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Rand Paul’s populism is purging the neocons

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The Rand Paul filibuster is turning out to be a huge moment. The Kentucky senator hit a populist nerve, even on the left. For instance, Chris Matthews ignored the filibuster the day it happened, and then embraced it the following night, partly at the urging of his own son. I should think the Nation will also honor Paul’s arguments against assassination-by-drone. 

On the right, the Rand Paul surge is further evidence of the purge of the neoconservatives. Rush Limbaugh has been all-but endorsing Paul as a corrective to the neocons and their Senate amigos, Lindsey Graham and John McCain. The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf quotes long passages from Limbaugh’s radio show, in which he calls the neocons justly “paranoid” about what is befalling them. 

Here’s the substance of this. There is a fear among McCain, Lindsey Graham, and others who favor an interventionist foreign policy. Think of the neocons.Think of going into Iraq and not just securing Iraq, but building a democracy. Nation building, if you will. Think of the outbreak of the Arab Spring and the people on our side who thought, “Wow, this is wonderful. This is the outbreak of American democracy,” when it wasn’t. It was the exact opposite. Rand Paul, they’re asking themselves, is he his father’s son or is he on his own here? They’re worried that he’s his father’s son. They’re worried that Rand Paul is an isolationist. They’re worried that Rand Paul’s diatribe on drones really means that Rand Paul wants to bring the military home and not use it unless we’re attacked.  He doesn’t like it being used in an intervention. This is what they fear. And as he succeeds in making a connection with the American people, they are worried, the neocons are worried that they are being undermined by this.

[Friedersdorf: “The talk radio host seems to think the neocons are right to be scared”]

I’ll tell you why. Rand Paul made a connection with the American people. These other people do not. He made a connection. Therefore, he has the ability to influence and motivate people. I’m telling you what their fears are.  They thought that Ron Paul was absolute nutcase, wacko. That’s why they’re calling Rand Paul a wacko, ’cause that’s what they thought of Ron Paul. Libertarian, fruitcake, nutcase, isolationist, shut down the US military, speak positively about Islamists, all this kind of stuff. They are afraid that’s who Rand Paul is, and they’re afraid that what Rand Paul was doing with this filibuster was not just speaking out against the use of drones on American citizens on American soil. They’re afraid that Rand Paul is actually setting the stage for building up public support to stop the interventionist usage of American military might and foreign policy all over the world. It’s a fear that they’ve got.

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Don’t know about a purge, but Rand got Limbaugh to actually mention the word “neocon”. Doug brought this up on Mondoweiss a few days ago, and he was right about it being a big deal. If you can get Limbaugh behind a push to call these folks out, it might just work. I only see one problem – mentioning The Nation, MSNBC, etc., will strengthen the neocon’s call that Rand is really a lefty, which… Read more »

We’re so colossally F’d here in the US it’s almost funny. If Kucinich did that the right would be calling him a p*ssy and the democrats would be distancing themselves from him – rand paul does it, he’s a hero. I think I know why this is – when left anti war folks and left activists in general protest war etc, they talk of the destruction of other peoples lives, when the right wing is… Read more »

a libertarian-progressive union

offering us, thereby, unity on the issue of empire, war & militarism

everything else

up for grabs

democratically

subject to debate

the good ol fashioned give & take

peacefully

ever

violently

never

I sincerely hope Paul is building a populist movement. ….now if he would modify his wild west type capitalist ideology about financial regulation and back off drancion changes on SS and some other programs dear to liberals and moderates that his father was too extreme on he could sweep a huge segment of the voting public.

Take cheer that the coming split in the Republican Party will make way for the breakup of the unholy coalition that constitutes the Democratic Party run by and for the corporatists while wholly dependent on the support of liberal minded voters.