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Instant Republican nostalgia, just add DeLorean

Tracking how Ron Paul has explained away his racist newsletters requires its own timeline.
\"He had this crazy idea about breeding pine trees.\"
\"He had this crazy idea about breeding pine trees.\"

Tracking how Ron Paul has explained away his racist newsletters requires its own timeline. He's been doing this for a while now, since around the time "Back to the Future" was released. Now that he's doing it again, and two days prior to the Iowa caucus, it seems like a curious time to dis the 1964 Civil Rights Act (again).

About four minutes into his interview yesterday with CNN, Congressman Paul reiterated that he's all for the Jim Crow-killing aspects of the Civil Rights Act. But nearly fifty years later, he is still unhappy with how we got rid of it:

What you don't want to do is undermine the concept of liberty in that process. And what they did in that bill was they destroyed the principle of private property and private choices.So if you do this, all civil liberties are protected by property rights, where it's your TV stations -- that's a piece of property -- or whether it's the newspaper, whether it's the church building, or whether it's the bedroom. This is something that people don't quite understand, that civil liberties aren't divorced from property.So if you try to improve relationships by forcing and telling people what they can't do, and you ignore and undermine the principles of liberty, then the government can come into our bedrooms. And that's exactly what has happened.

Paul's criticism may be libertarian in its basis, but it fits right in with how the other Republican presidential candidates sold themselves in the takeover election of 2010, and now again in 2012. They wouldn't do it if the message didn't have appeal. Republican politicians hearken back to before that meddling Obama got involved, back to the good ol' Reagan years. Ron Paul is lamenting how things changed back in the '60s. The overall message to voters is that America was better back then. Hop into their political DeLorean, and they'll take you back there.

But as you'll recall from "Back to the Future," things back in the day were better for some people. As a kid, you know what I remembered most? Mayor Goldie Wilson was "colored" and sweeping a soda jerk's floor in 1955. Just saying.

On Friday's show, TRMS guest host Melissa Harris-Perry excoriated this brand of nostalgic campaigning by Republicans, and made an important distinction:

History and nostalgia are not the same thing. In fact, respecting history actually means being willing to do away with nostalgia...only nostalgia makes you believe that we're worse off now than a century ago. This I know. Despite the continuing inequalities in our country, there was no moment in the American story when it would have been better to be a Black woman than it is right now. The march is unsteady, but the progress is real.

The full segment is after the jump.