In blog time, John McCain v. Rand Paul is ancient history, but there is one particular point that McCain raised that I haven’t noticed that anyone addressed. McCain said,
“We’ve done, I think, a disservice to a lot of Americans by making them think that somehow they’re in danger from their government. They’re not. But we are in danger from a dedicated, longstanding, easily replaceable-leadership enemy that is hell-bent on our destruction.”
This is an amazing claim. Easily replaceable? I don’t know who McCain means. Gaddafi was no threat, but McCain was the head Republican cheerleader for NATO’s move to sponsor Al Qaeda to “replace” him. I realize there are all sorts of “plausible deniability” move that the foreign policy overlords will make to spin what happened differently, but they all lack plausibility. Now we’re doing the same for Assad in Syria, who was never hell-bent on our destruction.
In fact, assuming anything we know about the late Osama bin Laden is true, his entire plan was to draw us into war into the Middle East so that the US would waste its resources in an unwinnable occupation. So McCain’s “hell-bent on our destruction” includes the proviso: with the cooperation of Hawks like me.
I’m not going to bother to summarize the overwhelming counter-evidence to McCain’s bold lie that it is a disservice to inform Americans that they are in danger from their government. We are occupied by an armed bureaucracy that has spectacularly failed to protect us but has been quite bold in bullying us. That is exactly what you would expect to happen if you ever read the US Constitution and agreed with its reasoning!
The Constitution’s separation of powers is a classic demonstration of how people structure their government if they are afraid it might become a danger to them. It isn’t just in the Bill of Rights; the body of the Constitution itself shows that the writers were deeply concerned about the danger of government to the people it was supposed to protect. Only Congress may declare war, not the President. A person cannot be convicted of Treason unless there are two witnesses, and then only to the same “overt act.” The Constitution is full of the language of limitation and restraint.
McCain doesn’t understand any of this. There are just good guys and bad guys. And since “we” are the good guys then “our” government must be good too. Naturally, if there are any bad tendencies among Americans, those will show themselves primarily in being suspicious about our “good” government. He can’t feel sympathy for the idea that government power is inherently seductive and corrupting, and thus needs the legal restraints of things like due process, warrants, and jury trials.
Rand Paul correctly pointed out that McCain believes Earth is Planet Battlefield, including the United States. Bush and then Obama have made a world for McCain in which he can says a few good words about the Constitution but never worry about it. We are now in a forever war where the battlefield is everywhere. Since the Constitution does not fully apply to wartime battlefields we now have the perfect excuse for McCain and anyone else to simply ignore the Constitution as inapplicable.
But beyond this, McCain and others fundamentally believe in democratically elected dictatorship committees and executives. “Checks and balances” are just childish obstructionism. They should never have been permitted to pass a civics class, let alone to hold office in government.