Contrary to the media, the risk for Rand Paul would be to cave, not to hold firm.
Politico.com ran an interesting article yesterday: “The moment Rand Paul has been waiting for.”
What concerns me about the story shows up in the teaser line: “He plans to force the expiration of a surveillance law he’s been railing against for years — but the political risks are enormous.”
No they are not. Not for Rand Paul.
Rand Paul has been talking against the Patriot Act and against the unconstitutional (and recently ruled illegal) NSA domestic spying for years. That is how he is campaigning and it is why he says he wants to be President. It is the reason he gives to voters that they should choose him over HillJebary.
So what would happen if Rand Paul caved and allowed the Patriot Act to pass or allowed it to become worse by authorizing the NSA bulk data collection that courts have ruled was never originally authorized by the Patriot Act? He would lose all support and the entire reason for his bid for the Presidency would be lost.
So where is the risk? Here’s Politico’s answer:
Even though a majority in both parties oppose his position to kill the PATRIOT Act outright, Paul is poised Sunday to do something that once seemed unthinkable: Force at least a brief expiration of a law that had just one dissenting Senate vote in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Such a move would make him a hero of his supporters who fear the reach of government into their lives — but could prompt a sharp backlash from the intelligence community and reignite criticism from his 2016 rivals that the libertarian-minded freshman is unfit to be commander-in-chief.
Excuse me but if we trusted those people we wouldn’t be opposed to their spying in the first place. The Presidency isn’t bestowed by “the intelligence community” on the candidate they favor, is it? (Do we really want to know the answer to that question?) Rand Paul needs a majority of the electoral college votes.
Opposition from “the intelligence community” might actually be a free campaign on his behalf. The angrier we see the hawks getting, the more reason we have to trust that Rand Paul is who he says he is.
“I don’t know who Sen. Paul listens to,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “It certainly isn’t the same people I listen to.”
Thank God for that!
But how can it be that the vast majority in our entire Senate doesn’t care at all about what American voters want?
Consider this news from the Guardian,
Sixty percent of likely voters believe the Patriot Act ought to be modified, against 34% that favor its retention in its current form. The NSA uses Section 215 of the Patriot Act as the legal basis for its daily collection of all Americans’ phone data, as the Guardian revealed in June 2013 thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden, a practice that a federal appeals court deemed illegal on 7 May.
Opposition to reauthorizing the Patriot Act without modification cuts against a bill by the GOP Senate leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The poll found 58% of Republicans favor modification, the subject of a rival bipartisan bill that recently passed the House, with only 36% of them favoring retention. Self-identified “very conservative” voters favor modification by a 59% to 34% margin.
The margins for Democrats are similar to those for Republicans. Independent voters, however, are even less enthusiastic about mass domestic surveillance: 71% want the Patriot Act modified, versus 22% who favor keeping it as it is, which pollster Greg Strimple called “intense”.
And yet it is a foregone conclusion that, if Rand Paul forces the Patriot Act to expire, the Senate will re-create it, including authorizing the NSA spying that the courts ruled was illegal and unauthorized. These people have no concern for what their constituents want.
They are whores for the security contractors and for the thrill of operating illegal, unconstitutional powers.
The Senate should care more about what the American people want than the fact that tax-fed security “experts” want more power and money.