Thursday, March 07, 2013


When I see Rand Paul and other Republicans seeming to stand up for due process and restraints on the use of force, I'm reminded of 1980, when Jimmy Carter, facing a tough reelection bid, responded to the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan by reinstating draft registration. You know who was opposed? Ronald Reagan. Not only was he against conscription, he'd written a 1979 Human Events article in opposition to it that played the Hitler card:
... it [conscription] rests on the assumption that your kids belong to the state. If we buy that assumption then it is for the state -- not for parents, the community, the religious institutions or teachers -- to decide who shall have what values and who shall do what work, when, where and how in our society. That assumption isn't a new one. The Nazis thought it was a great idea.
So, um ... after Reagan won the 1980 presidential election, how'd that work out for the cause of anti-militarism, anti-imperialism, and anti-bellicosity?

(It didn't even work out for the anti-draft-registration cause. Reagan -- citing the Soviet crackdown in Poland -- extended draft registration in 1982.)

So it's entirely possible that Rand Paul and his coalition of sincere drone opponents and rank opportunists will now position themselves as opponents of the use of drones against U.S. citizens, or just against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, or perhaps just authorized by this president and/or this attorney general. Maybe we'll restrain drone use, just as we seem to have made an actual military draft unthinkable, because Republicans won't touch it. But we shouldn't leap to the conclusion that this means the right is undergoing a great revival of concern for civil liberties.

And I wouldn't limit my skepticism to Rand Paul's filibuster partners, though they're bad enough. (Marco Rubio? A guy Ross Douthat once called "the great neoconservative hope, the champion of a foreign policy that boldly goes abroad in search of monsters to destroy"? A guy whose recently hired senior national security adviser is a neocon heavyweight? A guy who doesn't know whether he's against waterboarding? A guy who, on the subject of due process in domestic matters, is a proud supporter of Stand Your Ground laws?)

My skepticism extends to Paul himself. Roy Edroso, while praising what Paul is doing right now, reminds us of something Paul said in 2011:
PAUL: I'm not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they've been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn't be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that's really an offense that we should be going after -- they should be deported or put in prison.
That's your great civil liberties purist, folks.

As Roy says,
So I endorse the current news-cycle-grabbing story, and look forward to hauling out the scrapbook when Presidential candidate Paul endorses the invasion of Iran.


Victor said...

Now, how would these new protecters of civil liberties have acted, if George W. Bush was the President with the drones, and it was Bernie Sanders who held the filibuster.

Think even one of them would take a stand with Bernie?

Or, do you think as I do, that they'd be on the MSM bloviation fests, calling Bernie and his supporters "Treasonous traitors, who are stifling the countries and the Presidents abilities during a time of war.
How DARE Senator Sanders be against America and his President, OUR President, in an unprecedented time of war.

And just 'cause it ain't Bush doing this, but Obama, doesn't make it ok either.
Rand Paul is a stopped clock on war and pot. And he's right on this one.
But I realize that logical consistency is not any part of Rand's make-up, so I don't expect this political opportunist to do anything to follow-up.

He put on his little dog and pony show yesterday, and now he'll go back to being the ignorant and unprincipled @$$hole he is.

Anonymous said...

Would it really be so terrible if we arrested all the wingnuts who attend Nugent concerts and Palin rallies? Or all the people who scream endlessly about how they're gonna have to exercise their Second Amendment rights any second against the government?

Oh, right, when a Republican-beloved figure talks about violently overthrowing the government, it's patriotic because they're defending The Real America from the liberal Kenyan interlopers.