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Rand Paul is pissing off Peter King and the GOP

New article for PolicyMic.

It looks like the "Old Guard" of the Republican party is at it again.

Over the weekend, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) went on Fox News to attack Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), claiming that Paul's anti-NSA accusations are based on "lies" and that he "doesn't deserve to be a U.S. Senator," adding, "Rand Paul does not know what he's talking about ... and is really spreading fear among the American people," King added.

King also suggested Paul might be "part of that hate-America crowd."

Lies? Scaring the American people? King can't be serious.

Whether or not one agrees with Paul, those in Congress and the media who promote foreign wars, suspension of civil liberties, and authoritarian government are the real liars and fearmongers. As journalist Glenn Greenwald has shown in great detail, virtually every justification made by NSA defenders has been a lie or great exaggeration. Fearmongering is standard, with the omnipresent Islamic terrorist bogeyman hiding under every bed. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), one of the NSA's most vocal supporters, even invoked the 9/11 attacks to justify illegal surveillance.

And let's not even get started on the foreign wars, especially in Iraq, which King and his allies support. It's hard to find a better example of emotional manipulation, propaganda and lies than when the U.S. tries to sell an unnecessary, aggressive war.

It's easy to see why King is so visibly upset. King and the hyper-nationalistic authoritarianism that has defined him and the "Old Guard" of the GOP for decades no longer have a monopoly on debate and public opinion in America when it comes to such important issues as foreign policy and civil liberties.

So what exactly is Paul doing, according to King, that is not worthy of those hallowed, holy halls of the U.S. Senate?

In barely four years, Paul has built up quite the resume. He filibustered for over 13 hours on the Senate floor excoriating President Obama's drone war, uniting left and right behind him and helping to shed light on an issue shrouded in darkness and secrecy. Paul led a bipartisan effort to strip the National Defense Authorization Act of the power to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens, but it was defeated by (surprise, surprise) Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). He also advocates a much more restrained foreign policy, and is preparing to sue the NSA for its virtual abolishment of the Fourth Amendment.

Paul is nowhere near perfect, and I will be the first one to point out his flaws and how frustrating it is when he tries to straddle fences, pleasing no one while trying to appease everyone. Politics is not a game for principles and ideals; supporting politicians is a lot like choosing which venomous snake you would like to be bitten by. At his worst, Paul is another viper, but at his best he is a voice for liberty and the Bill of Rights.

Paul may be just one man in the Senate, but his election and popularity are a symptom of a growing populism and ideological shift in the American public. For example, a recent Pew Research poll found that a majority of Americans want the U.S. to mind its own business overseas while also favoring international trade. A majority of Americans also believe that the federal government threatens their rights and are slowly losing trust in Leviathan.

The trends are slowly shifting, and things aren't looking great for those on the side of King and the Old Guard. More and more Americans aren't falling for their lies and propaganda anymore, and their desperation is growing.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), perhaps the only lawmaker more principled than Paul, has an amazing voting record, intellect, humor, and a level of transparency that should be the model for any government. His targets, like Paul's, are the national security state, foreign wars and our vanishing civil liberties. And like many eager for real change, he is young and fiery.

The Old Guard's response? Single him out and run an establishment Republican against him, call him a "liberal" and an "isolationist" (whatever that means), and do anything to get him out of office. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tried to do the same thing with former Rep. Ron Paul back in 1996. It didn't work then, and it won't work now.

What makes this even more interesting is that even though the 2016 elections are almost three years away, the battle within the Republican party is already starting to brew. King won't be running (he'll be busy supporting terrorists with your tax dollars), but Paul obviously has his eyes on the White House.

Like this battle over civil liberties and foreign policy in the GOP, Paul will likely be running up against several Romney-McCain clones in the primaries. This debate between the Old Guard of the GOP and its more libertarian wing will only grow more hostile. While I have little faith in the political process to effect change in the direction of more liberty, it will be hard not to root for Rand Paul in this Republican civil war.