With due respect to Mark (here and here), I think that Rand Paul’s real problems in 90-percent-white Kentucky will stem from the implications of his radical libertarianism for working-class whites, not African-Americans.
Jonathan Singer at mydd.com asks four questions that Paul couldn’t answer in a way that would make him both truthful and electable:
- Do you believe the federal minimum wage is constitutional?
- Do you believe federal overtime laws are constitutional?
- Do you believe the federal government has the power to enact work safety laws and regulations?
- Do you believe that federal child labor laws are constitutional?
Here’s where the Tea Partiers have made their mistake, and fallen into thinking they’re more popular than they are. Americans are “anti-government,” but not in the way that extreme libertarians are. You can scare them with talk of pork, corruption, Big Government, welfare or debt. You can’t win them over by taking aim at everything that protects them from being slaves of their bosses (namely, well, government—unless one prefers unions). The position that private action, however deplorable, is not a fit subject for government action puts libertarians in the position of repeating simultaneously all the things that are wrong with the world and their resolute determination to do nothing about them. Yes, I know that some commenters will say the Constitution requires this. But that will be all the more reason for most voters to stop listening to what Paul and his supporters say, with a sincere tone of subjective authority, about the Constitution.