Romney Redux

September 11, 2014

Will former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, run for president again?  And if he does could he win?  Has it happened before?

Mitt Romney has allowed his friends to test the waters for another presidential run and with good reason.

1.) Obama is fading fast.  He might as well have a sign on his desk, “The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here.”

2.) Romney knows what to do.  He has already run for president twice.

3.) He co-opted the GOP caucus-primary system last time, making it Romney friendly.

4.) Just in case, he also strong-armed the last Republican National Convention and re-wrote the rules in his favor so he can actually lose in some key primaries and still overwhelm the vote and control the floor at the RNC.  All he will need is a simple majority.

Has it happened before?  Can a candidate run for president and lose and come back to win later?

Answer?  Most presidents do.  Barack Obama being the anomaly.  In recent years, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, all ran for president and lost before finally winning.

But has a presidential candidate actually won the nomination, ran for president, lost, and then comeback?

Yep.  Three come to mind.  William Henry Harrison ran as a Whig nominee in 1836.  He lost but came back to win in 1840 and went on to the White House.

Grover Cleveland was elected president in 1884, lost his re-election bid but came back to win again in 1892.

And finally, Richard Nixon won the GOP nomination in 1960, losing to John F. Kennedy in the general election.  He came back in 1968 to try again and this time won the presidency.

But all three of these examples are very complicated.  Nixon, for example, after losing the presidency, ran for governor of California where he was defeated again.  That defeat seemed to end his public career.  In 1964 the GOP experienced its conservative takeover and Barry Goldwater won the nomination.  Many GOP leaders sat at home.  Nixon jumped into the 1964 election and helped Republican candidates, seeking nothing for himself.  With his own career apparently over, he was seen as a non threatening, beloved figure and a great fundraiser.  By 1968, the GOP wanted a winner and it united behind Nixon.

Romney is reminiscent of Thomas Dewey.  He looks like a president, the few Republicans who are part of the media elite think he ought to be president but he won’t even cross the street to shake hands with the people who can make it happen.  Romney recently described how he would run again.  If the other candidates all came to him and said, “We just can’t do it we need you.”  Fat chance.

In 2012 Romney, a Mormon, was urged to meet with Evangelical Christian leaders.  Didn’t happen.  No time.  Gallup Polls show that 41% of the American public claim to be born again Christians. and they are the base of the Republican Party.  Romney took comfort from his Boston-Washington cronies and ignored them.  He publicly laughed at the emerging Libertarian wing of the GOP and shut down their efforts to participate in state conventions.  Nor did Catholics fair any better.  He had plain clothes security guards surround Hispanics on the floor of the RNC and rush them out of the building because they held up signs of other candidates.

Polls don’t mean a lot this early.  Some of it is only name recognition.  Romney was the last GOP nominee.  Voters were forced to choose between he and Obama in the last election.  Of much more significance is the recent Zogby poll which had Rand Paul running away with the GOP nomination, rather startling for an outsider, this early.  And polls showing Rand Paul as the only GOP candidate beating Hillary Clinton in battleground states.  But polls, even this early, can translate into money.  Which brings up the point that Romney, unlike most of the other candidates, has money.

So if Mitt Romney runs again what are his chances?  If he runs the same kind of exclusive, white, Mormon, campaign, don’t be surprised if he gets the same kind of result.  Winning campaigns like Obama, Clinton, Reagan, give the masses a sense of ownership.  People feel a part of what has happened.  They feel needed and included, not shutout or ridiculed.  Reagan appealed to White Mormon men in the Mountain states, Southern born again Christians in North Carolina, Catholic, Democrat, union factory workers in Detroit, Michigan and highly educated Jews in Shaker Heights, Ohio.  But he worked those constituencies humbly and earnestly.  I remember sitting with Reagan in a waiting room, anticipating a meeting with a pompous evangelical leader.  I have done the same with George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Can he win?  History shows that it can happen.  But it also shows that it will be difficult.

 


Why Rand Paul can beat Hillary Clinton

March 9, 2014

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky may be the only Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.

Paul decisively won last Saturday’s CPAC straw poll with 31%, his neo-Libertarian sidekick, Senator Ted Cruz, was second at 11%.  Jeb Bush and the Karl Rove faction of the party registered 1%.  According to a recent column in The Washington Post, Rand Paul is now leading the Republican field.  This is showing up in some recent presidential preference polls. It is puzzling to many political pundits.
 .
Polls don’t usually mean much this early in an election cycle. It’s usually all about name recognition. Former Secretary of State and former First Lady, Hillary Clinton obviously leads among Democrats, with Vice President Joe Biden trailing far behind.  In the GOP contest, former Governor and FOX television star, Mike Huckabee polls well, so does former governor Jeb Bush and so does former vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin.  All the other candidates who ran for president last time register small numbers too.  But why Rand Paul?
Yes, his father, former congressman, Ron Paul, ran for president three times but in a career that spanned a whole generation he never led the GOP in a national poll. 

.
Part of the reason lies in the fact that, if he wins the nomination, Senator Rand Paul will be the first nominee since Ronald Reagan to lead a political Movement.  In this case, the “Constitutional Movement”, which includes conservatives, libertarians and others across the whole left to right spectrum. In fact, it represents more than a movement it represents a new political re-alignment, the first of its kind in several generations.  
.
During most of our lifetime the debate was about the role of government in the lives of the people.  Liberals wanted a “liberal” use of government involvement, conservatives wanted a “conservative” use of government, relying more on free markets.  But the point of reference was always the role of government in meeting peoples needs, it was in relation to that point that one was liberal or conservative.
.
The U.S. Constitution was a factor, but mostly over the issue of the Second Amendment and in understanding the politics of the Cold War where conservatives were actually more liberal about spending for defense and liberals more conservative.  Conservatives said providing a common national defense is Constitutional. Liberals said all of this military spending was robbing the poor of this country and hurting our own people.
.
Liberals accused conservatives about not caring for the poor.  Conservatives accused liberals about being soft on communism and flirting with national destruction.
.
In the past, candidates were touted as liberal or conservative but only Reagan and Goldwater were considered to be actual leaders of an ideological Movement.  Liberal Movement leaders?  FDR?  Later, Adlai Stevenson?  Hubert Humphrey?  Maybe?  But not really.  All were successful politicians and thus too involved in the process to have the ideological purity of a movement leader.
.
Today the old liberal – conservative argument is almost obsolete.  The end of the Cold War has been a big factor.  There is no life and death struggle about left and right.  We have settled on a range of responsibilities that government should be able to assume and are now quibbling over details. “You said I could keep my own doctor, you’re a liar.”
.
Foreign observers can hardly tell a difference between Republicans and Democrats.  It is the Red team versus the Blue team, not really much of contest over ideas. Just a contest over power between two societies. Oh, it is passionate, like all internecine conflicts. And the public is emotionally invested, like they are with their favorite college football team. They may shed real tears or not eat for days if their side loses.
.
A good illustration of how irrelevant the philosophical argument has become was the recent presidency of George W. Bush.  In his last year in office, facing a worldwide depression, this Republican president nationalized American banks.  It took Socialist President Francois Mitterrand to do that in France.  And yet we call George W. Bush a “conservative Republican.” Meanwhile, liberal Democrats build no statues to him and conservatives still defend him.  It’s two teams with bitter past histories.  Liberals never applaud conservatives when they do something liberal, such as George  H.W. Bush extending the first White House invitations to Gay activists.  And conservatives never applaud a liberal, like John Kennedy or Bill Clinton, for doing something conservative, like balancing the budget
.
The Constitutional Movement represents a new realignment of the political landscape.  It includes a variety of voters from the left to the right and everything in between.
.
The argument is less about liberal and conservative and more about getting back to the Constitution. It is about ending corruption.  The special deals.  It is less about left and right or even, up and down, the rich and the poor, and more about in and out. Insiders are seen to be gaming the system, taxes, Wall Street, the regulatory agencies, banking.  There is great cynicism about this and even despair.  It’s as if only suckers depend on a free marketplace.  The American dream is over.
.
It is not lost on many that the rich got richer and the poor got poorer on a massive scale under Barack Obama.
.
While many poor people and certainly all people of color celebrate the rise of Obama, now that he is passing, some on the left are wanting to get serious about doing what they thought a person of such humble origins would do, namely, reform the system. Stop the looting.  End the cycle of corruption.
.
Hillary – as a woman – represents a dynamic cultural moment and that will be hard to resist.  The media will be transfixed by the idea of a woman following an African American into the White House.  But no one seriously believes that this woman, who in 1979 miraculously turned a $1,000 commodities investment into $100,000 within ten months, is going to do anything about reversing the corrupt system that has clogged our economic arteries. She can only win a Red-Blue contest.  It will only be an argument about who gets the power and which insiders get the taxpayers’ money.
If 2016 become a contest of significant ideas on how to end the corruption Rand Paul will win.  He is the only candidate who has any.
 .

(Clip from 2012, when Rand Paul was stopped by the TSA.)


Will Mike Huckabee Run For President in 2016?

March 3, 2014

Short answer?  Nobody knows at this stage.  Not even former Governor Mike Huckabee.  Well, maybe he knows at some unconscious level.

Yes, he is going through the motions.  He is visiting with supporters in Iowa, where he leads the field in the latest poll.  And he has made trips to South Carolina.  He will be back to both places for events again this Spring.  He has mended fences with Paul Pressler and the conservative crowd of leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention.  Their support of Fred Tompson in South Carolina, arguably, cost Huckabee the GOP nomination in 2008.  Yes, he has been connecting with evangelical leaders for the last six years, leaders he ignored last time around.  But that is all work he has to do to keep the option open.  It doesn’t mean he will run.

Republicans are famous for sending “the next man in,” that is, selecting the candidate who has earned his turn.  Nixon,
Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, McCain all benefited from that imagination deprived process.  And many would say that Huckabee is the next man on the list.  But the world “it is a changin.”  Not many see Hukabee beating Hillary Clinton and the national media in a 2016 fall election showdown.

In the race for the GOP nomination, Huckabee will have FOX NEWS as a friend.  They may not fall all over him like they did Giuliani and Christie but at least they won’t actively try to destroy him.  Some at FOX will probably now tilt to Paul Ryan but Huckabee will get his moments in the sun.

Huckabee’s problem has always been money.  Organically, the former governor of Arkansas  will be able to raise more money on the stump this time, because he is a television celebrity.  He won’t need Chuck Norris to tag along.  People will pluck down $1,000 for a picture with just him alone, the FOX NEWS star.

But there will still be a gap.  Evangelicals give to World Vision, Convoy of Hope, their local church and not much is left over for political candidates.  Specifically he needs a big donor, someone who will chuck in a few million to a Huckabee super pak.  Without it he is dead in the water.  Rand Paul will have it.  So will Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan.  To look at it another way, Governor Huckabee is only ONE person away from making a strong run at the GOP nomination.  He just needs one.  But that one must be a multi-millionaire.

It may be a temptation for someone to take.  History is full of things that turned out differently.  Hillary Clinton is not guaranteed the White House.  Just ask President Dewey, or President Muskie, or President Hart.  Anything can happen. And Huckabee would be there to pick up the pieces and his billionaire would be at the pinnacle with him, like Raymond Tusk.

He needs for Sarah Palin to stay out of the race.  She might get to thinking that a run would be a good career move.  Like Rick Perry, she may want to get into the debates to win back some intellectual respect.  Her involvement would suck a lot of air out of a Huckabee presidential campaign.

Then there is Karl Rove.  He and his powerful pak will be watching.  Ready to take out Huckabee if he gets too close.

Perhaps the best evidence of Huckabee’s chances are two numbers.  The presidential preference polls, which have him as the GOP leader.  And the bathroom scales.

If the numbers continue to climb in the GOP polls he will have to run.  It is a case of “good stewardship.”  A Southerner, raised with the Protestant work ethic cannot let such a moment pass without taking action.  

But if the numbers continue to climb on the bathroom scale his subconscious may be saying, “Don’t do this to me Mike.  You are rich and famous already and you won’t win.”  

This latter process can be easy for all of us to track.  Just keep Googling for the latest pictures.  If the Governor starts getting trim in spite of all that good food and the difficulty in exercising when you are living on the road, well, his subconscious might be saying, “Get with it Mike.  We’re going to do this things with or without you.”

Mike Huckabee can run but he can’t hide.


Chris Christie must now pay the butcher’s bill

February 15, 2014

“I am no bully,” said Governor Chris Christie at his January 9, 2014 press conference.  And then he proceeded to pummel to death his best friends and closest political advisers.  Now some of those advisers are coming back to haunt him.

Christie insisted that he knew nothing about the hardball, political pay back machinations of his own office which led to the shut down of traffic at Fort Lee.  It was allegedly payback to a mayor who had not supported Christie for re-election.  It tied up traffic coming out of New York City for a day.

The governor claimed that his staff was to blame.  They had  lied to him, he said, and what they had done reeked of “abject stupidity.”

Christie said he had immediately fired his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, and was ordering his two time campaign manager, Bill Stepien, to withdraw his nomination to lead the New Jersey Republican Party.

Christie went out of his way to distance himself from another aide who had long been considered a high school friend, David Wildstein.  “David and I were not friends in high school,” Christie lectured the press. “We were not even acquaintances in high school. We didn’t travel in the same circles in high school. You know, I was the class president and athlete. I don’t know what David was doing during that period of time.”

Richard Nixon had lost his presidency by trying to defend the Watergate burglars.  “We have to help them,” he said, even though he had not ordered the break-in at the Democrat National Headquarters.   It was the effort to get money to the burglars families that eventually implicated the White House in the scandal.  And when the cover-up extended to the highest levels and Nixon was forced to fire his top aides, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, he told that nation, “I feel like I have lost my left and right arms.”  

Said Nixon, “They were two of the finest public servants it has been my privilege to know.”

Later, when Sir David Frost interviewed Richard Nixon he asked why the president hadn’t blamed his staff for their mistakes and fired them and kept out of the scandal from the beginning.

Nixon quoted the British Prime Minister William Gladstone who said that the first requirement for a prime minister was to be a good butcher.  Nixon answered ruefully, “I was a poor butcher.”

Not Chris Christie.  Promoted by pundits on the Fox News Channel as their new Catholic candidate (ala Rudolph Giuliani in 2008) Christie had no problem immediately excising his arms, legs, hands, or anything else that might come in the way of more power.   And he did so decisively.

Haldeman and Ehrlichman may or may not have been two of the finest public servants in American history but Christie’s appointees were “stupid” and “liars” who needed to be put down immediately.  This was one Watergate lesson Chris Christie had taken to heart.

No one stopped to ask why Christie had surrounded himself with “stupid liars” as his closest aides.  The Fox pundits, unperturbed, insisted that the incident was only a temporary setback for their man.

Anyone with experience working for a president or a governor knows that they are not ignorant of what goes on around them although they carefully nurture this idea to avoid blame for the things they can’t fix.  Former Governor Sarah Palin pointed this out.

Information is currency, it has value.  It is like finding a shoe box with hundred dollar bills that are disappearing before your eyes, you spend them as quickly as you can, while they still have value.  If you have information, any information, you get it to the president or governor immediately.

Picture the young staffer bringing in some requested paperwork.

“So what were they talking about at lunch, kid?” The governor asks.  “Why couldn’t they have the meeting here and what was so hush, hush?”

“You don’t want to know, governor, its some political payback thing and you need deniability.”

The governor smiles.  “Okay, what is it kid?”

And the young staffer coughs it up immediately.

“Huh,” the governor grunts, acting dumb, apparently engrossed in a memo.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And the kid, if he should ever surface, would have to tell the grand jury that he can’t really say if the governor understood or not.

Usually, such a scenario is much too subtle.  Consider Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who talked openly about selling a vacant U.S. Senate seat.  But then, four of the last seven governors of Illinois have been convicted and imprisoned.

Now it turns out that David Wildstein, the Chrsitie appointee who ran the lane closing scandal is talking.  In a letter through his attorney he said that “evidence exists . . . tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the Governor stated publicly.”

Now we will see how Gladstone’s axiom really works.  Can a man cut off his arms and legs and still survive?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  And how are all of those arms and legs supposed to feel about what has happened?  Now, it’s time for Governor Chris Christie to pay the butchers bill.


Presidents are Mama’s boys

May 10, 2013

“Well a mother, a real mother, is the most wonderful person in the world. She’s the angel voice that bids you goodnight.”

– Wendy to the lost boys of Neverland.

 

Most presidents are mama’s boys.

Many of them are actually named after their mothers.

We all know that John Fitzgerald Kennedy is named after his mother, Rose Fitzgerald.  But Ronald Wilson Reagan is also named after his mother, Nelle Wilson.

Lyndon Baines Johnson is named after his mother, Rebecca Baines.  Richard Milhous Nixon is named after his mother Hannah Milhous.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt is named after his mother Sarah Delano.  In fact, FDR’s mother used to tell him, “You are a Delano, not a Roosevelt.”

When FDR had his famous fireside chats with the nation on national radio, his mother was right there beside him.  And on every Mother’s Day, she, herself, addressed the nation.

This phenomenon goes all the way back into our history.  Woodrow Wilson was named after his mothers, Janet Woodrow and Rutherford Birchard Hayes was named after his mother, Sophia Birchard.

Now it isn’t a perfect trend or else John Forbes Kerry would have won the 2004 presidential election.  He is named after his mother, Rosemary Forbes.   And then Marvin Pierce Bush, would have been the Bush brother to win the White House over George or Jeb.  He is named after his mother, Barbara Pierce.  But when I wrote the book, The Raising of a President, it appeared as such a stark statistical anomaly that I had to find an explanation.  I sent the data to several psychologists around the world.

Here was the identical response.  When that mother took that baby to her breast she felt a special connection to the child that bore her name.

Huh?  That’s it?  She felt something?

It reminded me of the German scientist who had studied plants in the 1880’s and insisted that if we talk nice to plants they will respond.  I’ve often thought.  If talking nice to a shefflera Tree will help it grow an extra inch each year, just imagine the damage or the good we do to each other by what we say, especially to our children?

Sigmund Freud wrote that “the man who perceives himself to be the favorite of his mother is empowered for life.”

Abraham Lincoln supposedly told William Herndon, “All I am or ever hope to be I owe to my angel mother.”

Even as an adult President William McKinley insisted that his mother say a prayer with him before going to bed.  At great expense, he had a wire laid from Ohio to Washington, D.C. so the practice could continue even when he was in the White House.

Never underestimate the power of a mother.   Apparently, how she feels, or how you think she feels, can impact the rest of your life.

No wonder William Wallace wrote, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

 


Rand Paul out front in Iowa and nobody’s laughing now!

May 8, 2013

He won the CPAC straw poll, he is second in the latest national poll, he leads in New Hampshire, the first in the nation primary and now he is the favorite among likely voters in the first in the nation Iowa Caucus.

Senator Rand Paul must be doing something right.

There are still a few of the snubs his father used to get.  Policymic ignored him as a GOP contender, insisting with a straight face that he does not break into the top five contenders.  (Condoleezza Rice who polls 3% in Iowa apparently meets the stringent Policymic threshold.)   But no matter how the power brokers want things to be, Rand Paul, is proving to be popular with the masses, representing the first real political movement since Ronald Reagan.

While the views of the son, Rand Paul and the father, Ron Paul are sometimes different, both represent a strong sentiment against corruption.  The poll in Iowa may show Rand’s campaign picking up right where his father’s campaign ended.

By the way, don’t let anybody tell you that Dr. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign of 2012 was for naught.  Dr. Paul showed great appeal to Independents, Youth and Hispanics.  It was the very crowd that eventually went to Obama and sealed the fate of the doomed GOP ticket.  And it is the group that the GOP now needs for any resurgence.

Astonishingly, in 2012, the smug power brokers in the Republican Party ridiculed and broke their own rules to marginalize and hurt Dr. Paul and his followers.  While publicly proclaiming a “big tent” to Youth and Hispanics, the GOP security guards cut off microphones to Ron Paul Hispanics at State Conventions and escorted duly elected young Ron Paul delegates off the floor of the RNC in Tampa.  During the campaign, Governor Mitt Romney openly laughed at him.  No one’s laughing now.

A recent poll conducted by the McKeon & Associates for Freedom to Choose PAC, found Dr. Paul’s son, Senator Rand Paul, with a commanding lead over all other possible GOP, presidential contenders in the first in the nation contest in Iowa.

Here are the results of voters most likely to vote in the 2016 Iowa Caucus.

Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul      39%

Florida Senator, Marco Rubio      20%

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie   11%

Former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush          10%

La. Gov. Bobby Jindal                   3%

Condoleezza Rice                         3%

Support for Rand Paul among Independents likely to vote in the GOP Caucus was striking and bodes well for a general election contest. 67% favored the Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul.  30% favored Governor Chris Christie, all other candidates failed to muster any showing at all among these voters.

In 2012, the New York Times and all of the national network media declared Mitt Romney the winner of the Iowa Caucus.  Only months later did they reverse themselves to say that Senator Rick Santorum had won.  This blogger was told that it took threats from the Governor’s office and from fellow GOP leaders, before the Iowa State GOP Chairman would finally release the votes from selected counties that put Santorum over the top.  The Chairman, a Mitt Romney supporter, resigned shortly after.

For the rest of the year, the New York Times, the Associated Press and all the major networks continued to show that Ron Paul had only 3 delegates from the Iowa Caucus.  Meanwhile, national polls showed him doing better than all other GOP contenders – except for Romney – in a head to head face off with President Obama, and tied within the margin of error with Romney.  These were ignored as the national media continued to marginalize Dr. Paul.

In fact, the Paul supporters openly declared that they, not Santorum, had won the Iowa delegation.  They contended that if the news had been reported truthfully and the following contests had been allowed to take place according to GOP rules, Dr. Paul would have arrived as a force at a brokered RNC.

The final Iowa vote on the floor of the Republican National Convention was 22 for Dr. Ron Paul and 6 for former Governor Mitt Romney.  In a final irony, Dr. Paul’s Iowa state co-chairman was voted in to replace the disgraced Romney operative who had been running the State GOP and had withheld votes to assure that his man would get media credit for a win he didn’t earn.

Most people want fairness and despise the expanding corruption that pervades American society from its food supply, to its national media, to its monetary system to its government relationship with Wall Street and K Street and yes, to the corruption of its two major political parties.  What good is an election if the only two candidates to choose from are produced by a corrupt process?  How is that really democratic or free?

This recent poll in Iowa is a good sign.  It shows that the mood of the people is beginning to reach the flood stage.  It shows that the corruption that has bankrupted this nation and made a very few, very rich at the expense of all the rest of us, has finally been exposed for what it is.

It shows that Rand Paul commands a following much bigger and much wider than his father ever had.  But it also shows that his father’s campaign was more than Quixotic.  Dr. Paul did not run in vain, and all of those thousands of people who were shut out or whose votes were thrown away, or whose bones were broken or whose election was nullified, did not give up a year of their lives in vain.  Dr. Paul was the pace car.  And now the real race for America’s future begins.

Join the discussion on FACEBOOK now.

And who do you favor for the GOP nomination in 2016?  Vote below.

Vote for your favorite for 2016


Rand Paul Now Leads Liberty Movement

April 9, 2013

It has only been a little more than a month since Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster on the floor of the U.S. Senate.  But it is looking more and more like a defining moment in American politics.  It may be a defining moment in American history.

.

The dramatic sight of Rand Paul standing all alone, in the well of the Senate on March 6, 2013, speaking up for the U.S. Constitution, asking the questions that the media and the power establishment was too busy or too indifferent to ask, is a picture that will be forever burned into the psyche of many Americans.  And the key point here was that he was alone.  The rest of Washington, D.C., the politicians, the television producers, the White House staff, had scattered across town to posh restaurants enjoying their cocktails, regaling each other with tales of the day’s successes and making their deals for tomorrow, smugly content that they had put another day of work behind them.
.
That afternoon, Senator Rand Paul had begun what would be a 13 hour filibuster, promising to hold up confirmation of the new Director of the CIA until the president answered this simple question. “Does the president’s newly assumed power to kill a U.S. citizen, without arrest or trial, apply to non combatants here in the United States?”
.
It was a reasonable question.  Under president Barack Obama, the U.S. government had begun an unprecedented policy of killing U.S. citizens if they were deemed as terrorists.  Forget Miranda rights, they couldn’t even have a trial.  And this could happen anywhere in the world. The United States did not have to be at war with a country.  They could violate the air space and commit these killings in the Middle East, Asia, even Europe. In 2010, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, was killed in a drone missile strike on a desert road in Yemen.  Two weeks later, his son, born in Denver, Colorado, with no ties to terrorism, searching for his father’s body in Yemen, was likewise killed by an American drone strike.  The killing of al-Awlaki was justified because of his rabble rousing sermons which had inspired terrorists.  The son’s killing, was oops, sorry, a mistake.  
The media has been remarkably silent.
In February, when asked about drone missiles now circling key locations here in the United States, the White House was asked if the president had the power to kill U.S. citizens  without trial, on American soil, or was this just something he could do overseas?  The White House assured the amazingly docile American media that the Justice Department had agreed that the president had this power.
.
President Barack Obama can be thankful that his predecessor, George W. Bush, did not or Obama, himself, might not be around.  By such reckoning, Barack Obama’s own pastor could have been “droned out” for his tirade, when he famously chanted, “God damn America,” from his pulpit.   And Obama, had he been in the audience for those sermons might have been collateral damage, much like al-Awlaki’s son.
.
The country seemed to be lulled into a trance.  This included its once fierce and uncompromising, professional, watchdog media, now held tightly by its corporate leashes, reduced to reading press releases and providing entertainment.  The trance included its corrupt politicians, too busy making money off of insider trading to take time to defend something so esoteric as a Constitutional right.  It included its courts, now as malleable to public opinion and as intimidated by American culture as the politicians.   Even the public was silent, too intellectually lazy to care.  No one could move lest they be stamped racist, liberal, conservative, unpatriotic or some other unpopular sticker.
.
So Rand Paul, like the sassy kid in the proverbial story, The Emperor Has No Clothes, asked aloud the question that no one else dared ask.
.
The White House sniggered.  The media ignored it. President Barack Obama would not answer.  Nor would anyone else.  Former president George W. Bush was silent on the subject, as was former president Clinton and Democrat Party leader, Al Gore.  Republican leaders, John McCain and House Speaker, John Boehner didn’t peep.  This was apparently a tough question.
.
And so, as it appeared to the nation, Rand Paul, all alone, without a single ally to hold his water, took to the Senate Floor in a filibuster, demanding that this simple question be answered.  If he was out of line and the rest of the country knew what they were doing, so be it.
.
At first there was not much of a reaction.  In the afternoon, when a member of the White House press corps asked about it, the president’s spokesman openly laughed. While Fox News Channel and MSNBC mentioned the event, mostly the national media ignored it, much as they had Rand Paul’s father, when he raised issues of civil liberties. After three hours, fellow Senator, and Liberty ally, Mike Lee finally made an appearance.  Everybody else, including the president, went out to dinner that night and then home for the evening.  The vast Liberty online community was remarkably calm.
.
But as the night wore on and Americans finished their meals and sat at their monitors or picked up their I-Phones to answer some mail, word of the drama unfolding on the floor of the U.S. Senate began to spread.  Some called it a Twitter Blizzard, a mocking reference to the snow storm that was not happening as predicted. First it resonated among the Liberty Movement base.  Rand Paul had launched a filibuster.  He wouldn’t stop talking until the President answered his question.  And then it began to spread across political and partisan lines.  What’s a filibuster?  Why won’t the president answer such a simple question?  What happened to the watchdog media?  How could they let such a question go unanswered?  By 9 pm,normal television viewing was skewed. NBC’s popular Law and Order was losing its audience as people rushed to online streaming or YouTube captured videos of the drama.  C-SPAN viewers spiked.  Cable television began to be dominated by the spectacle.
With the public aroused, the politicians reacted.  A parade of Senators, Republican and Democrat, rushed back to help Rand Paul.  Mike Lee made another appearance, this time with Ted Cruz and likely presidential contender, Marco Rubio.  Mitch McConnell and the GOP leadership fell into line.
They were all a minute too late and a dollar too short.  Senator Rand Paul, all by himself, without any help, had electrified the nation.
The next day, the politically savvy and thorough White House hauled out a canned moment that had been carefully preserved in case the filibuster went wrong.  Attorney General Holder had already answered the question to a Senator before the filibuster began, they now insisted.  But one wonders what they would have done with that canned moment if the public had not reacted.  Thursday morning, as Rand Paul began recovering from his 13 hour filibuster, the president finally answered the question.  And his CIA director was promptly confirmed.
A lot of other things were confirmed as well.
1.) Rand Paul is an unquestioned leader of the Liberty Movement and can inspire it whenever he chooses. Others will have to wait their turn.
2.) He is no political slouch, he is gutsy.
3.) Rand Paul is the first candidate since Ronald Reagan to actually lead a movement.
4.) The old left-right, Cold War paradigm is dead.  Rand Paul represents a new philosophy back to the constitution and it attracts support across the political spectrum from left to right.
5.) The fact that the country is moving in his direction and the packaging of his message is more palatable than that of his father’s, Rand Paul can win the presidency.
.
From a purely historical perspective, one wonders how much further we will go in gutting our Constitution and sacrificing our rights to keep us “safe.”  How much bigger will government get?  How many more powers will be seized by the executive branch and how much future legislation will be accomplished by executive fiat?  At what point will it go so far down this road that we cannot find our way back?  And we learn that our form of government has changed before our eyes, without a discussion?
Will Rand Paul’s filibuster be nothing more than an empty moment of theater on our way to a future government run by a single chief executive, serving at the pleasure of fifty television moguls?  Or will it mark the hi water mark of the new, post 9-11, tyranny and the beginning of a self examination that will take us back to a renewal of our hard won Constitutional Republic?  We can only hope and pray for the latter.
.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 484 other followers