Now, let me say to my conservative friends: Do not get too excited. I still believe Paul is as much a villain on civil rights as he was a hero this week on civil liberties.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s successful strategy was to force the federal government to intercede not just with states, but also private businesses that denied equal treatment. Paul would have robbed King’s strategy of its teeth, because he does not believe the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution grants the federal government the right to protect individuals from racial discrimination in the marketplace. In fact, he once said businesses should be able to turn people away based on the color of their skin.
Also, please do not get me started on his votes against the Violence Against Women Act. Nor on his opposition to a woman’s right to make private medical decisions. Nor on his desire to cut Social Security and Medicare, while preserving tax loopholes for the wealthiest people ever born.
But we cannot be so balkanized as a nation that we refuse to say “well done,” when someone does right, even if we disagree on everything else. We are bigger than that.