The Real Dog Whistle

So, the Rand Paul kerfuffle. Is Rand Paul a racist for opposing one title of the Civil Rights Act? I don’t think so. Is he absolutely wrong on the merits? Definitely. (Julian Sanchez pretty much nails my take on the substance of the issue.) Was he trying to “dog-whistle” a racist message? I’m pretty sure not, either. The issue emerged only when he was asked the question by a journalist and the national media picked it up.

But isn’t the real lesson of this whole drama that if you’re a politician with deeply-held beliefs and you’re asked about a controversial subject ripe for mis- or over-interpretation, you should just obfuscate and seem as bland as possible? Or perhaps just not get into electoral politics at all?

I don’t want all my politicians to be Rand Paul but I do want one or two of them in the Senate. I also want Senators who want to nationalize banks and health insurers and airlines! One or two. I certainly think we’re not lacking for Chris Dodds and Max Baucuses.

When the controversy erupted, I don’t know how rural white kentuckians felt, but you can bet that the ears of every aspiring political office holder with outside-the-mainstream views perked up, big time.

Another proud moment.