A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Tag: rand paul

“The Law Works, So Let’s Get Rid of It”: The Right’s New One-Size-Fits-All Argument

by evanmcmurry

Pierce spots a winner in the argument against abortion clinic buffer zones, in which the fact that the buffer zones have prevented the incidents they were meant to prevent is evidence that they’re clearly not necessary:

Mark Rienzi, the Catholic University law professor who represents the protesters, said there has not been a documented case of violence at a Massachusetts clinic since the 1994 killings. “The idea that someone like that will be deterred by a painted line on the ground is nonsensical,” he said. “In the meantime, you shouldn’t be able to use that to stop women from being offered these other options. As a practical matter, that’s what happens.”

“The law works, so we should get rid of it” argument is identical to the one trudged before the Supreme Court against Sections Four and Five of the VRA—an argument SCOTUS bought. Here’s John Roberts, cashing in his ACA-is-a-tax chit:

Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically. Largely because of the Voting Rights Act, “[v]oter turnout and registration rates” in covered jurisdictions “now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.” Northwest Austin, supra, at 202. The tests and devices that blocked ballot access have been forbidden nationwide for over 40 years. Yet the Act has not eased [its] restrictions or narrowed the scope of [the formula that determines which parts of the country that are covered]. Instead those extraordinary and unprecedented features have been reauthorized as if nothing has changed, and they have grown even stronger.

This is becoming a Thing on the right. Julia Ioffe caught Rand Paul doing the same backflip last summer, as he wondered at the necessity of environmental regulations when the air had gotten so much cleaner over the last century—thanks, you know, to those very same regulations:

In case you didn’t follow that: Government regulation of coal is bad and useless, and environmentalists talking about smoke stacks polluting the air are hysterical. The reason the former is bad and useless is that the air has been getting cleaner. The air has been getting cleaner because of government rules, which, so bad and useless otherwise, have here produced a result—cleaner air that gets increasingly more clean with time—which, again, is what makes the liberals and environmentalists look crazy. Which all, somehow, proves to Paul that regulation now, to deal with a different but similar problem—global warming or drowning polar bears—is not the answer, because regulation doesn’t work. Which is why the environmentalists are crazy for wanting it. Get it?

It’s no wonder this argument is attractive, as a) it’s portable, and b) it dovetails with a rational conservative view that government becomes <spooky>Big Government</spooky> somewhat via inertia. The state doesn’t just overreach through unnecessary laws, but through necessary laws that outlast their necessity.

But that falls apart pretty quickly. Voting, pollution, and clinic harassment are iterative issues. They don’t get “solved” or “cured.” If anything, the very people declaring these laws expired draw attention to the exact events—voter ID proposals, chemical spills in West Virginia or exploding plants in West, Texas—that demonstrate the danger awaiting a slackening of enforcement, let alone repeal.

She’s Who, Now?

by evanmcmurry

The rest of Aqua Buddha’s filibuster aside, is this country EVER going to get past Jane Fonda?

Ron Paul Doesn’t Even Get A Participation Trophy

by evanmcmurry

I’ll admit that at one time I was secretly rooting for Ron Paul to mount enough of a primary effort that he got onto the ballot at the Republican National Convention. a) It might have forced the RNC into an actual debate over actual policy, as opposed to the Anti-Obama Greatest Hits Package it will now surely be; and b) the resulting chaos would have been the best political spectator sport of the entire race. The stills of William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer grimacing alone would have been worth it.

Alas, at some point after New Hampshire, Ron Paul stopped standing for anything besides getting his son a speaking spot at the convention, and his followers took over, implementing a strategy that sure looked, walked, and talked like backdoor disenfranchisement. So now that Ron Paul isn’t actually a substantive alternative to the GOP platform, I’m happy to hear he didn’t clear the delegate threshold to get on the ballot. No Ron Paul party this year, kids. You’ll have to wait until Rand runs.

Scott Lemieux with the close:

Paul’s strategy was to game the system in order to produce a nominee (or at least competitive campaign) whose political positions were dramatically at variance with the bulk of his party; this strategy was premised on the assumption that the Paul people were, in effect, the smartest people in the room. This is generally in accord with the “you just don’t get it, do you” feeling that accompanies any conversation with a Ron Paul fanatic, and it’s altogether satisfying to see that deflated.

This Blog Post is About Washington

by evanmcmurry

“They’ve usually treated me pretty well in Nashville,” Rand Paul said. “But the problem is the rules that are coming out of Washington.”

Is there anything which the Pauls can’t pivot back to Washington’s largesse? “This steak was supposed to be medium, but what’s really overdone is the regulations of Washington.” “Hi, front desk, my ceiling is leaking, but what really doesn’t hold water is the regulations of Washington.” And so on.

Adventures in Language

by evanmcmurry

Rand Paul’s people are saying he’s being “held indefinitely,” a clear allusion to the recent NDAA law, which Ron Paul recently tried to rescind…

One report says Paul “provoked” the body scanner…

Balancing Out Your Civil Liberties

by evanmcmurry

Rand Paul has been detained* at Nashville International Airport for refusing a TSA pat down. He was set to speak at the March for Life Rally in D.C. later today, so the Right to Privacy may have to call this one a wash.

*confirmed-ish