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Patriot Acts: The Constitution and @RandPaul

Patriot Acts: The Constitution and @RandPaul

Why is sticking up for the Constitution this lonely? So let me get this straight, the same people who argued that health care was “too much government” and Cliven Bundy was an anti-government folk hero are pissed at Rand Paul?  And Fox News and the Republican establishment just can’t stand the fact that some elected official keeps pestering everyone by daring to bring up the Constitution.  

You’d think that, at some point, the Constitution has to be more than a prop members of Congress brag about having in their inside jacket pocket.  It does in fact have to be more than something that is mentioned occasionally in speeches.  Whatever the case, what’s the point of saying you believe in the tenants of something that you’re not willing to take action to fight for?  

What really went on yesterday in the Senate is that Rand Paul is an annoying pain in the ass to any member of Congress who fancies themselves a “patriot” at election time only to recoil when a standard for that “patriotism” is set in real time.  But the bar is only high if you have trouble actually reading the Constitution.  Every member of Congress swears to “support and defend” it, but for some in a group of 533 people who have grown accustomed to flying in and out of National Airport with close to zero work product, this basic ask has become vexing.  It’s with that backdrop that Rand Paul’s fight against the Patriot Act has become inconvenient.

Fox News recently left out Sen. Paul from its polls and is now trying hard to pretend he doesn’t exist. Fox’s “program error” is consistent with how they treat any person they can’t win an argument with. After a few members of Congress on the right and left began asking former Attorney General Eric Holder whether it’s Constitutional to kill an American citizen on American soil via a drone, there was plenty of reason to have arguments about the Patriot Act. 

Rand Paul and others have been talking about how the Patriot Act is a violation of the Constitution for years.  Now Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says Paul is loudly against the law so he can fundraise. Because McCain never held up the Senate while running for the presidency.  Someone call Trent Lott on that one.

Last night Sen. Paul was asked why he didn’t attend a meeting with fellow Republicans yesterday on the Patriot Act.  Something that reportedly ticked off his fellow colleagues. 

“You may have noticed out there that there was a little bit of tension on the Senate floor and I didn’t think it was going to be that collegial,” Sen. Paul told reporters last night after walking off the Senate floor after his Senate remarks on the Patriot Act.  Given how McCain spoke to Paul on the Senate floor yesterday, he was probably right.

You can bet when you see unexpected political alliances — such as Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Justin Amash (D-MI), the ACLU and Rand Paul — that there’s an important principle in need of active protection.  In Congress what it comes down to is: Who is ballsy enough to actually take action to protect the principle?