The GOP should forget about Chris Christie and his heap of troubles. Ladies and gentlemen of the Republican Party, I give you your 2016 Presidential candidate: Senator Rand Paul.
Regular readers of Newsslinger know that I am convinced that the path to victory for Republicans in the midterms this year as well as in the general election in 2016 is to champion the core values that defined American conservatism for much of its existence, including favoring smaller government, a less bellicose foreign policy, and the protection of privacy for American citizens.
The Republican establishment, of course, wants none of these. Any candidate of which both Karl Rove and the Chamber of Commerce approve is guaranteed to prefer the same kind of policies we saw during the W. years, which meant more wars, a larger federal government, and fewer privacy rights. In other words, they are sure to demand policies very similar to those favored by the Democratic party. A GOP presidential candidate who is largely indistinguishable from the Democratic presidential candidate in is doomed to lose the election. Witness McCain 2008, Romney 2012, and so on. Why would Americans want a watered-down version of a war-mongering, Bill of Rights-shredding, Big Brother-loving Democratic president when they can have the real thing?
Here is Governor Christie on civil liberties back in July of 2013, following a House vote that only narrowly prevented a reduction in funding for the NSA’ phone records collection program:
“As a former prosecutor who was appointed by President George W. Bush on Sept. 10, 2001, I just want us to be really cautious, because this strain of libertarianism that’s going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought.”
Christie followed up by rejecting debates concerning the proper balance between national security and privacy as being “esoteric” and specifically criticizing Rand Paul and others who are concerned about American constitutional liberties.
On the other hand, today, January 17th, 2014, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul appeared on CNN to discuss Obama’s earlier speech about the NSA. The president proposed tepid reforms to the existing NSA surveillance system such as requiring that metadata be stored by an entity other than the US government (meaning the private sector, of course) and that a panel of “independent advocates” be included on the secret FISA court to share a different perspective when “significant cases” are involved. Rand Paul expressed his disappointment with the President’s proposals and correctly pointed out that they amount to “the same unconstitutional program with a new configuration.”
The difference between the two wings of the Republican party could not be starker. New York Representative Peter King stated that Paul had “done a real national disservice by treating the NSA as an enemy.”
I would argue that Peter King and President Obama have done a real national disservice by treating the American citizens like so many subjects. Rand Paul reminded the eternally wide-eyed and benevolently clueless Wolf Blitzer that one of the catalysts for the Revolutionary War was colonial outrage over the general warrants employed by the British in searching the homes and papers of American colonists, and how the desire to prevent future abuse of this sort led to the Founding Fathers’ establishment of the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
We have yet to hear what Governor Christie thinks about the President’s proposals. Here is something else he said back in 2013 following the Snowden disclosures:
“I think what we as a country have to decide is: Do we have amnesia? Because I don’t,” he said. “And I remember what we felt like on Sept. 12, 2001.”
September 11th has been the last refuge of all scoundrels for over 12 years now.
Imagine the intrusiveness of the modern NSA wedded to the bullying and vengeful temperament of a Chris Christie. Does that sound appealing?
Of course not, and it won’t be appealing to the millions of undecided voters choosing between Christie and Clinton. It might even get them to pull that D lever a little more quickly. Better the devil you know…
Say what you will about Rand Paul, but his credentials as a true conservative are impeccable. If he can jettison his bigoted peers in the Tea Party and give to Americans of all colors, creeds, and sexual preferences a vision of America characterized by personal privacy, small government, and peaceful foreign relations, he will present a true alternative to the Roving big-government bullies. I applaud the Senator for his consistency and his willingness to oppose those in high places when their policies conflict with his principles. Governor Christie was fun to fantasize about for a little while, but if conservatives want to get serious about electoral victory, they should listen to Rand Paul closely. He knows what he’s talking about. (Back in 2013 he also noted that Governor Christie doesn’t appear to know what “esoteric” means.)
Incidentally, the scandal-ridden Chris Christie should be a champion of at least one part of the Bill of Rights: the 5th Amendment! He’s going to need it.
Thomas Davis – NEWSslinger Contributor