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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. ...

"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.

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?

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 said
If 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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

    by Eric Stetson on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:10:01 PM PDT

  •  Libertarians and us may see too eye to eye soon. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phillies
    •  Civil liberties should be supported by Democrats. (8+ / 0-)

      It's a shame that so many leaders in our party have bought into the Bush-Cheney approach to preventing terrorism, and are so willing to abandon the Fourth Amendment to our Constitution.

      Libertarians are good on some issues and terrible on other issues. Democrats should embrace the good aspects of libertarianism, which are in fact supposed to be part of liberalism. It would be tragic if Democrats abandon these issues to the libertarians and allow them to be the only ones standing for privacy and limitations on the government's snooping powers.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:44:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, This Has Been Said Probably Since the New Deal (6+ / 0-)

      They agree with us on personal liberty, and on excesses of the military complex.

      They are otherwise completely opposed to us on our entire philosophy of governing society and economy.

      And this mix never changes.

      As others note, there has never been a call from these types for prosecuting Bush era war or financial crimes. So much for them being actual libertarians even on their own self proclaimed issues.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:49:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When will Paul call for prosecutions... (5+ / 0-)

    of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Condi for waging a war of aggression, a war crime punishable by death?  Apparently no Democrat has the balls to do so.

  •  LOL, imagine Ron Paul trying to fill even GWB's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund

    shoes. Three thousand dead Americans would have looked like small potatoes with someone as incompetent as Ron Paul in charge.

    Given how little he believes in government and the role of government i protecting people, this is the ultimate hypocrisy.

    He'd have made the problem much worse and failed in a far more incompetent fashion than even someone as dimwitted as GWB.

    And if anyone actually believes he's less of a fascist than Dick Cheney, you're fooling yourself.

  •  Libertarianism is a strange mixture (13+ / 0-)

    of greed and selfishness combined with ideas about personal freedom that can sound attractive in the abstract. In practice it sort of comes down to thinking about your personal liberty while you are starving to death. I certainly can't argue with the noises that Paul is making about the security state. I also like the noises that candidate Obama made on the same subject. The reality once in power turned out to be pretty different. I think that the country needs a different direction of leadership, but I don't see any stars on the horizon.

  •  About 20 years ago (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice, viral, 3goldens

    the NYT magazine had a really in depth article about the Lockerbie crash. Not unlike 911, the suspected bombers were living in Germany and experimenting with bomb making techniques and the German equivalent of the NSA was on them but there was a disconnect in telling whomever over here could have used the info to prevent Lockerbie from happening, not to mention that the Germans dropped the ball because of internal bickering and authority,

    It's been a long time since I read it, obviously. But it seems no matter what capabilities we have on hand, we are not very good at using them, or sharing them, or getting other countries to effectively share them with us.

    Atta and his crew apparently were on the radar, but.... crickets.

    I wonder if the Germans have a sore spot on the whole "thwarting terrorism" thing.

  •  Liberal, even Conservative Democrats (6+ / 0-)

    may not vote for Paul but the disenfranchised younger voter, middle road Republicans and Independents looking for an alternative to "the lesser of two evils" could end up falling for the greater evil.

    The Democratic leadership needs to start taking back the "high ground" defending the abuses and the Constitutional rights if they have any hopes of holding on to the Senate and making gains in the House in 2014, not to mention the WH in 2016 .

    Game on.


    "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013
    TheStarsHollowGazette.com

    by TheMomCat on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:46:28 PM PDT

  •  I will get worried when he supports legal drugs. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, soros

    The WOD is 1000x worse than the WOT.

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:51:44 PM PDT

    •  Paul, like all libertarians, supports legalization (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gooderservice, Cassiodorus, 3goldens

      This is another issue where Democrats should be leading (at least on marijuana... I'm not so sure about legalization of harder drugs).

      The "war industry" in general needs to be opposed by Democrats -- literal wars, and the "war on terror," "war on drugs," etc. We must not allow the libertarians to be the only ones who are against a culture of war.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:55:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Correction: Technically he supports states rights (4+ / 0-)

        to legalize drugs if they want to, or to keep them banned if they want to. But at the state level, he would likely support legalization.

        The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

        by Eric Stetson on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:57:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I dont think he is saying anyone in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Urizen

    the Bush admin should have been impeached for 9/11, but that someone should have been fired.

    I imagine there are Dems who did say that. Why give Paul credit for saying it 12 years later?

    •  I read it that way, but it's ambiguous. (5+ / 0-)

      It depends on how high up Paul thinks the removals from office should have gone, but he doesn't specifically say.

      Anyway, he's correct that somebody in the Bush administration should have been removed from office for the "really bad police work" that he mentions as well as the unconstitutional curtailments of civil liberties in response to 9/11.

      I give Paul credit for saying it because he was arguing with Dick Cheney, a respected (by the mainstream media) member of his own party. And how many Democratic senators have said the same, i.e. that 9/11 and the administration's response to it should have resulted in somebody being removed from office? I hope at least a few have said it, but I suspect it might be none.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:14:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A Republican criticizing his own (0+ / 0-)

        party will always get more attention/credit than a Democrat criticizing the GOP.

        I've yet to see much substance from Paul on anything.

        Actually, I shouldnt say that. He introduced an amendment today eliminating the path to citizenship from the immigration bill.  

  •  Same strategy as standing up to the TBTFs... (6+ / 0-)

    ...another relinquished, traditional Dem position abdicated by many Dems in favor of the "New Democrat," corporatocratic sellout stance.  Paul's picking his shots well on a tiny handful of issues. Too bad he's so off the deep end on so many other critical issues. Upcoming posturing on those fascistic/totalitarian trade deals should be interesting...

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:04:21 PM PDT

  •  well, at least he's not advocating supplying arms (7+ / 0-)

    to terrorists in Syria

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:07:15 PM PDT

  •  Barbara Lee. Kucinich used to. That's it man. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    But Rand Paul is an ardent support of the war OF terror, he's no different when push comes to shove.  The spying program is not about our security and safety.  I don't hear any politician saying that outside of some in the third parties.

    "America is the Terror State. The Global War OF Terror is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:12:42 PM PDT

  •  here's an interesting article (3+ / 0-)
    Decline and fall: how American society unravelled
    Thirty years ago, the old deal that held US society together started to unwind, with social cohesion sacrificed to greed. Was it an inevitable process – or was it engineered by self-interested elites?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:17:41 PM PDT

  •  Gee. I wonder if he is running for President. (0+ / 0-)

    Judging from this diary he may have a shot. He learned well from his father.

    Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

    by Mike S on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:17:42 PM PDT

  •  As I said in a previous diary -- (6+ / 0-)

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Our best hope under the CURRENT system is that people who do NOT self-identify as "liberals" or "progressives" will adopt an agenda which SHOULD be called "liberal" or "progressive."

    The "liberals" and "progressives," meanwhile, are self-repressing -- their energies are tied up in organizations that "support the Democrat" regardless of what that Democrat does.  After the revolution, however, all bets are off.

    "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

    by Cassiodorus on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:20:56 PM PDT

    •  Rand Paul fits that bill. (0+ / 0-)

      Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

      by Mike S on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:35:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Very interesting diary. I'll have to read it again (4+ / 0-)

      more thoroughly. A lot of food for thought there.

      I'm surprised that so few are advocating massive coordinated primary challenges from the left that this idea can be called "the Eric Stetson approach." But, I guess on DKos I've been one of the most consistent proponents of it. I'm thinking about doing a diary on that specific topic soon.

      There's going to have to be some kind of a new political movement from the left; it's just a question of what form it takes: primaries and withholding votes, or formation of a third party, or protest marches, or going local and abandoning most states to conservatism. I can see the arguments for all of those possibilities, although I currently believe liberal Democrats haven't tried hard enough to take back the party through the primary process and should make a full-scale attempt of it before giving up and moving on to other methods of change.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:41:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From Rick Perlstein's recent post in Nation: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, Eric Stetson, LaEscapee

        Eric, it's about your idea here:

        There's going to have to be some kind of a new political movement from the left; it's just a question of what form it takes: primaries and withholding votes, or formation of a third party, or protest marches, or going local and abandoning most states to conservatism.
        When you said this it reminded me of this offhand comment by historian Rick Perlstein (Nixonland; Before the Storm) in this discussion about Glenn Greenwald that's been in the liberal blogosphere.  Here's what Perlstein said:
        Unfortunately, given the rules of the American political game, people who try to participate by self-righteously refusing to identify with one or the other of the two parties are like people who say they love to play baseball but refuse to join a team. The name of this game—a loooooong game—is ideological civil war for the soul of each party. And one you can’t win if you don’t play. I don’t write that because I’m a partisan, or because I prefer a two-party system. I write that because I think it’s true.
        This is the way the liberals/ progressives do it, then.  It's all about the soul of the Democratic Party, a soul they can reflect upon as long as there's no post-primary election run-up going on and they're not chattering about how bad the Republicans are, and it's this "long game" in which the liberals and progressives pretend they're progressing toward something even though there they are, on the wrong side of the fence with the execrable Rand Paul on the right side.  

        And that "long game"?  There will be a dozen more game-changing economic and political disasters between now and 2020, and the likes of Perlstein will still be playing that "long game" as if nothing had happened in the intervening seven years, and as if they were still in the game when in fact they had lost said game a long time ago.  What's especially annoying about all this is that the above Rick Perlstein quote is the outcome of the lesson liberals draw from history, Perlstein's specialty of course.  Obviously, like you said, we need something new.

        "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

        by Cassiodorus on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:12:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There's nothing Paul can say I would ever trust. (0+ / 0-)

    I have difficulty believing anyone who would bother using him to make a point.

    It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

    by Murphoney on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:25:33 PM PDT

  •  Subtitle: Left totally falls for it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Simpson, anastasia p

    "She's terse - I can be terse. Once, in flight school, I was laconic." -Wash

    by Troubadour on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:32:53 PM PDT

  •  Lately Rand Paul is like the gingerbread man (0+ / 0-)

    on speed.  Run, run as fast as you can... you can't catch me...

    He's on the "say anything that you've pulled out of your ass" tour.  He STANDS for absolutely nothing.  But the Dems, particularly in KY are walking erectile disfunctions. So little Rand gets his headlines and his day, with no one to stop him.

  •  It's easy to outflank Democrats on the left (3+ / 0-)

    when there are almost no Democrats on the left.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:50:07 PM PDT

    •  Anyone on the left (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, TheMomCat

      would never self identify a a Democrat. Not if they have been paying attention to what self identified Democrats have been doing for the past few decades.

      I know I am naive but I have to believe for my own sanity that at some point people will realize it's a shell game and the house holds the cards.

      There are no sacred cows.

      by LaEscapee on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:58:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Horse pucky (0+ / 0-)

        My senator Sherrod Brown is on the left and he is totally a Democrat. I imagine he'd get sick of the weak-willed faithless crap here except he's too busy fighting for the working people of this country and doesn't have time for melodramatic, pouting purity progressives.

        Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

        by anastasia p on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:14:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And my two Senators (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheMomCat

          are from Colorado.  Hooray for you.  Yours is outnumbered in his own party.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:30:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  To summarize: (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BruceMcF, TheMomCat, corvo, temptxan

          I have a liberal Senator, so everything's OK with the Democratic Party and anyone who disagrees should STFU.

          "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

          by Cassiodorus on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:52:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  And totally outnumbered in both ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheMomCat, corvo

          ... our State party and in the Senate Democratic caucus. He's 5th most progressive in the DW-NOMINATE index in the Senate in the 112th Congress, and 4th most progressive Democrat, so on the average issue, there are 49 Democratic Senators on his Right and three on his Left.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:21:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Brown is in the infintessminal minority. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo


          "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013
          TheStarsHollowGazette.com

          by TheMomCat on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:40:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think you misread my comment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo

          Wasn't speaking of those like Sen. Brown that obviously chose the D label and have carried that mantle. I was speaking of the many that chose the label out of convenience and have ignored or willfully worked against what being a Democrat means.

          Yeah, Yeah Sherrod! Had to break it to you but your party has abandoned you.

          All I'm sayin'

          There are no sacred cows.

          by LaEscapee on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 10:30:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Not every Democratic representative ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LaEscapee, corvo

        ... comes from a state small enough that an Independent can win a Senate seat. Sherrod is a bit of a throwback to the 1930's New Deal Democrats, and I got the impression that when he identifies as a Democrat, that's the footnote that is being attached.

        Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

        by BruceMcF on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:30:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We've all exited stage left (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo


      "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013
      TheStarsHollowGazette.com

      by TheMomCat on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:39:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  more like: (0+ / 0-)

        the Party exited stage right, yelling "Wait for me!" at the ever redder-shifting Rs.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 03:53:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm getting sick of seeing an extremist (0+ / 0-)

    like Rand Paul playing some progressives like a violin. He's tricking and manipulating you, folks, on a handful of oddly emotional issues (I don't get why they matter to you so much). On the issues that will really impact our lives, he is 180 degrees against us.

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

    by anastasia p on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:10:50 PM PDT

  •  On foreign policy and civil liberties, ... (0+ / 0-)

    libertarians are well to the left of democrats.  But, on economics and social welfare, the strongly believe in the "unseen hand" and that any government involvement in the economy is both inefficient and intrinsically evil.

    But we need a real third party, and the libertarians are closer to being a real force than say the Green Party.

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