By Justin Raimondo
The rise of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) as an alternative to Bush era GOP dead-enders has the two principal anti-libertarian factions in American politics snarling and spitting in fury – and real fear.
The progressives – in the drivers’ seat at the moment – are especially miffed that this upstart ophthalmologist, and son of Ron Paul, has become a pole of attraction not only for libertarians and their conservative fellow-travelers, but for a growing number of their own liberal-leftie base. Disappointed – outraged would be a better word – by the serial betrayal of their fondest hopes, cosmopolitan urban liberals of the sort who join the ACLU and remember Hillary Clinton’s fulsome support for the Iraq war have found in the country boy from Kentucky an unlikely hero. Sen. Paul’s famous anti-drone filibuster enraged the Obama administration, which could hardly conceal its contempt for the Senator’s concerns – but was finally forced to respond. They and their Praetorian Guards among the punditocracy complained it was just plain silly – an indication of Black Helicopter Syndrome – to contend the US government is targeting Americans in its endless “war on terrorism.” Then along came Edward Snowden to prove him right.
This was too much for the neocons, whose response to the Paul filibuster was best expressed by their chief Senatorial sock puppet, who sputtered that Paul and the rest of the “wacko birds” who took to the floor in support of the libertarian insurgent had better get the heck off his lawn. Paul had done much to console and “reach out” to the emerging anti-Paul faction of the GOP, even earning a few tentative plaudits from such hardcore neocons as the Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin: his visit to Israel helped. Rubin opined that he might not be his father’s son after all – no one in contemporary political life ratchets up their ire more than the elder Paul – but for some people it’s never enough, and Paul was soon out of Jenn’s good graces. After all that flirty prose about how Rand just might be the future of the Republican party, in a Bizarro World inversion of the original tale the handsome prince suddenly turned into the loathsome frog, and jilted Jenn turned on her sometime prince in a fury:
“Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has strenuously insisted that he is not the ideological twin of his father. But recent events – his paranoia about drones; his praise of Edward Snowden; his defense of his aide, the “Southern Avenger” Jack Hunter; and his lashing out at “neocons” – suggest he’s not far enough from his father to achieve respectability with a substantial segment of the GOP.”
In the neocon lexicon, “respectability” means meeting the approval of Rubin and her fellow neocons, among whom there had been a debate on the Rand Paul Question. Softies likes Rubin had been willing to give the newbie a chance, while the hardcore folks over at Commentary, notably Jonathan Tobin, detected disturbing signs of “isolationist” deviationism, and other politically incorrect notions that All Serious People reject out of hand. The hardliners are now crowing about how right they were, with poor Jenn abashedly chiming in as Jonah Goldberg lays down the law in National Review.