Rand Paul: Let’s face it, some of my critics want a terror attack to happen so they can blame it on me

posted at 11:21 am on June 1, 2015 by Allahpundit

Via the Daily Caller, I’m surprised he’s gotten less flak for this (so far) than he did for what he said last week about GOP hawks having created ISIS. The latter was a statement of indirect cause — hawkish policies have created conditions in Syria that have strengthened jihadis. This quip is a direct accusation of being pro-terrorism for political ends. When I heard it, I figured McCain would rush him and start choking him in sheer blind outrage at the insinuation of disloyalty. Instead, Maverick seemed more ticked at Paul for violating parliamentary procedure. Huh. Maybe the subdued reaction has to do with what Paul says in the rest of the clip about how, if he’s culpable for post-Patriot Act attacks, presumably hawks are culpable for attacks like the Boston bombing that occurred while the Patriot Act was in effect. That’s a weak argument, countered by claims that national security certainly is no worse off with robust surveillance even if it’s not always better off, and in any case it’s an accusation of incompetence, not ill intent in wanting to open up holes in America’s defenses. But then, any time hawks are being forced to explain why the NSA didn’t stop an attack like the Boston bombings is a point in Paul’s favor. Maybe that’s why McCain et al. refused to engage.

Perhaps chastened by the backlash to his “hawks created ISIS” argument, Rand walked back the “my critics are rooting for terror” claim this morning on Fox News:

“I think, sometimes, in the heat of battle, hyperbole can get the better of anyone, and that may be the problem there. The point I was trying to make is that I think people do use fear to try to get us to give up our liberty,” the presidential candidate said Monday morning. “This was the whole thing that Benjamin Franklin debated, whether or not we should trade our liberty for security and sometimes get neither.”

Paul reiterated that going after and impugning the motives of others is sometimes “a mistake,” and that exaggeration can get the better of anyone in “the heat of battle.”

You know what the most amazing thing is about yesterday’s passion play on the Senate floor, with even Paul ally Mitch McConnell now accusing him of “demagoguery and disinformation” about the Patriot Act? It’s how low the stakes are at this point. The USA Freedom Act, a reform bill that would keep metadata in the hands of telecoms but otherwise extend key Patriot Act provisions like “roving wiretaps,” will pass the Senate this week, probably in a day or two. Meanwhile, not only will the NSA continue to collect bulk metadata for investigations that have already been opened, it’ll use a variety of workarounds to keep harvesting data for new investigations. Eli Lake calls the entire debate “phony” and it’s hard to disagree. In fact, given the recent Second Circuit ruling that Section 215 never authorized mass metadata collection in the first place because Congress never intended it to, this week’s natsec kabuki has a bizarre procedural posture nicely captured recently by Conor Friedersdorf:

There’s a program that Congress never approved. The House weirdly had to vote to get rid of it. They did so. But the Senate had to follow suit, voting to get rid of the program that they never passed. And they failed even though 57 Senators were in favor. So an illegal program will continue [until June 1], despite majorities in both houses of Congress casting votes to end what they never began. And the only reason their failure doesn’t matter is that legal provisions that don’t in fact authorize the program will soon expire. And then it will end. What a strange democracy we’ve got.

Even stranger when you consider that the Senate is currently deadlocked over a bill whose ultimate passage is all but assured and whose constraints on surveillance may or may not materially limit the amount of data that the NSA takes in. Ah well. It’s fun to see senators, especially from the same party, go to war with each other on principle, even if the principle won’t affect the disposition of the matter.


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Comment pages: 1 3 4 5

I personally don’t care what you think of the Armed Forces. I know most of you Paul2 supporters drip with disdain for the military. But drop the stupid meme that Rand Paul is some sort of savior to the Constitution and the American way of life. There’ll be a primary and the GOP and Conservatives will pick a candidate. Your hyperbole is silly.

hawkdriver on June 3, 2015 at 10:23 AM

I don’t have any disdain for the Armed Forces. As I said before, I have a brother who served. But I do think people serve for all kinds of reasons, and a love of liberty is not always on that list. Or in many cases, a love of “liberty” is on that list, but the soldier doesn’t actually understand what that word means.

But you know, I do have disdain for people who think we should give up liberty for security.

I’m not going to drop that meme, because it’s true. The GOP hasn’t nominated a half-decent candidate in my entire lifetime. Think about that.

TBSchemer on June 3, 2015 at 11:00 AM

The GOP hasn’t nominated a half-decent candidate in my entire lifetime. Think about that.

TBSchemer on June 3, 2015 at 11:00 AM

The GOP needs to be saved from itself, and Rand Paul is the man to do it.

TBSchemer on June 3, 2015 at 11:09 AM

TBSchemer on June 3, 2015 at 11:00 AM

The GOP needs to be saved from itself, and Rand Paul is the man to do it.

TBSchemer on June 3, 2015 at 11:09 AM

Your opinion.

hawkdriver on June 3, 2015 at 12:36 PM

My opinion is well-supported by the polling evidence.

TBSchemer on June 3, 2015 at 1:26 PM

My opinion is well-supported by the polling evidence.

TBSchemer on June 3, 2015 at 1:26 PM

No Einstein, your opinion that Rand Paul is the only man who can save liberty in the US. Unless you’re the Great Karnack.

hawkdriver on June 3, 2015 at 2:13 PM

No Einstein, your opinion that Rand Paul is the only man who can save liberty in the US. Unless you’re the Great Karnack.

hawkdriver on June 3, 2015 at 2:13 PM

Keep denying that the Republican’s haven’t mounted a decent offensive or defensive for decades and aren’t GOING to. Unless you’re an ostrich.

LawfulGood on June 4, 2015 at 8:44 AM

No Einstein, your opinion that Rand Paul is the only man who can save liberty in the US. Unless you’re the Great Karnack.

hawkdriver on June 3, 2015 at 2:13 PM

Which other candidates are even trying to save liberty by teaching the younger, wayward generations of its merits?

Ted Cruz? His polling numbers suggest that he’s not very good at this whole “outreach” thing.

TBSchemer on June 4, 2015 at 1:05 PM

hawkdriver on June 3, 2015 at 2:13 PM

Keep denying that the Republican’s haven’t mounted a decent offensive or defensive for decades and aren’t GOING to. Unless you’re an ostrich.

LawfulGood on June 4, 2015 at 8:44 AM

Pro tip. Leave comments that make a small amount of sense.

hawkdriver on June 4, 2015 at 3:59 PM

hawkdriver on June 3, 2015 at 2:13 PM

Which other candidates are even trying to save liberty by teaching the younger, wayward generations of its merits?

Ted Cruz? His polling numbers suggest that he’s not very good at this whole “outreach” thing.

TBSchemer on June 4, 2015 at 1:05 PM

You’re still not making sense. You’re giving your opinion. No proof of anything.

hawkdriver on June 4, 2015 at 4:01 PM

hawkdriver on June 4, 2015 at 4:01 PM

Look at where Cruz is, and look at where Paul is against Hillary:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/2016_presidential_race.html

If you go into the cross-tabs of any one of those polls, you’ll see that Paul pulls independents better than Cruz by double-digits. This means that Paul expands the party, whereas Cruz really does not.

If you go into the cross-tabs of this one (pg 37-41), you will see that Paul, more than any other Republican candidate, appeals to the younger generations: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2015/images/06/01/2016.poll.pdf
Rubio appeals very strongly to the older generations (i.e. the ones that most likely to die over the next 10-20 years), whereas Paul gets much of his support by closing the gap with the 18-34 year olds, and expanding the advantage with the 35-49 year olds. Cruz loses by 30% (!) with the 18-34 year olds, loses the Baby Boomers, and only narrowly wins the other generations.

This data pretty clearly shows that Cruz has very little appeal to the people that the Republican Party needs to win over in order to survive, whereas Paul is the perfect candidate to create a new generation of Republicans like Reagan did.

TBSchemer on June 4, 2015 at 8:50 PM

Comment pages: 1 3 4 5