Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) committed two high political offenses against the Republican establishment this past week causing some party leaders and bloggers to attack Senator Paul’s motives and engage in some old-fashioned fear mongering.
He told the truth -- twice.
Rand Paul told the truth about how a “shoot first, ask questions later” foreign policy does not work.
And he told the truth about the Bush/Obama NSA spying program.
First, Rand Paul dared to expose some awful foreign policy decisions by both President George W. Bush and Barack Obama that many hawkish Republicans still support.
Sen. Paul was asked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe how he would react to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) arguing that ISIS exists because of Sen. Paul’s restrained view of foreign policy.
Paul reacted by arguing “it's exactly the opposite” because “the hawks in our party wanted to bomb Assad, which would have made ISIS’ job even easier.” The presidential aspirant went on to say that Republican supporters of Hillary’s war caused “Libya (to be a) failed state and a disaster.” These are critiques of two decisions by President Obama that many so called hawkish Republicans like Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Graham rushed to support.
And earned Sens. McCain and Graham the title – Hillary’s Lap Dogs.
On Iraq policy and the failed policy of President Bush, Senator Paul argued that “Iraq really is a failed state or a vassal state now of Iran.” President Bush’s nation building foreign policy proved to be a failure and Obama’s indecisive follow up policy helped to create a power vacuum that has been filled by ISIS in Iraq.
Paul is right when he alleged that “everything they’ve talked about in foreign policy they’ve been wrong about for 20 years and yet they somehow have the gall to keeping saying and pointing figures otherwise.” The ‘they’ being politicians like Graham and McCain.
The fact of the matter is that tough talking foreign policy hawks have led us to bad foreign policy decisions in Iraq and Libya. Had they been listened to in Syria, and had we toppled Assad, ISIS may be in complete control of Syria right now.
Senator Rand Paul’s second offense against establishment Republicans was to stand up for the Bill of Rights and against NSA collection of law abiding citizens phone records.
Andrew C. McCarthy at National Review Online wrote Rand Paul’s NSA Metadata Concerns Are Misplaced and repeated many of the establishment Republican talking points against Senator Paul’s fight to protect 4th Amendment privacy rights.
McCarthy attacked Sen. Rand Paul by claiming that Paul is not as smart as McCarthy on constitutional issues:
The senator contends that a court order directing a telecommunications company to turn over the records of usage by its customers is a “general warrant,” an evil the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent. He evidently does not understand the concept he is invoking.
McCarthy’s central argument is that “business records that are the property of a third party (namely, a telecom) do not constitute the customer’s person, house, papers, or effects” covered by the 4th Amendment to the Constitution. He believes that people have no natural right to privacy for any property that is being held by a third party.
So McCarthy, and many that share his philosophy, think there is no constitutional protection for your medical records, because they are held by a third party, including but not limited to a hospital, psychiatrist, gynecologist or personal physician. In this world, there is no natural right to privacy from the actual phone calls you make, because they are hosted by a third party phone company.
McCarthy’s logical conclusion to his line of argument is that citizens in the modern world have no right to privacy at all. If you use cloud computing, then everything held on your personal computer is a “business record” according to this constitutional doctrine. Those who support government collection of data on as many Americans as they can sweep up don’t believe in the Bill of Rights.
What people like McCarthy miss is that your rights don’t flow from the government; they didn’t come from our Founding Fathers. Our Founders wrote the Constitution to recognize a Bill of Rights – natural rights – that the federal government can’t take away.
Senator Rand Paul, whom I used to work for, has been the subject of a smear campaign by many on the right over the past week. Prominent outlets like the Wall Street Journal and a number of other attention seeking presidential aspirants have stopped just short of accusing him of political treason. This is wrong.
It is sad that some Republicans are willing to toss aside Americans’ right to privacy and a restrained foreign policy for a false sense of security and for short-term political gain.