Friday, August 15, 2014

GOP Libertarians Are Late to Cops-Are-Out-of-Control Party, Get the Credit!

Who woke one morning and said, "We need one of those!"

If this isn't an example of Beltway mentality, I don't know what is:
The killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., has produced a rare and surprisingly unified response across the ideological spectrum, with Republicans and Democrats joining to decry the tactics of the city’s police force in the face of escalating protests.
Most notably, the reactions reflect a shift away from the usual support and sympathy conservatives typically show for law enforcement in such situations. Although possibly unique to the circumstances of the events in Missouri this week, the changing reaction on the right is clear evidence of a rising and more vocal libertarian wing within the Republican Party.
Rand Paul expresses a rare sane stance, for which he deserves credit. Erick Erickson jumps on-board, for which he should be laughed off the stage. (How he ever got on remains a mystery.)

What is ignored by Dan Balz, Rand Paul, and Erick Erickson is that liberals occupied this space for years, if not decades. Digby of Hullabaloo puts it in focus for us:
So I'm hearing some nonsense that only libertarians have been talking about the militarization of the police. I am not a libertarian. I'm a liberal and a civil libertarian which isn't the same thing. And I've been talking about this for a very long time. So have a lot of other liberals.

The fact is that civil liberties are rarely a priority in either political party. The libertarians in America tend to gather in the GOP while the civil libertarians like me tend to vote Democratic. We're a minority either way, but the civil libertarian liberals outnumber the libertarians substantially.
Very true. The reason the Democratic Party can claim little ownership of this issue is that, despite the position of Alan Grayson -- read all the Digby post to learn of that -- Democrats jumped on the law-and-order, death-penalty-rocks bandwagon a long time ago, if only to counter claims that Dems were "soft on crime." For trying to out-law-and-order law-and-order Republicans, Dems only showed they were, on this issue, "soft on courage," but it is, at least, a recognized, accepted political gambit (you know, taking stands that are hard to argue against until decades later we find ourselves with the largest prison population in the Known Universe).

We have, in fact, militarized our police. It's another horrible legacy of 9/11, along with our law enforcement propensity to mount sting operations that put stupid people in jail because they got convinced by FBI plants that terrorism was cool.

I live in America because I was born here and like many aspects of the culture, but this isn't one of them. So I criticize. In the sixties, war-mongers hit us with "Love It or Leave It" bumper stickers. I didn't have to love it or leave it, which of course was the perfect reaction. Things now have gotten pretty far when the right and the left get caught, however briefly, on the same side of a law-and-order issue. But don't for one minute think that we're equal on this issue. Liberals were way out in front on this one. Nice to see you, Rand. Stick around, why don't you?
Note. Not to establish cred, but I blogged on this issue a few weeks back, just before this whole Ferguson thing broke.

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