NPR to Rand Paul: Would you have voted for the Civil Rights Act?

I don’t like to go back-to-back on the same subject but a hot rumor hit Twitter as the last post was being published that Paul told NPR he would have voted against the 1964 CRA. (Much like certain Democrats who are still serving in the Senate did.) As you’ll see, it’s not true. The reporter, smelling blood, badgers him about it, but Paul never quite gives him a straight answer. And he qualifies his response with enough virtue — he opposes institutional racism, would have marched with MLK, likes a lot of what was in the CRA — that there’s really no wound inflicted here. His reservations about the law have to do not with the ends but with the means of federal compulsion; he wants business owners to serve everyone but clearly prefers using boycotts and local laws to pressure them. It’s not a question of being pro- or anti-discrimination, in other words, it’s a question of how federalism and civil-rights enforcement mesh. The left’s going to give him plenty of grief for that — expect questions soon about whether he would have voted to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment — but the “closet Klansman” narrative that NPR’s going for here is D.O.A.

A Twitterer pointed me to a second instance of Paul talking about the Civil Rights Act where he elaborates a bit on his views. If you want to compare and contrast, skip ahead to 1:00:00 in the second clip below.