Desperate is the Democratic Party establishment to paint Rand Paul as just another right-winged radical. I just read probably the worst article I’ve ever read in “The Nation”, a liberal magazine I generally respect. Unlike the more independent, free-thinking, left of center writing I normally expect from them, this particular article by Bob and Barbara Dreyfuss could have been written by Rachel Madcow herself. Most of it was about the Tea Party in general, but a brief but all too important mention of Rand Paul really raised a red flag for me. It certainly plays into the hands of the leftist establishment and their fear of a Rand Paul’s likely 2016 Presidential bid. Following bitter disappointment by civil libertarians in Obama, the Tea Party movement emerged in 2010. Rand Paul rode that wave of libertarian flavored rightism into the Senate. Unfortunately, more unscrupulous neocons also jumped on the bandwagon, such as Marco Rubio and Joe Miller, along with some kooks such as “not a witch” Christine O’Donnell and the red-bater Allen West. Though the Tea Party won many victories in 2010, these neocon/kooky hijackers of the movement have dragged the name “Tea Party” through the mud, and much of that mud has splattered on the more principled candidates, including Rand Paul.
However, 2010 taught us all something, something that has rattled the establishments of both dominant parties. They learned it when Obama won in 2008 on a largely anti-war, anti-Wall Street, and pro-civil liberty platform; and they learned it again in 2010. The Tea Party, the true Tea Party, shared many of these same values as Obama’s 2008 platform – they were the other side of the same coin. The lesson learned in 2008 and 2010 alike is that the American people are sick of endless wars, endless debt, Wall Street bailouts, corporate welfare, and intrusive government. Due to Obama’s party affiliation he’s gotten a free pass from the liberal grassroots. As Obama continues the wars according to Bush’s timeline, the anti-war protestors are nowhere to be found. As Obama tramples our civil liberties, the left is deafeningly silent, if not actually favorable to the very same kinds of policies for which they ridiculed Bush. Now, considering all that, Rand Paul has a real shot at the White House. The mainstream left, if they want the next President to have a (D) next to his/her name, must stop Rand by any means necessary – preferably for them in the GOP Primaries. It occurred to me long ago that they would do this by clumping him in with the Tea Party label, and painting him as just far, far right…right of Dick Cheney. I was very disappointed to see the aforementioned article in “The Nation” pushing this establishment agenda. They even clumped him in the same category with the neocon Rubio. Rubio’s true colors are best explained by Jack Hunter (*here and here).
Now I will explain why Rand is not just another right-winged lunatic. Rand has on occasion used the faulty label “socialism” against political opponents I admit, but unlike mainstream Republicans, he does so more even-handedly, such as by referring to corporate bailouts as “socialism for the rich”. Rand’s cautious, almost non-interventionist foreign policy actually puts him, on this issue, far left of Hilary Clinton, and a little left of Obama. Rand Paul opposed sanctions on Iran, and opposed the invasion of Libya, the possible invasion of Syria, and has consistently opposed the War in Iraq. On Iraq, at times the only way you could tell him apart from Michael Moore is that Rand Paul’s arguments were actually feasible. If the Dreyfuss’s were as principled as most “The Nation” writers, they’d at least acknowledge some common ground with Rand on this, and further acknowledge that the less radical, more establishment Republicans who they seem to think are more palatable – well they are clearly less palatable on foreign policy, as well as civil liberties. Many of “The Nation’s” articles have stood up for our civil liberties very consistently often at odds with the Democratic Party establishment, as can be seen in my links below, and (here). Rand Paul is only 1 of 8 (out of the total 100) who was principled enough to vote “Nay” on the NDAA of 2012, which gives the President the power, through the Dep. Of Justice, to arrest and indefinitely detain “terrorists” without trial. But who gets to decide who is a terrorist? Well, it would consequently fall on the President, since he is the Chief Executive of the law. This kind of raw, dictatorial power is absolutely appalling, and it is even more appalling that an otherwise party-divided, obstructionist, “do-nothing” congress would act so decisively to erode our civil liberties. What did the Dreyfuss’s have to say about it? ….(hear the cricket sounds?).
For the left and the right to stop Rand, they must paint him as a “radical right winged tea-bagger”, and despite the homophobic slur in that label, I expect no less from the establishment left. I just hope that “The Nation”, despite this one awful article, will continue to rise above the pettiness, and give Rand credit where it’s due. I don’t expect them to refrain from criticizing him where they clearly disagree with him, of course. But I hope they won’t continue this kind of cherry-picking and lies by omission.
Original article by “The Nation”:
Several examples of The Nation’s better work:
I love this article! It exposes the hostility of growing elements on the left towards more genuine liberal principles:
This “The Nation” article gives Rand SOME credit on the issue of voter fraud:
“The Nation”, John Nichols here gives Rand credit for his position on military spending:
A warning against the NDAA of 2012 weeks before it was signed:
*For the record, I do not agree with Hunter’s use of the “liberal” label here, but his points are otherwise spot on.