Rand PaulOkay, so let's get this straight. Sen. Rand Paul defends discrimination on the basis of race provided that it is private citizens doing it, and is against the government interfering in our lives even to preserve the rights of others, but he is perfectly fine with the government deporting or imprisoning those that he feels attends "radical political speeches"? Oh, there are soooooo many ways we can play with this, isn't there? Violation of the First Amendment, total hypocricy on the part of the Senator, and best of all, he just put a whole hell of his lunatic fringe right-wing supporters on a very large hook! Were Paul's plan to go in effect, it won't be the Muslims he hates so much that would be snatched up first. It would be those militia groups and white supremacist types that call for this government's overthrow all the time! On May 26, Rand Paul went on the radio show of the guy who eats this kind of crap up, Sean Hannity, who thought he was going to help him get out of being called a bigot - no mean feat when you're a Senator who takes money from white supremacists - after suggesting profiling in the first place. Instead, Sen. Paul digs a deeper hole for himself. Now if him expressing the limiting of the Civil Rights Bill wasn't enough to keep him out of the Senate, this might not cause much of a ripple - unless of course folks start making some noise. We complain when people with no power like Ann Coulter and Sarah Pailin say crap like this, so we should be raising holy Hell that a senator is.

Think Progress

Libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) made headlines last week for single-handedly obstructing the renewal of the Patriot Act, calling the law an unconstitutional infringement on civil liberties. His demand to insert a series of amendments to weaken the law nearly allowed it to lapse and put the country at “risk,” but Paul said it was worth it to prevent the government from continuing to “blatantly ignor[e] the Constitution.” But when Paul went on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s radio show Friday to discuss his opposition to the national security law, he suggested implementing a far more serious infringement on civil liberties. While discussing profiling at airports, Paul called for the criminalization of speech:

PAUL: I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.

Listen here:


Paul’s suggestion that people be imprisoned or deported for merely attending a political speech would be a fairly egregious violation on the First Amendment, not to mention due process. What if someone attended a radical speech as a curious bystander? Should they too be thrown in prison? And who defines what is considered so “radical” that it is worth imprisonment?

But Paul’s suggestion is especially appalling coming from someone who fashions himself as a staunch defender of civil liberties. Since coming to Congress, Paul has received praise from libertarians and liberals alike for supposedly being consistent on the issue, and he often speaks of civil liberties in speeches and TV appearances.

However, aside from his admirable stance on the Patriot Act, Paul’s record shows he’s hardly the paragon of civil liberties he claims to be, but rather is “indistinguishable from the rest of the GOP on national security issues,” noted The American Prospect’s Adam Serwer last year. He’s said he will “always fight” to keep GITMO open; has said “[f]oreign terrorists do not deserve the protections of our Constitution;” and has never taken a strong public stance against torture, staying silent most recently after the killing of Osama bin Laden.

“I believe that America can successfully protect itself against potential terrorists without sacrificing civil liberties,” his website says. Apparently speech is not a civil liberty.