The Libertarian Denial: The Truth About Rand Paul and Drones

randpaulhypocriteI wrote an article yesterday covering the comments made by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul on Monday, when he shockingly said he supported the use of drones to kill Americans on American soil without a trial.  This, of course, is a complete contradiction from his 13 hour filibuster in March where he spoke out against the “vague wording,” as he called it, of the Obama administration’s policies on using drones.

It didn’t take long before Libertarians were out in force to defend Paul.

I was accused of “twisting his words,” even when I used exact quotes and linked the video where he made the comments.

I was accused of “distorting the truth,” when Senator Paul clearly states that he would support the use of a drone to kill an armed robber as they walked out of a liquor store with $50.

So, how in the hell can I be “twisting his words” or “distorting  the truth” when quoting comments as specific as those?  When did directly quoting someone, using the same context for which they were speaking, become a distortion of the truth?

It was ridiculous.

And then comes the response from Paul regarding the backlash his comments had received:

“My comments last night left the mistaken impression that my position on drones had changed.  Let me be clear: it has not.  Armed drones should not be used in normal crime situations. They may only be considered in extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat.”

Excuse me?  Are you kidding?

Here are his exact words from Monday:

“Here’s the distinction: I have never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an act of crime going on.  If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”

Am I missing something?  When did someone committing an armed robbery of a liquor store, taking $50 in cash, become “an extraordinary lethal situation where there is an ongoing, imminent threat?”

Besides, during his ridiculous filibuster he cited the vague language used by Attorney General Eric Holder  in response to Paul’s inquiries about President Obama’s possible use of drones on Americans.

In fact these are the exact words from the letter Eric Holder sent which Senator Paul took exception with:

“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”

And what was Paul’s response in March to this letter?

“The U.S. Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening – it is an affront the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans.”

So I’ll break this down.

  • Senator Paul requests comments from the Obama administration covering their policies about using drones on Americans and on American soil
  • Attorney General Eric Holder responds saying that there could possibly be extraordinary circumstances where drones might be used on American soil
  • Senator Paul, concerned with this comment, then proceeds to stage a 13 hour filibuster (where all he really did is display his ignorance about the rights the Constitution gives our President) claiming the White House response might possibly constitute an endorsement on ignoring our rights as Americans to due process
  • Eric Holder then responds, very simply and directly, to Paul’s filibuster stating that no, the president does not have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil
  • On Monday Senator Paul uses a very specific hypothetical situation, of an armed individual robbing a liquor store of $50, as his circumstance for which he would have no problem with a drone (or police officer) killing the suspect
  • On Tuesday, Paul issues a statement saying his policy on drones has not changed and he’s always believed that under extraordinary lethal circumstances drones should be used

That last one is particularly ironic considering in Eric Holder’s first statement to Paul the word “extraordinary” was the term used, which Paul cites as the basis for his fear mongering filibuster in March.

So tell me Libertarians, and other Paul supporters,  how am I “twisting his words?”  I didn’t pull these comments out of thin air.  I didn’t summarize some speech he gave, adding my own personal opinion on what he said…

I’m using direct quotes from Rand Paul himself.

Any “twisting” comes in the form of your delusion about your cult-like heroes Ron and Rand Paul.  You ignore racism, ignorance, bigotry, hypocrisy and contradiction because these men shout “Liberty!” every other word and you eat it up like sheep.

Or are you telling me some random armed individual robbing a liquor store of $50 constitutes an ” extraordinary, lethal situation where there is an ongoing, imminent threat?”

Because if that’s the case, that happens in American cities at least once or twice a week.

But this whole situation just shows the depths at which Libertarians will deceive even themselves, claiming the use of direct quotes somehow constitutes the “twisting of words.”  Then again, this is the party that often thrives on hyperbole and conspiracy theories.

An ideology where it often seems rational thinkers need not apply.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • EssEffOh

    Yes. Paul Rand is an obnoxious hypocrite and apparently a liar. Barack Obama is a cold-blooded drone assassin. How anyone who labels himself “progressive” could possibly still support Obama is completely beyond me. Stop defending Obama. Your continued defense of him despite all his drone deaths, support of bankers and oil companies, austerity measures, wiretapping, Guantanamo torture, etc. etc. etc., makes you a hypocrite as well.

    • Anonymousdog

      This article is not about Obama; so, your criticism of (nonexistent) Obama cheerleading is woefully misplaced.

      • EssEffOh

        I didn’t say “cheer leading,” I said defense of Obama. If you think this site isn’t defending Obama, then I’m not sure you’re able to read.

        Just because there are hypocrites out there as ridiculous as Rand Paul, doesn’t change the fact that your president is a cold-blooded assassin with a kill list he reviews regularly, and who thinks he has the right to kill human beings, including US citizens, without due process or evidence.


        A group of men are walking down a busy boardwalk. They pull out Ak47s and starts to fire upon the crowd killing civilians and police in the area. There are no more cops in the area and no civilians with firearms.. Overhead is a drone, are you seriously telling me you wouldn’t use that drone to kill the terrorists? You can’t really think that just because they are on American soil that we can’t use such a device to our advantage to help preserve more American lives? You are an ignorant conspiracy theorist and your ideas are laughable. I am really glad you are not the president nor in politics.

      • EssEffOh

        We can all agree that the Republicans are idiots, liars, and hypocrites.

        People who actually care about the world and humanity more than their political party should look at what Obama is actually doing with the power he has and if he’s doing terrible things like killing children with bombs, then should be denouncing him for that particularly because he ostensibly represents their side — instead of looking for idiots in other parties for distractions to make them feel better about themselves.

      • heytherehothere

        and the bombs that GWB dropped in Iraq and Afghanistan are neverrrr mentioned. Hypocrite.

      • EssEffOh

        “and the bombs that GWB dropped in Iraq and Afghanistan are neverrrr mentioned.”

        What on earth are you talking about? I protested Bush and his senseless wars constantly. I spent 8 years of my life exhaustively protesting, agitating, and organizing against Bush. Are we supposed to stop caring about dead children in Afghanistan because Obama is ordering the bomb strikes?

  • Rachel Maddow is one of the clearest, most reasoning and rational commentators on television today. Yes her commentary comes from a leftist perspective, but she uses actual facts to back up her comments.

  • The Green Devil

    Please, the entire Paul clan is insane. Fortunately for them, so are 95% of their mouth-breather supporters.

  • Please do not equate the majority of libertarians with Rand Paul. Just because he claims himself to be libertarian, it is his actions that determine which party he sides with. Any honest libertarian would fundamentally argue against defying the constitution and the right to due process.

    • Everybodhi

      The libratarians want to arm the liquor store owner and cut out the government, am I right?

      • Interesting choice of spelling, it is spelled “libertarians” as in “liberty”, as in the second amendment to the US constitution that says you have the right to bear arms.

        The “Libratarians” spelling works also, a root being “libra” or the zodiac representing the scales, a metaphor for justice.

        Blowing up or shooting someone is not justice for a minor offense or for happening to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. What if you were walking out of a store having bought your liquor and hadn’t put your cash in your pocket yet, fumbling with your keys and someone thought you had robbed the place? Wouldn’t you want the opportunity to explain yourself? What happened to ask questions, shoot later? What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Or is that somehow something we have to “rethink?” That is just an excuse to give more power to the government which has too much already.

      • Guest

        Republicans of today happened to that Idea. People who want clinically and criminally insane people to have weapons, and people who don’t know what they are doing to have weapons, happened to that Idea. People without the ability to use the brain nature gave them happened to that Idea. People who have a super simplistic view of the world, happen to that Idea.

  • Dlynn82

    Rand Paul & his band of Libertarians have been drinking the same Kool Aid. The man says whatever he thinks will get him the most media coverage. I say – take the microphone away from him, he doesn’t pass the IQ test ! Go find some intelligent people to talk to Rachel !

  • Kay Bee

    What is the difference between a policeman (the government) shooting an armed suspect leaving a liquor store with cash and a bottle of Stoli who refuses to disarm upon police command and killing the same man under the same circumstances with a drone? Is Mr. Paul’s argument that lethal force by the government is only acceptable if the goverment employee is in harm’s way when the shooting occurs? Is it that using drones puts the government at too much of an advantage over the bad guys?

  • gailillly

    Rand Paul is a racist, a bigot, and a hypocrite. How anyone can support that redneck ignorant hillbillly is beyond me. He is a radical extremeist for the right wing and he cannot be trusted. I wouldn’t vote for him to be in charge of a hen house.

    • All of the above plus….he’s just plain dumb

  • finisterre

    “You ignore racism, ignorance, bigotry, hypocrisy and contradiction
    because these men shout “Liberty!” every other word and you eat it up
    like sheep.”

    And don’t forget misogyny. Anyone who would force women to carry all foetuses to term has a deep, deep mistrust and hatred of them.

  • CharlieAdamsInKY

    The position of the Rand Pauls of the world is simple: “How DARE the mean ol’ lib’rul media twist my words by printing exactly what I said!!”

  • “…you have an imminent threat, an act of crime going on. If someone
    comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don’t care
    if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”

    Apparently, the imminent threat must either be the money or the gun. Both of which the Pauls say it’s fine to have a lot of.

  • People Against NDAA

    As, personally, a hardcore Constitutionalist, I noticed the same hypocrisy. Don’t equate libertarians with Rand Paul.

    He sure doesn’t want to be associated with them.

    “They thought all along that they could call me a libertarian and hang that label around my neck like an albatross, but I’m not a libertarian,”

    • dumb redneck

      your dumb

  • Libertarians as a principle want freedom and less government intrusion, nothing wrong with that Idea. Some people like Rand Paul and Ron Paul are terrible at representing that Idea. I don’t understand why many libertarians even claim him as a representative. Personally I like listening to Penn Jillette, and find him a better representative of the philosophy, of course I find him a bit naive at times. To me a big government nor a small government is going to solve anything, what we need is an efficient government that actually works to help people. As much as I find many liberals to be over sensitive at times, their Ideas are much better at getting us a efficient government then most. Personally I can’t stand parties at all, wish people were just human beings with Ideas of their own.