Noel Coward said: “It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” All across the Internet today and yesterday, there were stories upon stories of the unheard of filibuster in the Senate by one Rand Paul. Journalists reacted in shock as Paul–with a cadre of about 13 others–took to the Senate floor, and initiated a filibuster that lasted nearly 13 hours. His reasoning? Rand Paul simply wanted to ensure he got a firm answer on the administration’s position on drone strikes.
According to the Washington Examiner:
“Paul’s resolution said it was the sense of the Senate that ‘the use of drones to execute or target American citizens on American soil who pose no imminent threat clearly violates Constitutional rights’ of due process…Throughout his first six hours, Sen. Paul painted a dire picture of what a President could do with the power to kill by drone non-combatant US citizens who have never been charged or given a chance to defend themselves. ‘I don’t want the President deciding whether or not I’m guilty,’ Paul said.”
Senator Ted Cruz even got into the fray, asking AG Eric Holder:
“If an individual is sitting quietly at a café in the United States, in your legal judgment, does the Constitution allow a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil to be killed by a drone?…If that individual is not posing an imminent threat of death or bodily harm, does the Constitution allow the drone to kill that individual.”
Holder replied with: “For sitting in the café and having a cup of coffee?…[No, I do] not think that would be an appropriate use of lethal force.”
The questioning continued, with Cruz turning the screw into Holder with each passing minute. In all, the filibuster–participated in by about 14 Senators–lasted nearly 13 hours. Why is this newsworthy? Because in today’s world of back room politics, and spineless Senators, someone who is willing to stand up for what they believe to be right for 13 hours on the Senate floor is astounding.
On the other hand, two Senators balked at Rand Paul’s effort. Guess who–Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
In response to Paul’s filibuster, McCain said this:
“If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. He needs to know what he’s talking about.”
In addition, Graham said this: “I do not believe that question [about drone strikes on American citizens on american soil] deserves an answer.”
Graham was so unimpressed by Rand Paul, he changed his opinion of Brennan: “I am going to vote for Brennan now because it’s become a referendum on the drone program.”
Rand Paul–and the others in the cadre–had the fortitude to spend 13 hours trying to get an answer to a question of extraordinary importance. The questions regarding the drone program are valid, and they need to be answered. Senators like McCain and Graham have become entrenched in the political machine; and they need to go. They are no longer useful or remotely Conservative where it counts.
I may not always agree with Rand Paul’s political beliefs, but I respect his integrity in the utmost. We need more Senators like Paul, Cruz, and the others who stood their ground; took on the establishment, and made Senate history. A display like this shouldn’t be shocking, but it truly is. It’s also quite refreshing.