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The #RandPaulShutdown is officially over. This wasn’t a Republican shutdown. It wasn’t a Democrat shutdown. It was just another example of Rand Paul proving yet again that he cares more about spending than he cares about the military. He’s a disgrace. He isn’t a patriot. He’s a principled idiot with bad judgment. First, it passed in the Senate:


Later, it passed the House:

Apparently, Rand Paul is intent on shutting down the government because he didn’t get to offer his amendments to a 700-page bill he says nobody has read. Sen. Paul is intent on hurting the military because his spokesperson, Sergio Gor, said “Senator Rand Paul is asking for is a 15-minute vote on his amendment to restore the budget caps.” Those caps will devastate the military.

This stunt by Sen. Paul will earn him the distinction of being more dovish than Amy Klobuchar. Check this out:

The massive budget deal, which includes a stopgap temporary measure to prevent a government shutdown, includes $300 billion for the military. The agreement also adds $89 billion in overdue disaster aid for hurricane-slammed Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, a politically charged increase in the government’s borrowing cap and a grab bag of health and tax provisions.

Sen. Paul will earn the distinction of having a hashtag named after him: #RandPaulShutdown

Rand Paul insists that he’s a constitutionalist. That’s odd considering he won’t vote to fund the military. How can you stop funding the military and still call yourself a constitutionalist?

Kim Strassel’s latest WSJ article perfectly illustrates the threat that the Swamp poses to America. The question that Susan Collins, John McCain and Rand Paul needs to be asked is whether they hate President Trump more than they love America. At this point, it seems like they hate President Trump more than they love America.

Ms. Strassel notes that “Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have also led revolts against bills, again based on shared criticisms. But what do the Arizona maverick, the Maine moderate and the Kentucky libertarian have in common? Very little. Well, very little save motivations that go beyond policy. And that is the crucial point that is missing from the endless analyses of the McCain-Collins-Paul defections on health care. The media has treated the trio’s excuses for killing their party’s top priority as legit, despite the obvious holes in their objections over policy and process. What in fact binds the three is their crafting of identities based primarily on opposition to their party or Mr. Trump.”

Ms. Strassel eviscerates the trio, writing “The press was fixated this week on Mr. McConnell’s bad week, which is an easy piece to write. But it ignores the obvious reality that the Triumvirate seems to have never had any intention of letting its party succeed. After all, a senator who intended to stand firm on “regular order,” as Mr. McCain said, would have informed his colleagues of that demand at the beginning, rather than allow his colleagues to set up for another vote and then dramatically tank it (again) at the last minute. A senator who voted for ‘skinny’ ObamaCare repeal in the summer on the grounds that anything was “better than no repeal,” in the words of Mr. Paul, would not suddenly engineer an unreachable set of demands for his vote on an even better repeal.” This will never be forgotten by Republicans:

Let’s state this clearly. By making up flimsy excuses for why they’re opposing a health care plan that would be dramatically better than the ACA, this trio is proving that they’re putting egos ahead of doing what’s right for the American people. In that way, Paul, McCain and Collins are as disgusting as Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi.

While there are other Republicans who haven’t enthusiastically supported President Trump’s agenda, this trio of traitors should be expelled from chairmanships and plum committee assignments. Rather than calling them “the Never-Trump Triumvirate”, let’s call this trio what they are: the trio who hate President Trump more than they love this nation. What a disgusting bunch. They’re more disgusting than the reptiles protesting during the National Anthem. They’re almost more disgusting than Antifa.

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According to Potomac Watch columnist Kimberly Strassel’s column, it’s time to strip a handful of GOP senators of their cover for repealing the ACA.

Strassel’s column starts by saying “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at this point has busted pretty much every move in his effort to rally 50 votes for an Obama Care replacement. He’s listened. He’s negotiated. He’s encouraged. He’s cajoled. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Months later, still lacking a majority, the time has come for the Kentucky Republican to execute the final, clarifying move. It’s time for Mr. McConnell to make this all about his self-interested members. Up to now, this exercise has been about trying to improve health care and the federal fisc. The House bill isn’t perfect—no bill ever is—but it amounts to the biggest entitlement reform in history. It repeals crushing taxes. It dramatically cuts spending. And it begins the process of stabilizing the individual health-care market and expanding consumer freedom.”

In other words, it’s put-up-or-shut-up time for “Ohio’s Rob Portman, Nevada’s Dean Heller and West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito”, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Utah’s Mike Lee, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, “South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy.”

Ms. Strassel is right in saying “any Republican who votes against moving forward, ‘motion to proceed, ‘will forever be known as the Republican who saved ObamaCare. The Republican who voted to throw billions more taxpayer dollars at failing entitlement programs and collapsing insurance markets. The Republican who abandoned struggling American families. The Republican who voted against a tax cut and spending reductions. The Republican who made Chuck Schumer’s year.”

It’s time to play hardball. It’s time to tell these senators that they have to either stand for conservative principles or get primaried. It’s time they were told that it isn’t enough to talk a good game. It’s time that they walked the walk, not just talked the talk.

Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to lay out his course of action:

The time for playing pretend is over. The time for making life better for Americans is now. The time for demanding the perfect is over. The time for rejecting major improvements is proof of foolishness.

If people want to read a good fictional novella, I’d recommend that they read Rand Paul’s op-ed. What Sen. Paul’s op-ed misses in serious policies, it makes up for with sensationalism and old-fashioned BS.

Early in the article, Sen. Paul reveals his goal by talking about Hillary Clinton’s and Marco Rubio’s “liberation foreign policy.” After that, Sen. Paul’s op-ed reads like a letter from an angry child upset that nobody’s paying attention to him. There’s good reason for that. Sen. Paul’s upset that nobody’s paying attention to him. There’s a reason for that. He’s sounding more and more like a not-quite-as-crazy-as-his-dad-noninterventionist.

First, Sen. Paul’s accusations are without merit. He’s basing his statements on a myth. Early in the op-ed, he said “When I forced the Foreign Relations Committee to debate an authorization of military force against ISIS, Senator Rubio and McCain insisted that the new authorization be unlimited temporally or geographically. Basically, they want a war without end against an undefined enemy in an unspecified region of the world.”

I don’t recall Congress putting a time limit on FDR after Pearl Harbor. I don’t recall Congress giving FDR permission to declare war on Japan but not on Germany and Italy. War is, by its chaotic nature, open-ended time-wise. I’d be worried if Sen. Rubio and Sen. McCain agreed to give President Obama an AUMF that had an expiration date. That’s the definition of insanity.

This sounds like a petulant child:

Senator Rubio wrote the President at the time that he saw “no legal reason preventing” him from using his “commander-in-chief” powers to attack ISIS. His letter makes no mention of the Constitutional requirement to seek Congressional authority.

There’s a reason for that. The AUMF that the House and Senate passed gave the president, then George W. Bush, the authority to go after terrorists “with global reach.” ISIS definitely fits that definition.

As we enter into the season of determining the next Commander in Chief, I hope voters will seek out a leader who will learn from history and not pursue a reckless policy that seeks to liberate the world but in reality traps us under a mountain of debt and beguiles us into perpetual war.

I hope that voters will learn from recent history that the terrorists haven’t quit fighting a war against us. Sen. Paul apparently hasn’t figured it out that we don’t quit fighting a war if the terrorists haven’t quit waging war against the United States. That’s the definition of national suicide.

Sen. Paul isn’t concerned with preventing terrorist attacks. The thing that he’s most worried about is “mountains of debt.” It’s time he figured out how to fight the terrorists while reducing the debt.

This week hasn’t been a good week for Rand Paul because he’s backtracked on a bunch of statements. Sen. Paul’s supporters are spinning it that he isn’t a polished politician:

After Rand Paul said GOP defense hawks had “created” ISIS, he told Sean Hannity: “I think I could have stated it better.” When he claimed some of his adversaries were “secretly” hoping for a terrorist attack so they could blame him for shutting down the PATRIOT Act, the next day he admitted that “hyperbole” got the better of him “in the heat of battle.” And when Paul quipped that he was “glad” his train didn’t stop in Baltimore in the wake of riots there, he later offered “regret” that his comments were “misinterpreted.”

As Paul has sought to stand out from the clustered GOP presidential field, he’s finding that his freewheeling, off-the-cuff speaking style can cut both ways. His supporters say it’s what’s refreshing about him: He’s not a typical programmed pol who spews the same talking points over and over; there’s an authenticity that’s rare in today’s poll-driven politics, they say.

While it’s clear that he isn’t the conspiracy theorist that his father’s been, it’s equally clear that he’s a bit paranoid. Accusing fellow senators and Republicans of wanting a terrorist attack so that they can blame him for it is either proof that he’s paranoid or it’s proof that he’s into shooting his mouth off. Saying that Republican hawks created ISIS is just historically inaccurate.

In both instances, he’s been reckless.

Americans don’t have to agree with their presidents 100% of the time but they won’t tolerate a president that they think is reckless. That’s because reckless people don’t control situations. Situations control them.

“People have to choose what they want,” he told POLITICO this week. “If they want robots, who say the same thing over and over again, there are plenty of them. If they want something more genuine, where everything is not always perfect — we’ll see what people want. I am who I am.”

The fact that he’s maintained the same core supporters that his father got indicates that the voters who’ve sized him up aren’t buying what he’s selling. Sen. Paul isn’t polished but he isn’t foolish, either. There’s little question that he knows he’ll never be president.

After reading this article, sane people are left wondering what Sen. Paul’s supporters are thinking:

The newest Iowa poll conducted by The Des Moines Register reflects a trend which has been ongoing since polling for this cycle began. Rand Paul, in second place at 10%, is well within the margin of error of the lead, currently held by Scott Walker at 17%. Ben Carson finished with 10% and both Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush earned 9%.

While it is debatable how important it may be to actually win the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus, history shows that it is imperative to finish in the top 4, as each nominee from both major parties has done so since the quadrennial tradition began in 1972. With a possible field of nearly 20 Republican candidates, a poor showing in Iowa could prove lethal to several campaigns.

With that information in mind, the fact that Senator Paul has consistently remained in double-digits since Iowa polling commenced in mid-2012 becomes all the more important and impressive. Paul enters the contest with a bit of an advantage, as his father came within 4 percentage points (or 4,000 votes) of winning the caucus in 2012. In fact, the legacy that the elder Paul left is best represented by the fact that 22 of the state’s 28 delegates pledged themselves to his campaign.

Now that Sen. Paul has announced that he’ll force the expiration of the Patriot Act, his days are numbered. From this day forward, his support will drop until he’s left with his father’s core of loyal supporters. By the time the Caucuses happen, he’ll trail Walker, Rubio, Carson and, quite possibly, Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz.

The 2016 Iowa field will be unique in that it will be first in history to feature 2 different past winners (Huckabee and Rick Santorum), but Paul has shown himself to be one of the favorites to win the caucus. Other candidates’ numbers have fluctuated, yet Paul has steadily maintained a solid core of voters.

First, Sen. Paul’s support hasn’t grown. Second, Sen. Paul’s support isn’t reaching into other demographics that are needed to win in Iowa. For instance, Sen. Paul doesn’t have a chance of winning over evangelical Christians because of his strict libertarian views on things like legalizing marijuana and his indifference towards gay marriage. Whether you agree or disagree policy-wise, evangelical Christians won’t support candidates that are indifferent on those issues.

Putting it simply, Sen. Paul’s potential for winning Iowa is virtually nil.

The newest person in line in the Iowa “stock market” of candidates has been Scott Walker, who now averages nearly 20%, but has seen his numbers begin to decline. As recently as January, Walker was polling at below 5%, showing that his reign is likely unsustainable, and could be very well a limited one.

Now that’s fanciful. Wow! Scott Walker has led the RCP average of polls for nearly 4 months, usually with solid leads outside the margin of error. If that’s what a “likely unsustainable” lead looks like, especially one that “could be very well a limited one”, then I’m betting most candidates would settle for such an unsustainable lead.

Josh Guckert is the name of the person who wrote this article but it could’ve just as easily have been Baghdad Bob.

It was just a matter of time before Rand Paul’s presidential ambitions came to a crashing halt. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign will all-but-officially end Sunday night. That’s when Sen. Paul will, in his words, “force the expiration of the Patriot Act“:

Rand Paul plans to force the expiration of the PATRIOT Act Sunday by refusing to allow Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to expedite debate on a key surveillance bill. In a statement to POLITICO Saturday, Paul warned that he would not consent to any efforts to pass either an extension of current law or the USA Freedom Act, a reform bill passed overwhelmingly by the House earlier this month.

When Sen. Paul forces that expiration, he will forever tie himself to his father’s national security policies. That will, in my opinion, end talk of his being a top tier presidential candidate. He’ll be as well-liked within the GOP as a leper at a hot tub party at the Playboy Mansion.

Here’s part of his statement to Politico:

“I have fought for several years now to end the illegal spying of the NSA on ordinary Americans. The callous use of general warrants and the disregard for the Bill of Rights must end. Forcing us to choose between our rights and our safety is a false choice and we are better than that as a nation and as a people. “That’s why two years ago, I sued the NSA. It’s why I proposed the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. It’s why I have been seeking for months to have a full, open and honest debate on this issue— a debate that never came. “So last week, seeing proponents of this illegal spying rushing toward a deadline to wholesale renew this unconstitutional power, I filibustered the bill. I spoke for over 10 hours to call attention to the vast expansion of the spy state and the corresponding erosion of our liberties.

“Then, last week, I further blocked the extension of these powers and the Senate adjourned for recess rather than stay and debate them. “Tomorrow, we will come back with just hours left before the NSA illegal spying powers expire. “Let me be clear: I acknowledge the need for a robust intelligence agency and for a vigilant national security.

Let’s be clear about something. The NSA isn’t spying on “ordinary Americans.” Sen. Paul knows that there isn’t any “illegal spying” happening. Sen. Paul knows that but he’s still peddling that storyline because he’s a dishonest politician.

Come Monday, Charles Krauthammer will eviscerate him with verified facts, legal precedents and irrefutable logic. When Charles stops wielding his political scalpel, Sen. Paul will be reduced to a puddle of political blood. There’s nothing that will endear him to Republican voters. He’s tapping into his father’s base but that isn’t much more than a sliver group on the outer fringe of the outer fringe.

By forcing the “expiration of the Patriot Act”, he will have done the impossible. Sen. Paul will have moved to the left of everyone with the exception of Bernie Sanders. Couple this ill-advised PR stunt with his idiotic statement that “Republican hawks” caused the rise of ISIS and you’ve got a presidential candidate that only CODEPINK and the ACLU would love. Those voters aren’t that plentiful in the GOP.

Goodbye Rand. You’re as nutty as your father. PS- Good riddance, too.

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When I wrote this post about Rand Paul’s foolishness about ISIS, I stuck mostly to highlighting why Sen. Paul’s opinion is dangerous. Today, it’s time to attack the beliefs that form the foundation for that wrongheaded thinking.

Like his lunatic father before him, Sen. Paul thinks that ISIS won’t hurt us if we just leave them alone. That’s projection based on their capital-L Libertarian beliefs. It’s also lunacy that isn’t based in facts.

ISIS’s beliefs are based on a messianic worldview. If ISIS didn’t use the U.S.’s presence in the Middle East as a rationalization for attacking us, then they’d find a different, equally dishonest, excuse to kill people who don’t agree with them 100% of the time.

The proof of this is the fact that hundreds and thousands of Muslims have been murdered because they didn’t subscribe to ISIS’s beliefs. Their crime wasn’t that they were an occupying force in the Middle East. Their ‘crime’ was that they weren’t, in ISIS’s opinion, Muslim enough. If it wasn’t that, ISIS would find a different excuse to rationalize their actions.

Rand Paul isn’t qualified to be the next commander-in-chief. He sees the world as he wants it to be. He doesn’t see the world as it actually is. That’s President Obama’s fatal flaw. That’s one of Sen. Paul’s fatal flaws, too.

Anyone watching this video has to wonder whether Tucker Carlson has paid attention the last 12 years:

Here’s the transcript that calls his analytic skills into question:

CARLSON: The question I would ask, and I’m not endorsing Rand Paul, but I do think you need a moment of national reckoning where we ask a simple question: what is the lesson from the last thirteen years of Iraq? Have we learned anything? How would we proceed differently based on what we just saw? And the other candidates, most of them I would say, are committed to this ‘We’ve learned nothing. The world’s exactly as it was on September 12, 2001. That is not…I don’t think that’s a recipe for success. I …
BRET BAIER: But do you think that this is a pathway to the GOP nomination?
CARLSON: I don’t. I absolutely don’t. Laura is absolutely right. He’s getting hammered. You’re pro-terrorist. Again, I’m not defending Rand Paul. I’m not an advocate for his campaign. But I think the question hangs in the air what have we learned?
LAURA INGRAHAM: There’s a big debate out there that has to be had. Will it be had? Will it be had when there’s just one person making the case and an entire field saying ‘Oh no. It has to be this way. It’s an interesting debate. We should have it.
CHARLES LANE: I listened to that soundbite of Rand Paul and was just reminded of why he’s not…of why he’s getting criticism. The things he says are sloppy and superficial. To literally blame the rise of ISIS on the hawks in the Republican Party is just ridiculous. Let’s face it. There are so many other factors that’ve gone into it and furthermore, it isn’t about how do we unring all the bells that were run in the past that may have led us to this point. The problem now is how do we deal with this menace?

If Carlson wants to re-litigate whether we should’ve invaded Iraq, he’s free to do so. It’s just that that’s a waste of time for policymakers. If historians want to debate it, fine. That’s their responsibility.

If Carlson wants to make sure that we don’t make the same mistakes again, the big picture answer is exceptionally straightforward. Don’t elect a person who thinks that fighting terrorists is an afterthought. Don’t elect a person who isn’t committed to winning.

One straightforward lesson worth learning is that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton told us in 2007 and 2008 that they weren’t qualified to be commander-in-chief. President Obama has been a terrible commander-in-chief. If she got elected, Hillary would be just as terrible as commander-in-chief as President Obama is because they’re both committed, as they’ve said repeatedly throughout the years, to “ending wars responsibly.”

The biggest lesson Republicans need to learn is to a) trust their generals more and b) loosen up the rules of engagement, aka ROE, so that U.S. military forces can efficiently kill the terrorists as quickly as possible. The other shift that’s imperative is that they must make clear that the Sunnis and Kurds will be protected and that Iran’s generals won’t be permitted as military advisors to Iraq.

The biggest reason why the Sunnis didn’t fight in Ramadi is because they were stuck in a lose-lose situation. If they defeat ISIS, Iranian Shiites would wage war against the Sunnis. If the Sunnis waged war against the Shiites, then Iran and President Obama would persecute them.

During the Anbar Awakening, U.S. soldiers fought alongside the Sunnis. They established a trust with the Sunni soldiers. The result was the Sunnis running AQI, ISIS’ predecessor, into Syria. We don’t need to send 150,000 troops into Iraq to obliterate ISIS. Military experts say that 20,000-25,000 troops, combined with an aggressive bombing campaign, should devastate ISIS and restore Iraqi trust in the United States. This time, though, it’s imperative that we negotiate a status of forces agreement to keep a stabilizing force in Iraq. That stabilizing force would keep the troops and the Iraqi government in line, prevent the Iranians from spreading their influence in the region and prevent the return of ISIS.

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