Rand Paul Wants MSNBC “Hacks and Cranks” to Apologize to Him on TV “for 24 Hours”

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 31 2014 10:05 AM

Rand Paul Wants MSNBC “Hacks and Cranks” to Apologize to Him on TV “for 24 Hours”

119885886-sen-rand-paul-speaks-during-a-news-conference-july-26
Say you're sorry!

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Rand Paul's team-up with Sen. Cory Booker has drawn some of the most positive coverage of either man's short Washington career. (Booker had plenty of positive coverage in Newark, including but not limited to several documentaries.) The Republican and the Democrat have found basically no critics of their REDEEM Act, which would unwind some war-on-crime laws that make it difficult for minor offenders to get past their records and build new lives. Yesterday, Booker and Paul joined Ari Melber on MSNBC, for an interview that was largely about bipartisanship and the promise of the bill.

Largely, but not entirely. At one point Melber asked Paul whether he'd evolved on his thinking about whether government could and should compel businesses not to discriminate.

Advertisement

"People need to get over themselves, writing all this stuff that I've changed my mind on the Civil Rights Act," said Paul. "Have I ever had a philosophical discussion about all aspects of it? Yeah, and I've learned my lesson, if you come on MSNBC, have a philosophical discussion, the liberals will come out of the woodwork, and they will go crazy and say you're against the Civil Rights Act, and you're some terrible racist."

A few hours later, Paul crossed the Potomac for the annual Young Americans for Liberty conference, talking to young people (mostly college students) who've signed up with the organization set up after Ron Paul's first Republican presidential bid. Paul's general theme—the success and promise of a "leave us the hell alone" coalition that could break the partisan divide. He went into some detail about the wins he'd already had, and the popularity of libertarianism.

"I was having a great day today," he said. "Then I went to MSNBC."

Paul's audience laughed ruefully.

"They want to pounce, and get me into a discussion, you know, about civil liberties, private property, and all the intersections in between," said Paul. "I said, look, I'll come back, and we'll have a great philosophical discussion after I see you go on the air for 24 hours and apologize for all the lousy lies you've been saying about me for four years."

The students burst into applause.

"I'm thinking I won't be on soon," said Paul. "But if they come through with it, and want to apologize for 24 hours for making up stuff about my positions, I'll consider it. But really, there is an intersection for honest progressives. I don't include MSNBC, because I don't think they have many. They have a couple. They have partisan hacks and cranks, and what happens is you have people who make everything into a partisan argument."

The senator started to talk again about the actual merits of the bill, but he had to take another swing at the network that he felt had ambushed him.

"We're trying to make this not a partisan issue," said Paul, "but you go on a network that wants to make everything about partisanship."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.