Rand Paul, foreign policy genius.
Rand Paul’s clownishness is apparently bottomless. It seems the events in Ukraine have opened up a new front in the GOP Civil War. On one side are the hawks — epitomized by the always-happy-to-bomb John McCain — who believe that the best response to events in Ukraine are to provoke Russia because… I’m never really clear on the “because” with these guys. Just because, I guess.
On the other are the more Libertarian anti-interventionists like Paul, who want to deal with Russia in a more diplomatic fashion and see if we can resolve things without brinksmanship and provocation. “Some on our side are so stuck in the Cold War era that they want to tweak Russia all the time and I don’t think that is a good idea,” Paul says. So far, so good.
Things get a little stupid as he goes on, however, because that’s what happens when Sen. Poodlehair doesn’t hit the off switch on his mouth. “We still need to be conscious of the fact that Russia has intercontinental ballistic missiles,” he told the Washington Post. “Though the Cold War is largely over, I think we need to have a respectful - sometimes adversarial - but a respectful relationship with Russia.”
We can’t be mean to Putin or Russia will nuke us — and Paul is warning against falling into a cold war mindset. Insert your favorite facepalm photo here.
Rand Paul’s never going to put his plagiarism scandal behind him if he doesn’t stop plagiarizing stuff.
Raw Story: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) has been caught once again using other people’s written work without attribution, this time in a lawsuit against the NSA that he jointly filed with Virginia’s ex-Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli.
According to the Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank, the suit alleges that the National Security Agency’s domestic phone surveillance program is unconstitutional, but that neither Cuccinelli nor Paul did the bulk of the legal work on the suit. The majority of the suit’s verbiage was lifted verbatim from the work of former Reagan administration attorney Bruce Fein.
Speaking through Mattie Fein, his ex-wife and spokesperson, Fein said, “I am aghast and shocked by Ken Cuccinelli’s behavior and his absolute knowledge that this entire complaint was the work product, intellectual property and legal genius of Bruce Fein. Ken Cuccinelli stole the suit.”
She continued by pointing out that Paul “already has one plagiarism issue, now has a lawyer who just takes another lawyer’s work product.”
And here’s the problem with copying off the other kids’ papers: what Paul and Cuccinelli had hoped would be a big, headline-grabbing, grandstand on an issue with bipartisan appeal has become all about their unwillingness to do any work at all and not about the NSA. If you want to be a Big, Important Senator with Many Important Stances on Many Important Issues who does Many Important Interviews on Many Important Talking Head Shows, it helps not to wander around the yard like a clown, stepping on rakes.
Rand Paul’s Answer to Poverty: Wage More War on Women.
I’ve never been extremely impressed with Kentucky’s freshman Senator Rand Paul. He seems keenly proud of his own brilliance — despite the fact that few people other than himself can manage to find any evidence of it. His desire to be a Senator seems to stem more from his need to be a Very Important Person than his desire to serve his country. And you don’t take it upon yourself to respond to the President’s State of the Union Address — in no official capacity whatsoever — unless you think people need to appreciate the beneficent fruits of your towering intellect.
In short, Rand Paul is an incredible egotist, made even more insufferable by the fact that he’s not actually all that smart. He’s five gallons of smart in a 50 gallon drum — and the rest of the barrel is filled up by bullcrap. That’s my impression. And it’s an impression he recently did very little to dispell.
ThinkProgress: At a luncheon for the Chamber of Commerce in Lexington, KY, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) floated the idea of capping government benefits for women who have children out of wedlock, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.Want to take a guess at how good this policy is at eliminating poverty? ThinkProgress goes on to report that it doesn’t make a dent in poverty at all, because duh. In fact, many of the states that had implemented such a cap are in the process of undoing it.
While he said that preventing unplanned pregnancies should be in the hands of communities and families, he added, “Maybe we have to say ‘enough’s enough, you shouldn’t be having kids after a certain amount.”‘ He went on to say, “I don’t know how you do all that because then it’s tough to tell a woman with four kids that she’s got a fifth kid we’re not going to give her any more money. But we have to figure out how to get that message through because that is part of the answer.”
The idea of withholding benefits from women who have more than a certain number of children is actually current policy in many states. While most programs through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, or welfare) give families more money if they have more children, 16 states cap the assistance and don’t give any extra money for new children if someone in the household is already receiving aid.
But worse than Paul’s ignorance of the consequence of his proposal is his complete unawareness that Republican policies could possibly be contributing to any of this. Your party reduces the number of abortion clinics by regulating them out of business and fights to keep women from getting contraceptive coverage in their health insurance — both of which affect women in poverty to a far greater degree than anyone else — and then you complain that poor women have too many children?
Seriously, how stupid do you actually have to be? And Tea Party darling Rand Paul can STFU about “individual liberty” now, because you know who else thinks having the government limit the size of families is a good idea? China. For someone who claims to be on the side of freedom, Rand Paul — like pretty much ever Republican official out there — sure spends a lot of time thinking up new ways to micromanage women’s lives. The word these guys are looking for here isn’t “liberty,” it’s “totalitarianism.”
The whole thing is idiotic beyond words and Sen. Poodlehair here seems to be convinced that it’s the most common sense thing in the world. Why? Because he’s a Republican, that’s why. For Republicans, the solution to every problem is to find the right person to punish, then you punish them hard and punish them long — unless they’re wealthy. That’s why they don’t believe in global warming; they can’t figure out how beating poor people, women, and minorities with ax handles would solve the problem. So it must not exist.
For them, it’s create a problem, then complain about the people the problem affects. That’s how geniuses like Rand Paul operate.
You really wish those geniuses were rare.
[photo by Gage Skidmore]
How Not to Deny You’re Waging a War on Women.
You may need a refresher on Virginia state Sen. Dick Black, a far-right Republican who just doesn’t get how marital rape can be a thing. If so, here’s Mother Jones’ Molly Redden’s reporting on the subject from January 15.
After taking a drubbing in last year’s state elections, Virginia Republicans are debating whether their party has come to be defined by its extremists. But in a congressional district in Northern Virginia, one of the state’s main instigators of culture warfare, state Sen. Richard H. “Dick” Black, is running in the Republican primary to replace longtime GOP moderate Rep. Frank Wolf, who is retiring. And he’s guaranteed to ignite wedge-issue passion. Exhibit A: As a state legislator, Black opposed making spousal rape a crime, citing the impossibility of convicting a husband accused of raping his wife “when they’re living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie, and so forth.”Last week, we got the not-unwelcome news that Black was dropping out of that race. Black said he was staying in the state Senate to “maintain our 20/20 split,” but there’s good reason to believe that he was pushed out. Black is exactly the kind of candidate establishment Republicans don’t want running in November — the kind who uses hard-ass conservativism to be a jerk and troll everyone who isn’t a true believer. Maybe he could’ve won the district or maybe he couldn’t have. But he would’ve been guaranteed to engage in jackass antics that would make national waves and make the party look bad as a whole. And, as I pointed out last week, Black’s not the only candidate that Republicans have who’s making trouble for the GOP as a whole.
Black has referred to emergency contraception, which does not cause abortions, as "baby pesticide." Black also fought to block a statue of Abraham Lincoln at a former Confederate site in Richmond. He wasn’t sure, he explained at the time, that statues of Lincoln belonged in Virginia. He has argued that abortion is a worse evil than slavery. And once, to demonstrate why libraries should block pornography on their computers, Black invited a TV reporter to film him using a library terminal to watch violent rape porn.
But a bigger problem for the party might just come from non-candidates who they can’t force out of the spotlight; Brainiacs who think they’ve mastered the art of spin and think that they can fix the party’s problems freelance. You know, masterminds like Mike Huckabee, whose attempt to spin away the the GOP’s “War on Women” label only managed to confirm it.
And then there’s serial headline-grabber/foot-in-mouth inserter Rand Paul, who decided — like Huckabee — that it’s Democrats who are waging a war on women because Bill and Hillary:
Political Wire: Said Paul: “One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn’t prey on young interns in their office. And I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this. He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that, and it is predatory behavior.”The best response I’ve come across to this insane false equivalence comes from DPM at Balloon Juice; “Clearly, one instance of sexual harassment almost twenty years ago requires, as I’m sure any serious Burkean would agree, that women pay for their own contraception for the rest of recorded time without further comment.” And of course, there’s the invasive and unnecessary ultrasound laws and the voter suppression and the candidates like Black who think it’s impossible to rape your wife and your talk show hosts who think women who use birth control are sluts and you get the idea.
He noted that “sometimes it’s hard to separate” Bill and Hillary Clinton and then added, “And then they have the gall to stand up and say Republicans are having a war on women? So yes, I think it’s a factor. It’s not Hillary’s fault, but it is a factor in judging Bill Clinton and history.”
And of course, since the most recent example of a dem War on Women that Sen. Poodlehair could come up with was two decades ago, you kind of get the idea that evidence of said WoW is laughably slim. And one guy engaging in office shenanigans with one intern is not at all the same as an entire political party wanting to invade women’s bodies with ultrasound wands to punish them for daring to exercise their right to an abortion. That it’s the same as chasing them away from the polls. That it’s equal to not allowing health insurance to cover contraception, because forcing employees to abide by their employers’ religious beliefs is somehow some bass-ackard kind of “religious freedom.”
That’s the worst part of all this; that Huckabee or Paul don’t get — or pretend not to get — what’s wrong with all of this. That they don’t get why women might not be all that pleased with middle aged Republican men micromanaging their lives. That they think that women are dumb enough to fall for these idiotic arguments.
In trying to deny there’s a Republican War on Women, these people are waging one. They’re doing it badly. And it hurts.
Republicans may be able to scare off candidates like Dick Black with backroom talks about funding and donors, but the guys like Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee, who aren’t running for anything at the moment, they’re going to be a trickier problem. They think they’re smart enough to straighten this whole War on Women thing out on their own — and they’re so not.
[photo via Wikimedia Commons]