ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell wrote this column appearing on the Townhall.com website on May 24, 2010.
Dr. Rand Paul was hoping for a "honeymoon" after his thumping victory in the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Kentucky. No such luck. Dr. Paul is a conservative Christian and if he wants another honeymoon, he needs to talk to his wife.
Instead, what Rand Paul got was a grilling from one end of the chattering class to the other about his supposed opposition to the great Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is a fact that he stumbled in some of his answers to questions about individual titles of that act. Dr. Paul was not alive when the act was debated in front of the whole country in 1964. He needs to bone up on his history.
But the high tech lynching that is taking place now is of a piece with what the liberal media put Clarence Thomas through in 1991. Because Judge Thomas is an original construction jurist, he was seen as a threat by liberal activists. Because Justice Thomas is black, he is vilified by leftists who believe that all minorities must support their left wing causes.
Dr. Paul is an ophthalmologist. He is expert on astigmatism. What we can clearly see is the moral astigmatism of the left. For example: As a state senator in Illinois, Barack Obama voted not once but repeatedly against giving civil rights protection to newborns who survived abortion attempts. Many of these newborns were black. We know that the abortion license has produced a shockingly disparate impact in the black community. The rate of abortion is 3:1, black-to-white.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is one of the three post-Civil War amendments (along with the Thirteenth and Fifteenth) that deserve to be regarded as a Magna Carta for black Americans. The Fourteenth Amendment says that all persons "born in the United States" are citizens of the United States and of the states in which they reside.
This clear intent of the framers did not matter to state senator Obama. He voted against his state's version of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. Was Obama hauled before media tribunals to explain his radical position? Not in the least. The liberal media—which views Obama as "a sort of God" (in the words of Newsweek's Evan Thomas)—not only did not grill him on this shockingly radical position, they actively covered up his voting record.
You can see the moral astigmatism in the premises of all these liberal interrogators of Rand Paul. They believe their own propaganda. Conservatives in their view are racists. Conservatives are the ones who traffic in "wedge" issues.
We maintain that conservative principles view every human being as being created by God, endowed with inalienable rights. It is not conservatives who push racial quotas, preferences, and set asides. Nor is it conservative to engage in race baiting—as in attacks on Arizona for attempting to do what federal law is supposed to do. The right to life and the defense of marriage are not wedge issues at all, but bridge issues—helping conservatives reach out to minority communities.
It's true that Rand Paul needs to learn history to avoid "gotcha" journalists like Rachel Maddow. But he won't do that by reading most U.S. history textbooks, unfortunately. The grim and oppressive view they take of the American past is surely no way to celebrate American exceptionalism.
Rand Paul is right to say that slavery and segregation were stains on America's past. But the blood and treasure sacrificed by our people to overcome these stains should be honored, should be celebrated. We did overcome. And we overcame because conservative Republicans joined with liberal Democrats to pass the great Civil Rights Act of 1964.
President Lyndon Johnson was the first one to recognize the crucial role played by that proud Lincoln Republican, Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen of Illinois. He gave a signing pen to the powerful Senate Minority Leader who provided the critical votes to break a filibuster engaged in by Democrats.
The liberal media is trying to sandblast Ev Dirksen's name from the Senate Office Building named for him. We can't let them do it. And helping Rand Paul is one way to stop the left from re-writing history.