'Rand Paul and Ron Wyden, Drone Odd-Couple'

Rand Paul ||| Wikimedia commonsWikimedia commonsSo goes the headline on this interesting Eli Lake article at The Daily Beast about an emerging bipartisan civil liberties working group in the Senate. Excerpt:

For some time now, Wyden and Paul—along with two other senators, Republican Mike Lee of Utah and Democrat Mark Udall of Colorado—have been working together to try to curb the broad authorities the Obama administration has asserted in the war on terror. The advent of this group, which calls itself the Checks and Balances Caucus, is certainly not the first time in political history that the libertarian right has allied with the civil-liberties-minded left. Yet at a moment when inter-party cooperation is almost nonexistent in Washington, any bipartisan alliance—especially one that includes some of DC's most committed ideological opposites—is both unusual and noteworthy.

Ron Wyden ||| Wikimedia commonsWikimedia commonsLee said the four lawmakers began to reach out to each other in early 2011. "Little by little, those of us who share a lot of these beliefs in common found each other as people who saw the issues in a similar way," he explained, adding, "We definitely have each other's cell phone numbers." Around that time, Lee and Paul were two of the only three Republicans to vote against reauthorizing the Patriot Act, while Wyden used the reauthorization to launch an (unsuccessful) effort to force the Obama administration to disclose what he said was a classified interpretation of the law. [...]

[N]ow, on the question of drones—specifically their demand that the Obama administration release more details on the drone program before Brennan's nomination is allowed to proceed through the Senate Intelligence Committee—they seem to have found an issue with legs. "I feel very strongly that the intelligence committee has to have any and all legal opinions related to targeted killings before there is a committee vote," Wyden said.

Read the whole thing here. Eli Lake wrote a Reason piece in June 2010 about a an issue that was largely ignored at the time, but getting some oxygen right now precisely from the Checks and Balances Caucus: the presidential blank check that is the Sept. 14, 2001 authorization of force.

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  • JW||

    'Rand Paul and Ron Wyden, Drone Odd-Couple'

    A-HA! I knew that Klugman's death was all too convenient.

  • ||

    I read that as "Krugman" and got weirdly excited. Time to step away from the political blogs, methinks.

  • ||

    This business of classified interpretation of laws is.... insane.
    It is unbelievable to me that any administration would take that position, that any official would act on it, that any court would permit it.

    I ceased seeing this federal government as anything but tyrannical and illegitimate long ago.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Of course it is. What remnants we have of limited government is just inertia. They'll eventually get the courage to toss the whole thing out, while maintaining the illusion. Like Augustus did to the Republic.

  • db||

    Are you serious? If you were allowed to know what the law is, you'd be able to comply with circumvent it.

  • Paul.||

    The advent of this group, which calls itself the Checks and Balances Caucus, is certainly not the first time in political history that the libertarian right has allied with the civil-liberties-minded left.

    Say what? What civil-liberties-minded left? The civil-liberties-minded left that voted for Obama, hard, twice, in the face of an entirely anti-civil-liberties administration? That civil-liberties-minded left? Who is the Eli Lake and how did he get his job?

  • ChrisO||

    Ron Wyden is a throwback to when there actually were a few on the left who did care about civil liberties. By Democrat standards, he a raging independent thinker. As is Rand Paul in the GOP. And that's why neither will get anywhere on this issue.

  • Brandon||

    There are like 6 people on the civil-liberties-minded left. Greenwald is their spokesman.

  • Hyperion||

    There are like 6 people on the civil-liberties-minded left

    Do any of them support the liberty minded ideas of not spending and taxing your citizens into oblivion?

  • Brandon||

    No. But they object to actually murdering your citizens regardless of who is in charge, so they're a step above the Tonys and the other TEAM BLUE UBER ALLES retards of the world.

  • Hyperion||

    True, it's better than nothing.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "True, it's better than nothing."

    Like Kunta Kinte protecting his nuts.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "No. But they object to actually murdering your citizens regardless of who is in charge"

    So, it's slow economic purgatory instead of a merciful bullet

  • Sevo||

    Not going to happen.
    The anointed one is NOT going to be required to actually explain why he chooses to kill someone.
    You do not petition the lord with prayer!

  • Paul.||

    What about nailing some theses to the White House Door?

  • some guy||

    Sounds like a good way to get tasered or worse.

  • deified||

    Sounds like a good way to get tasered or worse.nuked



  • Hyperion||

    What about nailing the charred remains of some droned babies to the White House door?

  • Paul.||

    OT: Long story on NPR today about how Chicagoans are glomming onto a new congress critter who's finally going to do something about guns. Because Chicagoans are fed up with all the gun violence in their city.

    But Country Club Hills minister Rosemary Gage said she voted for former state Rep. Robin Kelly because Kelly is "standing with (President Barack Obama) and trying to get rid of guns."

    "It's really bad in Chicago and across the country," Gage said. "Too many children have died."


    No word on existing gun restrictions in Chicago from NPR reporter.

  • Hyperion||

    President Barack Obama) and trying to get rid of guns

    Yeah, right, we are talking about the same guy who has weapons that kill children thousands of miles away, and has no shame in using them.

    We sure do have a large population of ignorants here in Murika.

  • Hyperion||

    is certainly not the first time in political history that the libertarian right has allied with the civil-liberties-minded left.

    I doubt that any such group could have possibly existed between 1790 and Ron Pauls first term, so that leaves a pretty narrow window for those events.

    I would guess that the author is referring to something involving Ron Paul, or they just made that up for a filler sentence.

  • NYer||

    Actually there was a group that did form from the left and the right to oppose at least imperialism: http://mises.org/daily/2408

    In Congress they've been few and far between, with occasional pairing up of guys like La Follette with anti-war conservatives at the time. Or Harding and Coolidge pardoning Wilson's left-wing anti-war detractors, and working with progressives on anti-lynching laws. They've been historical rarities.


  • Gladstone||

    Yeah considering the Original Left supported war against all of Europe, conscription, price controls, public schools, censorship and summary executions I don't think Obama et all are really a "betrayal" of leftist principles.

  • Ryan60657||

    Would love to see Jeff Flake join this working group.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    You know, if Justin Raimondo doesn't approve of this alliance, it must be BS

  • Paul.||

    The administration surely has some intelligence on this matter that we don't know. Defer! Defer! To the noble lord high executioner!

  • Gladstone||

    Nothing says "anti-war libertarian" then kowtowing before a war-mongering Dem.


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