he was not comfortable with those parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that ban private businesses from engaging in discrimination, Paul was forced to concede that he would have supported the Act. Rand Paul may think this is an irrelevant and esoteric philosophical question, but it turns out to be highly important in political campaigns to make clear where you stand on historical issues. Democratic candidates who supported the Iraq war were forced to explain their position or admit they were wrong. It is just as fair to require Republicans to tell the public where they now stand on civil rights.
Democratic Party "which led the filibuster against the Civil Rights Act in 1964." First of all, this claim is demonstrably untrue. While a higher proportion of Democrats than Republicans did vote against the 1964 Act, these were mainly Southern Democrats who then promptly left the party and became Republicans. The Democratic Party itself did not lead the filibuster; instead the party leadership supported the Act. Second, the issue is not whether someone took a particular position in 1964. The issue is whether a politician today supports the position that he or others took on that 1964 issue. In other words, you are allowed to have been wrong in 1964, but you have to admit you were wrong. In other, other words, even if you can gain some points with some segments of the electorate by standing up for states' rights or private property, you can no longer be taken seriously as a mainstream candidate if you still believe that restaurants or swimming pools or hotels that are open to the public should have the legal right to deny entrance to anyone based on their skin color.
I think we can take some comfort in knowing that the 1964 Civil Rights Act is now a sacred text almost on a par with the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. And we can also get some satisfaction from making people who spout empty slogans about keeping the federal government out of the way of the states or private business owners, confront real questions such as whether they really want to abolish the FDA or the FTC or the Department of Justice or any other agency that prevents private businesses from selling harmful products or engaging in discrimination. And once a Rand Paul is forced to admit that there is a role for the federal government in protecting the public from unscrupulous private businesses, then all we are talking about is the reasonableness or the scope of those regulations. We have no philosophical disagreements as a matter of principle.
("White's only" sign from University of Texas student site)