The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has published a list of 23 “radical extremist” candidates from the 2010 elections, and has included in that list the name of Kentucky’s junior senator, Republican Rand Paul. In an excerpt from the organization’s Spring, 2011 publication, Intelligence Report, writer Robert Steinback argues that “Americans are generally possessed of an optimism that the democratic electoral process will filter out extremists, radicals and dangerous ideologues.”
But Steinback goes on to lament the election of a candidate “who has argued that private businesses should be free to deny service to black people” to the U.S. Senate. Later in his article, the author makes it clear he is referring to Senator Rand Paul.
After acknowledging that Sen. Paul won Kentucky’s Republican primary election with 58.8% of the votes—and won the general election with 55.7%—Steinback summarizes Sen. Paul’s victory as follows:
“Paul rode Tea Party support to upset the Kentucky GOP’s preferred candidate. During the campaign, many of Paul’s unorthodox political beliefs came to light, including his assertion that private businesses shouldn’t have been compelled to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that barred discrimination. In a 2002 letter to the Bowling Green Daily News, Paul also criticized the Fair Housing Act, explaining that ‘a free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination, even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on skin color.’ After winning the Republican primary and being subjected to national criticism, Paul issued a press release declaring ‘unequivocally’ that he would not support any effort to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that he had criticized just days earlier.
“This January, Paul sent out a fundraising letter declaring that Hillary Clinton and the ‘global gun-grabbers’ at the United Nations are trying ‘finally strip you and me of ALL our freedoms’ by signing a treaty that would ‘almost certainly’ force the U.S. to ‘CONFISCATE and DESTROY’ all ‘unauthorized’ civilian firearms. (In fact, the treaty being discussed has nothing to do with regulating guns in the U.S., something that would be impossible in any event under the Constitution.) Paul added that ‘the United Nations has been hell-bent on bringing the United States to its knees’ since its founding in 1945. Last fall, he said he wanted to abolish the U.S. Department of Education so it couldn’t, for instance, mandate teaching kindergartners ‘that Susie has two mommies,’ a reference to same-sex couples with children. On immigration, Paul wants to erect a physical or electronic fence along all U.S. land borders, complete with ‘satellite surveillance’ and ‘helicopter stations,’ and deploy ‘any unnecessary foreign units’ of the American military to the border.”
The SPLC listing contains a number of Neo-Nazi types who received handfuls of votes, and includes politicians who have publicly questioned President Obama’s qualification for office (“birthers”) and those who have been critical of unrestricted immigration. There are no socialists, communists, or other liberal “extremists” on the SPLC list.