Will ABC ‘Whitewash’ Radical Rand Paul Tonight?

Promoting his new book The Tea Party Goes to Washington, Rand Paul is making the rounds on late-night TV. He’ll be on both Letterman and Nightline tonight, and Nightline has released a preview (see clip at bottom of post).

It’s striking how incredibly mainstream Nightline makes Paul look. Sure he holds some views that some people might not agree with, but he’s made to look downright Senatorial. He’s shown hanging out with his jovial dad, Congressman Ron Paul; the two of them talking about being roommates in DC. The campaign controversy over his opposition to the Civil Rights Act is, pardon the pun, whitewashed as little more than support for private property rights.  

Nightline mentions some of the government offices and departments Rand would like to eliminate without any mention of the impact of those program cuts. They tell us he wants to “cut off all foreign aid” but they don’t explore what such a proposal would actually mean on the ground.  

Instead, they tell us only how much money his plan would save ($500 billion as compared to the “budget cutting Republicans” plan which saves only $50 billion)….and who isn’t into saving money these days? 

Painting him as an embattled post-partisan who just wants to stand by his convictions and avoid being “Senate-ized,” Nightline says “he shrugged off attacks by the “left wing media” and was spurred on by rampant spending by both parties, especially Republicans like Mitch McConnell.”  

There’s no mention of his view that if only everyone were Christian we wouldn’t need laws; or his sympathies with Christian Reconstructionists on education. Neither father nor son are anything close to mainstream—you can read some more about them background here, and here.  

The clip below ends with Paul saying, in a visionary tone: “we can fix what’s wrong, we just can’t be afraid to talk about it. I’m not afraid to talk about it and I’m not afraid to not get re-elected.” It’ll be interesting to see if the full show is more substantial, or if, perhaps, David Letterman finds a way to really explore his positions any more critically.  


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