If you've read my over 70 Huffington Post pieces or my writing in other publications, seen my debate on immigration reform and my HuffPost Live discussion with Marc Lamont Hill about Ferguson, listened to my appearance on America's first LGBT sports radio show, or read my two novels, and still believe that I'm not a true liberal, then great. I'm an American, not a vapid label that fits into anyone's political paradigm. I don't live in the liberal equivalent of the nation called Reagan. This fairy tale country is unlike our current "War Machine" described in The New Yorker, where (because of ISIS beheadings) "Even women, the bedrock of the Democratic Party, appeared to be swinging toward the G.O.P." on foreign policy and terrorism. As Ralph Nader recently stated when explaining why he'd sooner vote for Rand Paul than Hillary Clinton, "Who's liberal and who's conservative anymore?"
Furthermore, I've already been accused of having an "agenda" in writing my last piece on Rand Paul. I must confess, this true. I'm National Chairman of the "Liberals For Certain Libertarian Values I Admire Yet Will Not Vote for Paul If He Panders to GOP Hawks or Racists Before 2016" Committee. If you find this organization objectionable, then please write to P. O. Box 1101 "I Do Not Give a G-------n What Anyone Thinks of Me" Road, CA.
I'm always up for a spirited, respectful debate, but no longer with Bizzaro World Rush Limbaughs who'd willingly cannibalize their fellow liberals while crying, "You'd vote for Rand Paul just because of war?" I've heard this from many people and I just don't know what to make of such a viewpoint. Uh, yeah, perpetual war is the biggest issue facing this country and correlates directly to the powers of the president.
If you're continuing to read this even after finding the title of this piece offensive, then my arguments will be stored in the same region of your mind that you placed this uncomfortable memory; a region far removed from a less desirable area of your noggin. You'll see only what you want see, and you'll conveniently forget about what The Atlantic calls, "Hillary Clinton's gay marriage problem," or the fact that CNN stated Clinton "was outright against" decriminalization of marijuana in 2008. You'll definitely overlook The American Prospect stating that one of Clinton's advisers should have sent "shivers down the spines of any liberal" and that Professor Cornell West once called both Obama and Hillary Clinton "war criminals."
Red, blue, liberal, and conservatives should mean nothing when 3,000 American soldiers were just sent back to a war that we lost. The fact that these troop deployments were illegal (Democratic Virginia Senator Tim Kaine agrees with me on this) should anger all Americans, but for some reason war is on the bottom of the totem pole for today's progressives. Therefore, below are 20 reasons liberals tired of endless wars in the name of "security" should consider voting for Rand Paul over Hillary Clinton.
1. President Rand Paul won't be able to unilaterally repeal anything you like, so please relax. Before discussing wars and spying, let's focus on the biggest fear of a Rand Paul presidency: slashing everything you and I hold dear in terms of government programs and civil rights laws. True, I disagree with Paul on many of these issues, but he doesn't want to repeal the Civil Rights Act and even if he did, the president simply doesn't have that kind of power. I don't think Al Sharpton would meet with Paul to discuss crime issues and Senator Cory Booker would work with him on criminal justice reform, nor do I think he'd be invited to speak at Howard University, Simmons College in Louisville, and yes, even the bastion of conservative ideology, UC Berkeley. Paul also met with black leaders in Ferguson, something Hillary Clinton has not done for some reason. Regarding his view of a future GOP, he's stated, "If we want to win elections, we've got to try to compete for African-American votes."
All of this doesn't sound like a man who wants to do away with laws that protect minorities. The reality is that only Congress can repeal the government programs and laws that all of us find essential to American life. Repealing the EPA, or the Civil Rights Act, or any other cognitive dissonance induced nightmare from hearing the words "President Rand Paul" would reside only under Congressional authority, state legislatures and courts, and if SCOTUS gets a landmark case. Poll numbers play an enormous factor, but the public doesn't want to repeal the EPA, Social Security, or any other program you think Rand Paul would gobble up in his nefarious orgy of libertarian madness.
The president has limited power to influence Congress and doesn't have the "juice" to repeal anything, or even to persuade Congress if political will is lacking. If there's no widespread public mandate, like invading Iraq, saving Wall Street, enacting a health care law, or immigration as we've seen today, then the president's influence on legislative matters is limited. Any fears that Paul's libertarian principles will destroy Social Security, or any other government programs, simply don't correlate with the reality of presidential authority.
While Congress votes on federal legislation and the fate of government programs through funding, the greatest powers of presidents are waging wars and influencing foreign policy. According to Gallup, "usually, Republicans vote at a higher rate than Democrats," so a GOP controlled Congress is what should scare liberals most pertaining to repealing civil rights laws or legislation tied to social issues, not a Rand Paul presidency intent on destroying government programs.
2. Hillary Clinton as President would be a liberal neocon. This country does not need another neocon in the White House.
As stated in The Harvard Law Review, "From Truman to Reagan to Obama, presidents have argued that force was necessary not just to advance concrete interests but to preserve credibility." The issue of advocating wars to promote "credibility" is a grandiose subject, one that most people today either don't understand or don't care about, which is why Rand Paul as president is viewed by some liberals in this manner. This issue, which encompasses a myriad of other topics related to perpetual war, links directly to the expanded powers of the presidency on foreign policy matters and military interventions. War is something a president can wage in an almost unilaterally manner in this era, by pushing for resolutions after enough beheading videos have been seen by the public.
Regarding Hillary Clinton's foreign policy ideas and penchant for advocating military interventions, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept has stated, "She's a f-----g hawk and like a neocon, practically." Ralph Nader said outright he'd rather vote for Rand Paul than Hillary, calling her a "menace to the United States of America" and "another corporatist and militarist." The New York Times has quoted famed neoconservative and Clinton adviser Robert Kagan as saying, "I'm comfortable with her on foreign policy." Mr. Kagan, by the way, thinks President Obama is not hawkish enough.
In contrast, I don't see why liberals can't be open-minded to a candidate, if Hillary Clinton is the only other option, who states the following:
We've been 10 years in Afghanistan and we can't identify friend from foe. Do you think we can, with certainty, identify friend and foe in Syria?
...we are in too many places, too often, and we don't seem to even know the reason -- or where we will end up when we're done. This foreign policy has created more enemies than it has vanquished. It has siphoned trillions of America's dollars. It has cost tens of thousands of casualties in the loss of the lives and limbs of our soldiers.
We owe it to ourselves, our soldiers and our children to take a more careful look at our foreign policy, to not rush into war, and to not attempt to score political points with wrongheaded policy ideas.
Sorry, but these words by Rand Paul sound far more liberal than anything Hillary Clinton or President Obama has said in recent years. Paul isn't against any military intervention even against ISIS, but favors a more reasoned approach to war that doesn't involve unilateral troop deployments by the president. After 4,488 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq and 2,351 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan, 1 million U.S. soldiers wounded in both wars, and a cost of up to $6 trillion, it is simply immoral to continually send Americans off to fight in perpetual wars without vehement debate in Congress and among the American people. In fact, I'd call this the greatest moral deficiency of our generation; a society that wages continual war, yet doesn't even seem to notice the bloodshed or consequences of such decisions.
3. On the issue of the NSA, President Rand Paul will be less likely to succumb to egregious spying, if heaven forbid there's another major terrorist attack.
Gen. McChrystal's recent POLITICO discussion on societies willing to sacrifice privacy and individual freedoms for security essentially summarizes our crisis as a nation. Therefore, let's be fair when looking at Paul's record on this issue. The recent NSA bill Rand Paul voted against was co-sponsored by your new best friend Ted Cruz and would have extended the PATRIOT Act until 2017.
No, it didn't do nearly enough to protect your privacy or rights and would have "disguised mass spying" within an extended PATRIOT Act, which is why Paul voted "nay." Daily Tech.com explains that, "At the end of the day had the bill passed virtually every American would likely be spied on under general warrants from the FISA court." Furthermore, Rand Paul sued the NSA and helped publicize domestic spying as a genuine threat in many other ways. Paul's position on this issue, as he stated in his UC Berkeley appearance, is "I perceive fear of an intelligence community drunk with power, unrepentant and uninclined to relinquish power." Finally, he'd also treat Edward Snowden more as a whistleblower than a threat like many top Democrats and Republicans.
If there were heaven forbid, another major terror attack on U.S. soil, who do you think would succumb to the hysteria sooner, Hillary or Rand?
4. I trust Paul on drones more than I do any other candidate.
There was a gleeful frenzy over Rand Paul's "flip-flopping" on domestic drone strikes with regards to the issue of an imminent threat. When utilizing your free passes on Clinton's flip-flopping, borrow one for Paul's latest viewpoint on this topic. Keep in mind, however, that he was also on Fox News when expressing the more hawkish Paul. Like Clinton with war in 2002 and gay marriage and marijuana in 2008, Paul had to appeal to his base. Yes, Paul's flip-flop was ridiculous and even Ron Paul disapproved of his change in tone. However, unlike Hillary, Jeb, Mitt, and all the others, at least he publicized the issue of drones and their potential to hurt Americans. He's countered the GOP on drones, his epic filibuster "drew praise from liberals," and he has been critical of President Obama's drastic increase from Bush in international drone strikes.
For the record, I don't think Hillary Clinton would wage a war because she had to appease a corporate donor. With all my views, I still respect what she's accomplished as a Democrat and respect her as a human being. The accusation that I "hate" Hillary Clinton is false (this author leaves out a Tweet that references Nader, not me). However, the big knock on Dick Cheney was his Halliburton ties, so I think it's fair to discuss the enormous sums of money Clinton has received over the years. I just feel more comfortable with a candidate who hasn't received hundreds of millions of dollars from Wall Street firms that have ties to defense.
Am I trying to project my desires for this country onto Rand Paul, making him into something he might not be in reality? Perhaps, I'm only human and I might end up being duped, tricked, conned, or deceived by a Republican who says and does many things I admire. Furthermore, I might change my mind if he turns hard right and panders to elements of the GOP I detest. As of now, however, if it's between Hillary and Rand, and both don't flip-flop too egregiously to the point where they're two different people, I'm taking Rand.