In Which We Travel from North Korea to Iran to the Senate Floor
Kim Jong "Trey" Un is threatening to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on the United States. This from the country whose rockets can deliver a payload of a single Juicy Fruit stick a distance of feet. That is, when they don't fail spectacularly shortly after launch. His most compact nuke fits snugly into a cave.
So, good luck with that, Kimmie Baby.
Did President Obama somehow bring on all the bluster? Nope. This is much more (everything, really) about North Korean domestic politics, such as it is, than about anything the administration has or hasn't said or done. Besides, I didn't go in for the whole "Why Do They Hate Us?" meme after 9/11, and I'm certainly not going to get into now. Crazy Nork dictators are crazy Nork dictators. We've had that lesson drilled into use since 1950.
The thought does occur that Kim is acting as a stalking horse for Iran. He waves around his sort-of-real nuclear arsenal while Iran watches for the American response -- and revs up a few more cyclotrons. It's certainly possible, but I don't know that even Crazy Kim III is capable of stirring up enough stuff for Iran to learn anything about us they don't already know. Besides, it's pretty clear that we won't be going to war against Iran no matter what.
The "won't be going to war" is the good news. The "no matter what" is the bad news. Because that part does broadcast American weakness, to enemies much more effective and dangerous than the Mad Mullahs.
Then you notice that we have an administration (and a Democratic Senate) unwilling to do much to disarm Iran, but willing to do plenty to disarm American citizens. And you have to ask yourself, "What the hell message does that send to the world?" The Newtown shooter might just have been the ultimate stealth stalking horse -- if that's not an oxymoron.
I suppose the message, if any, is this: America's elites are now just like any other country's elites. That is, jealous of their own prerogatives and spiteful of the people's unalienable rights. I realize that nowhere does the Constitution recognize a right to not get blown up sitting in a café by a remote-control Hellfire missile, but surely there must be a penumbra around there somewhere to cover that.
Which brings us to Rand Paul and his stellar filibuster performance on Wednesday. If you want an argument against filibuster reform, you won't find a better one than the 12-plus-hour demonstration put on by the young senator from Kentucky. As I tweeted yesterday, I've been watching politics for 33 of my almost 44 years, and rarely have I been inspired by a politician like I was yesterday. Ronald Reagan had moments like that. George W. Bush had exactly one, standing on the rubble that had once been the Twin Towers. But they were moments, speeches. Paul stood there for half a day, defending America's founding ideals, and defending your right not to get blown up by bureaucratic fiat.
The reason Paul was so inspiring is that it's been more than twenty years now since we've heard such a passionate, full-throated, unapologetic defense of American values and liberties. Paul revealed that he has Reagan's touch for expressing the philosophical, straight to the gut. Sunnily, happily, intelligently. There's a real hunger out there for that, which we saw live on Twitter at the #StandWithPaul hashtag. We see it today all over the news and opinion sites, and here on the blogs. I doubt we'll see much of it on the nightly news.
That was real greatness we saw yesterday, especially as Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Wyden, and Mike Lee joined Paul with gusto.
Someday the mullahs will fall. The Kim Dynasty will implode. Both will be quickly forgotten. But if we're smart, if we really understand what this country is, what it's supposed to be, and what needs to be done, then let us long remember Senator Rand Paul's filibuster.