Editor’s Note – Senator Rand Paul, now famous for his almost 13-hour triumphant filibuster for the Constitution and against the usurpation of power by the Executive seemed to set the world on its ear yesterday and late into today. Since the end of his marathon, new questions emerge.
Who is the lifeblood now of the GOP? Is it the likes of dissenters Lindsay Graham (SC) and John McCain (AZ), or is it the new studs, Marco Rubio (FL), Ted Cruz (TX), Rand Paul (KY), and Gomert (TX) to name but a few quickly making names for themselves.
The second question regards President Obama’s stature, especially when he challenges the Constitution so often in his many end-runs around it. Last but not least, has America awoken? When many liberals ‘Tweeted’ support and even one Democrat Senator stood in support, has interest in what is happening and what is wrong finally becoming popular. Probably for the first time in its history, CSPAN2 was popular.
To see the entire transcript of the event, one that surely made history click the links below or download them here:
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=727 hour 1
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=728 hour 2
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=729 hour 3
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=730 hour 4
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=731 hour 5
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=732 hour 6
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=733 hour 7
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=734 hour 8
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=735 hour 9
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=736 hour 10
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=737 hour 11
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=738 hour 12
- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=739 hour 13
What did Rand Paul accomplish last night?
By Timothy P. Carney – Washington Examiner
So, did Paul accomplish anything besides “blowing up Twitter,” as his cohort Ted Cruz put it? He certainly did. How much he accomplished will be determined, but here are some places to look:
- He got the major media talking, for almost the first time, about the government’s ability to kill U.S. citizens, without trial, even when they’re not posing an imminent threat, on U.S. soil. Also, more broadly, about our government using drones to execute people that maybe we should be trying to capture and try.
- He got many Republicans to express objections to extrajudicial drone killings. Republicans, as a party, haven’t been very worried about U.S. overreaches in the “Global War on Terror.” Paul was something of a loner on this front when he was running in 2010. But Paul’s filibuster captured the attention of the media, and the heart of conservatives and libertarians around the country. Twitter provided such instant feedback, that it was pretty easy for Republican politicians to see there is a real demand for these sorts of civil liberties concerns on the Right. It may even be that some conservatives who rushed to “Stand to Rand” were really coming out of the closet, emboldened by Paul. Probably, most politicians coming to Paul’s side were being opportunistic. Certainly many conservatives in the Twitterverse and Blogosphere were motivated a bit by partisanship — knocking Obama’s hypocrisy on due process and civil liberties.
But still, even when politicians move for opportunistic or partisan reasons, they move, and the bounds of permissible dissent move with them. It’s now easier for any future Republican politician or conservative commentator to push back on military overreach.
- Paul made a conservative case for limiting war powers. I’ll sound an even more hopeful note here: Paul may have made some conservatives watching on C-Span — or even some GOP lawmakers watching from the floor — more skeptical about executive power in the sprawling “war on terror.”
Paul spent hours yesterday setting the case against extrajudicial drone killings in various conservative contexts. He made pro-life arguments. He made Edmund Burke-sounding arguments. He mostly made constitutional arguments. He drew the lines from conservative principles to his more libertarian foreign policy conclusions.
- Paul made a libertarian outreach to the anti-war Left. Much of Paul’s arguments last night involved the need for constraints on power, even constraints on the majority. He often hinted towards the Ronald Reagan line that a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to kill you while sitting at cafe.
The only check on an executive armed with flying death robots is the separation of powers and an understanding of the Constitution as a limit on government power. This has implications beyond counter-terrorism and war.
- Paul exposed the craven partisanship of the Democrats. As I wrote last night, Democrats refused to allow Paul a vote on a non-binding resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that government can’t kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, while those citizens pose no imminent threat. There’s no way this course of action jibes with the party’s stated principles. The most likely explanation is that they didn’t want a vote that might embarrass their party’s president.
- Paul made himself a major Republican figure. That can only be good for the GOP.
Paul Injects Life into Party with Nearly 13-Hour Filibuster
The “filiblizzard” of the Brennan nomination over Obama’s secretive drone program, joined by one Dem, outlasted the snowstorm that paralyzed D.C.
In December 2010, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) conducted the longest talking filibuster in 27 years, speaking for 8.5 hours in opposition to President Obama’s tax deal with Republicans — a speech Sanders later turned into a book.
On Wednesday into Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) busted the “Filibernie” record — by far, at 12 hours and 54 minutes — as he demanded answers from the Obama administration on policy regarding domestic drone strikes.
“I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court,” Paul began.
“That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is an abomination. It is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country,” he said. “I don’t rise to oppose John Brennan’s nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle.”
The filibuster against the CIA director nomination began at 11:47 a.m. Wednesday, on a Hill sparsely populated because of the snowstorm outside.
Hence, Paul’s effort quickly took on the name “Filiblizzard,” with its own Twitter account. Like Sanders, Paul rapidly was honored with a site tracking his filibuster, IsRandPaulStillTalking.com.
“I will speak today until the president responds and says no, we won’t kill Americans in cafes; no, we won’t kill you at home in your bed at night; no, we won’t drop bombs on restaurants. Is that so hard?” Paul said. “It’s amazing that the president will not respond. I’ve been asking this question for a month. It’s like pulling teeth to get the president to respond to anything. And I get no answer.”
And as the #StandWithRand hashtag reigned on Twitter, and more Republicans filtered onto the Senate floor to help out Paul, it became clear that Paul didn’t just make a point on civil liberties but breathed some chutzpah into his party. Unlike historical filibusters that have included phone-book or cookbook reading to fill time, the senator stayed on topic the entire time. Supportive House members came into the upper chamber and cheered on the son of their former lower chamber colleague.
“Sending strength and prayer to @SenRandPaul for him to ‘Drone’ on and on!” tweeted Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).
This monumental moment for the Senate GOP, though, was muddled by the evening absence of a dozen Republicans who enjoyed a three-hour secretive dinner at the Jefferson Hotel with President Obama: Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John McCain (R-S.C.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).
According to the White House, Obama picked up the check for the party.
Chambliss and Toomey helped Paul with his filibuster before or after the dinner. Later on the floor, Johnson said the meeting was an “excellent dinner.”
“This evening at our meeting with the president, we had an opportunity to express our views on the challenging task of getting our nation’s fiscal house in order,” Hoeven said in a statement. McCain and Coburn each flashed a thumb’s up to reporters staking out the hotel as they left.
Though eating is not allowed on the Senate floor, Paul took nibbles of snacks at points, continuing to read his notes while chewing. Mid-filibuster, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) put an apple and a thermos full of green tea on Paul’s desk in a nod to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; the Senate sergeant-at-arms later had the snack removed per the rules.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wandered onto the floor. Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) offered to hold hearings on drones, which Paul brushed off as just a standard congressional stall tactic.
And unlike Sanders, who didn’t have a bipartisan Filibernie, Paul had Democratic support — some wholehearted, some tepid.
The ACLU and Code Pink praised the Paulibuster. “Good for Sen Paul-a talking filibuster to fight for an important ideal- unlike McConnell’s partisan silent filibusters designed to paralyze,” tweeted Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a vocal critic of Obama’s drone program, was the only Democrat to join Paul on the floor.
“Sen. Paul and I agree that this nomination also provides a very important opportunity for the United States Senate to consider the government’s rules and policies on the targeted killings of Americans and that, of course, has been a central pillar of our nation’s counter-terror strategy,” Wyden said.
The lack of Democratic representation as the GOP waved the flag for due process rights didn’t sit well with some liberals off the Hill. “For gods sake where are democrats ?? ‘@democracynow: Rand Paul: Obama Admin Response Drones More Than Frightening’ http://owl.li/itdHI ,” tweeted actor John Cusack.
Read the rest here at PJ Media.