Rand Paul’s (near) 13 hour talking filibuster on Wednesday night tells us at least 2 things about the Kentucky Senator: 1) He possesses strong convictions on the limits of federal drone use, and: 2) He has a strong bladder. While living in the political age of mere gestured filibuster actions, Rand Paul’s decision to bock a vote confirmation for John Brennan as the next CIA Director demonstrated more than a highlight moment for the 5 o’clock news, but rather reminded us of a time when politicians wielded firm convictions, which in large were held due to the ethical obligation as a representative for their specific districts.
According to a CNN interview with Rand Paul the day after the filibuster, Paul suggested that he wouldn’t necessarily vote against John Brennan’s CIA nomination, but rather his stance was to shed light on a muddled response from Attorney General Eric Holder on whether or not the President reserves the right to use drones to kill American citizens on American soil.
In a highlighted moment, Paul stated: ” 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, ” Seems like a respectable effort on the part of the Senator, right? Not according to Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham who immediately responded to Paul’s filibuster with the old guard establishment criticisms stating: “If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously, he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids,” McCain said. “I don’t think what happened yesterday is helpful to the American people.” Now, a response like this just begs the question: where does the GOP stand on conservative limits to federal drone use? Moreover, has the GOP any collective values anymore? The answer appears to be a glaring, no.
There is no doubt in the minds of conservatives across the nation, the GOP is fractured and in desperate need of centralized alignment on issues, but where can the GOP go from here? When prominent Sr. GOP senators decry the efforts of a Jr. Senator upholding the virtues of our nations constitution, how much further apart can a political party fall?
Fortunately for Paul, his efforts paid off in a resounding answer from the White House, as well as praise from both sides of the isle. If the GOP is to ever be a credible contender for the presidential seat in the future, it had better start looking more like Rand Paul.