Friday, August 15, 2014

Rand Paul had an opinion...

...piece in Time magazine this week in which he said, among other things:

Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.

This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is what the citizens of Ferguson feel when there is an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting like the incident with Michael Brown.
Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth.

I happen to agree with that, but this is a post about political strategy.

And while it might make sense for Sen. Paul to say something like that in the hope of winning the 2016 presidential election, it's a horrible strategy if he wants to win the Republican nomination.

Quick: think of a Republican you know -- friend, relative, neighbor, whatever. Whose side do you think they are on right now, the black protesters in Ferguson or the police?

Not sure? Then read this piece in BloombergView in which Francis Wilkinson wonders why the NRA isn't outraged over "jack-booted thugs" terrorizing the populace.

You know why.

As Tavis Smiley famously said, "Arm every black person in America and then let's see what the NRA has to say."

Again, while Democrats and independents may agree with Sen. Paul, I doubt if many Republicans do, whether they are willing to admit it or not. Before he can make it to the general election in 2016, Sen. Paul has to win the GOP nomination first. And saying things like that is not going to endear him to the average Republican primary voter.

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