Noah Rothman brutally shreds the meadows of time, fences with the love that dare not speak its name

Hot column action at Mediaite from resident neo-con Noah C. Rothman. Let’s check in…

Rand Paul Shatters Democratic Monopoly On Romance And Captures The Hearts Of The Young Voter

Wow, that’s what you’re going with as a headline? Suddenly my title for this piece, “mediate columnist writes about rand paul filibuster,” seems so lame. Hang on, I want to try something.

There, that’s better.

So Rand Paul something the something and did what to who now?

Much will be written about Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) filibuster. It may be viewed through the prism of history as a turning point. It may be quickly forgotten as subsequent events diminish its relevance. Before Wednesday, however, Paul spoke for a narrow slice of the Republican Party’s coalition. Today, he speaks for a reinvigorated GOP base.

Wow, he does? Any evidence of…

Paul’s ultimately unsuccessful efforts to rein in the president spoke directly to the forgotten millions of Americans wary of the ever-expanding scope of the unconstrained global war on terror. Paul offered himself up as something of a martyr.

I’ll take that as a “no.” Really, no.

Americans say preventing terrorism should be the country’s top foreign policy initiative, according to a Gallup survey released Wednesday.

It’s the 10th consecutive year that preventing terrorism has edged out preventing the spread of nuclear weapons at the top of the list of foreign policy concerns.

According to the survey, 88 percent ranked preventing terrorism as “very important,” while 83 percent cited preventing the spread of nuclear weapons as a top priority.

I sympathize with “the forgotten millions of Americans wary of the ever-expanding scope of the unconstrained global war on terror,” because I’m one of them. But the simple fact is that, while there may be millions of us, there are many more millions of Americans who still see terrorism as an existential threat to the United States, regardless of the absurdity of that view, and don’t really give a whole lot of shit about how America combats terrorism or whether the way we do it is making for a too-powerful executive. Executive power has been on a steady rise in this country for over a century now and an overall rise since, well, we scrapped the Articles of Confederation, but no presidential election has ever been decided on the basis of which candidate might scale back his own authority once in office. This drone business proves it; nobody gave a damn that the president has decided he can drone strike anybody anywhere, until “anybody” hypothetically became “a U.S. citizen,” and “anywhere” hypothetically became “on U.S. soil.” But anyway, Noah, you were saying:

His voice, once lonely, grew in stature as his Republican colleagues – one after the next – shared his demand for redress from the White House, though all knew that would not be forthcoming. It was poetic. It was romantic.

Jesus, are we talking about Rand Paul or Demosthenes?

What may be most important, it reframed Congressional Republicans.

It did? And, really, leaving McCain and Graham out of it; how many of the senators who joined Rand Paul’s filibuster would vote, say, to amend and curtail the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force, the open-endedness of which is the reason we have the drone program in the first place? Oh, wait, we already know the answer to that question: virtually none of them.

This is all important, even to a neo-con like Rothman who, forget the drone program, seems to have a particular fixation on ginning up a war with Iran, because now that Rand Paul talked on C-SPAN 2 for a few hours, the youngs are going to love them some Republicans, FO SHO!

The Republican Party’s consulting class has been beating their heads against the wall since well before the November election as they determine the best way to reach out to and convince young voters to consider the GOP’s programs. They are frustrated that their message of economic liberty, a check on the government’s power to confiscate wealth, and the preservation of America’s role as the guarantor of global security do not seem to resonate with the youth.

Yes, well, maybe stop hating on gays, women, minorities, and poors so much? No? It’s something else entirely? Please proceed, sir.

The political right has suffered from a romance deficit with the left for generations. The struggle against entrenched interests and insurmountable establishments has been the exclusive province of the left for as long as there has been an organized left. The young conservative, instinctively attracted to the struggle against perceived injustice, must always wrestle with and overcome their heart first in order to join the conservative movement. This is a fundamental impediment to the right’s ability to speak to the young voter.

No, but hum a few bars and I’ll join in when I do.

Then a funny thing happened during President Barack Obama‘s first term. The president pursued the internationalist foreign policy ideals once limited to the nation’s university faculty lounges. He intervened in civil wars and sent American service personnel to the globe’s hottest and most forgotten battlefields of Africa. Obama embraced drone warfare with abandon. He violated sovereignty of many nations with manned and unmanned raids. Though the public understood that the interests of American national security were being pursued, the peace-loving American character was never comfortable with the concept of global warfare. The expansion of the president’s power to execute American citizens without due process does not sit well with the public, as evidenced by multiple recent public opinion polls.

The Republican Party is, as are all successful political parties, a coalition of divergent groups with a variety of views on issues. One does not need to share Sen. Paul’s mistrust of American military interventionism — I certainly do not — to appreciate the monumental political shift his actions may presage. The public is hungry for a check on the executive, and Democrats are vulnerable on the sprawling drone warfare program.

One of those two polls he links to is a Fox News poll. The headline on the piece discussing the poll? “Fox News Poll: Majority supports use of drones.” The results? “Do you approve or disapprove of the United States using unmanned aircraft called drones:

  • To kill a suspected terrorist in a foreign country? 74% approve, 22% disapprove, 4% don’t know
  • To kill a suspected terrorist in a foreign country if the suspect is a U.S. citizen? 60% approve, 36% disapprove, 5% don’t know
  • To kill a suspected foreign terrorist on U.S. soil? 56% approve, 40% disapprove, 4% don’t know
  • To kill a suspected terrorist who is a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil? 45% approve, 50% disapprove, 5% don’t know

“Do you think the president of the United States, on his own, should be able to authorize the use of deadly force, such as a drone strike, to kill a suspected terrorist who is a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil?” 32% approve, 63% disapprove, 5% don’t know.

Boy, howdy, the public sure does hate the theoretical expansion of the president’s powers to hypothetically do something he’s never done and likely never will do! And the Democrats are totes vulnerable on the sprawling drone program that only 74% of the country agrees with when it’s used the way it’s been used 99% of the time to this point, and only 60% supports in the other 1%! FINALLY THE REPUBLICAN PATH BACK TO POWER IS CLEAR:

  2. ???
  3. POWER!

Look, again, I have serious qualms about the drone program, but there’s not enough of us to get a decent hearing of our views in public without scaremongering about a completely hypothetical scenario in which President Shaka Zulu drone strikes Jeb Cotter of Shelby, AL, right there in the McDonald’s drive-through. As long as we keep drone striking other countries filled with “other” kinds of people, the country would rather hear about Justin Bieber’s fainting spells. So apologies to all you wishers and hopers out there, like Noah Rothman, but there’s certainly not enough concern about the drone program to reanimate the rotting carcass of the GOP.


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