On nearly every topic where Paul makes a “gaffe”, it’s actually an example of a circumstance best identified by a running Chappelle Show gag, titled “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong.” It shows a critical moment for a character when he could’ve shrugged something off or declined to make an issue out of a small insult, but decided instead to “keep it real”, to disastrous effect.
This has been something Paul struggles with because he’s not a naturally crafty politician, engaged in the art of manipulation – he’s a true believer. He’s a libertarian gangster who has gone legit, but the old world still lives inside him, in his heart – so the pull of “keeping it real” never really lets him go. He’s not some canny operator trying to pull off a political exorcism on the way to the White House. He’s a true believer who can’t help going back to the truth about how he views the world, like a social conservative who knows they would be better off cloaking their views in spiritual pablum, but they just can’t help going back to “sinners in the hands of an angry God.”
For each of these interviews – on civil rights, on vaccines, on any number of topics – sometimes there’s an actual moment where you can see the internal struggle, and finally, his face relaxes as he gives in, and is who he is.