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Eric Cantor dodges Civil Rights Act query. Really?

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was asked his thoughts about Rand Paul's problems with the Civil Rights Act and its application to private businesses. According to Paul on Rachel Maddow last night, he'd have a problem with the government telling a private enterprise that it can't discriminate against me. And -- surprise, surprise -- Cantor dodged.

"Not being familiar with the context of his response or his questions," he said, "I really can't opine as to his position." Fine. Cantor's response is in keeping with his habit of declaring something a "false choice" when he actually has to take a stand and make one. But the Civil Rights Act? Really?

As my colleague Chuck Lane points out, "It's simply astonishing in this day and age that a major-party nominee for the U.S. Senate would try to breathe life into the long-discredited notion that the Constitution might protect an individual business owner's 'right' to exclude customers on the basis of race." Regardless of whether he heard Paul's remarks in context or not, that Cantor can't express a firm commitment to the Civil Rights Act and the American ideals it upholds is perhaps more troubling than Paul's musings. Paul is a candidate for a seat in Congress. Cantor already occupies one.

Update, 4:33 p.m.: Just hung up the phone with John Murray, communications director to House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Virg.). He wanted to make it "very clear" that Cantor "has always been supportive of the Civil Rights Act." Murray said that the congressman cares about the law, as do many of his constituents. "If there's any misperception of his position," Murray said of Cantor, "he has strongly, strongly supported the act throughout his career." Duly noted.

By Jonathan Capehart  | May 20, 2010; 3:36 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Well said, Jonathan. Rep. Cantor's weaselly responses to straightforward questions like this should lead his constituents to doubt he even belongs in the House, especially in a position of leadership. But alas, I fully expect him to be re-elected in November.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | May 20, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Humm... I wonder what Rand Paul thinks about Jews?

Posted by: knjincvc | May 20, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

To call Eric Cantor gutless would be an insult to the gutless.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | May 20, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Humm... I wonder what Rand Paul thinks about Jews?

Wait till we hear his views on the Middle East, Israel in particular. Where is AIPAC AJC?

Posted by: MerrillFrank | May 20, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

What a gutless wonder!

Posted by: uh_huhh | May 20, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

listening to the left scream racism all the time is getting really boring.

Posted by: sold2u | May 20, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Super enjoyed you last UPdate 4:33pm. Sincerely up to the minute. Excellent. I am now officially signed up for this blog.
Thanks for doing a great job!

Posted by: bradleyann2007 | May 20, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Quite apart from the race angle which always goes front and center in these controversies and soaks up all the ink and pixels, what struck me about Rand Paul's 19 minutes on Rachel Maddow's couch was his dissembling. He comes acoss as a mealy-mouthed hack politician who can't bring himself to give a yes or no answer to a yes or no question. What happened to the straight-talking Tea Party gallant?

My favorite of Paul's dissembling remarks: I would have marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yea, and everybody was in the French Resistance.

Dan

Posted by: dbuck1 | May 20, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Jonathan. Eric Cantor has always been a mealy mouthed, spineless hack. All it takes is one look at that perpetual ingratiating smirk to know that the man has no core beliefs or principles.

Posted by: sambam | May 20, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Get real, people. Paul is a Libertarian. His belief, as well as other Libertarians, is that government should not control every aspect of your life, including regulating private business. You and I may not agree with him, but it does not mean that he is a racist or wants to repeal the civil rights act. He should have been prepared for set-up questions such as this from Rachel Maddow. Unless you lead with your left hand, she goes for the throat and enjoys every minute of it.

Posted by: bethg1841 | May 20, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse


But are you really surprised?

Cantor is an arrogant little twit, his so superior demeanor more irritating even than his mentor Liebeman.

That he is anywhere near the republican leadership says it all. He's a zero with a big ego, backed by all the wront people.

Posted by: whistling | May 20, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse


But are you really surprised?

Cantor is an arrogant little twit, his so superior demeanor more irritating even than his mentor Liebeman.

That he is anywhere near the republican leadership says it all. He's a zero with a big ego, would never rise on his own
merit, is AIPAC's baby.

Posted by: whistling | May 20, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Tea Partier's as defined by media as right-wing extremists do want less taxes and smaller government. I think it is a movement still defining itself and while Rand Paul would probably want to be the face of the movement coming from the direct lineage of his father and the libertarian philosophy are uniquely different than what the Tea Party will define itself to be
desegregating private businesses to not discriminate is an imperative because people and wall street when left to their own devices will become corrupt.
expecting regulation and government to bring social utopia is a flawed philosophy and fiscal responsibility cant be obtained by a larger expanding federal government. Nazism Facism were all failed social experiments that the masses all bought into as a welcome change and step towards social utopia. People should question their government and pastors and bankers and insurance agents or they will be duped.

Posted by: mlansdon | May 20, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

We did not join a wonderful private club when we learned that they discriminated against Jews nor did we want to live in a community that did the same. No Jews, no Blacks...what's next? No women ? No Catholics...Why do you think the Kennedy Compound is in Hyannisport? Because Irish Catholics could not join a prestigious country club on the South Shore (Massachusetts) nor buy summer property in that town.

Posted by: carolineC1 | May 20, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan, any conservative would be wise to make sure what the context is when replying to a question like yours. From what I've heard of the Maddow show Paul was on, he was trying to answer a question in depth about the tension between the Civil Rights Act and private property rights. He ended up coming down on the correct side.
Maybe he could have tried to explain why so many democrats (Al Gore, Sr., etc.)were on the wrong side of the Civil Rights Act. And I don't think they were concerned about the property rights argument.

Posted by: LouBear | May 20, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan, any conservative would be wise to make sure what the context is when replying to a question like yours. From what I've heard of the Maddow show Paul was on, he was trying to answer a question in depth about the tension between the Civil Rights Act and private property rights. He ended up coming down on the correct side.
Maybe he could have tried to explain why so many democrats (Al Gore, Sr., etc.)were on the wrong side of the Civil Rights Act. And I don't think they were concerned about the property rights argument.

Posted by: LouBear | May 20, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul -- the bastard stepchild of Lester Maddox, waving his axe handles in Atlanta's Pickrick Restaurant 50 years ago. Maddox was a buffoon, & Paul is heading in that direction very quickly.

Posted by: bigfish2 | May 20, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Eric Cantor is an empty suit. He can't make a move without consulting Limbaugh. The Republican Party is treading water and soon the drain plug will be pulled.

The Republican Party has become the anti-America party. Sad.

Posted by: COWENS99 | May 21, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Gee another gotcha that got away. Cantor won't be pulled in- put the race card away for another day (or do you EVER put it away?)Move on - we have! The white/black "issue" is only with one side now, and shame on you for not honoring all those who fought to get you here.

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | May 21, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Just another example of the lack of courage of ANYBODY in the goper leadership to stand up to the crazies on even the most fundamental issues that most normal people thought had long been settled. That this coward is the only Jewish member of the lily white goper House caucus makes his silence on Paul's rancid thoughts all the more heinous. It's no wonder he made the short list for veep on the McCain ticket!

Posted by: ImaDem | May 21, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

"Maybe he could have tried to explain why so many democrats (Al Gore, Sr., etc.)were on the wrong side of the Civil Rights Act. And I don't think they were concerned about the property rights argument."

Probably because they were what is today the republican party. Strom Thurmond was a democrat.

Jesus, pick up a history book.

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | May 21, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

SOmeone who speaks with Eric Cantor should ask him to blow his nose before he gets on camera. The man has a serious nasal quality when he speaks.

Posted by: fedup3 | May 21, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Let's vote these quibblers out Capehart, I'll do my part and I'm counting on you. While we're at it, let's get rid of all of those who claim to love Americans, but hate America (paraphrase from one of my favorite movies, 'The American President').

Posted by: MikeMcLamara | May 21, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Eric Cantor is a spineless twit.He thinks one day he will be in a position to be the majority leader of his party, or maybe the leaders of congress. We all know that will never happen.He has to acquire a brain to go with a spine, and we know he has none of the above.

Posted by: carolynlebeaufyahoocom | May 21, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Well, this is a litmus test for Republicans. When we see which ones support him and which do not we will all know where they stand. That is, assuming we didn't already know.

Posted by: withersb | May 21, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Quit calling it the "Tea Party," and call it what it really is: THE BIGOT PARTY !

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | May 21, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

As a private citizen I have a right to decide who can come into my business establishment and who may not just as the 'black person' has the right to refuse to serve me! The tired old question of the 'black person.....' is road weary. Now we both may lose customers as a result which would be bad for our individual businesses and, we may, in fact, go out of business......but we both have that same right to refuse service to anyone we deem.

The Civil Rights movement does not trump my freedom of speech under the Constitution and does not have the right to intimidate me or any other citizen of the United States. The person who wrote this article may want to re-read the law and get his head out of the sand.

I would love to see the author of this biased article refuse service to a KKK member or someone he feels uncomfortable serving and then let this person rewrite the article.

Posted by: imaginemore | May 21, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

To imaginemore: A business owner has the right to refuse service but not to discriminate based on race, etc. Read up on Skokie & the Jews to get some real perspective rather than attack the columnist.

Posted by: lindambahlman | May 22, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

To imaginemore: A business owner has the right to refuse service but not to discriminate based on race, etc. Read up on Skokie & the Jews to get some real perspective rather than attack the columnist.

Posted by: lindambahlman | May 22, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

If Congressman Cantor has such a firm opinion about the Civil Rights Act why did he need to avoid answering a question on his position? Polling data?

Posted by: lindambahlman | May 22, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Eric Cantor should be ashame of himself for backing down on Rand Paul coment, what a wip. All the good people that died for that bill to get life, shameful.

Posted by: eyegive | May 24, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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