Rand Paul: Very right about a few things, very wrong about most everything else

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Sen. Rand Paul is right about this much:

The bulk collection of American phone records by the National Security Agency — records seized without regard to need, suspicion or even legal authority, but merely because the NSA has the technological power to do so — clearly violates the Fourth Amendment ban on warrantless searches, and it ought to be halted.

The fact that intelligence leaders have lied repeatedly to the American public and to Congress about the extent of that program, the fact that they expanded their power beyond what Congress intended, and their efforts to use secrecy to block judicial review, also argue strongly in favor of ending the program in its current form. It is exceedingly dangerous to claim that intelligence-gathering ought to be exempt from the institutional checks and balances within our system of government, which is essentially what defenders of the program have done.

Again, Paul is right about all of that, and a lot of people agree with him.  Earlier this month, the House of Representatives voted 338-88 to revise the bulk collection program by ensuring that telephone companies, not the government, retain control over data detailing whom you called or texted, when you called, how long you spoke, etc. Under the USA FREEDOM Act**, the government would be able to access that data only through a court warrant.

It’s a reasonable compromise, as the overwhelming and bipartisan vote in the House demonstrates. (Most of those who opposed the bill did so because they believe that it went too far in restricting domestic intelligence-gathering.) However, the reform legislation has had a more difficult time in the U.S. Senate, where it has been ardently opposed both by Paul and by his powerful colleague from Kentucky, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The two men are often allies, but in this case they have fought the reform bill for two very different reasons.

McConnell is a strong supporter of the bulk collection effort and dislikes any attempt to restrain it. He has used his powerful position to try to block reform, warning that it endangers national security. But as a floor vote taken Sunday night proved, McConnell has badly miscalculated. Even in a GOP Senate, he doesn’t have anywhere near the number of votes needed to make his position stick. Later this week, over McConnell’s objections, the Senate will pass the USA Freedom Act overwhelmingly

Paul, on the other hand, wants to kill the USA Freedom Act because he believes that even the reform effort gives the intelligence community too much power. He has expressed that opposition in lengthy floor speeches, in media appearances, in tweets and emails and everything short of smoke signals. All in all, his grandstanding on the issue has amounted to a well-orchestrated effort to draw media attention and contributions to his presidential campaign, and in that regard it has been a success.

On matters of substance, however, Paul’s histrionics haven’t really altered the outcome of this debate. Again, the USA Freedom Act will soon become law over his strident objections. He has succeeded in cementing his popularity within the relatively small but vocal libertarian wing of the GOP, but by doing so has alienated many others, including most of his fellow Republican senators.

Like his father, Paul gives voice to an important point of view that ought to be heard and occasionally heeded in American politics. But like his father, he is also never going to be a serious candidate for president. He is very very right about a small number of important things, and very wrong about just about everything else.

UPDATE: Some commenters have asked for examples of things that Rand Paul has gotten wrong and that disqualify him from serious consideration as a presidential candidate. I’m glad to oblige with a partial listing:

http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/jay-bookman/2013/apr/25/rand-paul-proves-himself-candidate-fringe/

http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/jay-bookman/2014/mar/12/foreign-policy-rand-paul-makes-no-sense/

http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/jay-bookman/2013/apr/11/rand-pauls-speech-howard-lacked-one-essential-hone/

———————-

** The USA FREEDOM Act is a painfully awkward acronym for the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring Act.”

 

 

Reader Comments 0

791 comments
Jon R
Jon R

Follow the Facebook page, Rand W. Obama. Want to see how Rand is a huge pandering warmongering fraud of a sellout? Go see for yourself.

Stanley Doust
Stanley Doust

The country, and the author, unfortunately, are neither intellectually honest, nor mature, enough for Paul, but even beyond that, HONORABLE enough.

The GOP, (this article is proof positive) is a pathetic satire of itself. It is a party of capitulation, of dog-eat-dog, opportunistic poseurs. 

At least the Left is delusional enough to actually believe in their own nonsense. The Republicans are the Whigs of the 21st Century.


Unless the Republicans nominate a mover and a shaker like Paul, they will continue to get votes simply for, "Not Obama, Not Hillary," ad nauseam. 

Moderate Conservatives have continually lost the Presidential election for Republicans. Sooner or later the party will either:

A) Wake up and support a true Conservative
B) Cease to officially exist

My bet it is on the latter, as the party has continually shown itself to be irrelevant.

Wake me up when the Republicans nominate someone who will get this country out of debt, and restore Conservativism. 


In the mean time, let me know how the McCains, Boehners, Walkers, Rubios, et al work out for you.

JB75
JB75

This "author" like most fake conservatives is an idiot. It's the current Neo Con and Evangelical Theocratic wings of the RINO party that were once the fringe and to the fringe they shall return in favor of true Constitutional Republican values that Rand Paul adheres to.
The current aberration of the Republican party has fear mongering, blood thirsty talking heads and nothing else. Rand Paul has the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the historical writings and intentions our Founders envisioned for this country on his side.
Paul is routinely called "isolationist" by critics for believing in a non interventionist foreign policy, as written by the Founders. Free trade with all, entangled alliances with none. Is Switzerland "isolationist" cus that policy seems to work just fine for them. Nobody wants to "terrorize" the Swiss, but everyone will park their money there.
We've done it the Bush and McCain way for too long and we are worse off for it. It's time for them to go and a return to true Republican values. Or keep voting for these fake Republicans, while you wave your made in China, American flag, celebrating the destabilization of another foreign government who's children will hate us and put us further at risk for decades to come.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

oh, this is a good'un from our "Simple Truths," talking about Hils, way earlier:


Having debt doesn't mean that you are broke


From your lips to the deficit-scolds' ears, Simple!

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@SimpleTruths @Visual_Cortex

And don't get me wrong--obviously claiming to have been "broke" as she did was a pretty tone-deaf thing for her to have said, even though it may have been completely accurate.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@SimpleTruths @Visual_Cortex

Mostly False

They had to take an awful lot of twists and turns to get to that point, though. like, say:

More important, a balance sheet does not tell the full story 

I think it goes without saying that the Clintons had every reason to believe in 2000 they'd be out of any kind of financial hole they were in, in fairly short order. But still, they did have to go out and do that work, such as it is (and I'm not saying it's especially hard work, making speeches and sitting on boards and suchlike.)

SimpleTruths
SimpleTruths

@Visual_Cortex @SimpleTruths 

"A few weeks before they left the White House, the Clintons were able to muster a cashdown payment of $855,000 and secure a $1.995 million mortgage. This hardly fits the common meaning of "dead broke."" 

/shrug

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

And now for something completely different: Encouraging news out of Iraq.


http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/31/fed-up-with-islam-and-sectarianism-some-iraqis-embrace-zoroastrianism.html?source=TDB&via=FB_Page


Fed Up With Islam and Sectarianism, Some Iraqis Embrace Zoroastrianism

The newly pledged Zoroastrians have said that they will organize similar ceremonies elsewhere in Iraqi Kurdistan and they have also asked permission to build up to 12 temples inside the region, which has its own borders, military, and Parliament.

Zoroastrians are also visiting government departments in Iraqi Kurdistan and they have asked that Zoroastrianism be acknowledged as a religion officially. They even have their own anthem and many locals are attending Zoroastrian events and responding to Zoroastrian organizations and pages on social media.

Although as yet there are no official numbers showing how many Kurdish locals are actually turning to this religion, there is certainly a lot of discussion about it. And those who are already Zoroastrians believe that as soon as locals learn more about the religion, their numbers will increase. They also seem to be selling the idea of Zoroastrianism by saying that it is somehow “more Kurdish” then other religions — certainly an attractive idea in an area where many locals care more about their ethnic identity than religious divisions.

“This religion will restore the real culture and religion of the Kurdish people,” says Luqman al-Haj Karim, a senior representative of Zoroastrianism and head of the Zoroastrian organization, Zand, who believes that his belief system is more “Kurdish” than most. “The revival is a part of a cultural revolution, that gives people new ways to explore peace of mind, harmony and love,” he insists.

Orange15
Orange15

Obama: I’ve Restored the US as the ‘Most Respected Country in the World’


What a joke! I guess if he says it enough times, it makes it true.

Peachs
Peachs

@Orange15 and he did it despite the Republicans support who now are showing signs they were paying attention to what he was doing.  I predict John Richard Kasich will get your nomination once the campaign starts, it is like the Big Ten in football they got the votes up north and the SEC is only a matter of time. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Orange15

I guess if he says it enough times, it makes it true.

I guess if you guys post this bogus headline enough times, it makes it true.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

@Visual_Cortex @Orange15 

It's from Breitbart - Orange and all the other cons who have quoted it quoted the headline.

But of course it's not what he actually said.

Not that that matters.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@CherokeeCounty @Visual_Cortex @Orange15

Here is the actual quote:


People don't remember, when I came into office, the United States in world opinion ranked just below China and just above Russia, and today the United States is the most respected nation on Earth and part of that, I think, is because of the work we did to re-engage the world.


KSMark Info
KSMark Info

@Visual_Cortex @CherokeeCounty @Orange15 Yep, that is what he said. 

It goes to show how out of touch he really is, because anyone who follows world news and events know how badly we are looked upon by the majority of the world.

josef
josef

Mo meetings with the local movers and shakers...becoming a real civic mogul, I.  LOL

Normd
Normd

@josef 


Aw Heck, you'll be mayor soon...lol

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@LeninTime

I'll give him that

Careful, LT--you might wind up admitting you are planning to actually vote for someone.

josef
josef

Slow night tonight? 

Gmare
Gmare

A slow night cuz I'm feeling so sad for the Biden family.

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

The party of small gov't, that hates gov't, that thinks gov't is the problem not the solution...trusts that VERY SAME gov't with carte blanche w/o any real oversight to monitor its citizens personal lives...


You effers are certifiable...

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@LordHelpUs

Well they also (usually) believe the government should compel every woman to carry every single pregnancy to term at gunpoint.

Of course they're flaming hypocrites, and need to be mocked mercilessly for their "small government" BS.

td1234
td1234

In other words Mr. Bookman, this is a minor issue in your eyes and really does not mean anything.  

heezback
heezback

"...things that Rand Paul has gotten wrong and that disqualify him from serious consideration as a presidential candidate."


Anybody believe that Bookman was ever considering, seriously or otherwise, voting for Paul; or anyone not left of left?  Really?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@heezback

left of left?

ha. Wonder what qualifies for "left of left" in Rightie World. 

In fact, I ask that question all the time, and nobody has ever been able to tell me what views Jay holds that are even remotely out of the mainstream.

LeninTime
LeninTime

Fascist ?

Nope.

Euro-socialist ?

Yep.

**

LOL, Philo Freikorps thinks Obama is a Euro-socialist.

Uh, nooooo. 

Not even close. 

But even if he were one, it would be irrelevant. Have you noticed what the actual Euro-socialists themselves are doing? French President Hollande, whose party actually calls itself 'socialist', is as ruthless a defender of austerity and capitalist ideology as the British Tory David Cameron.

elgrunir
elgrunir

@LeninTime 


Titles can certainly be misleading.


See: countries that throw people-ish words in their name, like "The People's Democratic Republic of the Free States of (your turn to be creative here)."


Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

Nice Jay, "Very right about a few things, very wrong about most everything else".  Guess you could say the same thing about Hillary or Obama... 

heezback
heezback

@Bulls_3y3 Or Bookman.  One citing one's own opinion musings as confirmation of yet another of the same is, well, ...

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@heezback @Bulls_3y3

One citing one's own opinion musings as confirmation of yet another 

Ok, that's just dumb.

Jay had been asked by some commenters here--you know, whiny right wing commenters--to provide examples of where he thought Rand was "very wrong" (per the headline), since Jay hadn't bothered to really get into it in this piece, originally. I guess he figured longtime readers would be well aware of where he took issue with Rand.

So Jay provided some links to pieces where he'd already gone on record as believing this to be the case.

And so... dumb right wingers decided to complain about that, as well.

breckenridge
breckenridge

And Recon is free to believe that Caitlin Jenner has the hots for him.

kayaker71
kayaker71

Christians are free to believe all of the fairy tails in the Bible as well as those who oppose are free to think otherwise.  Muslims are free to believe that the infidel will ultimately be destroyed as well as Catholics are free to believe that the Pope is the emissary of God Almighty.  Atheists are free to believe that all that is bunch  of hooey and that no God as we know it, exists at all.  Ain't it a great country where all of these opinions can exist at one time.  Only trouble is when someone wants to kill someone who does not believe as they do.  Then it  becomes a problem. 

heezback
heezback

@kayaker71 Kiling someone over a pair of sneakers or six bucks or because the killer felt dissed is no different, really.  Killing someone for any reason other than self-defense is a problem.  Claiming a murder was justified based upon religious beliefs is just another lame excuse used by misguided social misfits.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

How come izzit I can't 'like' my own comment ???

It was genius.

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

Greetings from South Central Florida where we now call home. Looks like nothings changed much on the blog.

elgrunir
elgrunir

@Recon2/3 


Hi, Del,


Greetings from the other side of the country.


Indeed, we can depend on a few things: death, taxes, and this blog.

elgrunir
elgrunir

@Recon2/3 


Thanks, Del.


I'm hangin' on.


Quick recap: after that ridiculous firing (for not having the right personality for the kids) the same day I got a standing ovation from them, it's been... umm... challenging.


Went homeless in late October; it lasted a month until I worked in someone's house while sleeping in the office.  Been homeless for 4 1/2 months again now, since mid-January.  Still tutoring part-time and, with the help of a few people at key times, I've been surviving.  Life's basic choice has been this: roof over my head and never enough to eat and can't do anything, vs. living in my car, cleaning up really well, and getting enough to pay the bills, the car payment, for food, and for the occasional get-together with friends. 


If you love golf, I hope you're playing lots of it.


If you love hockey, Go Bolts!

elgrunir
elgrunir

@Recon2/3


Thank you, Del.  I am grateful for all help from all corners, including prayer and personal inspiration from those who've had to deal with extraordinary circumstances, especially in service of others.

elgrunir
elgrunir

@barkingfrog


rrribitt... grrr... woof woof... ribbit ribbit ribbit


(For those who need translation: What up, bud?)