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More Wisdom from McCarthy on Rand Paul

March 16th, 2013 - 6:39 am

Is there something about the name “Rand” that softens the brains of their more excitable adherents?  I wonder.  Whatever the virtues of Ayn Rand (and, as I have noted,  she does have her virtues) or Rand Paul, some of their acolytes seem to regard anything less than total adulation as a symptom of heresy, something that must be stamped out or at least shouted down without delay. Either you’re a paid-up member of the cheerleading section or you’re consigned to outer darkness: where there is fletus, don’t you know, et stridor dentium (Matthew 13:42).

It’s a phenomenon that is partly alarming, partly amusing, like watching a room full of irritable chihuahuas besetting a vacuum cleaner. I think, for example, of the cataract of abuse that greeted Anthony Daniels when he wrote about Ayn Rand for The New Criterion a couple of years ago: 256 comments, many of them in crazed-chihuahua mode.  Something similar greeted my musings about the response to Tony’s essay (alas, older PJ Media comments are temporarily unavailable, but, believe me, there were many hilarious specimens). And then just a week or so ago, I wrote commending Andy McCarthy’s piece on Rand Paul’s filibuster, which I thought was a balanced and well-informed meditation on the ostensible subject of Rand Paul’s talkathon: the constitutional limits of executive power during wartime (the real subject of the performance, I believe, was to catapult Sen. Paul into the political limelight). The result: scores of frantic chihuahua nibblings.

But I digress.  My real purpose in writing is to commend to your attention “Two Sides of Rand Paul,” Andy McCarthy’s new essay about Rand Paul’s foreign policy. Andy has his reservations.  But he is surely correct that “Senator Paul’s agitations serve conservative ends more consistently than does the erratic adventurism of his opposite numbers in the GOP’s intramural brawl: John McCain and Lindsey Graham,” those “progressive-lite populists who bend with the wind, an occupational hazard of service to a fuzzy global-stability agenda rather than to vital American interests pursued within a constitutional, limited-government framework.”

There’s more:

You won’t ever hear Paul echoing McCain’s assertion that the way to get foreign policy “back on track” would be to put John Kerry and Joe Biden in charge of it. You won’t find Paul, like McCain and Graham, toasting Qaddafi one minute, then in the next calling for his head; or condemning the Muslim Brotherhood’s sharia totalitarianism one minute, then in the next calling for Americans to work with and subsidize the Brothers. You won’t find Paul, in vertiginous McCain fashion, blathering about democracy-promotion and global stability while championing the secession from Serbia of a Muslim state — Kosovo, which now stands as a breakaway inspiration to Islamic-supremacist insurgents the world over. You won’t find Paul lamenting, à la Graham, that “free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war”; to the contrary, Paul appears to grasp that if you are prepared to subordinate the First Amendment to a desire not to pull the hair-trigger savagery of your enemies, then you have already lost the war.

Andy has other nice things to say about Rand Paul.  But he also introduces various notes of caution, especially regarding Sen. Paul’s caricature of the behavior of the Bush administration, and in particular his muddled comments about the Constitutional scholar and former Justice Department official John Yoo.  We might all applaud Sen. Paul when, in a recent speech, he called for a foreign policy defined by vital American interests rather than utopian democratic evangelism, one that  “would target our enemy, strike with lethal force,” and then leave. “If that is truly where he is coming from,” Andy comments,

he ought to study what former Bush Justice Department official John Yoo actually says instead of using a Yoo caricature as a piñata — the tack he took in the NR interview, regrettably reminiscent of the way McCain and Graham have disserved Paul himself. I doubt my friend Professor Yoo would dare dabble in ophthalmology, but in trying his hand at constitutional law, Dr. Paul predictably commits malpractice. He has confused Yoo’s scholarship on the “unitary executive” with advocacy of the executive lawlessness known as the “imperial presidency.”

The stakes here are high. “Foreign policy” is a phrase that also embraces “national security.” In the malevolent carnival that is business-as-usual in Washington, D.C., that link has often been obscured where it is not outright jettisoned.  But national security is a topic that has a way of coming back vividly to center stage when you least expect it. Everyone (well, everyone except the president, who just assured us that “there is no debt crisis”) is worried about the country’s economic situation, and with good reason.  But our domestic problems do not unfold in a vacuum, a fact we ignore at our peril (how do you spell “nuclear-capable Iran”?). Andy is right: “Any successful conservative foreign policy is going to marry the clarity about the enemy that animated Rand Paul’s Heritage speech with the clear distinction John Yoo draws between fighting war and fighting crime.”

There is an existential side to this issue — the future security of the United States — but the is also a pragmatic, party political side to it. Clarity and forthrightness tend to win elections in a way that politically correct waffling does not. As Andy observes in his closing remarks, “Ronald Reagan made the struggle against Soviet totalitarianism central to his campaigns. Mitt Romney regarded the struggle against Islamic-supremacist totalitarianism as something too politically incorrect to mention amid platitudinous five-point economic plans. There are reasons why eminently winnable elections are lost.”

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Way to backtrack on your "anti-Paul" attack piece, while still making fun of those of us who defended him. BTW, I must add that I defended him while not being a Paulite. I'm rather have my teeth pulled out through my nose than vote for Rand's father, and I much prefer Ted Cruz to Rand Paul. However, I think that dismissing his filibuster as "theater" is foolish and misses the point. OF COURSE it was theater. It was good theater and sorely needed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have no idea why the leftists want to take away our guns. We do nothing but form circular firing squads, you would think they would put Eric Holder on a Fast and Furious pace to arm us like we were border crashing drug dealers.

Rand Paul called a play in the huddle that exposed a weakness in the Obama/media defense...stretching their field both right and left...and driving a wedge up their middle...and McCain/Graham throw a chop block below his knees...and WE write all the articles...questioning his "motives".

Are you freaking kidding me?

I can't stand his daddy. I think the "isolationist" movement has an ugly undercurrent toward Israel, that I despise. (worse than Jim Baker and Daddy Bush).

But...we had Obama right where we wanted. The Imperial Presidency, the lawless, thuggery...was under the microscope. For heaven's sake, THAT was not the time to hurl cannon fodder to fuel his stalled propagandists.

That was the time to rally around the flag, not to declare it the "wrong kind of patriotism"...wasn't that done already?

The leftist Democrats are never off message. The hapless, feckless GOP is never on message. They are too busy stabbing each other in the back.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
In the unlikely event someone performs a post mortem on the PJ Media site, I’d like to note that stirring an ad hominem attack into a poisoned well does not a well-reasoned argument make.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr. Kimball asks, "Is there something about the name 'Rand' that softens the brains of their more excitable adherents?"

Well, there is definitely something about the name of 'Ayn Rand' which softens the brains of otherwise intelligent gentlemen such as Roger Kimball and Theodore Dalrymple (aka Anthony Daniels), such gentleman who due to their unwillingness to give up their belief in the innate depravity of Man (a result of their religious upbringing?), feel threatened by Ayn Rand's egoistic philosophy.

So threatened that not only can they not finish reading any book or article written by her, ...but that they feel compelled to write articles which grossly distort her views and smear her character.

Mr. Kimball has supplied (above) a link to the Anthony Daniels article at his publication, The New Criterion.

Here is a web address to a thoughtful reply, an article in The Objective Standard, by Alan Germani :

http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2010-summer/anthony-daniels-ayn-rand.asp

Decide for yourself if those excitable chihuahuas were on to something.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Published on Aug 15, 2012 Reality Check takes a look at Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s spending record during his seven terms in office.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=74b_1345089585&comments=1


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Defending the World, Bankrupting Ourselves Steve Chapman | December 6, 2012 After decades of American protection, our friends can form their own alliances to confront any adversary.

http://reason.com/archives/2012/12/06/defending-the-world-bankrupting-ourselve



GAO Report: $400 Billion Wasted Annually On 1,500 Duplicative, Fragmented, Inefficient Government Programs This also does not include all of the bureaucrats golden parachute benefits either!

http://budget.senate.gov/republican/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=5b942c34-d1e5-49de-be92-a85dad8aa191&SK=42ED5BBA6767481D74B2057AC359ACD4

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh, Roger! Are you vacuuming the Chihuahuas again?!?!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Way to backtrack on your "anti-Paul" attack piece, while still making fun of those of us who defended him. BTW, I must add that I defended him while not being a Paulite. I'm rather have my teeth pulled out through my nose than vote for Rand's father, and I much prefer Ted Cruz to Rand Paul. However, I think that dismissing his filibuster as "theater" is foolish and misses the point. OF COURSE it was theater. It was good theater and sorely needed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
'just like I'd go after Tokyo Rose'

Right, as if _you_ would have said 'NO' to the Kempeitai.

http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/K/e/Kempeitai.htm
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What do you mean by that? I'm simply stting that Tokyo Rose, the ones who were US citizens, were legitimate targets in war, subject to being bombed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have no idea why the leftists want to take away our guns. We do nothing but form circular firing squads, you would think they would put Eric Holder on a Fast and Furious pace to arm us like we were border crashing drug dealers.

Rand Paul called a play in the huddle that exposed a weakness in the Obama/media defense...stretching their field both right and left...and driving a wedge up their middle...and McCain/Graham throw a chop block below his knees...and WE write all the articles...questioning his "motives".

Are you freaking kidding me?

I can't stand his daddy. I think the "isolationist" movement has an ugly undercurrent toward Israel, that I despise. (worse than Jim Baker and Daddy Bush).

But...we had Obama right where we wanted. The Imperial Presidency, the lawless, thuggery...was under the microscope. For heaven's sake, THAT was not the time to hurl cannon fodder to fuel his stalled propagandists.

That was the time to rally around the flag, not to declare it the "wrong kind of patriotism"...wasn't that done already?

The leftist Democrats are never off message. The hapless, feckless GOP is never on message. They are too busy stabbing each other in the back.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Cfbleachers, you've got that exactly right.

Senator Paul's filibuster did put the administration right out there. It also galvanized and brought together the, rather dispirited of late, conservatives. Of course Senator Paul and his filibuster don't achieve perfection....

Ugh, what is the purpose of new media if it does nothing more than back bite the conservatives -dissecting for flaws in their actions / message? Da. Thanks, we get plenty of that from the old, tiresome, (reptile?) media. We expected more intelligence, or something different from new media.

If the members of new media await perfection to throw their support behind a leader...well ...hell and freezing come to mind
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What was Rand Paul's message?

The United States government has an aerial assassination program that kills U.S. citizens --citizens who, both, have taken up arms against their fellow Americans (or have incited others to do so), ...AND ...have ensconced themselves in areas OUT OF REACH OF OUR CIVIL AUTHORITIES (and that of any friendly nation); ...and because the government has done this, it therefore might conclude that it can begin an aerial assassination program here in the United States ...even though it is obvious to everyone that there is NO PART OF THIS NATION'S TERRITORY THAT IS BEYOND CIVIL CONTROL.

So, the message is ...is that we shouldn't assassinate U.S. citizens (sitting in cafes, sleeping in their rooms; you know, not posing an immediate threat to anyone) ...ANYWHERE ...even in the tribal lands of Yemen (where Anwar al-Awlaki was assassinated by CIA drone strike), ...right?

Just what is Rand Paul's view of the al-Awlaki assassination? Because I don't know. It is not anywhere as clear as Attorney General Eric Holder's answer to Senator Paul (in his one-page, four-paragraph letter of March 4th) which Paul says triggered his filibuster (on March 6th).

Let's remember that the thing being filibustered was John Brennan's appointment to the CIA. John Brennan is considered the architect of the OVERSEAS drone strike program (in his capacity as advisor to both Bush and Obama). The CIA's jurisdiction is completely outside the United States. Senator Graham, in reaction to Senator Paul's filibuster, said that while he initially planned to vote "no" on Brennan's nomination, now that it had become a referendum on the OVERSEAS drone program, he felt compelled to vote "yes".

What message did he get?

Code Pink, after seeing Senator Paul's filibuster, sent flowers and chocolates to his office.

Did they get the same message Senators Graham and McCain got?

Let's make sure Rand Paul's message is not the same as Ron Paul's message before we call for everyone to be "on message".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What you have against Chihuahuas? We have owned seven of them over the years and find them to be much less likely to create a mess or otherwise mis-behave than politicians or the "journalists" who enable them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I would like everyone to refer back to Mr. Kimball's initial post, McCarthy to Paul: Leave the Constitution. Tell me if you believe that the tone of his essay was insulting to and dismissive of Sen. Paul, his ideas, his words and his actions. Or do you think he was simply commending to our attention Mr. McCarthy's "balanced and well-informed meditation" on the issues at hand?

Now, carefully read through the "digression" that forms the initial two paragraphs of this post. Tell me if you thinking he is insulting to and dismissive of his readers and commenters here at PJ Media. Or do you think that after calling them "chihuahuas besetting a vacuum cleaner," that he's simply trying to draw them to the further musings of McCarthy?

Although I was harshly critical of Mr. Kimball's prior essay -- primarily because I believed that he and McCarthy wholly missed the purpose of Rand Paul's exercise in political showmanship on behalf of the Constitution -- I am decidedly not a Randian, an Objectivist, or a Libertarian. Truth be told, I'm probably much closer to Kimball and McCarthy than to Paul on national security issues. But I know an intramural brawl when I see one, and on this one, I side with Rand. Unlike Roger, I see little harm and much good coming from Rand's criticism of what has passed for national security policy among conservatives over these past two administrations.

I thought and still think that Kimball's essays here and there on the subject are belittling to a man giving conservatives and Republicans some hope and spirit and to Kimball's audience here. And I'd rather be a yipping, nibbling chihuahua than an old whining, windbag vacuum cleaner any day.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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