Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rand Paul at the Congressional Correspondents Dinner

You gotta love the guy, he actually made a Star Trek reference. Given that he was in D.C., I'm not sure how many people in the room got it.

He's doing a valuable service. We're in a bad spot right now. Democrats are a-okay with being Team America: World Police when it's their guy doing the bombing - and among many, Rachel Maddow's fawning that Obama's "attitude" is what makes the difference is particularly disgusting. I don't think the people dying in what is now our conflict, on either side, particularly care about Obama's attitude. And we hear precious little real opposition from the GOP, who don't dare criticize a war on humanitarian grounds for fear of looking soft.

Of course, one suspicion is that by starting a new war and simultaneously saying he'll encourage new oil drilling inside the U.S. (that's right Democrats, drill baby drill!) Obama is co-opting the GOP's few remaining sane moral and economic points and forcing them further to the fringe. Think how this war will play to the heartland during the 2012 debates when the GOP primary winner tries to call him soft on defense, or says the Democrats are weak on energy. Appointing Jon Huntsman ambassador to China was another move designed to assimiliate possible GOP moderation, and it's still not clear why Huntsman isn't more widely considered a literal Manchurian candidate in the GOP primary field, to torpedo a certain fellow moderate Mormon, and let the evangelicals have their way with the GOP in spring 2012.

The bottom line: the crazier the tea party and social conservatives get, the happier the Obama administration is, and the more rotten (or completely ignored) our discourse and legislative process become. This problem of democracy is not a uniquely American problem. Sarkozy's hair-trigger enthusiasm to bomb someone seems to have been influenced by similar electoral calculations. You're serious about human rights, gentlemen? What about North Korea and Congo and Somalia? I guess human rights must have something to do with oil that we just aren't understanding.

Political strategizing is fine but not when a side effect is using my tax dollars to end human lives.