QotD, Nobody In The White House Knows How To Play This Game edition.

(H/T: @allahpundit) I can’t believe that a senior administration official would TELL Yahoo News this:

“Sen. Paul’s 13 hours on the Senate floor won’t have any practical effect on our policy and how we’re going after terrorists on a day-to-day basis,” a senior administration official told Yahoo News on condition of anonymity.

Or, rather, I can; I just can’t believe my luck.  Look – and I’m going to break out the coveted ‘dumbass’ on this one, because it qualifies – look, dumbass: the administration’s biggest short-term problem with regard to drone policies isn’t Senator Paul; it’s the progressives who agree with himParticularly the ones who think that they’re actually libertarians.  They’re all sitting around right now kind of gritting their teeth about that, particularly since we evil knuckle-dragging conservatives and Republicans (including a larger than expected number of Dread Neocons*) are showing that we’ll happily sign off on giving the President a good kicking on general principles.  We’re not going to make giant puppets any time soon, and we reserve the right to (as I think Jonah Goldberg put it once) every so often pick up an especially egregious bad actor nation and smack it against the wall – but not dropping a drone on a bunch of full-contact Occupiers while they’re at a barbecue?  Yeah, sure, we’re down with that.  Especially if the White House can’t even commit to something that basic. Continue reading QotD, Nobody In The White House Knows How To Play This Game edition.

Speaking *as* a neocon hawk who enjoyed Rand Paul’s filibuster…

…I agree with Allahpundit’s reaction to John McCain’s / Lindsey Graham’s reaction to said filibuster:

You would think Maverick might at least seize the opportunity to note that the guy who beat him five years ago did so in part by campaigning on a lie, but that would mean giving an inch of ground to the isolationists on his own side. So instead he sides with O even though everyone from Reince Priebus to Fox News to the Ron Paul fan base to Jon Stewart is patting Paul on the back, and inexplicably he insists on being nasty about it just in case anyone who enjoyed Paul’s performance hasn’t been completely alienated by McCain yet. Question for my fellow hawks: Is this really the hill to die on vis-a-vis paleocon/libertarian foreign policy? Arguing in favor of a president’s power to fire missiles at an enemy combatant on U.S. soil even if he’s a U.S. citizen and isn’t engaged in terrorism at the time when the FBI could just as easily go in and grab him? If that’s a “wacko bird” position, then a lot of people who agree with it will be left wondering whether the entire mainstream rap on libertarians and paleocons as being “fringe” and “extreme” is a lie. Maverick and Graham need to learn to pick their battles.

Continue reading Speaking *as* a neocon hawk who enjoyed Rand Paul’s filibuster…

Barack Obama’s basic filibuster mistake.

And it’s a mistake that has little if anything to do with the nomination of John Brennan as CIA Director (although having House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell somewhat surprisingly announce that he was opposing cloture on the eventual vote is not going to help Barack Obama any).  It’s also a mistake that has less than you think to do with the question of drone strikes on American citizens themselves, although the administration’s inexplicable unwillingness to simply lie if that’s what it would have taken to shut Senator Rand Paul up is almost… startling. I know that this sounds cynical – but then, I suspect that the real reason that Barack Obama didn’t concede the point is that he was and is fundamentally unwilling to give any Republican a non-reciprocated win at this point.  Paul wanted the point conceded that badly? – Then NO!  Rand Paul doesn’t get it conceded.

So there. Continue reading Barack Obama’s basic filibuster mistake.

Well, the two SOTU responses helped redeem the night.

Not much need for analysis on this one, but generally: Marco Rubio’s speech was solid, well thought-out, and aside from that water bobble thing (which he smartly made fun of himself, afterward) on-key.  Rubio is good at this sort of thing, which is one major reason why the grassroots went with him early in 2010.  As for Rand Paul… I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that the man is a sarcastic so-and-so.  Which was, in its way, a great response to Barack Obama’s opinions, which are far too often quite profoundly silly.

I’m sure that people are going to try to mock the Rubio water thing, but I wouldn’t sweat it too much.  God knows that it’s not like Obama’s rhetorical gifts are going to overshadow it, based on THIS SotU address.  That was… boring.  Horribly, horribly boring.  Even by Obama standards.

Update on the US government’s 2011 attack on Gibson Guitars.

To refresh your memory: the government decided that the Gibson Guitar company was in violation of Indian law (which, thanks to something called the Lacey Act, meant that they had the right to butt in), so they went and raided Gibson’s factory and confiscated a half-million dollars’ worth of raw materials.  Happened back in August 2011, and guess what?  The feds still haven’t pressed charges!

But have the feds returned the stuff that they took?  Doesn’t look that way; also, don’t be absurd. Continue reading Update on the US government’s 2011 attack on Gibson Guitars.

#rsrh One last point on the TSA/Rand Paul thing.

With regard to yesterday’s TSA/Rand Paul flap, Ric Locke notes something important here:

Senators are not “anybody else”, they’re Congresscritters. Congresscritters are important, and have that privilege in the Constitution, because they’re Congresscritters. The Framers put the requirement in because they knew history, particularly the events surrounding the English Revolution and Restoration. There’s a long history of rulers getting a free hand by preventing Parliament from meeting, and although there’s no way for Law to stand in the way of that in a practical sense, with that provision as Law of the Land Teh Protector at least can’t argue that the tactic is legal.

There are certain things that I take a hard, will not cross, I don’t care if you like it or not, line on: birthright citizenship, money in politics, “shall issue” rather than “may issue” firearm licensing, and getting in the way of Congressmen going to and fro work.  In each case it’s all based on purely selfish motives:

  • I do not want Congress to be able to declare that somebody born in this country isn’t a citizen after all, because a Congress that can do that can later decide that I don’t qualify, either.  Preventing even the chance of that happening to me is worth any number of Mexican-American anchor babies, frankly.
  • I do not want Congress to be able to define who can and cannot spend money to promote a political cause, because they have already used that power to try to shut me up.  I decline to be shut up, and I want as many opportunities to talk as possible.  If that means Super-PACs and corporate funding of elections, fine by me.
  • I do not want anybody deciding for me what the Second Amendment means or does not mean.  The existing track record of people with political power who also do not like guns stinks.
  • And I do not want there to be a precedent that a sober, peacefully progressing federal legislator on his way back to Washington can be stopped, impeded, harassed, discommoded, or hindered in any way, shape or form.  As Ric notes, there’s a long historical record of how that precedent, once set, can be used for scurrilous ends.

Continue reading #rsrh One last point on the TSA/Rand Paul thing.

Update on the Rand Paul/TSA thing.

The Daily Caller reports that Senator Rand Paul told them that:

  • He was put in a cubicle and told not to leave for two hours:
  • That for an hour and a half he was told that he would have to submit to a pat-down;
  • That eventually Senator Paul was told that he would not have to submit to a pat-down, and was in fact cleared to fly without one;
  • And that he does not believe that the incident was politically motivated.

Continue reading Update on the Rand Paul/TSA thing.

Federal security forces ‘detain’ prominent opposition legislator…

…on his way to a mass anti-administration rally. 

The Daily Caller reports: the short version is, the TSA in Nashville detained Senator Rand Paul (R, KY) after their body scanner went on the fritz and the Senator refused to submit to a full-body pat-down. Senator Paul was scheduled to speak to March for Life this morning as part of their anniversary rally against Roe v. Wade: it’s now an open question whether he’s going to be able to, now.  As somebody noted to me privately: if this was any other Senator you could reasonably expect grandstanding, but Senator Paul is precisely the sort of person who will stubbornly force the TSA to embarrass itself by detaining a Senator on a matter of personal liberty.  Particularly since Senator Paul’s ongoing opposition to full-body pat-downs is quite well known.

In other words: this is what civil disobedience looks like.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: By the way?  As ABC News is actually pointing out, Senators have the following Constitutionally enumerated right: “They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same;”(Article I, Section 6).  Senate’s in session today; so let’s see, once and for all, whether Harry Reid’s a true Senator, or just this administration’s lap dog…

#rsrh Cutting the deficit.

So Senator Rand Paul (R, KY) wants to cut 500 billion dollars from the deficit.  And people are freaking out about it, because there’s stuff on his list that people don’t want to cut.  Everybody’s got something on that list that they don’t want cut, including me.  Here’s the problem, though: if we don’t start cutting now – because that half a trillion bucks is only 1/3rd of our current yearly deficit – when we start cutting later it’s going to hurt worse.  And it’s not going to be a straight-line progression kind of hurting worse; there is a curve, and it’s upward.  And yet… knowing all of this, I still blanch at the thought of cutting, say, aid to Israel.

And that’s why it’s so hard to cut spending.

Chris Matthews brings DOOM unto Jack Conway.

Yes. That Chris Matthews. Matthews apparently did not personally approve of the way that Jack Conway smeared Rand Paul with a recent scurrilous ad, and so took the opportunity to smack Conway around for over seven minutes of pretty much relentless, aggressive interviewing.

Yes, again: that Chris Matthews. As I remarked just now on Twitter, watching this was like watching Jack Conway get mauled by a Teletubbie.

H/T: Erick Erickson, on Twitter.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Rand Paul for Senate.

PPS: I believe that the DSCC may now start transferring money out of that race with a clear conscience.