MSNBC's Hayes Impressed by Rand Paul Talking to Left on Illegal Drugs

On Monday's All In show, after going through a number of Rand Paul soundbites which he viewed as reflecting poorly on the Republican Senator, host Chris Hayes was impressed by Senator Paul taking a liberal point of view on the war on drugs.

Hayes talked up the possibility of the Kentucky Senator being a plus for the GOP with minority voters. Hayes:

Rand Paul might turn out to be the best hope the GOP has. Looking at his history, that is really saying something.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, December 9, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

CHRIS HAYES: Undeterred, this weekend, Paul was back at it in Detroit. And by the looks of things, Paul actually seems to have learned a lesson or two. Instead of lecturing or condescending to his audience, Paul simply focused on areas of shared concern.

SENATOR RAND PAUL (R-KY): Disproportionately, we're incarcerating blacks and Latinos. Something has to change. The war on drugs has gone awry, and I'm for changing that.

PAUL CLIP #2: In my state, you never get your voting rights back.

PAUL CLIP #3: I have a friend whose brother 30 years ago got caught growing marijuana plants. He still can't vote.

HAYES: Rand Paul might turn out to be the best hope the GOP has. Looking at his history, that is really saying something.

HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC contributor James Peterson, director of Africana studies and associate professor of English at Lehigh University. So, James, I'm of two minds about this. The entire enterprise seems doomed and preposterous, given the biography that we've shown, and yet his speech this weekend was better than I was anticipating.

JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, he's improved. He's a little bit more on message. Remember, the message that I think that Republican strategists believe will resonate coming from Rand Paul, I know this seems like a stretch sometimes, but his messaging around mass incarceration, around ending the so-called war on drugs, around mandatory minimums and voting rights for ex-cons and ex-felons, I mean, those are the kinds of things that will resonate with some black voters, some Latino voters, especially because the institution of mass incarcerations and the prison industrial complex obviously disproportionately affects people of color and poor folk.

And so, if he can stay on that message, he might be able to make a little headway. But, Chris, I mean, the only, you know, people always talk about 90 percent of African-Americans vote Democratic, the reality is, the only way to really shave off black votes in any substantive way is to move to the left of the Democratic Party. Moving to the right of the Democratic Party, which has been already moving to the right itself for so long, doesn't really make a lot of political sense.

--Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brad Wilmouth on Twitter.