Even before today's events in Ferguson, Missouri, Rand Paul was getting hate from the right for daring to deviate from conservative correctness. Here's Power Line's Paul Mirengoff writing like a New York Post editorialist circa 1990:
Add Rand Paul's name to the list of opportunists seeking to exploit for political purposes the tragic shooting of young Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The race-hustlers populate the list, of course....Betty Cracker is right about what this means for Paul's inevitable presidential run:
Writing in Time Magazine, Paul sees the opportunity to score libertarian points while showing sympathy for the black community, to which he has been pandering for some time....
If a pattern of government targeting blacks is relevant to this episode, then we would expect to find frequent instances of what happened to Brown. We don't. Paul is just blowing smoke....
Will tribble-topped presidential aspirant Rand Paul be able to use libertarian themes like police demilitarization at home and a non-interference policy abroad to attract minority voters and liberals who are sick of an AIPAC-driven approach to foreign affairs? Nope.Absolutely -- a Republican can't appeal to presidential primary voters while attempting to make the Republican tent bigger, because what appeals to those voters is the smallness of the tent. They're Republicans because they despise the people beyond the tent flaps.
To pull off that sort of political ju-jitsu, Paul would have to be able to count on the GOP base to refrain from screeching like a scalded stoat when he makes appeals outside the tent, and he can't....
Like clocks gone Galt, libertarians are occasionally right on two issues: 1) the balance of government power and individual liberty, and 2) empire-building is a con job. Unfortunately for them, the party with which they're most closely associated comprises scads of avid fascists who are eager to break heads at home and bounce rubble abroad. They’ll kneecap Paul without our help.
And they certainly don't want a candidate who appeals to the "liberal media" -- and, right now, that's what Paul is doing. First he got his face on the cover of The New York Times Magazine as the poster child for the "libertarian moment," now he's getting praise as the Republican who cares about a racially bifurcated system of justice and the militarization of police forces. What a RINO! (Paul Mirengoff on the arming of cops: "If [Rand] Paul believes the police should not have more available force than the citizenry, he should say so.")
And please note that Mirengoff slipped the shiv into Paul before news emerged that Michael Brown was suspected of shoplifting on the day he was shot. (The lawyer for Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown at the time of the shooting, has reportedly confirmed the shoplifting of some cigars.) To you and me, that's still no excuse for Brown to be gunned down while unarmed. But I'm sure there was high-fiving at Fox News when word of this broke. The right still thinks Trayvon Martin was an out-of-control psychopath who got what was coming to him. The right is going to put Brown in that category as well.
Senator Paul is now well on his way to being the 2016 equivalent of 2012 Jon Huntsman or 2008 Rudy Giuliani. This moment will fade, but the right is going to demonize more blacks between now and the primaries, just as it's going to find new reasons to call Democrats (and, by extension, sometime war skeptics like Paul) weak on defense between now and the primaries. Under those circumstances, Paul has three choices: tack right, duck the contest, or be humiliated.