The questions we haven’t asked

Via Lisa, here’s Rachel Maddow’s discussion of the Rand Paul appearance on her show from last week (sorry I can’t embed it properly in WordPress).

One thing that I think has only barely been touched on (though Krugman alludes to it here) is that the substance of Rand Paul’s crazy ideas is not out of the mainstream of current Republican beliefs. The only thing that puts him at odds with the rest of the GOP is that Rand Paul is one of the few Republicans who’s stupid enough to proudly admit he holds those beliefs. The rest of them learned that you can believe in all kinds of extremist ideas – as long as you pretend you don’t. Most of the time, they don’t even have to lie; they just know that they can quickly change the subject on the rare occasions when they’re even asked about these positions.

Seriously – do we really believe that the likes of Haley Barbour and Jeff Sessions and plenty of non-Southerners like Chuck DeVore  and Orrin Hatch don’t privately sympathize with Rand Paul’s nutty position that government can’t prohibit discrimination by public accommodations? Of course their beliefs on all this stuff are very close together. These men are the children of Barry Goldwater. These kinds of beliefs are the backbone of their movement. It’s just that they know that the only way to get anywhere in politics while holding these beliefs is through subterfuge. You practice dog-whistle politics so the voters who are as nuts as you know you are one of them, and then do the captain-of-the-football-team act to woo the regular people who don’t pay much attention. This has been their playbook for the last 30 years. The only thing that’s shocking is that the media has let them run the same plays for this long.

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