On Tuesday, Rand Paul shocked the Republican establishment by winning the GOP Senate primary in Kentucky.
On Wednesday, Paul shocked everybody by suggesting that he doesn’t really like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and thinks that the government has no business fighting discrimination in private enterprises.
Not surprisingly, Republican Senators are not particularly eager to come rushing to Paul’s defense, for which they are being criticized by right-wing activists like the Family Research Council’s Tom McClusky:
Where the NRSC comes back into play is in how quickly its chairman, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), threw Rand Paul under the bus. Instead of talking to the candidate directly, or not commenting at all until he did, the Texas Senator told Politico “I don’t know what he means by that. I support non-discrimination of people, so I would need to talk to him to see what precisely his concerns were.” Translation: “I’m not a racist, but Rand Paul might be.” Not exactly strong support for a candidate you are supposed to be supporting now that he has won his primary. It is very likely the Republicans will pick up a few Senate seats this year, and even more likely two of those seats will be candidates the NRSC did not initially support, Mr. Paul and Mr. Rubio. Despite any victories the Senate Republicans might see it will definitely be time for new leadership at the NRSC prior to the 2012 elections. In that year Senate Republicans have an even larger chance of gaining the majority – but only if they play it smarter than they have been so far.
Interestingly, Paul doesn’t seem to consider himself a Republican candidate so much as he does a Tea Party candidate, telling CBN’s David Brody that he has no intention of blindly supporting the GOP and is instead focused on representing and unifying the Tea Party movement so that it can change the Republican Party:
Many people can be a Tea Party candidate but I think in my case it sort of fits the bill very well. I’ve never run for office, never been elected to office and I really and part of the movement in the sense that from the very beginning I went to all their meetings and many people thought that I just had the vote from the beginning. You have to earn the Tea Party vote. I interviewed with every one of the different committees in the Tea Party and they will ask you: will you be a rubber stamp for the Republican Party and that’s not a good thing because they say sometimes the Republican Party is wrong.
They do need a Tea Party platform and so I say lets coalesce it into some specific things and these are things I want to run on so when the primary is over and we run in the fall I don’t want to run away from the Tea Party I want to define what the tea party is.
If you go around Kentucky every tea party is by city and sometimes by county and sometimes counties have two of them and sometimes they’re not talking so it will be a job and I’m hoping since I’ve been all around the state and met everyone that I can be a conduit for bringing some of them together and I’ve been suggesting for weeks now lets have a Kentucky Tea Party Convention and try to join together and talk about a platform and I don’t see this as outside the Republican Party. I see this as an influence that can be influential within the Republican Party.
You know, it’s hard to see why the Republican establishment should come rushing to defend Paul when Paul considers himself to be a Tea Party candidate on a mission to do away with the Republican establishment.