of national security or defense.
History proves Dr. Paul is on the wrong side of these issues. Until the early 1930's,
government did allow unregulated freedom in the business sector. For over seventy years,
Jim Crow laws flourished in the South with no government interference. Poll taxes and
literacy tests, approved by state legislatures, prevented most African-Americans from voting
or being elected. The Crash of 1929 was a direct result of banks and Wall Street engaging in
practices designed to cheat the average investor. Child labor was still common at the beginning
of the 20th century. It was the auto industry which for years fought to prevent seat belts and
and airbags from being required in American cars. When given the chance, business has always
put profit over all other concerns. Do you remember the Pinto? Rather than fix the problem of
exploding gas tanks, Ford calculated it was cheaper to be sued by those burned or the families
of those killed than it was to recall the car and fix the life-threatening mechanical problems.
Does the name Toyota ring a bell?
Dr. Paul actually blames the government for the economic collapse of the last two or three
years. There was too much regulation and the Federal Reserve caused the crisis by making
money to cheap. How could you expect business not to take advantage of such an opportunity?
It would be one thing if Rand Paul was viewed as an outsider or a part of the extreme wing
of the Republican Party. However, the opposite is true. His views represent the mainstream
thinking of the party today. Whether it's "Drill Baby Drill" or "Protect Wall Street at all costs"
or defending coal mine owners, Rand Paul is in step with his party.
A recent column in the Wall Street Journal opined that Obama and the Democrats made
a huge mistake attempting to solve "big picture" problems. Obama pressed for legislation to
stimulate the economy and stop the depression from getting worse. He passed healthcare
reform and will soon pass Wall Street reform. He signed a new nuclear arms reduction treaty
with Russia and convinced China and Russia to support sanctions against Iran. He may get
his wish and have Congress repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" very soon. The Journal sites these
examples as proof of Obama's bad judgement. He didn't focus enough on jobs and he caused
a backlash among Americans for whom the "big picture" is dogs playing poker, not government
solving problems. The end result is the election of Dr. Paul and others who want to take their
government back to a time when the robber barons were king and the worker was understood
to be a mere factor in a cruel and inhuman formula for profit. If we haven't learned anything
else, we know human beings are more than numbers on a balance sheet. The question remains
whether independents, women, and minority voters will want to go back with Dr. Paul and his
Republican friends. What do you think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals. Please
send them to email@example.com