Rand Paul Sen. Rand Paul at this year’s CPAC conference (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Today we check in with the Republican rebranding efforts, via Dana Milbank’s Washington Sketch column, on Rand Paul’s speech yesterday at Howard University. African Americans and young people are two demographics the Republicans have decided to target, and National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Greg Walden noted in January that “We recognize that Republicans have good answers; we just have bad communications, in many cases. Obviously, we’ve got to address this.”

Hence, renewed efforts to communicate with young people, women, minorities, etc. Paul, an ophthalmologist by training, tried to get everyone to focus on his message. But it turned out disastrously, Milbank writes, with a condescending Paul attempting to teach history while being corrected by his audience.

Ouchie, doctor.

In comments to opinions articles about, say, historic racism, helpful commenters often show up to (inadvertently) provide examples of highly objectionable, racist comments. Often these comments are flagged for review and deleted, should the Post’s moderator agree it is beyond the pale for this here community. PostScript can’t be sure that’s what happened here, since she hasn’t seen the deleted comment, but she can see the space preserved by the comment and what reactions the comment got, so she has a pretty good idea of what was there — the way the shapes of bodies were preserved in the ruins of Pompeii. Here is an unedited conversation, with all subsequent posts a reply to JoeT1’s comment:


Paul goes to Howard and finds out that the students know more history of race and politics than he does. The irony.


but at least he learned something



and spartacus wonders why blacks go 95% for dems….


Spartacus: what is the basis for that ridiculous description of Howard? It sounded to me like the students were very well educated, informed, and thoughtful.


Jim Crow lives on, eh, Spartacus?


No, I don’t. The Democratic party is the party that promotes and nurtures racism. Racists and bigots love the Democratic party, especially including anti-white racists and anti-Christian bigots.

And there were commenters who felt that the black students, or the Civil Rights Act they seemed in favor of, weren’t necessarily on the right side of the civil rights movement:


So where’s the “diversity” at Howard?

thedefendantX thinks civil rights and fairness demanded only striking down segregation laws, not the forced integration that followed, which apparently has been detrimental to communities and music:

Integration was never the aim of leaders (like Booker T. Washington, Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, Woodrow Wilson, and Teddy Roosevelt, who invited Washington to the White House). Promoting racial integration has been the aim of government imposed desegregation of public institutions through our Civil Rights laws. But the process, still in progress in places, has not been without some loss in cultural vitality in black music (compare today’s rap to the jazz, soul and r&b music of the 1950-1970 period) and social lawful order that scholars found in segregated urban class stratified black communities and seldom see today in racially integrated urban communities. Paul may not know the history of the pre-Civil Rights aims of many American leaders, but his understanding of the limits of government power to change hearts echoes the views of President Eisenhower who ordered the first major effort of the federal government to integrate American society.

drbilllemoine thinks the event wasn’t aimed at minorities at all, but rather at white racists:

At base I suspect all Libertarian and Republican forays into ‘black arenas’ for speechmaking are aimed at showing the plantation ‘masters’ can traverse the slave shanties in safety 150 years ago. That’s about the era the current crop of extremist righties would return to in an instant if they were allowed.

Okay! So, kids, what have we learned about communicating our answers effectively?


You can make all speeches you want, but don’t expect people to listen to you if you won’t listen to them. If the GOP wants to get credibility with minorities, then they need to denounce the extreme elements of their own party. Show that you are serious about changing.


Perhaps it would be better to just show up without an agenda and simply ask: so what would you like to talk about?
And then follow that up with a request for feedback on how to improve. Then identify a visible action, and then deliver.

Ah! Don’t expect to be the only one with answers! A much better response than PostScript would have come up with on her own.