Where Are the Democrats Defending Civil Liberties?
When the cameras are on, Democrats pretend to care about civil liberties. What they actually care about is expanding government's power and identifying wedge issues to use politically against Republicans. If you think I'm overstating the case, look no further than their reaction to Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster today against the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA.
Paul's classic filibuster is driven by concerns over the government's expanding drone-strike program. John Brennan has created protocols that both allow for the increased use of unmanned drones and create a Presidential "kill list" to assassinate individuals, including US citizens, who are suspected of terrorist activity.
Paul's filibuster is based on legitimate concerns about due process and long-standing US constitutional tradition. It is driven by constitutional principle, rather than partisan politics. It is also based on the fundamental relationship between US citizens and their government.
Sen. Paul is filibustering until he has assurances from the Obama Administration that it won't use unmanned drones to assassinate US citizens, suspected of terror activities, within US borders. Surprisingly, the Obama Administration won't give Sen. Paul this assurance.
If former President Bush had tried to adopt this drone strike policy, there would be, correctly, a long line of Democrat Senators speaking against it. In the 5+ hours of Rand's current filibuster, only OR Sen. Ron Wyden has come to the floor to express sympathy with Rand's cause.
If any reader is represented by a Democrat in the Senate, they should ask a simple question; Where are you? Why are you willing to give the Executive Branch the powers of prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner? If you will not stand up to this, or even ask questions, then anything you say about civil liberties is simply empty rhetoric.
Sen. Franken? Sen. Leahy? Sen. Hagen? Are you all comfortable that the President can maintain a private "kill list" and also decline to state that it won't be used within the US borders? Is it okay if we ignore anything else you ever say on civil liberties? You have put politics ahead of public safety. Worse, you have put politics ahead of the constitutional protections that provide the very thin line protecting our liberty.
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