Rand Paul and the Imperial Presidency
Rand Paul has, so far, been pretty good on issues of national security. Maybe not quite as staunchly anti-war as his father, but that remains to be seen. Via Sullivan, however, this really terrific Rand Paul quote:
I was happy to see that Newt Gingrich has staked out a position on the war, a position, or two, or maybe three. I don’t know. I think he has more war positions than he’s had wives. […] There’s a big debate over there. Fox News can’t decide, what do they love more, bombing the Middle East or bashing the president? It’s like I was over there and there was an anchor going, they were pleading, can’t we do both? Can’t we bomb the Middle East and bash the president at the same time?
I may have disagreements with the Pauls or with guys like Gary Johnson, but I can say with some certainty that at this point, if you were to put any of them up against the current president, I would vote for them in a heartbeat. Failure to close Gitmo is one thing. Ramping up another middle east war is quite another. Doing so without any democratic process save a UN vote? Well…
We are governed by an executive that goes to war in secret and at will, openly contemptuous of the democratic process and even minimal transparency. and when you realize that that executive actually campaigned against this kind of secretive, dictatorial presidency, you realize how this has become systemic, and the anti-democratic rot is deep.
I take back my earlier criticism of Andrew’s position. I saw him wavering and thought he was capitulating to Obama’s super-charm on Libya. Glad to see I was wrong.
In any case, I think Andrew is absolutely correct: we are witnessing yet another imperial presidency, and a system of executive power that is growing in . The war on drugs, the constant, endless overseas wars, the massive defense budget and growing security state – these are the most important issues facing this country. In many ways, these issues are also the ones most aversely effecting our economy. The money and waste we piss away endlessly on bombs and prisons and SWAT teams could be better put to use in the economy or helping pay for much needed investments in infrastructure or education.
How many teachers do you need to fire to pay for one Tomahawk missile?
P.S. – Okay, so maybe I wouldn’t vote for the younger Paul. Ron Paul is a non-interventionist icon at this point, and I think he or Johnson would be good for the country because of their positions on drugs and war. Rand Paul is too untested, and I’m not sure where he really stands.
I would also vote for someone like Feingold or one of the many progressive non-interventionists out there. There’s good people on these issues on both sides of the aisle. My point was that – even though I disagree with Paul or Johnson on innumerable issues of domestic policy, these issues where we agree are hugely important. I cannot overstate their importance to the future of our republic.