Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Craziest Republican of the Day: Rand Paul

Tea Party Republican Rand Paul is a libertarian, and on occasion admirably so (like when he opposes the Patriot Act), but it seems that his enthusiasm for liberty is disturbingly selective and comes with an unhealthy dose of typical Republican police-state authoritarianism. As he told Sean Hannity last Friday:

I'm not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they've been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they've been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn't be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that's really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.

That's right, this libertarian, this oh-so-courageous defender of freedom, thinks that you should be put in jail if you attend a political event he doesn't approve of, an event at which "radical" things are said.

Now, despite his claim, he was probably thinking primarily of Islamic "radical political speeches," but whether Islamic or not, define radical.

Does it just mean "promoting the violent overthrow of our government"? But, then, where would the line be drawn? And who would draw it? And don't you think "radical" would come to mean so much more?

And what about the pesky little thing known as the First Amendment?

This would be the thin end of the wedge straight to a slippery slope.

But perhaps this should come as no surprise, As Think Progress notes, Paul actually isn't as much of an advocate of civil liberties as his reputation might suggest:

[A]side from his admirable stance on the Patriot Act, Paul's record shows he's hardly the paragon of civil liberties he claims to be, but rather is "indistinguishable from the rest of the GOP on national security issues," The American Prospect's Adam Serwer noted last year. He's said he will "always fight" to keep GITMO open; has said "[f]oreign terrorists do not deserve the protections of our Constitution"; and has never taken a strong public stance against torture, staying silent most recently after the killing of Osama bin Laden.

"I believe that America can successfully protect itself against potential terrorists without sacrificing civil liberties," his website says. Apparently speech is not a civil liberty.

I guess his libertarianism is a matter of partisan and ideological convenience to him. He is when he is and isn't when he isn't. And when he isn't, as here, he's downright un-American.


The good thing is, if there is any good here, he might just put himself in jail.

Yes, he attended an event at which a radical right-wing militia advocated extreme and treasonous violence -- and yet claims he didn't hear a thing! How convenient.

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