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Will Rand Paul’s Position on NSA Hurt His Chances?

Will Rand Paul’s Position on NSA Hurt His Chances?

Bucking the establishment on the Patriot Act.

Rand Paul inhabits a unique position in the Republican Party. While he’s conservative on some issues, his Libertarian views on others put him at odds with the establishment.

His recent filibuster on the Patriot Act is a prime example.

Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard voiced his thoughts on the issue in an appearance on ABC News Sunday. I’m not sure this is a fair line of attack.

Evan McMurry of Mediaite has the story:

Kristol: Liberal Democrats Had Rand Paul’s Policies Before He Did

A This Week panel noted that Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) #standswithRand (sigh) over the NSA’s bulk collection of communications data and criminal justice reform, causing Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol to call for a point of clarification.

“That’s not fair to Keith,” Kristol said. “Rand stands with Keith. Seriously. They had these positions first. Rand Paul has decided that he wants to be a liberal Democrat, undercut necessary intelligence collection and weaken law enforcement services, and Rand Paul thinks that’s going to sell in the Republican primary.

Here’s the video:

Rest assured that the issue of data collection for national security purposes will come up in the Republican primary debates and every candidate will be asked about it.

As far as the senate goes, Andrew C. McCarthy of National Review recently explained how this all came to pass:

Why National-Security Republicans Lost the Patriot Act Debate

The NSA doesn’t even know your name.

But you probably don’t know that. It is amazing how little the public has learned from the debate the national-security Right has lost — not is losing but has lost — over the National Security Agency’s “metadata” program.

The information the NSA has collected in bulk from telecommunication-service providers does not include the names of telephone subscribers. They don’t know who you are. It does not include addresses. They don’t know where you are.

Most people still do not know this, which reflects the power of the “domestic spying” canard peddled by Rand Paul’s anti-government extremists and Baby-Boom lefties who apparently still think it’s 1974. The latter camp includes a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit federal appeals court in New York, whose ruling that the NSA program is illegal begins with this astonishing claim: “In the early 1970s, in a climate not altogether unlike today’s, the intelligence-gathering and surveillance activities of the NSA, the FBI, and the CIA came under public scrutiny.”

Featured image via YouTube.


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casualobserver | May 26, 2015 at 7:42 am

It’s funny how both sides equally use and condemn the “smoking gun” defense. Hillary supporters have nothing else to defend her deletion of emails or vast collection of contributions. And her detractors say it isn’t a valid defense. Now we’ve got supports of the existing surveillance programs who use the “no smoking gun” defense to criticize people like Rand Paul who argue about the potential and not known misuse. I don’t have very strong convictions on this one, but it seems a little silly to use the defense of no smoking gun when we can recently point to all kinds of abuses of information and political motivations for abuses by unelected bureaucrats.

    Makes me wonder about the spinelessness of Republican ‘leadership’ and their abject failure to even attempt to fulfill campaign promises. Perhaps the NSA has already been weaponized against the republic.

legalizehazing | May 26, 2015 at 7:43 am

Pretend like he lost it. This is the kind of thing independents like and democrats can appreciate. The Tea Partiers/Libertarians LOVE it. They’re not even fooling themselves. They don’t believe it.

Additionally Rand Paul has always had these beliefs.

They are coming off as wrinkly old muppets that just don’t get it. The base is tired of seeing our principles eroded. “there’s no evidence the metadata actually consists of recordings. They just have who called who, when, where both parties where, and how long the conversation was.” This whole argument about the NDA doesn’t know you exist is the LOSER. They’re sidestepping the whole point and acting like there addressing it. The point is even if that were the case, IT. IS. STILL. A. VIOLATION. OF. OUR. RIGHTS. They’re acting like we’re dumb. Leave that for the Dems.

Further, Republicans have been complaining about centralized power and the slippery slope of individual rights erosion. For Gods sake we’ve been dealing with the discretionary extra legislative powers of the IRS, EPA, etc etc etc since Obama came into office. Rand Paul is simply not being a spineless coward and hypocrite. Rand is Standing for our rights. And he’s right that we can do this with individual warrants.

Side legal note: because corporations are an individual, is that why legally they can supena the information?

    Skookum in reply to legalizehazing. | May 26, 2015 at 10:36 am

    How can it be a violation of our rights for the government to ask for our telephone metadata if it is just fine for the phone companies to have such metadata? Clearly, it is not a violation of our privacy that such metadata exist, because I hear no one making that argument, and we all know that our phone company and our internet service provider keep track of what numbers we call and what websites we visit. If that information were private, society would have demanded long ago that such info not be collected by anyone, whether service provider or government, in the absence of a warrant.

    Bottom line: No one has a reasonable expectation of privacy as to one’s whereabouts upon making a phone call, logging onto the internet, or leaving one’s home.

      Paul in reply to Skookum. | May 26, 2015 at 10:56 am

      Huh? You enter into a contractual agreement with your phone/internet provider. They MUST have access to that data in order to provide you the service, and the terms of that contract specify the measures they must take (or not) to keep your private information private.

      That is an entirely different thing than wholesale hoovering of all data by the government so that apparatchiks such as Lois Lerner can sort through it and use it to persecute those that they don’t like.

FrankNatoli | May 26, 2015 at 8:04 am
Andrew McCarthy documents, see link above, how Rand Paul got it dead wrong. For that reason, Paul’s position should hurt Paul badly. Whether the voter bothers to become informed is another matter.

    casualobserver in reply to FrankNatoli. | May 26, 2015 at 9:19 am

    I find the repeated arguments by supporters that the program is purely and perfectly anonymous to be overly simplified. If that were true, then how would the surveillance effort ever get to the next step? If all that could be gleaned from this anonymous and clean metadata was just that one phone in the U.S. contacted another phone outside of the U.S. at certain times, what good is it?

    And to say that metadata does not include personally identifiable information is almost laughable. Even if true, McCarthy proceeds to prove how unimportant it is by pointing to the use of the phone book or online means to identify the user.

    I am in favor of a lot of the surveillance efforts. But without more explicit protections, I feel people like Paul are not crazy in taking their position. Given what we know about the politicizing of any number of bureaucracies, why should we feel so confident that some nefarious operative might not get access in any number of ways that don’t require a Snowden level action? Not hard to imagine the value of that information during political campaigns. Collect it. But protect access and use in a way more consistent with individual rights.

      FrankNatoli in reply to casualobserver. | May 26, 2015 at 10:39 am

      “how would the surveillance effort ever get to the next step?”
      If you read McCarthy’s article, you would have read the answer to your question, i.e., it would be necessary for law enforcement to then apply to the courts for additional information.
      “Collect it.”
      It would appear you and McCarthy [and me] are in complete agreement on that score.
      “But protect access and use in a way more consistent with individual rights.”
      Agreed. And what is the evidence that the collected raw data is used in violation of individual rights?

        casualobserver in reply to FrankNatoli. | May 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm

        The language in the Patriot Act and any amendments and extensions needs to be more explicit. After all, a federal appeals court ruled earlier this year that the current activity is not authorized by current language in the legislation. The “smoking gun” defense is not adequate for me. Just because something hasn’t happened or isn’t known to the public (yet), is not a reason to worry less about individual rights. In this way I agree with libertarians – if a private company violates my rights or the rights of many, the remedy is available. If the government does it via the NSA or any other organization, there is little remedy. My way of stating it: A company might pay through the nose if they aren’t diligent in protecting information. A bureaucrat can not only hide behind the law to evade or avoid discovery (e.g. national security interests, etc.), they can hide behind the law to avoid any consequences. Marry political motivation with this kind of pseudo-immunity and you have a dangerous cocktail.

    Lib.R.tee in reply to FrankNatoli. | May 26, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Why does Rand Paul say our phone calls are none of the government’s business? It is only a click to link a phone number with name, address, phone location, recent credit card purchases, social media posts etc etc. Andrew McCarthy is disingenuous to say the NSA doesn’t know your name. They already have the other stuff in another database and linking your phone data to your profile is not difficult.

    Rand Paul is “on target” in trying to get this unconstitutional government over reach stopped.

Kristol is just angry that Rand is not a boot licking SHILL for the chamber of commerce party, like he is. The country club party would be happy with Hitlery as Prez so they could reap the benefits of unfettered ILLEGAL immigration into this country and the sub-minimum wages it would bring. If Paul, Cruz, Perry or any other “conservative” were to gain the nomination, I would expect Kristol and his ilk to promote Hitlery to save them MONEY!

    Skookum in reply to Fiftycaltx. | May 26, 2015 at 10:44 am

    I refuse to stand with Rand on his pro-illegal immigration position. Any dirt bag who is willing to surrender our national sovereignty to foreign tax-sucking scum obviously does not give a damn about my personal liberties.

Will it “hurt his chances”? Chances at what? He will only make noise and then when pushed hard enough, he will turn and pretty much run against himself. That is the mark of a present day libertarian. He needs no opponent, just wait and he will be his own opponent. Paul is no doubt a good man, but he will evaporate by his own hand.

Will it hurt his chances of the GOP nomination?

Quite the opposite.

His outspoken position on issues like this one are the only reason he isn’t being lumped in with Pataki and Christy and Perry as candidates without even a chance at the VP nod.

He’s not going to be the Presidential nominee, but if the NSA/big government/federalize the police/rioting stuff is major news for all next year, Paul has a shot at the VP slot precisely because he’s staked his claim on those issues.