Who Is Rand Paul, And Why Is He In Our Politics?

Kentucky Republican Rand Paul is in the news! The newly-anointed Republican candidate for U.S. Senate told Rachel Maddow last night that he supported a business' right to exclude blacks. Everyone got very excited by this. Who is this man?

Yes, Paul, a Libertarian, made it pretty clear last night that he believed the government shouldn't be meddling in private business' and forcing them to not be racist. What a revolutionary stance... for 1923! But today, Paul quickly walked back from his statements on Maddow. Now, his spokesman is saying that Rand Paul actually does believe the government should use its power to force private businesses to be fair.

Rand Paul, a man who is not so sure about this whole desegregation thing, could very well ride the Tea Party express all the way to Washington. What...? Here's an FAQ to help you:

What the hell is going on? Where does Rand Paul come from? Is it from my nightmares?

Worse: Kentucky. Rand Paul is an ophthalmologist from Bowling Green. He is the third child of Republican congressman and two-time Presidential candidate Ron Paul, who is a famous Internet meme. Paul got his political start in 1994 when he founded the antitax organization Kentucky Taxpayers United. He announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate on The Rachel Maddow Show in 2009, and just beat out his establishment-backed Republican primary opponent thanks to Tea Party support and an endorsement from Sarah Palin.

So he's a Libertarian. Jesus... is he named after Ayn Rand?
Although it makes complete sense that Rand Paul would have been named after Ayn Rand he was not. Rand was born "Randal Paul," which was later shortened to Randy. When he got married, his wife started calling him "Rand." However, Rand is a big fan of Ayn Rand. She is one of his favorite novelists. He also loves Dostoevsky.

Dostoevsky! That explains why he fills me with existential dread. Now, Rand Paul said he was against the Civil Rights Act. So... he's racist, right?
Actually, probably not! Granted, he had to fire a spokesman over some racist stuff that was on his MySpace page, but it appears that Rand Paul is not racist; just crazy.

What are Rand Paul's most crazy ideas?
Well, Rand Paul is a registered Republican, but he's really a Libertarian extremist. He really hates the government! In the past, he's spoken out against the Americans with Disabilities Act. If businesses have a handicapped employee "it might be reasonable to let him have an office on the first floor rather than the government saying you have to have a $100,000 elevator." He also would like to abolish the Department of Education, the Federal Reserve, all taxes, etc. etc.

Does he have any ideas that aren't crazy?
A few. He is anti-war, anti-drug war, pro-habeas corpus, anti-death penalty and anti-PATRIOT Act. Also, did we mention he loves Dostoevsky?

Not sure if I want to know the answer to this... but, can he win?
Yes! A new poll put Paul ahead of Democrat Jack Conway 59% to 34%. Of course, this poll was conducted before Paul voiced his support of business' rights to exclude blacks. So, his lead is probably a lot bigger now.

Are you sure this isn't a nightmare?
Pinch yourself.

Ow.