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The Senator from Al-Qaeda

Written by Daniel Greenfield

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RAND PAUL/VAN JONES 2016

Here's an easy way to tell when your position isn't a conservative one. When you're standing with Van Code Pink al-QaedaJones, your position isn't a conservative one. When you're standing with Code Pink, then your position is not a conservative one.

No amount of noise or chest-beating is going to change that.  

The Republican Party has taken a severe beating in the last year. With so many hopes down the drain, some will take a victory where they can find it, even if it's a younger version of Ron Paul.

There are Conservative sites that are positively giddy about Rand Paul getting positive mentions from John Cusack and Van Jones. Code Pink's endorsement is being treated like some kind of victory.

Are we really getting worked up about getting a pat on the head from the left? Are we all Paultards now or are we all RINOs now?

Or is finding someone to the left of Obama to side with... supposed to be a victory for conservative principles? 

"Will the Left finally get the Tea Party now?" Breitbart's site asks. If Andrew Breitbart were alive, he could have answered that question in one four letter word.

The left "gets" the Tea Party. It gets it as a middle class bourgeois defense of its property and rights against the the rule of the left.

That is what the Tea Party is. That is what the Left is.

Even saner heads are calling Rand Paul's filibuster a political victory. The only place that it's a victory is in the echo chambers of a victory-starved party. And to Code Pink and Van Jones who are happy to see the Republican Party adopting their views.

The "brilliant victory" was that some Republicans tried to go further on the left than Obama on National Defense. Maybe next they can try to go further left than him on Immigration, Gay Marriage and Abortion.

And if that doesn't work, Rand Paul and Jon Huntsman can get together on ending the War on Drugs.

Most Americans support using drones to kill Al Qaeda terrorists. Most Americans don't know about the filibuster or care. Most Americans want political and economic reforms, not conspiracy theories.

The Paul filibuster was about drone strikes on American soil, the way that Obama 'only' wants to ban assault rifles.  

This isn't about using drones to kill Americans on American soil. That's a fake claim being used by Rand Paul as a wedge issue to dismantle the War on Terror. Now that he manipulated conservative support for that, he can begin moving forward with his real agenda.

Rand Paul is on record as opposing Guantanamo Bay and supports releasing the terrorists. He's on record opposing drone strikes against Al Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan, saying, "A perpetual drone war in Pakistan makes those people more angry and not less angry."

This position is no different than that of his father. The only difference is that Rand Paul is better at sticking statements like these into the middle of some conservative rhetoric.

It's the same trick that Barack Obama pulls every time he gives a speech.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blasted fellow GOP Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday, saying the two “think the whole world is a battlefield.”  

Like Ron Paul, Rand shifts the blame to America. It's not Senator McCain who thinks the whole world is a battlefield. It's Al Qaeda.

Here, in the middle of Rand Paul's drone rant is what he really stands for and against.

It's one thing to say yeah, these people are going to probably come and attack us, which to tell you the truth is probably not always true. There are people fighting a civil war in Yemen who probably have no conception of ever coming to America.

The people fighting that "civil war" are tied in with Al Qaeda, including the Al-Awlaki clan, whose scion, Anwar Al-Awlaki helped organize terrorist attacks against America and was linked to 9/11.

 Friedersdorf (Andrew Sullivan's underblogger) goes on to say we do know the U.S. drones are targeting people who have never pledged to carry out attacks in the United States, so we're talking about noncombatants who have never pledged to carry out attacks are being attacked overseas. 

Think about it, if that's going to be the standard at home, people who have never really truly been involved with combat against us. Take Pakistan where the CIA kills some people without even knowing their identities. This is more from Friedersdorf. 

Think about it. If it were your family member and they have been killed and they were innocent or you believe them to be innocent, it's going to - is it going to make you more or less likely to become involved with attacking the United States?

This isn't about stopping Obama from killing Americans. This is straight-line anti-war garbage.

You know, or how much - if there's an al-Qaida presence there trying to organize and come and attack us. Maybe there is. But maybe there's also people who are just fighting their local government.

How about Mali? I'm not sure in Mali they're probably worried more about trying to get the next day's food than coming over here to attack us.   

And a politician reciting Michael Mooreisms like these is supposed to stand for a "Conservative Victory"?

I think that's a good way of putting it, because when you think about it, obviously they're killing some bad people. This is war. There's been some short-term good. The question is, does the short-term good outweigh the long term cost, not only just in dollars but the long-term cost of whether or not we're encouraging a next generation of terrorists?

Is this the new conservative position now? That killing Al Qaeda terrorists only encourages more terrorism?

Are we all Paultards now?

The other thing about this is, is you need to try to understand who - who are these terrorists? Members of al-Qaida. There are no people walking around with a card that says "al-Qaida" on it. There are bad people and there were bad people associated with the terrorists. We've killed a lot of them who were in Afghanistan training and part of the group that attacked us. But there are terrorists all over the world that are unhappy with their own local governments. Some of them are unhappy with us, too. But to call them al-Qaida is sometimes a stretch, and sometimes open to debate, who is and who isn't. But then they use other words, and words are important. They're either a member of al-Qaida or associated forces. I don't know what that means.

And here is the ultimate point.

This isn't about opposing drone strikes on Americans, it's about using that to salami slice the debate to get to his real agenda which is opposing drone strikes on Al Qaeda. 

Ultimately we as a country need to figure out how to end war. We've had the war in Afghanistan for 12 years now. The war basically has authorized a worldwide war. 

This is Rand Paul's position. It's the position of anti-war protesters in 2002. It's Barack Obama's original position before he discovered that war wasn't so easy to end.

If you stand with Rand, this is what you stand with.

Everyone can do what they please, but if you're going to stand with Rand, then let's be clear about his positions and agenda. And be clear about whether you share them or not.

No more dressing this up in "Rand Paul is standing up for the Constitution." That's the same dishonest claim his father made for years. And none of the even more dishonest, "Drone strikes on Americans in cafes" nonsense.  

That's not what this is about.

1. Do you think that the United States is murdering innocent Muslims and inspiring terrorist attacks?

2. Do you think that if we just leave them alone, they'll leave us alone?

3. If you think all those things, then wasn't the left, which has been saying all these things since before September 11, right all along?  

Is Van Jones agreeing with you... or are you agreeing with Van Jones?

One blogger called the filibuster the biggest Republican victory since the midterm elections. Sure. In one case, the Republican won the House of Representatives. In the other a guy who believes that drones are a New World Order conspiracy got to trend on Twitter at night for a few hours.

For years Ron Paul supporters believed that flying a blimp and googling Who Is Ron Paul would lead to the people coming over on September 11 being caused by American foreign policy. It hasn't and it won't. Every Paultard victory was an imaginary triumph that took place in their own bubble. Now the Republican Party is climbing into an even smaller version of that bubble.

And then a few years from now we can celebrate every one of the Paul clan's publicity stunt complete with the No Drones blimp while losing by a landslide to Hillary Clinton. 

The lesson that the Republican Party refuses to learn is that you don't win by abandoning conservative values.

You don't win by going liberal on immigration.

You don't win by going liberal on government spending

You don't win by going liberal on social values.

And you don't win by going liberal on national defense.

You either have a conservative agenda or a mixed bag. And Rand Paul is the most mixed bag of all, because the only area that he is conservative on is limited government.

If the new Republican position is open borders, pro-terror and anti-values, then what makes the Republican Party conservative?

Reducing conservatism to cutting the size of government eliminates it and replaces it with libertarianism. It transforms the Republican Party into the party of drugs, abortion, illegal immigration, terrorism... and spending cuts. And the latter is never going to coexist with a society based on the former.

This isn't the popular thing to write. The popular thing to write is to praise Rand Paul for his political theater and to call it courage. And then maybe to timidly dissent in one or two areas, while praising him as the future of the Republican Party.

But if Rand Paul is the future of the Republican Party... then the party has no future.

I don't blog on Sultan Knish to be popular. If I did, I would have embraced Paul Ryan as the savior of the Republican Party, back when that was the thing to do. I would have never criticized Bush until 2007 or so when it became legit. And I would be busy evolving on gay marriage and immigration.

Still I considered not writing this. It would have been easier to throw up some easy observations about Obama. And move on.

But I regret not speaking out in the past as much as I should have done. And while it would be easy to let this go, to let Rand Paul have his anti-war moment and let Marco Rubio have his immigration moment, so they can run in 2016 and show how wonderfully diverse our party is while bringing in the 'kids'... I don't believe that we can win through political expediency that destroys principles.

We tried that in two elections and we lost. Watering down what we stand for until we stand for nothing at all except the distant promise of budget cuts is how we walked into the disaster of 2012.

John McCain in 2008. Mitt Romney in 2012. Rand Paul in 2016. And what will be left? 

To be reborn, the Republican Party does not need to go to the left. It doesn't need to stumble briefly to the right on a few issues that it doesn't really believe in. It needs to be of the right. It needs to be comprehensively conservative in the way that our opposition now is comprehensively of the left.

If we can't do that then we will lose. America will be over. It'll be a name that has as much in common with this country, as modern Egypt does with ancient Egypt or as Rome of today does with the Rome of the imperial days.

And we will be able to distract ourselves with the latest political gimmick. The latest piece of theater.

Conservative media voices have been growing incoherent lately, adopting positions that contradict their last positions and the positions that they will take a week from now. 

We are suffering from a conservatism without context where each day and each week's position exists in a vacuum and is not guided by bedrock principles.

Too much of that same media has become guided by attacking Obama. Not by attacking Obama from conservative principles, but just by attacking him. And the problem with that is when you define yourself by attacking Obama... you become defined by Obama.

Conservatives are defined by positive principles, by the presence of values, not by negative principles, by pure antipathy. We attack Obama because of what we believe to be true, not because we believe that everything he believes is false.

The slippery slope is that when you become defined by what you attack, then you lose sight of what you do stand for. And then suddenly you find yourself standing on the same side as Van Jones and Code Pink.

Reagan said that conservatism is a three legged stool. Social, fiscal and national defense. Either we have all three. Or we have nothing. 

There are Conservative sites that are positively giddy about Rand Paul getting positive mentions from John Cusack and Van Jones. Code Pink's endorsement is being treated like some kind of victory.

"Will the Left finally get the Tea Party now?" Breitbart's site asks. If Andrew Breitbart were alive, he could have answered that question in one four letter word.

The left "gets" the Tea Party. It gets it as a middle class bourgeois defense of its property and rights against the the rule of the left.

That is what the Tea Party is. That is what the Left is.

The left is not concerned about the Constitution. It does not care about civil rights. It cares about taking over. Allying with the far left against the middle left is allying with the people who really want to enslave you to further radicalize the system.

If the Cold War should have taught us anything, alliances like these end with the duped handing a victory to the left.

We can fight the left. We can fight the Islamists. Or we can cheer a man who is pushing the agenda of both.

There's nothing conservative about that.

 Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century. He blogs at Sultan Knish.

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