I wouldn’t bother with Rand Paul’s disingenuous lies if they hadn’t seeped into the culture like wildfire, once again turning reality into a “debate” topic. So here we go, the Tea Party versus Lawrence O’Donnell. Rand Paul (R-Ky) has issued a letter calling President Obama’s actions in Libya “unilateral” actions that violate the constitution. He wants the senate to vote on it and stuff. You should believe Paul because….because he’s a senator and he ought to know!
However, Paul voted on the very resolution he claims never took place. On March 1, Senate Resolution 85 supporting possible military action over Libya passed the United States Senate unanimously. “But Tea Party Republican Senator Rand Paul’s office is telling callers he did not vote on that resolution. And we have it on tape. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell explains in the Rewrite.”
Watch here, courtesy of MSNBC:
Rand’s letter makes much of the serious decision regarding sending our “sons and daughters to war.” We don’t take this lightly, Rand tells us. That sounds good, eh? Mike Lee (Tea Party R-Utah) co-signed the letter. It’s great to see the Tea Party try to learn about the government processes on our dime.
O’Donnell tells us, “I guess that’s a lot stronger action than what Rand Paul took on March 1, when he voted for Senate Resolution 85. “ O’Donnell explains that Paul did not even leave his office to vote, he took this so seriously. This Senate Resolution covers everything President Obama has done in Libya and it called for it before the President took action. Rand Paul voted on this, he supported what the President is doing in Libya, but now his staff is being instructed to lie to constituents.”
MSNBC’s The last word called Senator Rand’s office to find out if he was really lying to constituents. The caller asked if Rand Paul voted for the resolution regarding Libya and the staffer, the receptionist named Kathy, says it’s not a vote, it’s a “….hotline procedure and wasn’t voted on by the Senator. It’s a standard senate procedure where they do a resolution and say if no one objects, it’s done by email, not on the floor, and it was put in 47 seconds before the end of the day.” The caller asks for clarification, Kathy explains, “They weren’t given time to respond. It’s really silly, it’s just a loophole. It will go into the record like that. It will say unanimous consent but it wasn’t a vote.” Poor Kathy was instructed to lie, in fact, you can hear someone in the background telling her what to say.
O’Donnell says, “The senior staff is lying to her. Kathy says Senator Paul didn’t vote on it. That is an absolute, outright lie. Unanimous consent votes are, in fact, the most common vote cast in the United States Senate. The hotline procedure has been enforced for decades. And strictly observed. Every senator is told about every bill or resolution that is coming up for unanimous consent. Every one of them. Every legislative director, all 100 that work for each senator, is emailed and called by their side of the aisle by their leader, about unanimous consent votes. They can take as long as they want to make up their minds.”
So much for that lie. But why would Paul vote for something he didn’t agree with? O’Donnell took that on, “But if you are Rand Paul and you are opposed to any American military intervention if it does not involve and actual and imminent threat to the nation, then how many seconds does it take you to say No?…All they had to do was say no, we don’t give our consent. He did not say no when called by his leader…And then poor Kathy has been told a lie, that it took place in the last 47 seconds of the day, it doesn’t happen that way. I worked in the senate. It doesn’t work that way.”
O’Donnell clarifies, “Most votes are unanimous consent…. It is a recorded vote.” See, Lawrence worked in the senate, so he knows a disingenuous backtrack when it comes his way. When O’Donnell’s MSNBC team called Rand’s office on the record, no one would take their calls or respond to emails.
He went on to chastise Rand Paul for his deliberate lies, “The lying has got to stop. Senator Paul, you know you voted for Senate Resolution 85, which calls for a no-fly zone over Libya, it calls for everything President Obama is doing in Libya. You must stop lying about it. You have taken an oath of office and your lies violate your oath. Your staff has taken the same oath. Those lies violate that oath. Senator Paul, you must, for your honor, put a stop to this….. You must immediately tell the truth to the voters of Kentucky…..The responsibility here is entirely yours. You and your staff are committing an outrageous breach of senate ethical conduct.”
The Senate unanimously approved a resolution on March 1 calling for the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and urging Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi to resign and allow a peaceful transition to democracy. Here is the resolution they passed, offered by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill):
Senate Res. 85:
Whereas Muammar Gadhafi and his regime have engaged in gross and systematic violations of human rights, including violent attacks on protesters demanding democratic reforms, that have killed thousands of people;
Whereas Muammar Gadhafi, his sons and supporters have instigated and authorized violent attacks on Libyan protesters using warplanes, helicopters, snipers and soldiers and continue to threaten the life and well-being of any person voicing opposition to the Gadhafi regime;
Whereas the United Nations Security Council and the international community have condemned the violence and use of force against civilians in Libya and on February 26, 2011, the United Nations Security Council unanimously agreed to refer the ongoing situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court, impose an arms embargo on the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including the provision of mercenary personnel, freeze the financial assets of Muammar Gadhafi and certain family members, and impose a travel ban on Gadhafi, certain family members and senior advisors;
Whereas Muammar Gadhafi has ruled Libya for more than 40 years by banning and brutally opposing any individual or group opposing the ideology of his 1969 revolution, criminalizing the peaceful exercise of expression and association, refusing to permit independent journalists’ and lawyers’ organizations, and engaging in torture and extrajudicial executions, including the 1,200 detainees killed in Abu Salim Prison in June 1996;
Whereas Libya took formal responsibility for the terrorist attack that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people, 189 of whom were U.S. citizens and high-ranking Libyan officials have indicated that Muammar Gadhafi personally ordered the attack; and
Whereas Libya was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council on May 13, 2010 for a period of 3 years, sending a demoralizing message of indifference to the families of the victims of Pan Am flight 103 and Libyan citizens that have endured repression, arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance or physical assault in their struggle to obtain basic human and civil rights: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate–
(1) applauds the courage of the Libyan people in standing up against the brutal dictatorship of Muammar Gadhafi and for demanding democratic reforms, transparent governance, and respect for basic human and civil rights;
(2) strongly condemns the gross and systematic violations of human rights in Libya, including violent attacks on protesters demanding democratic reforms;
(3) calls on Muammar Gadhafi to desist from further violence, recognize the Libyan people’s demand for democratic change, resign his position and permit a peaceful transition to democracy governed by respect for human and civil rights and the right of the people to choose their government in free and fair elections;
(4) calls on the Gadhafi regime to immediately release persons that have been arbitrarily detained, to cease the intimidation, harassment and detention of peaceful protestors, human rights defenders and journalists, to ensure civilian safety, and to guarantee access to human rights and humanitarian organizations;
(5) welcomes the unanimous vote of the United Nations Security Council on resolution 1970 referring the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court, imposing an arms embargo on the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, freezing the assets of Gadhafi and family members, and banning international travel by Gadhafi, members of his family, and senior advisors;
(6) urges the Gadhafi regime to abide by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 and ensure the safety of foreign nationals and their assets, and to facilitate the departure of those wishing to leave the country as well as the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies, humanitarian agencies and workers, into Libya in order to assist the Libyan people;
(7) urges the United Nations Security Council to take such further action as may be necessary to protect civilians in Libya from attack, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory;
(8) welcomes the African Union’s condemnation of the “disproportionate use of force in Libya” and urges the Union to take action to address the human rights crisis in Libya and to ensure that member states, particularly those bordering Libya, are in full compliance with the arms embargo imposed by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 against the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including the ban on the provision of armed mercenary personnel;
(9) welcomes the decision of the United Nations Human Rights Council to recommend Libya’s suspension from the Council and urges the United Nations General Assembly to vote to suspend Libya’s rights of membership in the Council;
(10) welcomes the attendance of Secretary of State Clinton at the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva and 1) urges the Council’s assumption of a country mandate for Libya that employs a Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Libya and 2) urges the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations to advocate for improving United Nations Human Rights Council membership criteria at the next United Nations General Assembly in New York City to exclude gross and systematic violators of human rights; and
(11) welcomes the outreach that has begun by the United States Government to Libyan opposition figures and supports an orderly, irreversible transition to a legitimate democratic government in Libya.
When you get into a political argument with someone, watch how they attempt to shift the frame of the debate. In this case, we have Rand Paul telling people that the President never got this resolution and that he never voted on it, really. They accomplish this by saying the vote that took place was a kind of last minute thing that doesn’t mean anything. Sadly, a lot of people will believe this.
It turns out, that’s not true.
Shame on Rand Paul and his staff for tricking Kathy into lying for him. The problem here is that Rand Paul voted on something he claimed he didn’t believe in and instead of having an ounce of honor, he has attempted to tell his constituents that the recorded vote isn’t really accurate. Does that sound familiar? “Don’t trust the record or the facts, just listen to the Tea Partier.” Turns out, being in charge is a little harder than Tea Party rhetoric led these freshman to believe. Now he’s going to waste our money with his show of innocence while he proposes a resolution that contradicts the vote he just took on March 1.
There are matters to be debated regarding Libya, but the fact that the senate voted unanimously on Resolution 85 to do precisely what the President is doing is not one of them.