Here’s a challenge for your Republican friends. Ask them to describe Rand Paul’s position on drones. After all, he’s likely to be on their presidential primary ballot in 2016, so they should be aware of who he is and what he’s up to. But I’m fairly certain they’ll fail the challenge because I don’t believe Rand Paul even knows what Rand Paul’s position is. He’s a befuddled, confused, cynical man and any time the word “drone” is mentioned in a headline, Paul scrambles to the next nearest cable news camera to blurt out something that sounds vaguely like a position but which ultimately contradicts something else he’s said on the topic.
On Sunday, he predictably criticized the president’s speech on drones, saying, “It’s not good enough to us that [the president’s] not using a power. We want him to assert that he doesn’t have the power.” He continued, “There still is a question in my mind, of what he thinks due process is. Due process to most of us is a court of law, it’s a trial by jury, and right now their process is him looking at some flashcards, and a Power Point presentation on Terror Tuesdays in the White House. For a lot of us, that’s not really due process.” Haha! Zinger!
Clearly, the anti-drone pro-due process cool-hippie-uncle version of Rand Paul showed up for the interview with ABC’s Martha Radditz. He also completely overlooked the historical nature of the speech, specifically the president’s declaration that he’ll seek to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. If Paul was at all interested in rolling back the president’s authority to use drones in the war on terror, he would’ve expressed his support and perhaps assistance in ending the war on terror and repealing the AUMF. Paul has already attempted to repeal the 2003 AUMF. Why not the other one? Again, it’s likely because Rand Paul doesn’t know where he stands on the issue and especially the larger question of the war on terrorism.
Here’s just a sampling of his shifting position on drones and what the president can and can’t do with them.
Loves drones: In an editorial for The Washington Times, Rand Paul wrote: “Border security, including drones, satellite and physical barriers, vigilant deportation of criminals and increased patrols would begin immediately and would be assessed at the end of one year by an investigator general from the Government Accountability Office.” So he supported using drones as a method of border patrol, presumably the drones would be flown partially over American soil.
Loves drones: He also praised the efficacy of targeted drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan.
Hates drones: Then again, he filibustered the nomination of John Brennan over the administration’s use of drones, subsequently gaining the admiration and hashtag hero-worship of the anti-Obama left.
Loves drones: He supported the use of a drone in the killing of American-born enemy combatant Anwar Al-Awlaki, “With [Anwar al-Awlaki], I think there is evidence he was a traitor. I didn’t have a lot of sympathy for him being killed.”
Hates drones: Yet on Sunday he said, “If you are conspiring to attack America and you are a traitor, I would try you for treason.”
Likes drones AND hates drones: During his anti-drone filibuster, he opened up a loophole for killing American citizens while they’re “eating dinner, in America” as long as there are “some rules.”
Likes drones: Prior to the filibuster, he told the National Journal, “I’m not against the technology; I just think it needs to be used properly.”
Hates drones: On the other hand, he introduced legislation titled “A Bill to Prohibit the Use of Drones to Kill Citizens of the U.S. Within the U.S.”
Looooooves drones big time XOXOXOX: Last month he declared, “…I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and 50 dollars in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him, but it’s different if they want to come fly over your hot tub, or your yard just because they want to do surveillance on everyone, and they want to watch your activities.”
Hates drones: Hours after delivering the previous statement, he said, “Armed drones should not be used in normal crime situations. They only may only be considered in extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat.”
Remember when Rand Paul’s party unfairly tagged John Kerry with the lifelong reputation for being a flip-flopper because he merely described the process of voting against an otherwise good bill because it became festooned with terrible amendments?
Yeah. That was awesome.
I’ve reached the conclusion that Rand Paul holds the same position on every issue: “Whatever gets maximum attention for Rand Paul.” Someone who’s this opportunistic and gelatinous on serious issues has a heaping crapload of nerve questioning the president’s moral authority to lead the nation, as he did on Sunday. Rand Paul wants to be president one of these days and if there’s anything that undermines the moral authority to lead it’s taking wildly different positions on the same issue based on which way the wind is blowing.
As I’ve noted before, it’s no wonder so many Republican voters are out of their gourds — they’re being whipped around on a psychopolitical Tilt-A-Whirl controlled by sociopaths like Rand Paul, Reince Priebus and Mitch McConnell. They’re hopscotching from one scandal to another — each one assuming Watergate proportions only to be abandoned days later. Say nothing of the fact that each scandal has a far more serious ancestor in the Bush administration, and so Republicans who endorsed every Bush trespass have suddenly become reflexive, unknowing, unthinking critics of scandals that were perpetrated under Bush in far more serious and damaging ways (the four fatalities of Benghazi versus the four-thousand casualties of Iraq, or the two-thousand casualties of 9/11, to name two examples).
Rand Paul’s popularity is on the rise, mainly because he represents the very same shallow, shifty, soulless, flip-floppy, cynical, careerist disease that’s flummoxing the broader Republican Party.