As we've noted before about Rand Paul, he's a big-picture guy. He doesn't get bogged down too much in nuances when he can instead find the Important Libertarian Principle in any situation. He approaches every possible topic as if it were a late-night debate in a dorm room, which is how he can equate "not deporting people" with "putting people in internment camps" with a straight face, because both are examples of "executive overreach."


Which is why, rather than just saying it's terrible that Eric Garner was choked to death by a cop, Paul had to go the extra mile last night while being interviewed by Chris Matthews on MSNBC, and get to the Bigger Picture. Eric Garner was really killed by New York's unconscionably high taxes on cigarettes. Just after the grand jury announced its decision not to indict the cop, Paul offered this sage observation in answer to Matthews's question on how we can "bridge the gap between white and black at this time with these kind of situations":

Well you know I think it’s hard not to watch that video of him saying ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe’ and not be horrified by it. But I think there’s something bigger than the individual circumstances. Obviously, the individual circumstances are important. But I think it is also important to know that some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes so that driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive. But then some politician also had to direct the police to say, ‘hey we want you arresting people for selling a loose cigarette.’ And for someone to die over breaking that law, there really is no excuse for it. But I do blame the politicians. We put our police in a difficult situation with bad laws.

Oh, sure, Rand Paul is the one-man Republican outreach-to-the-blacks machine, but hey, a man has to have his principles in order. And the truly outrageous thing about the death of Eric Garner is that it was taxes that did it, not a "broken windows" policing policy that treats all African-Americans as threats who need to be neutralized. Really, when you get down to first principles, high taxes hurt everyone.

On the other hand, if you listen really carefully to Eric Garner's last words, there may in fact be some vindication for Rand Paul. We checked the tape, and in among the 10 or so times Garner says "I can't breathe...I can't breathe...I can't breathe...," we're pretty sure we also heard him say "Unfair taxation of Americans at every level is choking off economic growth and Liberty itself as surely as my own airway is being blocked. Rand Paul 2016! I can't breathe."

[TPM / Salon]

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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