When we reference the “demagogue,” we imply a political leader who plays on the emotions and prejudices of the ignorant. A tub-thumping, rabble-rouser who doles out torches and pitchforks to the lowest common denominator.
If Rand Paul is a “demagogue in the making,” as Aaron suggests, then the senator’s 13-hour filibuster against Eric Holder’s prevarication was simply an anti-intellectual barnstorm.
I respectfully disagree.
Perhaps Aaron missed references to Lysander Spooner, Buchanan v. Warley, the presumption of liberty, most of our constitutional amendments, and Alice in Wonderland. When you mix in Ted Cruz’s passage recitation of Henry V, and Marco Rubio take on The Godfather, I imagine some intellectual high-notes got lost in the shuffle. Such was this enlightened demagoguery.
As Aaron notes, Rand mentioned Hitler. He did so to make an important point. Rand said it best:
“If you have a war that has no end, if you have a war that has no geographic limit, and then you have strikes that have no constitutional bounds, basically what you have is an unlimited imperial presidency.”
Thomas Hobbes couldn’t defend this sort of Leviathan.
This isn’t “hysterical paranoia.“ Ultimately, it wasn’t even about drones. Sen. Paul opposed the notion of an unchecked executive. He railed against a high-flying presidency, unencumbered by the fundamental checks and balances, separation of powers, and representative government the Founders envisioned.
So I salute him. Our freedoms don’t come cheap. They vanish absent our exertion. Public servants, and the citizens they serve, must actively fight to preserve our liberties. Sen. Paul did so, eloquently. This was emphatically not the boorish agitation of a demagogue.
Quite the contrary. It was the principled debut of a new GOP. The party of Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Tim Scott, Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, and the fifteen liberty-loving Representatives who offered their moral support.
If you won’t stand with these men, you might consider crossing the aisle. Sen. Graham may join you.
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