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Roger’s Rules

McCarthy to Rand Paul: Leave the Constitution Alone

March 9th, 2013 - 4:38 am

As usual, the Founders got it right.  Andy quotes Alexander Hamilton, from Federalist 23:

 it is impossible to foresee or define the extent and variety of national exigencies, or the correspondent extent and variety of the means which may be necessary to satisfy them. The circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are infinite; and for this reason no constitutional shackles can wisely be imposed on the power to which the care of it is committed.

Senator Paul and his supporters claim to want to impose limits on presidential power.  The way to do that, as Andy points out, is through Congress’s Authorization for Use of Military Force, not by mucking about with the Constitution. When and if the world is rid of the terrorist threat, that authorization may be limited or even repealed.  We’re a long way from that situation now, alas, as the headlines remind us every few days.

As I say, Rand Paul’s performance was good theater. But it had nothing to teach us about limiting presidential power.  What it did tell us, however, was that Rand Paul is pretty clever in creating a national stage for himself.  Everyone knows who he is now, which I suspect is exactly what he wants.  Why? 2016, of course.  It was a pretty cynical maneuver, I think, but politics is not exactly an purist’s pursuit.  Rand Paul may have — doubtless does have — many virtues.  I would have preferred a less demagogic approach.

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Top Rated Comments   
Jeez, PJM has gotten to be just like listening to ABC evening news shows. How sad and pathetic. Shooting for a spot on McCain's staff, Mr. Kimball?

Would the last writer here who is NOT trying to land a job with the MSM please turn out the lights? PJM...well, it was a nice idea for an alternative non-MSM sucking web site...too bad it turned out to just be more of the same.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Did the author sleep through the last election? Newsflash, "political theater" WINS. We've always had facts and logic on our side, and yet we lost, emotion an emotive actions are what we need from leaders, we've got plenty of spreadsheet driven "managers", thank you very much.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh, Roger. Send this one back to rewrite.

I think you and Andrew miss the point entirely. This is not about some unreasonable and ahistorical reading of the due process clause. This is not about re-interpreting the laws of war. This was about bringing the Obama administration to heel politically.

It was a superb exercise in political showmanship calling attention to the fundamental lawlessness of this administration, its simultaneous unwillingness and inability to recognize any limits on its power, outside of those imposed by political feasibility. I'm glad that you and Andrew were forthright in your opposition to the use of our armed forces against American citizens within the United States. That's quite generous of you two. Why did it take the Attorney General and the President so long to say the same thing? You know the answer: because Obama does not recognize any such limits on his power. You might want to write an essay on that.

Incidentally, while Andrew may have the better legal argument on due process, I do not approve of his limitless expansion of the category of unlawful or enemy combatant being whoever the President, acting as Commander in Chief, declares. Moreover, the AUMF simply does not reach as far as you and Andrew believe. And amending it is not out of reach, we are only one national security crisis away.

(I should also mention that it has had a bracing effect on the GOP, which is sorely in need of a morale boost. By the way, the accusation of demagogy is misplaced and unsupportable. But if we wish to stretch the term to reach Rand's performance, I say let us have more of it.)

So Roger Kimball took 700 words to say -- what? That he likes Andrew McCarthy. And of the thousands of words spilled by Andrew McCarthy? Nothing conclusive or dispositive, other than he doesn't care much for Rand Paul.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (96)
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"I would have preferred a less demagogic approach."

This is the first time in four years that a GOP senator has grabbed the spotlight in order to push back against Obama. This piece is pathetic, Kimball. I read your latest book and don't recognize its author in this pabulum.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roger Kimball managed to stir up the PJ Media comment section much the same way Karl Rove stired up the conservative movement in his own idiotic style.

Roger, move to the side - you know, next to John McCain, Lindsey Graham, John Boehner, Reince Prebus, Bill Kristol, and Karl Rove - and let the people who know how and are willing take on this president. It's apparent you and the rest of "republican intelligentsia" are unwilling to do so. What's the matter, afraid of being called extreme or **gasp** racist?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Rand Paul made his point: This article does not.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
For the record (banned phrase), Rand Paul's message was bigger than whether or not it is within the power of the US President to kill Americans known to be colluding with the enemy without due process.

Paul's message was a confrontation of an Executive that would dearly love to accrue all power unto itself, which I think was exactly why it took Eric Holder so long, earlier that morning in a committee appearance, to stop insisting on a "hypothetical" and finally come out (4th time asked the question) and tell Ted Cruz that "no, the president doesn't have the power to off Americans on American soil."

It was the challenge, any challenge, to the Obama administration that I appreciated from Rand Paul and the Senators who supported him on the floor of the Senate.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A "hypothetical" challenge, is a "hypothetical" challenge, is a "hypothetical" challenge making the message, a hypothetical message! I guess Paul can find no 'real' problems to spend 13 hours debating and trying to solve.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: 'Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?' The answer to that question is no." - Eric Holder

The unqualified question remains unanswered:
'Does the President have the authority to kill an American on American soil?'.
In the event, Obama, Holder and Co. will come up with some weasel-worded
justification for doing so, all the important parts of which will be classified.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And while you win some imaginary victory Obama's importing the Third World here illegally and making citizens of the one already here. Obama's laughing at this "victory." Any more victories like this and America's finished.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I get the sense from reading the article that some writers at PJM are already in the tank for a 2016 candidate, and it isn't Paul. Perhaps they're in the Jeb Bush camp. I'm just guessing, judging from the physical resemblance Mssrs. Kimball and McCarthy have to Mr. Rove, and their berating of Sen. Rand is reminiscent Mr. Roves trashing of Ms. O'Donnell when she defeated the old guard establishment fixture Mr. Castle, and there is the over all stink of this article.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think that you are correct that the old guard will be heavily in the Jeb Bush camp in the coming weeks. It's time to kick them to the curb, hard and fast.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roger, remember Ruby Ridge and Waco, Texas? You really don't think this administration would be willing to take out someone they consider a threat to their ideology? I am not and never was a supporter of David Koresh (I had no idea who he was until he and his followers were murdered) nor do I agree with everything Randy Weaver believed (I didn't know who he was until his son and wife were murdered). The point is that federal law enforcement agencies are willing to commit murder to achieve their aims, whatever they might be. My hat is off to Rand Paul, it's about time someone stands up to this divider in chief.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The way to do that, as Andy points out, is through Congress’s Authorization for Use of Military Force, not by mucking about with the Constitution"

Much more likely that DHS would be deploying in the US and I just can't wait for predictive analytics and fully autonomous drones to become mainstream. There's enough (paranoid) documentation out there of the perceived threat of right wing extremisim/terrorism to worry about pre-emptive use of this technology. Justified or not the collateral damage is not likely to be minimal.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's about more than the drones. They're the lens that focuses the anxiety many of us have about how much control the Federal Government has assumed over every aspect of our lives since 1900.

Senator Paul hit a nerve. At what point did it change from government of the people to management of the people, and what are we going to do about it?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So, now apparently Roger Kimball and Andy "Charlie" McCarthy are maroons. Adios, MoFos.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Rand Paul asked an easy question, and got a BS answer, and he called the US Attorney General, who some of us believe should be able to discuss basic Constitutional law, on it.

I recall Lindsey Graham doing this, too, only the concept was "unprecedented."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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