Friday, March 8, 2013

Last Call

And Sen. Rand Paul shows his true colors as he tries to fundraise off his filibuster attempt, loading his letters full of lies.  David Corn catches him red-handed.

Though foes of drones on the right and left cheered Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster this week, with the tea partier delaying confirmation of CIA director John Brennan for a day, Paul's rant targeted a nonexistent dispute: whether or not Obama administration officials believed they could use drones (or other weapons) to kill American citizens within the borders of the United States without due process. Take away all Paul's hyped-up hysteria—watch out, Jane Fonda!—and he didn't truly disagree with the administration's position that in an extraordinary circumstance, such as an ongoing terrorist attack, the US government can deploy lethal force against evildoers who happen to be American citizens. So why did Paul go ballistic? Here's a clue: The day after he ended one of the longest filibusters in US history, he tried to cash in on his stunt by zapping out a fundamentally inaccurate fundraising email for his 2016 reelection campaign.

How bad was it?  Pretty awful:

So I stood for thirteen-straight hours to send a message to the Obama administration, I will do everything in my power to fight their attempts to ignore the Constitution!

Millions of Americans chose to stand with me and put President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and Congress in the spotlight...

And the good news is, it worked!

Just hours ago, I received a letter from Attorney General Holder declaring the President DOES NOT have the authority to use drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil.

Patriot, this shows what we can do when stand together and fight.

You got it.  Rand Paul is now taking credit for the Obama administration's position. Only one problem:  As Corn points out, Rand Paul agrees with the Obama administration that under an imminent threat situation, the President can indeed do that.

Paul thoroughly mischaracterized Holder's statement for his money-shaking email. The attorney general limited his no-drones declaration to Americans "not engaged in combat." An American participating in a terrorist attack that constitutes an extraordinary circumstance could still end up on the wrong end of a Hellfire missile (with Paul supporting such a development).

Paul did not force a change in Obama administration policy or even a clarification of policy. What Holder said in the second letter was a reiteration of what he said in the first letter that Paul essentially endorsed while filibustering.

But I had to put up with all kinds of "progressive" people this week telling me how principled Rand Paul is.  Maybe it will make them feel better to be suckered into being props for his fundraising for 2016, but I'm pretty sure they don't care because they hate President Obama more than they dislike Rand Paul.

Got news for you:  that doesn't make you a principled progressive, it makes you a stooge.

Oh, and if you need final confirmation you're being played like idiots, behold John Podhoretz:

The lesson: Do interesting, unexpected things and you can highlight issues important to you, advance policy goals you think are critical for the future of the country and elevate your own standing to the level of a national figure.

Be the shiny object for our idiot village media to chase, and you get to be a "serious national leadership figure".  Thanks for playing along, suckers.

Ashley To Ashley, Dust To Dust

Apparently the DSCC has decided that Ashley Judd is a liability in Kentucky, and Michael Bennet and the powers that be on Capitol Hill are moving to get current KY Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes into the race ASAP to face Mitch The Turtle.  Joe Sonka:

The change of heart came after a recent poll the DSCC conducted, but not because it showed Judd was incapable of competing with McConnell, rather that Grimes performed better than Judd and gave Democrats the best chance at victory.

As late as last week, the wheels were already very much in motion at the DSCC in planning a Judd Senate candidacy. While those plans have not been scrapped, there is definitely a re-evaluation happening. Our sources tell LEO that while the DSCC felt that Judd could compete with McConnell, one of Judd’s strongest assets would be her ability to raise money on par with McConnell and tie up Republican campaign spending (both McConnell’s and the NRSC’s) in that race. However, their recent polling suggests the 2014 race is very much winnable, with McConnell so vulnerable that Democrats need to make their priority finding the candidate with the best chance of winning.

Then again, they are not entirely sure at this point that Grimes would even entertain a run against McConnell, as she has plenty of other races in the next three years that she could choose to run in, most of which would not be nearly as difficult as the 2014 Senate race.

As I've said before, this is an empirical opportunity to test the "Better Dems vs More Dems" theory of taking back over Congress.  If Grimes can beat McConnell, even though Judd is far more liberal, is it worth backing Grimes to get rid of Mitch McConnell?

On the other hand, a Democrat who can win a statewide race and still be a viable candidate for Congress is a rare opportunity.  On the gripping hand, Grimes may simply run for Dinosaur Steve's seat as Governor, something in the long run I would much rather have as a Kentucky voter.

We'll see how this shakes out.  If Grimes turns the DSCC down, getting behind Judd may be the way forward.

Big Dog Bites Back On DOMA

In 1996, President Clinton signed the Defense Of Marriage Act into law, preventing the federal government from recognizing any aspect of a same-sex marriage.  Some 17 years later, Big Dog says he did it to prevent an even worse law from going into effect, but he admits that discriminatory DOMA needs to go in a new op-ed for the Washington Post.

When I signed the bill, I included a statement with the admonition that “enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination.” Reading those words today, I know now that, even worse than providing an excuse for discrimination, the law is itself discriminatory. It should be overturned.

We are still a young country, and many of our landmark civil rights decisions are fresh enough that the voices of their champions still echo, even as the world that preceded them becomes less and less familiar. We have yet to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, but a society that denied women the vote would seem to us now not unusual or old-fashioned but alien. I believe that in 2013 DOMA and opposition to marriage equality are vestiges of just such an unfamiliar society.

Americans have been at this sort of a crossroads often enough to recognize the right path. We understand that, while our laws may at times lag behind our best natures, in the end they catch up to our core values. One hundred fifty years ago, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln concluded a message to Congress by posing the very question we face today: “It is not ‘Can any of us imagine better?’ but ‘Can we all do better?’ ”

The answer is of course and always yes. In that spirit, I join with the Obama administration, the petitioner Edith Windsor, and the many other dedicated men and women who have engaged in this struggle for decades in urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

Clinton signed the bill anyway.  I'm glad he's admitting the bill enshrines discrimination into the United States Code, but it's not like he wasn't in a position to veto the damn thing.  I'm not giving him a pass on that, there are a ton of Gingrich-era GOP bills Clinton signed into law that have had long-lasting and painful effects on America (and yes, I'm fully aware that 17 years from now, I'll probably be saying the same thing about Barack Obama.)

Hopefully the Supremes will do the right thing here and fix Clinton's mistake.  But the blame remains at least partially on a Democratic President who should have known better.


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