By Don Feder – BarbWire guest contributor
Just as Hillary’s “What difference at this point does it make” remark about Benghazi during a Congressional hearing will come back to haunt her, Rand Paul’s politically correct spasm over Ferguson (his August 14 essay in Time Magazine) should preclude the possibility of Son of Ron getting anywhere near the GOP nomination in 2016.
When the left starts swooning over a Republican, it’s a dead-giveaway. A posting on the Washington Post’s politics blog gushes, “Rand Paul’s ( Time ) op-ed on Ferguson shows why he is the most interesting voice in the GOP right now.” In this context, translate “interesting voice” as biggest sell-out.
“He’s a different voice in the arena that we don’t traditionally hear,” says interim NAACP President Lorraine Miller of Paul’s pandering to race-hustlers.
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With his Time rant, the Senator joined such notorious race-baiters as Eric Holder, Al Sharpton and Malik Zulu Shabazz in trying to politicize Ferguson.
“Anyone who thinks race does not skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention,” the Senator declaims. Of the shooting of Michael Brown (who the media ritualistically identify as “the unarmed teenager”), he adds: “If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But I wouldn’t have expected to be shot.”
This implies that the hulking brute (dubbed the “gentle giant” by the media) was shot six times, including twice in the head, for nothing more than talking back to a cop.
“The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action,” Paul fretted.
It’s called a law-enforcement response to a riot, Senator – you know, where mobs throw Molotov cocktails, shoot at police helicopters, beat bystanders and loot stores, among other forms of protest.
Paul then returned to one of his favorite themes, the “militarization” of local police. And wouldn’t you just know it, big government is to blame.
Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to build what are essentially small armies – where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most Americans think of as law enforcement.
What any of this has to do with Ferguson, Paul doesn’t say. Did Officer Darren Wilson shoot Brown with an M-16 or a bazooka? Did rioters and looters terrorize the community for over a week because the Ferguson PD has body armor?
If there were riots in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he lives, I’ll bet Paul would want the cops armed with everything they needed to suppress the anarchy including tanks and flamethrowers.
What worries me isn’t local police with what’s called military-grade armaments, but the EPA and Social Security Administration stockpiling arms and ammo. Why does SSA need weapons – to deal with constipated seniors who run out of Metamucil and start looting drugstores?
Where big government does impact on urban crime is the creation of fatherless families. The black out-of-wedlock birthrate is close to 70%, three times what it was in 1965, at the start of the War on Poverty. Of this, Paul has little to say.
Regarding Ferguson, some facts are in dispute. This much is known: Just before the shooting, the Gentle Giant and a companion robbed a convenience store, strong-arming a clerk (as shown by a surveillance video).
The injuries Wilson sustained, including a badly swollen face, are consistent with his story that the Gentle Giant reached into his patrol car, tried to grab his gun and beat him, after the big lug was confronted for refusing to stop walking down the middle of a street, blocking traffic.
Besides traces of marijuana in his blood, the autopsy requested by Brown’s family showed that the dearly departed was shot in the front not the back. (Some witnesses claim he was running away.) Also, one of the bullets was fired into the top of Brown’s skull. This supports Wilson and other witnesses who say the Gentle Giant – all 6’4″ and 292 lbs of him – was charging the cop at the time of the shooting. This Rand Paul calls “an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting.”
The loony libertarian (that’s redundant, I know) concludes with the claim that, “Our prisons are full of black and brown men who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes of their youth,” by which he means convictions for possessing of marijuana and other drugs – a myth beloved by potheads everywhere.
Jason Riley (the African-American author of “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed”) “vehemently” disputes Paul’s claim that race skews the application of criminal justice and our prisons are full of black men convicted of drug offenses.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal , Riley observed that blacks are about 37% of the prison population, but,” if you sent home everyone convicted of a drug offense, blacks would still make up 37% of the prison population.”
Riley notes, “The incarceration rate among blacks is not being driven by our drug laws. Blacks are overrepresented among all violent crimes.” An African American is 7xs more likely to commit murder than a white.
The alleged militarization of Andy of Mayberry and prisons full of minorities who are there for breaking the drug laws, are in keeping with Paul’s libertarian worldview.
The Kentuckian is a new and improved Paul – light years away from his father, whose 2012 performance had many looking for an attic to lock him in. You might call Rand, Ron Paul 2.0.
He’s also shrewd enough about staking out libertarian positions not to risk losing his party’s Christian conservative base. Whatever absurd stances he takes, there are always one or more handy qualifiers.
- Same-sex marriage – He’s personally opposed (isn’t that what the pro-choicers say about abortion?) but thought the SCOTUS ruling striking down part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act – which has empowered half a dozen federal courts to throw out state marriage amendments – was “appropriate”. He believes the definition of marriage should be up to the states – which is the same as saying it should be up to activist judges.
- Immigration – He’s opposed to birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens, but has “sympathy’ for the “DREAM ACT kids.” In 2013, he proposed giving illegal aliens legal residency, but contingent on better border security.
- Marijuana – He’s rhetorically opposed to legalization of pot, but “I also don’t want to put people in jail who make a mistake.” But doesn’t not putting people in jail amount to legalization, or at the least decriminalization?
- Voter ID laws – After first criticizing them, the Senator graciously decided he wasn’t opposed to trying to limit voter-fraud. But he says Republicans shouldn’t make a big deal of it. (This way, he can seem to be critical of voter ID laws for the race industry, but also support them for the Republican base.) Still, “I’m very aware of voter fraud and don’t think it’s unreasonable to show your driver’s license” to vote – as long as Republicans don’t talk about it too much. He also wants to make it easier for ex-felons to vote and has sponsored federal legislation here. Thus, he maintains medical marijuana is a states-rights issue, but restoring the voting rights of ex-felons should be up to the feds. That much is clear.
- Foreign policy – Don’t call him an isolationist. He’s an “anti-interventionist.” Nevertheless, he says he supported the US intervention in Afghanistan and opposed rapid withdrawal from Iraq – but opposed Iraq in the first place, and questions whether the intelligence used to justify it was manipulated. Any questions?
- Israel – Paul called for reducing foreign aid to Israel. When questioned about it, he said he never proposed legislation to do so. In a 2001 CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer, he said he would favor halting all U.S. aid to Israel. In 2011, he recommended $500 billion across-the-board foreign aid cuts, including aid to Israel. Regarding reducing aid to our only reliable ally in the Middle East, Rand Paul was for it before he was against it – or is it the other way around?
“The outrage in Ferguson (over a police shooting that has all the hallmarks of self-defense) is understandable – though there is never an excuse for rioting and looting,” Paul solemnly declares. “There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response” – meaning it’s okay for Officer Clancy to swing his nightstick, but military-style vehicles are too gung ho for the Senator from Kentucky.
You can see the wheels turning as the qualifiers drip off his pen. So that, when one of his opponents in a Republican debate reminds primary voters of his obscenely opportunistic pandering on Ferguson, he can come back with: “Now, wait a minute: I came down hard on the rioters and supported the police.”
If they let him get way with it, shame on them.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com.
Previously published at GrassTopsUSA.com.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.