The XX Factor

Rachel Maddow Grills Senate Candidate Rand Paul

I watched the Rachel Maddow Show during the 2008 primaries but slowly stopped once election-mania petered out. I was reminded of her great style in interviewing people whose beliefs she disagrees with yesterday in this thorough interview of Rand Paul, Ron’s son and, as of this week, the winner of the Republican primary in the Kentucky Senate race. She is both respectful and unrelenting in probing Paul about statements he’s made that imply he is against the Civil Rights Act on the grounds that it interferes with the rights of business owners. Maddow asks Paul if he thinks that private businesses have the right to put up a “blacks not served here” sign. Paul attempts to dodge the question by saying that he is against discrimination in any form, and that he would “not belong to any club that would exclude anybody because of race.” But then he adds, “It’s important not to get into any ‘gotcha’ on this,” before launching into a defense of free speech, which is a tricky way of saying yes, he does believe that private businesses should be allowed to discriminate against other races if they’d like.

The Atlantic Sentinel has a good roundup of commentary on Rand Paul from yesterday , and RH Reality Check’s Jodi Jacobson discusses why she thinks that Paul is a libertarian in name only (basically, because he is ultra-anti-choice). Jacobson also brings up some truly boneheaded comments that Paul made about the Americans with Disabilities Act. And Gawker has some nice commentary on the Maddow interview (from former Slate intern Adrien Chen), which can be seen in its entirety below.