You know, I heard about Rand Paul’s filibuster from a friend’s text. Without any context, at all, my immediate reaction to such a message is to always disassociate myself from Rand. He is no libertarian, even though, sadly, he has become a mainstream symbol for it. Ironically, he, himself, disapproves of such a label.
But then I saw on C-SPAN what was happening, and it was amazing, thrilling, epic, heroic. I wrote that night:
I can’t stand Rand Paul, and I doubt his sincerity most of the time, but defending the 5th amendment, and getting mainstream press for it, over Obama’s assassination program is heroic.
It was refreshing to see this happening. The American public barely knows about, and, when they do know, cheers the ever increasing dictatorial powers the executive branch has acquired since 9/11. And yet, you know something is up, when insane, warmongering people like Charles Krauthammer and Rush Limbaugh are cheering alongside libertarians. That make so sense … like, at all!
But then, you start reading these reports coming in — reports saying this filibuster was “no accident,” but was approved, beforehand, by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, with Jesse Benton, known liberty backstabber and opportunist as Rand’s and Mitch’s go-betweener — the guy whom threw Ron Paul’s grassroot supporters under the bus; the guy now running Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign. And then, you realize the GOP is in disarray, no thanks, in part, to the god awful treatment Ron Paul supporters got during the Republican primaries. And, finally, when you think about the memo Eric Holder replied with to Rand Paul’s question:
It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”
Obama killed Abdulrahmani, a 16-year-old American in Yemen, with no due process, in a country we are not at war with, but have been bombing, while he was at a barbaque. I can only assume this kid, while American, but not being on American soil and/or “engaged in combat” obviously justifies his killing, and is in no way inconsistent with Eric Holder’s memo. Lies. Lies. Lies. William Grigg has it right when he wrote:
What Holder is saying, in substantive terms, is that the President does have the supposed authority to use a drone to kill an American who is engaged in “combat,” whether here or abroad. “Combat” can consist of expressing support for Muslims mounting armed resistance against U.S. military aggression, which was the supposed crime committed by Anwar al-Awlaki, or sharing the surname and DNA of a known enemy of the state, which was the offense committed by Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdel. Under the rules of engagement used by the Obama Regime in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, any “military-age” male found within a targeted “kill zone” is likewise designated a “combatant,” albeit usually after the fact. This is a murderous application of the “Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy,” and it will be used when — not if — Obama or a successor starts conducting domestic drone-killing operations.
Holder selected a carefully qualified question in order to justify a narrowly tailored answer that reserves an expansive claim of executive power to authorize summary executions by the president. That’s how totalitarians operate.
With that much wiggle room, Eric Holder’s memo is unsatisfactory. Nothing actually productive nor fruitful happened to stop the encroaching war powers of the President. Yes, the filibuster, itself, was exhilarating, and the drones program was brought to the limelight (finally!), and you did get to find out who your real friends are (politicians don’t count), so, really, what was this about?
This was a power play, a power shift in the party, with assholes like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio riding on Rand’s coattails, smelling which way the wind is blowing, to get the anti-government, Ron Paul supporters back under the Republican wing, to get legitimacy back on Rand’s side. It was a brilliant political move. But for what? We know Rand has no real interest in liberty.
Maybe, just maybe, Rand Paul is watering down the libertarian message, capitulating to the war party, the Israel lobby, and singing his little jig, doing his little dance, just only to get the power he needs, to become the next President, so he can end the wars, bring all the troops home, pardon all nonviolent drug offenders from prison, and end five Fed Departments, just like his Dad would …
I’m holding my breath. This is Reagan déjà vu.