I appreciate Aaron Goldstein’s unwillingness to Stand With Rand, and have a few brief responses to Aaron:
First, Aaron says “Ross Kaminsky and other conservatives.” I’m sure Aaron and most AmSpec readers know that I do know consider myself a conservative. I’m Objectivist/libertarian.
Second, regarding Sen. Paul’s quarrel being with Holder, I think the Brennan nomination was partly just a convenient vehicle for the senator, but Brennan was also a valid target of Paul after Brennan’s disingenuous and unsatisfying answers to a range of questions regarding drone use.
Third, and most importantly, too many people, including Aaron in this case, are focusing on the narrow issue of whether the president would use drones against unarmed Americans in America. I think this misses the larger point of Sen. Paul which was to get this administration to admit that there is any limit to the power of Barack Obama.
Was it not amazing how difficult that was?
Yes, this may be a prelude to a presidential bid, but that’s OK with me (not that I have any reason to believe I’d sooner support Sen. Paul than Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan.)
It woke up at least some number of Americans to what principled leadership looks like (regardless if whether you agree with the substance of the case he was making) and was in that sense a valuable contrast with our current president.
Regarding Awlaki, it’s true I was pleased to learn he was dead. However, while I didn’t write about it here, I have talked about it on my radio show a couple of times and said that I do not support the killing of Americans anywhere, other than while in active combat against the US, without some sort of legal process such as going through courts to either strip that person of citizenship or convicting him of treason.
Back to the presidential bid issue, and Rand Paul as a demagogue (as Aaron puts it), I don’t disagree with any of that. And I repeat I am not saying that I’m suddenly a backer of Sen. Paul’s for president, though I’m sure I’d rather see him than any Democrat and some Republicans.
So I understand and respect Aaron’s position. His facts are correct, but his interpretation of the facts is where we disagree. In short, between showing passion and principle, and getting the administration to admit that there is something they couldn’t do even if they felt like it, Paul’s filibuster was a valuable contribution to the political scene.
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