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Black leaders divided on whether to view Rand Paul as friend or foe

by Perry Bacon Jr. | May 15, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) aggressive outreach to the black community over the last several months is dividing African-American leaders, with some excited that a prominent conservative Republican is embracing their causes, while others argue that working with the Kentucky senator and likely 2016 presidential candidate is a mistake.

Paul, openly acknowledging the Republican Party’s longtime struggles with black voters, is giving speeches at black colleges and meeting with key African-American pastors and leaders across the country. He is also taking stances, such as urging the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and reducing the use of mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, that are unusual for a Republican.

“It’s extremely significant and I think quite encouraging for Senator Paul to just not raise these issues, but also to be such a passionate advocate,” said Jotaka Eaddy, a senior director at the NAACP. She added, “It’s always positive when you have unexpected voices that are advocating around these principles.”

But Gerald Neal, one of Kentucky’s two black state senators, says that Paul is using this black outreach to cast himself as a different kind of Republican in preparation for his near-certain presidential run, while doing little to actually change policy. Paul is also a strong critic of President Obama, who remains deeply popular among blacks.

African-Americans who work with Paul “give an unnecessary and unwarranted pass to an individual whose actions are antithetical to the interests of the black community,” Neal said in an interview. “He is using you to his benefit.”


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"Embracing "THEIR" causes"???

"with some excited that a prominent conservative Republican is embracing their causes".

What a crock of shit. "THEIR CAUSES" What are their causes? What is Rand catering too that is different than any normal persons cause? Why would I vote for some one who, just like every other politician, caters to special interests.

I know what these "Black Leaders" cause is and it isn't the cause of the average man and surely isn't the cause of non blacks. Why would I vote for someone who is catering to those who are against me?

Rand can sit on it an twist for all I care. He may gain some special interest votes but he will lose as many votes as he gets for his pandering.

Our stance on mandatory minimums is identical to "their" cause

I think it's a matter of perspective and conditioning. What we view as the only fair stance on mandatory minimums (ban them), "they" are accustomed to viewing as something that would only matter to blacks.

While we view "state's rights" as protection against the possibility of bad federal legislation - they are accustomed to associating the term "state's rights" exclusively with attempts to keep slavery and discriminatory practices legal. That's not what we promote, but it's what they "hear".

While we might be concerned about ineligible, non-Americans voting in our elections, (possibly against the interests of American citizens), when they hear reference to "voter ID", they are hyper-aware that voting "requirements" have been used, in the past, to prevent them from voting at all!

Rand Paul is right about our need to recognize how and why some terms will offend others due to personal and historical experiences. In order to be heard, we need to find more accurate words for expressing our principles.


Say a bunch of liberals start

Say a bunch of liberals start advocating the abolition of the Department of Education. Would you not say that they are embracing one of our causes?


more divisive talk...

I use Blue Wave, but don't expect one of THEIR silly taglines.

It's not going to work

the black community is not interested in what we are selling. They want more government, more hand outs, and less liberty.

Kathleen Gee's picture

What a collectivist statement!

Really? Every single black person wants more government, more handouts and less liberty? Every single one of them? ALL of them?

Where is "the black community," anyway? Are they all behind a moat somewhere? On an island?

Collectivist thinking from a member of a Ron Paul-inspired website…?

You may want to examine your thought processes. You're exhibiting the attitude that you're accusing others of.

"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid." - Ronald Reagan

Public Relations Consulting

I don't agree. It's a matter

I don't agree. It's a matter of taking on entrenched beliefs and I think it's great Rand is making the effort. He will reach people.

They want both,

more liberty AND more government. The problem is, they do not understand that one opposes the other.

"What if the American people learn the truth" - Ron Paul

Rand is laying the groundwork

Rand is laying the groundwork necessary for a rock 'em, sock 'em campaign. Going straight for the jugular of the Democrats is a brilliant move. Talk about political judo.


thought we are all Americans?

I hope all Tall people support him

I dont care.

I am more concerned about the leaders of the Justice League. Think of Rand .LOL Batman take my to you leader

Money talks and dogs bark

Would that

more Americans were invested in comic books.

Everybody is divided on Rand

Everybody is divided on Rand

They would not be so much

if they voted the record and not the rhetoric.


"What if the American people learn the truth" - Ron Paul

wolfe's picture

The rhetoric is more important...

What does it matter if someone votes "No to slavery" and at the same time convinces 5 other people to vote "Yes to slavery". In fact, these people are far more dangerous for a variety of reasons.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Errr, I don't like your analogy

and I also don't like your conclusion.

If the '5 people' he convinces to vote yes are only constituents, then they don't actually have a vote on legislation. We don't have a direct democracy and federal laws are decided by federal legislators. Please point to me an example where Rand intentionally convinced 5 fellow Senators to vote opposite to him and your point will be proven.

Listen to Rand on the Senate floor (instead of his campaign speeches) and tell me that his rhetoric doesn't match his record. Pandering during a campaign is the name of the game. There's a reason Ron Paul didn't win the presidency.

Then let's

make the record the focus of the rhetoric.

"What if the American people learn the truth" - Ron Paul

Neal said in an interview.

Neal said in an interview. “He is using you to his benefit.”

Is this guy serious? Did he really say that with a straight face? The democrats have been doing this forever.

Furthermore, Neal's comments assume that the "black community" is only allowed one collective opinion on obama. If that isn't using blacks, I don't know what is.

"Villains wear many masks, but none as dangerous as the mask of virtue." - Washington Irvin

Do not hold your breath if

Do not hold your breath if you are waiting on the brass for these "pro-black" groups, then I can tell you that is the mistake on our part. I know ordinary black people(like myself) who are expressing interest in Rand Paul. I also know people at these organisations who are drinking the kool-aid of Glorious Leader because they are willful tools of the propaganda machine. They continue to espouse the party line on just about every issue.

I also notice they do not talk much about foreign policy and focus mostly on the economy from a domestic prospective.

The black vote demographic will completely change for Clinton

She will be very vulnerable there, Slick Willy had some bad run-ins with the black caucus, they will remember that.

And to be honest, what has Obama really done for black Americans?


Prisons are as full as ever. And I don't think the economic numbers for the black community are all that great under Obama. If they were we'd be hearing about it from the Liberal media every day.


A serious debate, with even NAACP big wigs getting involved, is the first step. Actually, it's even more than the first step: it's halfway home.

This is what we call progress.

The fact that Rand Paul has black leaders "divided" is a massive step forward, since only 2 years ago they were all pretty well united behind the idea that the entire Republican Party was Satan incarnate. I'm not surprised that Democrat Party hacks are playing naysayer, they make bank on keeping present policies in place and pay they same lip-service to civil liberties that they accuse Paul of doing. But that actual community leaders are giving him another look is very encouraging.

“My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.” - G.K. Chesterton

Wrong. Well in some demented sense it may be.

Catering to special interests is not "progress". Rand is not elevating them. If he is addressing "their causes" then he is sinking to their level.

That is not progress. Either you address the cause of every ones freedom and liberty or you remain stuck in to mud worrying about special interests, like every other politician.

I was thinking the same

I was thinking the same thing. For Rand to have even a few black leaders paying attention to him is a huge step.

"Villains wear many masks, but none as dangerous as the mask of virtue." - Washington Irvin

Myself as well.

First thought that came to my mind.
This is a good thing, and getting better.

The Liberty ship is rising for several reasons.
One is that the message of Liberty supercedes all others.
The Republican ship is still dragging its anchor.
The Progressive Dems are sinking their own ship.

Defend Liberty.

America Rising.
The Constitution Stands.

"That the pen is mightier than the sword would be proven false; if I should take my sword and cut off the hand that holds the pen" - American Nomad