Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) raised some eyebrows over the weekend with his comments about voter identification laws. In Memphis for the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting, Paul told the New York Times he thinks Republicans are taking the wrong approach when it comes to the voter ID debate.
“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Paul said. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”
Furthermore, Paul reiterated his commitment to reinstating voting rights for felons.
“The bigger issue actually is whether you get to vote if you have a felony conviction,” he said. “There’s 180,000 people in Kentucky who can’t vote. And I don’t know the racial breakdown, but it’s probably more black than white because they’re convicted felons. And I’m for getting their right to vote back, which is a much bigger deal than showing your driver’s license.”
While Paul has become known for attempting to make inroads in communities and voting blocks that do not typically identify with the Republican party, on radio this morning, Glenn wondered what political gain the Senator hopes to enjoy from taking this stance.
“Rand, what are you doing, man? What are you doing,” Glenn asked. “Who cares if it offends people? It’s right.”
Stu pointed to the recent referendum votes in eastern Ukraine as evidence of the hypocrisy on this particular issue. The eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Luhansk both passed referendums with overwhelming majorities calling on Russia to ‘restore historic justice’ by annexing region. The media reports surrounding those votes, however, has cited tremendous voter fraud as one the reasons for the lopsided results.
“I was listening to a report this morning and they said there was another referendum vote somewhere in eastern Ukraine and 90% again said they wanted to separate from Ukraine,” Stu said. “And they’re like, ‘Well, international authorities will not accept this vote because there were no voter registration rolls, and it appears people may have voted more than once.’ Oh, really? You care about it there? Because you don’t care about it here.”
“Isn’t that amazing,” Pat added.
Glenn asked if anyone has ever protested the need for identification to purchase liquor. After all, a valid ID is required. But no one seems to cry racism over that law.
“Rand Paul says, this is going to offend people… You’ll have to be carded when you go in and buy liquor,” Glenn said. “Do you hear anybody when they say, ‘You’re offending minorities’? Minorities go in and buy liquor, and you’re going to card them.”
A Marist/McClatchy voting rights poll from last July showed that by a slim margin, more non-whites supported voter identification laws than whites. 83% of non-white adults supported the laws compared to 82% of whites. Furthermore, 72% Democrats, 99% of Republicans, and 87% independents support voter ID laws.
“So why is Rand Paul doing this,” Glenn asked. “Look at the polls… If you buy liquor, you have to have an ID anyway. What kind of small little minority of a minority are we talking about that this would really affect? It is so clear that it is the right thing to do.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP