Last month, Rand Paul and Chris Christie went at each other.
The New Jersey Governor started it by saying that people like Paul discussed things like national security in purely esoteric terms, and that they should sit down with the widows and orphans from 9-11 and have those discussions with them.
Paul retorted that Christie was the “king of bacon” in trying to extract Hurricane Sandy relief from the Federal Government.
Who is right and who is wrong?
They both are.
First of all, despite all demurrers, they are both running for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination. So a schoolyard brawl injures neither.
But to a great extent, both take their positions way too far.
Paul called Edward Snowden a “hero” for leaking the NSA’s abilities to the press. Snowden was just given asylum in Moscow by Vladimir Putin. With all due respect to Kentucky’s junior Senator, Snowden is NOT a hero. He’s a traitor who ought to face a firing squad.
Christie, on the other hand, is a former US Attorney who sees everything in terms of a strong government presence, even where it is not needed. “This strain of libertarianism that’s going through both parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought.” Liberty a dangerous thought?
After 9-11, we made a lot of mistakes. And some of them were not even well-intentioned and/or thought through.
The biggest, was the TSA. It was a huge expansion of unionized government employees who could all be eliminated tomorrow with not a single effect on our national security. They truly are the Thousands Standing Around, and they do absolutely nothing to make you safer.
If someone ever tries to hijack a plane again, the passengers will make that person dead before the end of the flight. We Americans are quick learners. That was a lesson learned on the fourth plane hijacked on 9-11.
Christie wants the Congress—especially Republicans in Congress—to worry about things like infrastructure as opposed to, say, freedom.
That said, we clearly need programs to track the moves of our enemies. And that’s where Rand Paul is wrong. He’s right about warrants and the fourth amendment. But if he wants to throw out the baby with the bathwater, he needs to remember what the Church Committee did, starting after Watergate, to put us in a position to be surprised by 9-11.
The truth is that in many respects, this is not a partisan debate and shouldn’t be. It is a debate about how much control any government should have on your life to protect other lives.
The talking heads want to make this a Republican-on-Republican shooting. You know, like the Democrats don’t have internal disputes.
The truth is that both parties had better pay attention to these issues or, sooner than you think, there will be a third party in the mix.
This has always been a nation of ideas. And the strongest of those ideas is that your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.
Both Christie and Paul are right in their positions as far as they go. But I’m pretty sure that nobody reading this wants to live in a state of anarchy any more than we want to live in the old Soviet Union.
If both of them want to be in the mainstream of the Republican Party, they need better ideas than those they have thrown out so far, which would be approximately none.
C’mon guys, you can do better than this.
Or, put another way, if you can’t, get off the stage.