I'm getting really sick of seeing Republican Senator Rand Paul taking what should be the mainstream Democratic position on how America should deal with terrorism. On this key issue, he is talking like a bold liberal, while most Democrats in government, from Obama on down, stand to his right.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blasted the Bush administration and former Vice President Dick Cheney on CNN’s "The Situation Room" Tuesday evening, blaming them for not taking corrective action for pre-9/11 intelligence failures and for creating a security protocol inconsistent with the Constitution after the attacks. ...What the hell has happened in American politics when it takes a Republican to say that people in the Bush administration should have been impeached for how they handled 9/11 and its aftermath, while our Democratic president uses the bully pulpit of his office to promote invasive domestic surveillance programs that violate the Bill of Rights?
"Really, someone should have been removed from office for that, and they should have said this is never going to happen again," Rand said on the "really, really bad intelligence" and "really bad police work," that failed to thwart the attacks.
"Instead they said, ‘oh, we need to look at the records of all the innocent Americans’ phone calls every day.' And I think you need to have a respect for the Bill of Rights, a respect for privacy and particularly a respect for the fourth amendment," he said.
President Obama was in Germany today, taking a Bush-like advocacy of total communication surveillance to concerned European leaders, while claiming to be glad that the NSA's sweeping data-collection programs are now being openly debated.
The president stuck to the talking point that he “welcomes debate” over his controversial national security policies, displaying an openness to dialogue many of his critics view as a facade. “I think one of the things that separates us from some other governments is that we welcome these debates. That’s what a democracy is about,” Obama saidIf he really welcomes this debate, he can prove it by not pursuing extradition of Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who enabled this debate to begin -- without whose public revelations about Obama's domestic surveillance programs we would not even know about their existence. It's hard to debate about something if you don't know it exists.
Meanwhile, the respected German periodical Der Spiegel publishes an article called Obama's Soft Totalitarianism: Europe Must Protect Itself from America. And Spiegel is not the only one. See this diary for an overview of European concerns about the Prism program.
Has it really come to the point where the U.S. government is more feared than loved by our allies?
Democratic leaders are forfeiting the moral high ground on one of the crucial civil liberties issues of our time. President Obama, Senator Dianne Feinstein and others are taking stances and actions that we would normally expect from conservative Republicans. Meanwhile, Rand Paul aims to plant the flag of the Republican Party on the summit of a full-throated defense of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution -- a position our party should be holding, not surrendering.
Liberal Democrats are not going to vote for Rand Paul, nor should we. But we need to start asking ourselves who can we vote for that actually opposes the Big Brother-style violations of civil liberties of the Bush administration rather than expanding them? The same policies, I might add, that prompted many on the unrepresented left to call furiously for impeachment when Bush was in office.
Which Democratic leaders will stand up, like Sen. Paul, and blast the Bush-Obama domestic spying programs and call for a fundamentally different approach to prevent terrorism? On this issue, it seems little has changed besides the color of the jerseys the politicians are wearing.