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Rand Paul: When Someone You Hate Is Right

Rand Paul: When Someone You Hate Is Right

You need look no further than the Care2 headlines about Rand Paul to determine how the majority of liberals feel about the Kentucky Senator:

And yet he became a hero to many of us – even if just for about 13 hours – on Wednesday when he filibustered (the old-fashioned way even!) on the Senate floor to hold up John Brennan’s CIA director confirmation.

The initial reaction for many is probably, oh great, Paul’s being obnoxious again. But when you hear Paul’s explanation, you might be surprised to find yourself agreeing with some of it.

Paul’s lengthy speech was a response to Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent comments on using drones to kill U.S. citizens on American soil. Although Holder’s answer amounted to that the administration would probably not do that, Paul makes a good point when he wonders why the answer is not a flat out no. We do have a little thing called the Fifth Amendment and due process after all. The answer should never be, “We’ll probably follow the Constitution.”

But it’s hard when someone you most often find to be so wrong is suddenly right, huh? The temptation to dismiss someone you perceive to be on the other team is strong. That’s just one of the downsides of partisanship. Many will write off Paul’s actions as just another excuse to criticize the current administration – I’m certainly not prepared to deny that that’s part of his motivation – but that doesn’t negate the fact that this instance is one where criticism is warranted. Considering how quick the U.S. government is to kill terrorist suspects abroad with drones, and considering the types of people the U.S. government labels terrorist suspects domestically (hint: anyone who dissents), there is definitely cause for worry.

Unfortunately, we need Paul as a voice on this issue since another downside of partisanship is that very few Democrats are addressing the subject. The left should be just as concerned about upholding the Constitution and the spread of drone warfare, but its spokespeople have largely had very little to say on the subject since it is their guy in office. However, sometimes your hero is the villain… and sometimes your villain is the hero.

To be fair, that partisanship works both ways. Would Paul be as critical if a hypothetical Romney administration (whom he supported) made a similar statement? While Paul has a reputation for vocally opposing some of the Constitution-defying draconian laws that other conservatives favor like the NDAA’s indefinite detention of American citizens clause, it is plausible that he wouldn’t want to ruffle too many of his peers’ feathers with a full-on filibuster.

And that’s why we shouldn’t get so caught up in our own partisanship that we stop thinking and questioning. In this ongoing game of political posturing, when we choose to trust our “team” over common sense, it is the citizens that are losing… specifically, our liberties. No lefty should feel compelled to start supporting Paul in light of his other stances, but they should at least feel betrayed by their representatives for staying silent on something so important.

While Paul’s filibuster did not block Brennan’s confirmation, it did produce results. It brought unprecedented attention to the government’s drone usage, a program that former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admits he was forbidden from acknowledging existed. Moreover, Holder finally responded to Paul’s charges with a more conclusive “no” on killing American citizens on U.S. soil with drones. That’s an important declaration and one to which we must hold this administration, as well as subsequent ones.

Of course, while Paul has led the charge on domestic drone usage, don’t expect him to take charge on our casual use of it abroad. As ThinkProgress points out, Paul doesn’t seem to have a problem with using drones to secure our borders from undocumented immigrants or blowing up potential threats in foreign countries.

We’ll just have to hope some that some other high-ranking official takes on these issues on our behalf. At this point, I’ll be happy if anyone takes a stand on drones, regardless of party affiliation.

 

Related Stories:

3 Top Ways That Drone Warfare Is Putting US Lives at Risk

Everything We Know So Far About Drone Strikes

Finally: The U.N. Will Investigate Drone Strikes

 

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Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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229 comments

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7:41AM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

Curtis S, I am sorry you feel that way, because it is 100% backwards from reality.

3:27PM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Curtis S.

...I forgot to mention, the gift of $200,000,000 to the Brotherhood of Islam - while he's supposed to be cutting back.

Complete madness!

3:22PM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Curtis S.
Blah blah blah, blame everyone but your King Obummer.
Meanwhile, he spends like there's no tomorrow and when his own plan of sequestration comes into effect, the first thing he does to save 2% to 5% over 20 years is to cut services that punish we, the people.

Keep paying $277,000 a year for caligraphers, when a $20 typeface and a laser printer can produce the same effect.

Cancel school kids visits to the White House, blaming his sequestration - despite the fact that the tours were conducted by unpaid volunteers.

Order even more arms and ammunition on top of the 2billion rounds of primarily hollow-point ammunition - enough to supply the Iraq war for an equivalent 25 years!

Buy 2,717 heavily armored mine proof vehicles for Department of Homeland Security.

Order 7000 fully-automatic sub-machine-guns, but call them "Personal Defense Weapons", but at the same time, doing his best to undermine the Second Amendment and prevent only thelaw-abiding from defending themselves and their families with personal weapons.

Your blind nodding-head agreement says everything about what is wrong with the liberal democratic party.

7:36AM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Rand Paul is a republican from a low IQ state that has always been back woods . Republicans are nobodies friend .Vote no on all republican policy . All our debt and high taxes are caused by republican policy.

4:32PM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

Thank you Rand Paul for putting political party aside and standing up for our liberty on this critical issue. Both wings of the Establishment party are against the people on most of the big issues such as this, war, economy, the FED, big corporations, preventing 3rd party candidates from being included in any debates. We should all judge our politicians on their actions and what they stand for.
Let's face it the future of our country is at state with our liberties and economy under attack by both wings.
Any politician that supports assassination without due process is an enemy of a free people.
Any politician that opposes the FED being audited is an enemy of a free people.
The list goes on.
Nothing will change as long as we let them divide us with the labels of the 2 party system. On the big issues 99% of us want the same thing we just don't realize it as we let the propaganda distract us from the truth.

6:44PM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

Nick A - I have many disagreements with some of the sites listed on that website as well (for instance, the last time I went through Orogrande five years ago, it was little more than a wide spot in the road; Google Maps' satellite view tells me it hasn't changed). Don't let those get in the way of the fact that GWB, thanks to a GOP-majority House *and* Senate, signed the legislation leading to fears of FEMA camps. I'm far more worried about a Repub getting back in the President's seat and using them than I am about the current President using them.

11:42AM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

Just because he got one thing right doesn't take away all the damage his opinions and thoughts are to us

7:11AM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

Nick A...In case it wasn't clear to you, the person I was referring to as a dangerous kook is Sen Rand Paul. If you think and want to speak ill of the President (you know, the person you refer to as BHO for its perceived shock value), that's your opinion, but don't try to associate it with my comments. If you feel that way, then it seems you should at least have the courage to own your own comments.

6:31AM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

Lloyd, that is part of the problem. They should not even have any 'discretionary' budget of their own. It is our money, and they need to legislate its use, not freely waste it to get re-elected. The pork needs to go away. And they need to split up foreign aid and vote for each nation separately, not as one big absurd package so we can cut out military aid to terrorist states (such as F-16s and M-1 Abrams units to Egypt...).

6:28AM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

I looked at that article and it seems fine. But as for the list of sites, someone is getting a bit creative. I have not been over to Orogrande lately, but I am not even sure there is a rail spur there and I have not seen any UN vehicles there. Out west here, it is likely any identifiable UN vehicle would be disabled or destroyed by citizens if anything happens and they actually come here.

Ft Bliss (in El Paso, TX) DOES NOT straddle the state line. Ft. Bliss is in Texas, while McGregor Range is in NM (although the people at Bliss act like it's theirs and illegally only hire El Paso contractors).

At Holloman AFB, the Luftwaffe is not destroying buildings. And they are not growing. In fact, they may be leaving. The Germans at Ft. Bliss are going home some now and the rest within 5 years. It is NOT a UN base. It is the premier USAF pilot training facility. They have T-38 trainers, F-22 Raptors, F-4 Phantom IIs, Predator RPVs, Reaper RPVs, etc. The F-16s are coming here, while the Raptors are going away, bummer.

Ft. Stanton is a small, very, very old facility formerly used as a sanatorium but now as a youth correctional facility. It could not house much of anything.

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