We know about “the Arab
Spring,” when people in some North Africa and Mideast countries had
revolutions against unpopular governments.
Granting that some of
those revolutions aren’t going well, and our government is only
annoyingly unpopular so far, I’m climbing way out on a limb that is
covered with little buds to predict that the American Spring is
It began with media
icon Bob Woodward calling out the Obama administration for refusing
to admit the sequester was its idea, and was picked up last week by
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul calling out the Obama administration for not
making clear that it won’t use drones to kill Americans on American
As the Senate prepared
to vote on the appointment of President Obama’s choice for CIA
director, candidate John Brennan’s response to the Senate
Intelligence Committee last month about drones seemed vague.
Attorney General Eric Holder, asked to clarify, sent a letter
stating that the U.S. government “has no intention” of carrying out
drone strikes in the U.S. However, “It is possible ... to imagine an
extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and
appropriate for the president to authorize the military to use
lethal force within the territory of the United States.” Holder went
on to say he would “examine the particular facts and circumstances
before advising the president on the scope of his authority.”
Whoa there! The correct
answer is, the Constitution doesn’t give the president the authority
to use military force against American citizens on American soil
unless there is “imminent (i.e., immediate) threat.” Otherwise, it
requires due process.
Just before noon last
Wednesday, Paul took to the Senate floor in a rare standing
filibuster, which turned into the ninth longest in American history.
Chip called that
evening to tell me to turn on C-SPAN, and we watched spellbound as
Paul, aided by questions from other tea party senators, then other
more traditional Republican senators, talked about the Constitution
and rule of law until after midnight.
America, others were getting phone calls, Facebook messages and
tweets telling them to turn on C-SPAN. As the American spring began
springing, Holder sent a more definitive response: “Does the
president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an
American not engaged in combat on American soil? The answer to that
question is no.” Well, fine; why didn’t you say that in the first
Now look at this
description of the filibuster by a young woman blogger pen-named
“Rand Paul, the
senator from Kentucky who instigated the filibuster, came off as
young (for an experienced politician), vibrant, intelligent,
passionate, articulate. All the things America’s younger voters
supposedly want from a politician. Joining him was a throng of
similarly young and passionate Republicans, including Ted Cruz
and Marco Rubio. These men used constitutional law, along with
quotes from Jay-Z, ‘The Godfather,’ Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V,’
Reagan and Twitter to stand their ground, defying authority.
I’ll repeat that: The filibuster was a defiance of executive
“This was a
defining moment in America. It was exciting. It was new. It was,
dare I say, cool. Last night, C-SPAN was without a doubt the
best thing on television. Here was the next generation of great
political leaders standing up for the civil rights of every
American citizen. I certainly cannot imagine anyone with any
sort of independent, young, rebellious mind to not want to join
Let’s hear it for
independent, young, rebellious minds who may be about to join us
older taxpayer activists/deficit hawks/tea partyers to take our
country back from the Obama administration.
The filibuster was
almost universally applauded, from the left and the right, with the
notable exception of The Wall Street Journal. Made me think that,
after drone attacks, the next piece of common ground between liberty
Republicans like Paul and young independents might be some aspects
of Wall Street, a connection with the various Occupy movements.
Many young people are
already on board with Sen. Paul’s father, Congressman Ron Paul, and
his desire to audit the Federal Reserve Bank while leaning on Big
Banks to control the excesses that helped lead to the fiscal crisis
in 2008. Let’s all sit down together, and we can discuss Barney
Frank and Fannie Mae, too.
Then let’s revolt
against the $85 trillion of national debt and unfunded liabilities
that young people should be most concerned about, since they’re the
ones who carry most of that burden.
Let liberty Republicans
lead, and other Republicans join them, moving away from the social
issues that divide traditionalists from the young voters who see gay
marriage and legal abortion as settled political questions. Illegal
immigration will remain a difficult issue, as will environmental
concerns. But with enough in common on fiscal and military issues,
there is hope that the Republican Party’s old and young libertarians
can mount an effective future against the statist Democrats.
I myself begin with
last week’s mantra, Stand with Rand, all the way perhaps to his
running for president in 2016: a liberty-Republican campaign that
can excite and inspire the young, who are soon to inherit the
country from those of us who’ve almost lost it.