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Top Story — Rand Paul Makes Democrats Look Feckless on Civil Liberties, Should Worry GOP 2016 Hopefuls


1:27 a.m. | Updated WASHINGTON – A small group of Republicans, led by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, stalled the Senate on Wednesday by waging a nearly 13-hour old-school, speak-until-you-can-speak-no-more filibuster over the government’s use of lethal drone strikes – forcing the Senate to delay the expected confirmation of John O. Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. [New York Times]

DEMOCRATS should be ashamed today. While Senator Rand Paul led a filibuster on the importance of civil liberties, fan politics and propping up their people in Obama administration gagged them into irrelevance on the issue.

Known in the Twitter universe as #filiblizzard, the #filiblizzard and #StandwithRand contingent, which I joined yesterday, demanded that other senators join in. It’s doubtful Republicans would have jumped in if not prodded to seize the moment. But once the momentum built through new media outlets, Senator Paul’s allies grew by the thousands, and his cause caught fire.

But of course, Democrats won’t be bothered at all, because Democratic senators have no shame when it comes to doing their job. It’s still all about fan politics in the Senate for the most part, with Democrats likely to prove that when Pres. Obama’s entitlement cuts come up.

Senator Rand Paul, I believe, would have stood up regardless of who was in the White House, but it’s very unlikely the rest of the Republicans would have joined him if a Republican was in the White House.

That doesn’t excuse that Democrats were AWOL on civil liberties yesterday during Paul’s 13-hour filibuster, minus Senator Ron Wyden, plus one question from Senator Durbin that made him sound small and silly, which he had to admit through other words.

Huffington Post:

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) even joked that Paul’s filibuster was “background noise.”

As the filibuster crept toward its 13th hour, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) joined to ask Paul whether the U.S. government had the authority to take out the fourth plane on 9/11 before it crashed into the Capitol.

“I don’t think this is such a clear and easy situation,” Durbin said.

Paul called it a “red herring.”

“We all agree that you can repel an imminent attack,” Paul said. “None of us disagree with that. We are talking about a targeted drone program” against citizens who are “not actively engaged in combat. … I don’t think that standard can be used in the United States.”

Durbin said he respected Paul’s response. “I stand with the senator,” Durbin said. “I think it is a legitimate question.”

[...] “I want it understood that I have great respect for this effort to really ask these kinds of questions,” Wyden said. “And Senator Paul has certainly been digging into these issues in great detail.”

Senator Paul’s stand, coming after his vote to approve Chuck Hagel for defense secretary, proves that he is not your average right-winger, but also is as thoughtful on issues that move him as a likely opponent for 2016, Gov. Chris Christie. Sometimes it doesn’t work out for him, as a discussion with Rachel Maddow proved. But considering Jeb Bush’s latest incoherence on immigration reform, Paul looks like a giant today. Paul has certainly affixed himself in the leadership of the Republican right with his filibuster yesterday, which on a snow day ended up captivated Washington, with the Twitter universe demanding that his Republican colleagues join in.

It was a very good day for Senator Rand Paul. He helped Republicans find some meaning on an issue that matters.

By comparison, the Democratic party looked petty, small, and hyper-partisan. That they yielded the floor on civil liberties should embarrass the entire congressional delegation, but it won’t.

Fan politics always wins out to principle today, which it does on the Republican side as well most of the time.

But at least there is one honest man in the Senate, even if I rarely agree with him. Senator Rand Paul is a man to watch.

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9 Responses to Top Story — Rand Paul Makes Democrats Look Feckless on Civil Liberties, Should Worry GOP 2016 Hopefuls

  1. Mutaman March 7, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Thanks Taylor, good article. I’ve been voting against things for a long time, but I’ growing tired of that. The Democrats really lost me with Reid’s BS regarding the filibuster. If they don’t start growing a pair, the threat of right wingers running things won’t be enough to get me to the voting booth.

    I can’t imagine any Democrat doing what Paul did.

    • Taylor Marsh March 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      Yeah, I have heard a lot from people re: Reid’s capitulation on the filibuster.

  2. Solo March 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    Before you lionize Senator Paul there is something you should know! I just saw him on CNN saying that he supports drone strikes against American citizens if they pose an “imminent threat”. So essentially his position is the same as the Administration’s and indicates that his filibuster yesterday was just a show.

  3. Taylor Marsh March 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    Compared to Eric Holder & the Administration on drones, Paul’s earned the applause on this issue.


    “To be bombed in your sleep? There’s nothing American about that,” said Paul, who began filibustering Brennan’s nomination on Wednesday and finished in the early hours of Thursday morning. “There’s nothing constitutional about that.” Civilian casualties are central to the debate over the use of drones, because public support hinges on the false belief that the weapons kill with surgical precision. If the public were aware of the human toll of the policy, opposition would be widespread, according to a series of HuffPost/YouGov surveys.

    As for imminent threat, are you really that dense to think that everyone isn’t on the same page on that issue? Wow, I thought that was one thing on which everyone was clear.

    • Solo March 7, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

      Whether or not there is consensus on imminent threat kinda depends what an individual person considers to be an imminent threat and what they don’t! For the record The Obama Administration captured (alive) yet another high ranking Al Qaeda operative who according to news reports is OBL’s son in law. As for your “dense” remark? That says more about you than it does me. Obama supporters such as myself are immune to that kind of attack/insults. We just keep going.

      • Taylor Marsh March 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

        I appreciate your “support” for Obama, however, it’s far more than that, solo. You are an unrelenting cheerleader, which is unhealthy for our politics.

        • Solo March 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

          What you call being a cheerleader others would call be dedicated. Making a choice and then seeing it through to the end. I am a left of center pragmatic Democrat not a flaky liberal.

          • Uh-oh March 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

            Newsflash! Obama is RIGHT of center. And it was the “flaky liberals” who helped elect him. Be a little careful with your labeling.

            Also, there is little point to supporting a PERSON who’s policies you disagree with. For the record, I criticize Obama for the exact same things that I criticized Bush for–it is the office of the president that has devolved into the awful unitary executive BS, no matter who holds the office. Keep in mind that the next republican president has carte blanche to do all of the same things Obama is doing (drone strikes, personal kill lists, etc.). If you are OK with Obama doing it, you have no right to criticize anyone else who does it.

          • Taylor Marsh March 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

            Well said, Uh-oh.

            Liberals have always championed civil rights and human rights, and stood up to politicians, no matter the political party, who don’t.

            Proud to be a liberal.

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