National Journal has the latest on the GOP's post-election minority outreach, this time starring Senator Rand Paul:
Paul will be delivering a speech at Howard University on Wednesday, where he’ll talk about “the importance of outreach to younger voters, as well as minority groups,” according to his office. He also plans to address school choice and civil liberties.
The Kentucky Republican’s appearance echoes the recommendations made in the Republican National Committee’s autopsy report, detailing why the party lost the 2012 election and urging the party to court minority and young voters. Paul’s positions on foreign policy, Internet freedom, and reforming drug laws appeal to younger voters on college campuses. He also has targeted mandatory minimum sentencing for drug crimes, which disproportionately affects African-Americans.
Howard University is a historically black college in Washington, DC. Expect Paul to stress the inner-city failures of liberal education policy and welfare programs. Expect him to steer clear of his comments on Rachel Maddow's show in 2010 that a part of the Civil Rights Act was unconstitutional.
Paul's willingness to show up at Howard shows a certain fortitude and will likely earn him soft plaudits from the black community. But as National Journal points out, Mitt Romney spoke before the NAACP in 2012, and only netted 6% of the black vote. No number of speeches is likely to break the Democrats' lock on African Americans, unfortunately.
Still, it's a good gesture on Paul's part and one that further helps him set the table for a 2014 run. The Republican establishment has been bleating since November 7 that conservatives must ditch some of their positions to appease minority voters. Now their bete noire, Rand Paul, is doing minority outreach of his own. It should twist some people into contortions. Let's hope it makes inroads as well.