Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Victory for Rand Paul (and the Constitution)

 

This just in from the Washington Examiner:

Attorney General Eric Holder wrote Sen. Rand Paul,R-Ky., to confirm that President Obama does not have the authority to kill an American on U.S. soil in a non-combat situation, Obama’s spokesman announced today.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney quoted from the letter that Holder sent to Paul today. “Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on an American soil,” Holder wrote, per Carney. “The answer is no.”

There, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?

Meanwhile, understandably angry at seeing the Republican Party emerge from its four year defensive crouch–behind Tea Party conservatives no less!– Senators McCain and Graham proferred this mature advice:

McCain, a staunch foreign policy hawk, said Thursday that Paul’s warnings that the U.S. could target “Jane Fonda” or “people in cafes” bring the debate into the “realm of the ridiculous.”

“If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids,” McCain said, adding: “I don’t think what happened yesterday is helpful to the American people.” 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) echoed these criticisms, adding that he was “disappointed” in the 13 Republican Senators who supported Paul’s filibuster last night. 

Hopefully, the Republicans can get back to their comfort zone of quietly losing on optics and substance a full 100 percent of the time.

There are 75 comments.

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  1. Barbara Kidder Inactive

    These are men who will go to their grave, knowing that their opponents will remember them as ‘respectable conservatives’.

    • #1
    • March 7, 2013, at 11:58 AM PST
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  2. J Wesley Inactive

    I hope all this nonsense with the filibuster and those crazy Tea Partiers didn’t interrupt their pleasant dinner with the President.

    • #2
    • March 7, 2013, at 11:59 AM PST
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  3. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    Holder can say it, but I don’t think he really believes the Constitution limits government in any substantive way.

    A translation of McCain, “You damned kids get off my lawn!”

    • #3
    • March 7, 2013, at 11:59 AM PST
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  4. Scott R Member
    Scott RJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    An incredibly stupid move by Holder. He’d already made that clarification earlier. Now he appears to have conceded only in answer to the filibuster.

    It’s akin to a Republican administration promising, in a formal letter responding to a Dem attack, to cease its war on women. Amazingly boneheaded.

    • #4
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:00 AM PST
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  5. Barbara Kidder Inactive
    George Savage
    Bereket Kelile: Obama said he couldn’t refuse to enforce immigration laws and then decided that he won’t deport children of illegals. Does this assurance really mean anything? I don’t see this as any more compelling than a pinky swear. How do we know that they won’t change their minds in the future? · 3 minutes ago

    True. But at least we have the AG on record agreeing to the obvious: targeting Americans in America for military-style execution when they pose no imminent threat is flat-out unconstitutional. · 7 minutes ago

    But with the ‘Fast and Furious’ debacle in his bio., we can guess that A.G. Eric Holder’s transgressions will probably never see the light of day.

    I doubt this Administration will be telegraphing their ‘drone hit list’, nor responding positively to Congressional demands, under the ‘Freedom of Information Act’, after the fact.

    We MUST take a preemptive position here.

    • #5
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:04 AM PST
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  6. Biden Pure Demagogue Coolidge
    Biden Pure DemagogueJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Scott Reusser: An incredibly stupid move by Holder. He’d already made that clarification earlier. Now he appears to have conceded only in answer to the filibuster.

    It’s akin to a Republican administration promising, in a formal letter responding to a Dem attack, to cease its war on women. Amazingly boneheaded. · 5 minutes ago

    I’d pay my Rico price every month to watch Rand Paul et al boot Holder et al in the rear end and make them do this every single week.

    #KeepCalmAndKickThemHard

    • #6
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:08 AM PST
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  7. Spin Coolidge
    SpinJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I take back the critical things I said of Mitch yesterday, and hand them over to Graham and McCain. One of two things is true about those two: either they really do not understand the shape the Republican Party is in right now, nor why, or they are really Democrats.

    • #7
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:09 AM PST
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  8. Biden Pure Demagogue Coolidge
    Biden Pure DemagogueJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Spin: I take back the critical things I said of Mitch yesterday, and hand them over to Graham and McCain. One of two things is true about those two: either they really do not understand the shape the Republican Party is in right now, nor why, or they are really Democrats. · 1 minute ago

    Graham and McCain are so out of it I’m surprised they aren’t in the curia.

    Bada bing.

    • #8
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:11 AM PST
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  9. Locke On Member

    “I don’t think what happened yesterday is helpful to the American people.”

    And there’s the problem. Time for you to retire, Senator.

    • #9
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:15 AM PST
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  10. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    George Savage:

    “We should all be proud of Rand’s efforts,” said McConnell, who was with Paul on the Senate floor at midnight Wednesday. “We encouraged everybody to stand with him. Because what he was trying to get, frankly, is the answer to a question that’s really not an intelligence question, but a straightforward legal one. ‘Does the president have the authority to order the use of lethal force against a United States citizen who is not a combatant here on U.S. soil without due process of law?'”

    [emphesis supplied by Tommy De Seno]

    No, No, No! Dag nabit, NO!

    That is NOT the question Mitch McConnell. You aren’t paying attention and are giving the President such an easy out here!

    The authorizing statute allows the President, and ONLY the President, to decide who is a combatant. So that question is moot. You are stipulting the target is not a combatant so OF COURSE the answer to THAT question is no!

    If a President decides someone is a combatant, Jane Fonda included (or me or you) his decision is his alone and NOT REVIEWABLE!

    So Holder has not changed his answer. People are changing the question!

    • #10
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:15 AM PST
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  11. Barbara Kidder Inactive
    George Savage: As you all know, I am a frequent and persistent critic of the Republican Party leadership in Washington. But today I sing the praises of one such leader, Mitch McConnell. Last night, McConnell went from his PR dinner with Obama to the Senate floor to support Paul’s filibuster.

    And today he is contrasting his support with the attacks of McCain and Graham:

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell went to bat today for the new Senate filibuster king, Sen. Rand Paul, after his Kentucky colleague was rapped by GOP old bulls like Sen. John McCain angry with Paul’s tactics.

    18 minutes ago

    Senator McConnell is an able politician, and he knows that, back in Kentucky, his absence on the floor of the U.S. Senate during the entire thirteen hours of Kentucky’s junior Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster, would be viewed by most Republican voters as tantamount to not showing up for your brother’s wedding, when you lived in the next town.

    • #11
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:16 AM PST
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  12. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Scott Reusser:

    All Holder has to do is say that he is reinforcing the point he already made (if you, and he, believe he already made it). Why it took him almost 24 hours to do so, though, is beyond me, as I agree with you as this whole episode has made him look angry, defensive and small.

    As to your ‘war on women’ example, I think there’s a difference between asking someone for a legal opinion on whether or not it’s constitutional, or even ‘appropriate’ to take a particular action which has never been taken before but which is now technologically feasible (hopefully, in formulating a position, these people have thought through all the ‘hypotheticals,’ and have answers for these and any other questions), and incessantly and randomly accusing your opponents of actually behaving despicably, day in and day out, in such a way as to both politically, professionally, and personally destroy them.

    One might be a question of whether or not you think it’s ‘appropriate’ to beat your wife. The other might be a question of whether you’ve ‘stopped beating your wife.’

    One can be answered without offence. The other really can not.

    • #12
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:20 AM PST
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  13. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    Barbara Kidder

    Senator McConnell is an able politician, and he knows that, back in Kentucky, his absence on the floor of the U.S. Senate during the entire thirteen hours of Kentucky’s junior Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster, would be viewed by most Republican voters as tantamount to not showing up for your brother’s wedding, when you lived in the next town. · 0 minutes ago

    Then let me leaven my praise for McConnell into a general Amen to the people of Kentucky. But aren’t the citizens of Arizona similarly patriotic about our Constitution? How then to explain John McCain?

    • #13
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:21 AM PST
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  14. Tuck Inactive

    “Does this assurance really mean anything? I don’t see this as any more compelling than a pinky swear. How do we know that they won’t change their minds in the future?”

    You’re 100% right, neither Holder nor Obama are trustworthy.

    But it’s nice to see some fight in at least some Republicans. 

    McCain & Graham are doormats.

    • #14
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:24 AM PST
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  15. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    Tommy De Seno

    If a President decides someone is a combatant, Jane Fonda included (or me or you) his decision is his alone and NOT REVIEWABLE!

    So Holder has not changed his answer. People are changing the question! · 5 minutes ago

    Edited 4 minutes ago

    Tommy, doesn’t the common understanding of “combatant” apply here? For example, if North Korean troops landed in Santa Cruz and began fighting their way inland (after first receiving a key to the city–hey, this is California), nobody would dispute the military’s ability to shoot back, even if some of the invaders were U.S. citizens.

    I must be missing some finer point of post-911 law that allows the president, unilaterally, to declare who is and is not an enemy combatant. Can you please explain further?

    • #15
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:26 AM PST
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  16. Barbara Kidder Inactive
    George Savage
    Barbara Kidder

    Senator McConnell is an able politician, and he knows that, back in Kentucky, his absence on the floor of the U.S. Senate during the entire thirteen hours of Kentucky’s junior Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster, would be viewed by most Republican voters as tantamount to not showing up for your brother’s wedding, when you lived in the next town. · 0 minutes ago

    Then let me leaven my praise for McConnell into a general Amen to the people of Kentucky. But aren’t the citizens of Arizona similarly patriotic about our Constitution? How then to explain John McCain? · 5 minutes ago

    Don’t we humans always set the bar higher for ‘family’?

    Add to that, Senator McConnell is up for reelection in 2014; Senator McCain is not.

    • #16
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:30 AM PST
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  17. Z in MT Member

    McCain and Graham don’t understand that this was a win. As for McConnell he gets a lot of flack for being a politician, but he is a very good politician, and he is conservative. He knows what the most conservative outcome is likely to be and he goes there. He is not interested in taking stands that will accomplish nothing and are likely to backfire. Paul’s filibuster had no chance of backfiring and so he was willing to support it.

    • #17
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:33 AM PST
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  18. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    George Savage
    Tommy De Seno

    If a President decides someone is a combatant, Jane Fonda included (or me or you) his decision is his alone and NOT REVIEWABLE!

    So Holder has not changed his answer. People are changing the question! · 5 minutes ago

    Edited 4 minutes ago

    Tommy, doesn’t the common understanding of “combatant” apply here? For example, if North Korean troops landed in Santa Cruz and began fighting their way inland (after first receiving a key to the city–hey, this is California), nobody would dispute the military’s ability to shoot back, even if some of the invaders were U.S. citizens.

    I must be missing some finer point of post-911 law that allows the president, unilaterally, to declare who is and is not an enemy combatant. Can you please explain further? · 5 minutes ago

    Hi George.

    Go to this Ricochet post from 2011. The authorizing statute is discussed in comment 91.

    http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Due-Process-Hypocrisy-George-Bush-Can-t-Pour-Water-on-a-Terrorist-s-Face-But-Barack-Obama-Can-Kill-Americans/(page)/5

    • #18
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:36 AM PST
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  19. Bereket Kelile Member
    Bereket KelileJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I think there’s some confusion around what Paul is getting at because he isn’t very precise with his statements. He did say that no American should ever be killed without a trial, no exceptions. At other times he may have referred to non-combatants. That’s a big difference and it’s important to be clear about it. 

    • #19
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:36 AM PST
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  20. Tuck Inactive

    “I must be missing some finer point of post-911 law that allows the president, unilaterally, to declare who is and is not an enemy combatant.”

    This is non post-911 law, it’s ancient. The President has sole authority to react in the short term to a military threat. He doesn’t have to ask anyone. The review is the next election or impeachment.

    Can’t have the Commander-in-Chief asking permission from a committee…

    “With 13,000 militia provided by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Washington rode at the head of an army to suppress the insurgency [in Pennsylvania]. The rebels all went home before the arrival of the army, and there was no confrontation.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiskey_Rebellion

    • #20
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:38 AM PST
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  21. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tuck: “I must be missing some finer point of post-911 law that allows the president, unilaterally, to declare who is and is not an enemy combatant.”

    This is non post-911 law, it’s ancient. The President has sole authority to react in the short term to a military threat. He doesn’t have to ask anyone. The review is the next election or impeachment.

    His lawyers are basing it on this law:

    As per act of Congress, September 18, 2001:

    That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    • #21
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:45 AM PST
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  22. Barbara Kidder Inactive
    Z in MT: McCain and Graham don’t understand that this was a win. As for McConnell he gets a lot of flack for being a politician, but he is a very good politician, and he is conservative. He knows what the most conservative outcome is likely to be and he goes there. He is not interested in taking stands that will accomplish nothing and are likely to backfire. Paul’s filibuster had no chance of backfiring and so he was willing to support it. · 7 minutes ago

    Your evaluation of Senator McConnell seems spot on, and his support of Senator Rand Paul on the Senate floor, last night, sprang from that ‘political savvy’.

    • #22
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:49 AM PST
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  23. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage

    To Tommy & Tuck above, thank you for refreshing my memory.

    The president does need flexibility as Commander-in-Chief in the event of a sudden armed rebellion breaking out somewhere. But, as pertains to legislation authorizing the GWOT, he must also limit himself to “necessary and appropriate force,” whatever that means.

    In the short run, we must rely on the president and inferior federal officers constraining themselves to follow the Constitution. This makes me doubly grateful for Rand Paul creating a necessary public spectacle on this very point. We do not want to look back at a gradual slide into the abyss.

    • #23
    • March 8, 2013, at 1:50 AM PST
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  24. genferei Member
    genfereiJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Scott: Where was it that Holder previously provided the answer he gave on the 7th (here)? Because it certainly doesn’t seem to be in his letter to Paul of March 4 (pdf).

    I agree with others that, of course, this statement from the Attorney General isn’t worth anything if you actually get taken out. And that “engaged in combat” could be twisted into all sorts of things (‘he was engaging in class warfare!’). But that is what elections are for.

    I wouldn’t call Paul’s achievement Alinsky-ite. But I’m all for Alinsky-ite wins.

    • #24
    • March 8, 2013, at 2:05 AM PST
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  25. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive
    George Savage: To Tommy & Tuck above, thank you for refreshing my memory.

    The president does need flexibility as Commander-in-Chief in the event of a sudden armed rebellion breaking out somewhere. But, as pertains to legislation authorizing the GWOT, he must also limit himself to “necessary and appropriate force,” whatever that means.

    In the short run, we must rely on the president and inferior federal officers constraining themselves to follow the Constitution. This makes me doubly grateful for Rand Paul creating a necessary public spectacle on this very point. We do not want to look back at a gradual slide into the abyss. · 27 minutes ago

    How many people so far have deserved the “necessary and appropriate force” of a hellfire missile down the gullet during such sudden and armed rebellion as eating dinner? I want to kill terrorists, but I’m pretty sure the way we’re doing it under Obama is more akin to drug lord tactics than to military maneuvers.

    As for the president and his minions constraining themselves, I think they only do so because of the potential public backlash, not because they believe the power to kill at will is not rightfully theirs.

    • #25
    • March 8, 2013, at 2:26 AM PST
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  26. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    The King Prawn

    How many people so far have deserved the “necessary and appropriate force” of a hellfire missile down the gullet during such sudden and armed rebellion as eating dinner? · 4 minutes ago

    Interesting to consider that President Bush and our own John Yoo were roundly castigated for affirming the legality of sleep deprivation and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” used against illegal enemy combatants, while the same people utter not a peep against Obama’s Death from Above counter-terrorism strategy.

    • #26
    • March 8, 2013, at 2:37 AM PST
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  27. Barbara Kidder Inactive
    The King Prawn
    George Savage: To Tommy & Tuck above, thank you for refreshing my memory.

    The president does need flexibility as Commander-in-Chief in the event of a sudden armed rebellion breaking out somewhere. But, as pertains to legislation authorizing the GWOT, he must also limit himself to “necessary and appropriate force,” whatever that means.

    In the short run, we must rely on the president and inferior federal officers constraining themselves to follow the Constitution. This makes me doubly grateful for Rand Paul creating a necessary public spectacle on this very point. We do not want to look back at a gradual slide into the abyss. · 27 minutes ago

    As for the president and his minions constraining themselves, I think they only do so because of the potential public backlash, not because they believe the power to kill at will is not rightfully theirs. · 7 minutes ago

    “Let no more be said of confidence in men, but bind them down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution.” Thomas Jefferson

    • #27
    • March 8, 2013, at 2:40 AM PST
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  28. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Z in MT: McCain and Graham don’t understand that this was a win. As for McConnell he gets a lot of flack for being a politician, but he is a very good politician, and he is conservative. He knows what the most conservative outcome is likely to be and he goes there. He is not interested in taking stands that will accomplish nothing and are likely to backfire. Paul’s filibuster had no chance of backfiring and so he was willing to support it. · 1 hour ago

    McCain and Graham were swanning about, basking in the Presence, whilst back in the outer darkness Sen. Paul and the rest of those unsophisticated Tea Party types were daubing on warpaint and adjusting their feathers.

    • #28
    • March 8, 2013, at 3:23 AM PST
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  29. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy WeivodaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Right you are, Senator McCain. The last thing we need is some “impressionable libertarian kids” being fired up and thinking that at least some Republicans are on their side. The next thing you know, some of those youngsters might vote Republican and that just goes against the natural order.

    • #29
    • March 8, 2013, at 3:31 AM PST
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  30. Scott R Member
    Scott RJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    She: Scott Reusser:

    All Holder has to do is say that he is reinforcing the point he already made (if you, and he, believe he already made it).

    Yes, exactly. It should have been phrased something like: “The administration has never once claimed such authority, and, again, such authority is not permitted under the constitution. The grandstanding senator’s filibuster was entirely unnecessary.”

    Re my war on women example, it’s akin to a Republican administration legitimizing an accusation of denying women birth control, say, by formally stating “Yes, we acknowledge women should not be denied birth control”, in response to silly Dem accusations.

    Re McCain and Graham, while I agree with their assessment that the whole episode was a silly strawman attack, Rand’s grandstanding was nevertheless a political winner — as strawman arguments often are, most notably for Obama. McCain and Graham should’ve just rolled their eyes and shushed. Publicly calling Rand’s attack unfair, while true, breaks ranks, in a way that Dems never would — again, as during the silly war-on-women attacks.

    • #30
    • March 8, 2013, at 3:48 AM PST
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