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A Tale of Two Senators

Posted by on March 9, 2013
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Guest Commentary by Mike Lavengood

Senator Rand PaulIn 2008, I consciously convinced myself that John McCain was “conservative enough,”  just so I could vote for him and not feel bad about my choices. The fact is that, with unbelievable frequency, John McCain makes the most outrageous choices, in word and in deed, of any Republican I know.

Before you attack me, please know that I do respect Sen. McCain’s incomparable sacrifice in uniform. I respect the service of all who served in uniform while I was cozy and safe in my dorm room in Clifton. I guess that must include John Murtha and John Kerry. Crap.

So, while the senior senator from Arizona spent every waking moment of the last 36 hours trashing Rand Paul for doing a lot of things that Rand Paul didn’t do, I have convinced myself anew: John McCain is more than embarrassing. He is possibly the biggest threat to the conservative movement on Capitol Hill because he saves his best work for the defeat of the Republican Party. Do you think he might have offered a toast to the President during that extravagant, made for MSNBC, Progressive dinner that Senator Paul completely upstaged? I wonder how many snuck away from the table to catch CNN in the bar.

If McCain had skipped dessert and listened to what Rand Paul actually said, he might have had a clue. It wasn’t about the President’s nominee. Over thirteen hours, Senator Paul very clearly communicated his question about a hundred times. Since John McCain still doesn’t understand, I will try to explain.

A couple of months ago, Paul wrote a letter to the Attorney General of the United States, asking for a legal opinion: “Can the president order a drone strike against an American citizen on American soil?” Easy question? No nuance? Some say it was silly to ask. Receiving no response, Paul later had the opportunity to ask Eric Holder the same thing, in the Senate chambers, on camera. Eric Holder confidently and firmly stated, on the record, that the United States had never made such a drone strike, nor did it have any intention to do so.

But he didn’t answer the question.

I was reminded of the press conference where a tough reporter asked the “trap” question, “What is the capital of Israel?”  But Carney is a most shrewd political animal. Carney knows, better than you and I, the innumerable contributions made to this society and this country’s greatness by the Palestinians, who refuse to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Jay Carney is very mindful of the sensitive nature of the Palestinian people. If you didn’t watch it over and over again, as I did, you can see it here in 51 seconds:
Carney laughed at the absurdity. Carney was annoyed at the indignity. But he didn’t answer the question.

So let McCain be McCain. The proud State of Arizona deserves better. While the waiter was clearing away the carcasses of the prawns at McCain’s table, one American had the temerity to say to this administration:
“Answer the damned question!”
By the time Rand Paul had breakfast the next morning, he also had his answer. BRAVO, Senator Paul! It is sad that it takes such a heroic effort to get this administration to confirm basic constitutional protections. I hadn’t seen it done in quite a while. BRAVO!
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