I referred to it this past weekend, but I wanted to be sure I clarified a portion of Kentucky Republican senatorial candidate Rand Paul’s episode given Sarah Palin’s recent defense of Paul.

Palin was trying to make the case, like she did after her horrible interview with CBS’s Katie Couric, that the media is out to get candidates, looking for “gotcha” moments. Thus, according to Palin, Rachel Maddow conspired to get Rand Paul to flip-flop all over the place in his appearance on her show last week, which set this debacle into action.

Yet, Frank Rich notes this is a fallacy. Again and again, long after its passing, Paul is on record as saying he is not behind the Civil Rights Act:

With Rand Paul, we also get further evidence of race’s role in a movement whose growth precisely parallels the ascent of America’s first African-American president. The usual Tea Party apologists are saying that it was merely a gaffe — and a liberal media trap — when Paul on Wednesday refused to tell Rachel Maddow of MSNBC that he could fully support the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But Paul has expressed similar sentiments repeatedly, at least as far back as 2002.

The more the Democrats can use Paul to represent what the GOP is increasingly representing in American politics — the idea that no government is better than any government — the better shot they have at avoiding a major beating at the polls come November. This is why people like Fox analyst and ex-Bush adviser Karl Rove phoned Paul at the end of last week begging him to cancel his scheduled appearance on Meet the Press.

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