I'm a bit tired this morning after watching about 10 hours of Senator Rand Paul's epic filibuster yesterday. It was "only" 13 hours long, but it was also the only filibuster I can think of that stuck to a narrow policy focus the entire time -- no discursions or tangents and no reading from a phone book.
There was much discussion about the benefits and downsides of drone warfare, but Paul was laser-focused on the problem being that the Administration wouldn't rule out as unconstitutional a drone strike on an American on U.S. soil who is not posing an imminent national security threat. He was principled, charming, engaging, thoughtful, and solid as a rock.
I had my children watch some of this wonderful and historical moment. The 3-year-old calls Paul "the other President" and says "he talks the most." I'm hoping this is prescience.
In a thread yesterday, member John Walker wrote:
I do not recall watching something which gave me as much hope about turning around the U.S. since Reagan's “A Time for Choosing” speech in 1964.
And that was hours before Ted Cruz read from that speech late in the filibuster to help Paul out! The Washington Post analyzed the filibuster's political effect (in a piece that quotes our very own Rick Wilson):
What Paul proved during his “filiblizzard” — it hurts so good to write that — is that he is a politician with a) a core set of beliefs and b) a willingness to stand up for them.
That’s a rare thing in modern American politics where the tendency is to find where the public — or the primary electorate — is on a given issue and then find a way to get there.
What inspired so many people -- and was appealing across the aisle, too -- was just that: leadership in the eternal fight for liberty.
Or as Jim Geraghty put it:
A day that was supposed to be just another Washington snow day brought us something we haven't seen in a long time: an honest-to-goodness, in-keeping-with-the-Constitution, old-fashioned filibuster, all over a basic, fundamental concept central to our founding: the power of the central government is limited, and the government's authority to exercise lethal force must be particularly and specifically limited.
The Republican senators who participated in the filibuster with Paul include Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wy.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).
In terms of being principled and winsome on this fight, Lee, Cruz, and Barrasso were also highly impressive.
Ace of Spades wrote:
I have the same feeling of receding cynicism I did when the Tea Party first exploded on to the scene and began doing things that just weren't done in America anymore -- taking politics seriously, taking the Founders' legacy to us seriously, showing up at Town Halls to ask their once and future representatives some real questions, engaging, questioning, insisting, demanding.
There was a time 200 years ago when this was commonplace. Americans had just won their liberty and were enthused about it. They treated their civic duty not as a mere duty but as the highest aspiration of political man...
But this filibuster is bigger even than that issue (which is itself large). This filibuster is about the basic character of a Democratic Republic, and restoring that character to good working order.
Exactly. The filibuster is done and Brennan's nomination will be approved. But something big happened yesterday even if everyone in big media will obscure it.