Rand Paul continued his mavericky streak of being the only Republican who wants to reach out to black voters -- or at least wave his hand in their general direction -- with a speech Tuesday to Republicans in Baltimore, in which he made a very sincere effort to sound like someone who's been briefed on the concept of empathy.


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In contrast to his earlier condemnation of the "breakdown of the family" as the root of problems in Baltimore, following the death of Freddie Gray, this time around Paul seemed to acknowledge that there are legitimate grievances in America's black communities, touching on the truly horrific case of Kalief Browder, the young man who was held at Riker's Island for three years without a trial. He was eventually freed, but then committed suicide earlier this week.

The New Republic says that Paul actually sounded like he was making sense for a bit:

“When I see people angry, I understand where some of the anger is coming from,” Paul said. He even acknowledged some of his own privilege, maybe as a kind of apology: “I didn't grow up poor—I grew up middle class, or upper middle class. This is me learning about how other people have to deal with life. And this young man, 16 years old, imagine how his classmates feel about American justice. Imagine how his parents feel. So the thing is until you walk in someone else’s shoes we shouldn’t say that we can’t understand the anger in people.”

Ah, but then Charlie Pierce's five-minute rule kicked in: Rand is able to make sense for about five minutes, impressing you with his insight, and then he'll inevitably "say something so far off the rails that you will find yourself looking at him as though he has sprouted a reptilian head out of his sternum."

So it was in Baltimore. After all that heartfelt acknowledgment, Rand explained that since "Many of your elected officials are black,” it stands to reason that Baltimore's real problems have little to do with race. Instead, the problem is that those black leaders are Democrats, which kind of misses a whole century or two of official and de facto racial discrimination (which, yes, Democrats participated in for far too long). And then, finally, Paul got to the inevitable solution to all of Baltimore's problems: “We lower the taxes on the business people so they hire more people.”

It's not the first time he's blamed taxes for the murder of a black guy.

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Now there's a guy who's really found a way to reach out and try some new ideas. Now, if he could only explain why his own son keeps getting into trouble with the law -- was he raised by a broken-down family in a city with too many Democrats?

[New Republic / New Yorker]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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