Columnist Kevin Foley was not pleased with the bipartisan reaction to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster (“Straw-man Rand droned on and on,” March 15 MDJ). Foley’s faith in the good intentions of our president misses the point entirely. Paul was questioning the cult of the presidency. The questioning of executive power is something which does and should appeal to decent citizens of the entire political spectrum, but is frequently ignored by the media and politicos of both major parties.
Our first president, George Washington, initially declined to serve, concerned no man should have so much power. In the time since, the power of the executive branch has only expanded. Presidents of both parties are guilty of these power grabs, and the minority party has rarely served as a check on the aggression. Consider President George W. Bush’s decision to attack Iraq; Democrats in Congress protested and slowed the process only long enough to state on the record their desire to invade was as strong as Bush’s. Congressional Democrats didn’t bother to meet the constitutional requirement to declare war.
Rand’s objections are a rare example of the checks and balances our founders envisioned.
Foley seems to justify unilateral drone strikes because one of Obama’s targets, Anwar al-Awlaki, publicly advocated terrorism. Ignoring the fact these statements are not due process, let us focus on due process for other citizens. Two weeks after killing al-Awlaki, another Obama drone strike killed the alleged terrorist’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. The teen, a U.S. citizen, was killed, according to Obama senior adviser Robert Gibbs, for not having a “more responsible father.” If that is how our president decides whom to bomb, millions may be in his sights. Almost three years prior to the Newtown school shootings, Obama killed more children in one day via drone strikes. (A December 2009 strike in Yemen killed 14 women and 21 children, one more than Newtown).
Foley is ready to shred our 2nd Amendment to address the Newtown event, but he cannot even tolerate one man speaking out about the issue of presidential authority to address the more deadly event? These excessive and extra-constitutional acts by the president strongly suggest Rand is right to question his intentions.
Foley may think it a straw man when the president kills brown children in a far away land, but we should all expect better of our president, regardless of who fills that office. For this, I stand with Rand.