Rand Paul Filibuster Redrawing the Lines

Posted: March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

The cause of liberty had a very big day yesterday.

In a 13-hour marathon filibuster on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul appears to have galvanized liberty-lovers of all stripes behind his fight for a more Constitutional approach to government. While the main body of conservatives and libertarians were already enamored with the rising Tea Party star in the Senate, Paul also added admirers last night from the Liberty holdovers who hated his endorsement of Mitt Romney in the general election, as well as Republicans who hated his endorsement of his father, Ron Paul, in the presidential primary. He even added the left-wing civil rights group Code Pink to his list of admirers. (Does this mean that they won’t demonstrate at the RNC if he is the nominee in 2016?)

While the filibuster was primarily spearheaded by Dr. Paul and his close allies, Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, it was also interesting to observe those who chose to make an appearance in support of the filibuster. Of particular note was Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, who has an interesting history of voting against the Establishment on issues like bank bailouts, indefinite detention of Americans, wire-tapping, and even GMO labeling. Senator Wyden made his appearance very early in the day, before it was deemed ‘politically safe’ to do so, and he gets my respect for ‘standing with Rand’, just as he did when he voted against T.A.R.P. while Republican Senator Gordon Smith voted in favor of it. He has cast a myriad of terrible votes on spending and social issues, but where civil liberties are concerned, Wyden seems to have more conscience than most Senators on either side of the aisle.

The bipartisan coalition, which has been labeled the ‘Checks and Balances’ caucus, made an interesting point throughout the day regarding the exercise of power in U.S. government. Contrary to recent trends, they see the Legislative, not the Executive branch as the proper source of policy regarding who ought to be droned into Eternity and who should get a trial first. Senators Paul and Cruz have even been cheeky enough to propose legislation designed to hold the President’s trigger finger in check. No word on whether this moves them up on the Homeland Security ‘threat list’, or if they are still safely nestled behind home-schooling, food-storing Constitution Party members.

The fact that Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity and others are lining up to get interviews from Rand is evidence of a new turn in the Republican Party. Instead of circling the wagons around the most moderate, big-government guy they can find who will still agree to call himself Republican (McCain, Romney, Dole), the talk radio circuit is finally agreeing with the Liberty/Tea Party movement that the more principled approach is also more compelling to voters. Instead of shedding core values in an attempt to appeal to statists on the Left, the Doctors Paul have been making the case for some time now that a strong, Constitutional approach to civil liberties will draw those who are disenchanted with the hypocrisy of the Democrat party to the Liberty side. The idea is summed up in the slogan ‘Freedom is Popular’.

In the meantime, while Senator Paul was sneaking bites of candy bar between words during his 13-hours of advocating for liberty, John McCain and Lindsey Graham were enjoying filet mignon with their pal, President Obama. On the Senate floor this morning, McCain offered this reaction to Rand’s efforts:

McCain completely missed the point that Holder refused to declare what McCain thought was ‘obvious’, that American non-combatants cannot be attacked by the President in a drone strike. If it was so obvious, why did Holder stop short of stating it? Are we supposed to take McCain’s word for it, as an extension of the Obama Administration? I knew they were close, but this might be a new level of intimacy.

The money quote from Lindsey Graham:

“I was going to vote against (Brennan) until the filibuster, so he picked up one vote,” Graham said, laughing to reporters in the Capitol.

There is always a question for unprincipled statists who have no PAC money at stake regarding how they ought to vote on the President’s appointments. Graham, McCain, and the other moderate neoconservatives have found their answer: When in doubt, find out how Rand Paul is voting and vote against him.

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Comments
  1. Ron says:

    As far as I can see, the biggest difference between the two Dr. Pauls, is the delivery of the message. Rand is more accepted in the party because of his smoother non-combative style. This was most clearly demonstrated on the Mark Levin Show last year when after he had been savaging Ron Paul all week, he interviewed Rand on the air, during which Rand smoothly delivered the message of liberty, words that could just as well have come from Ron. When it was over Levin said “see… much more reasonable and sane”.

    Rand also has that rarest of qualities – his appeal is transcending party lines just like his fathers does. During the filibuster I saw this happening over and over on twitter – “liberals” supporting him… public and unapologetic confessions.

    This has awakened yet another slice of the population. We needed this in a big way. McCain and Graham are shoulder to shoulder with Obama… their philosophical positions, no matter what good intentions they represent, or from what fears they generate from – are at their core as un-American as is possible. Republicans need to not dismiss this. Look at it for what it is…yet another “red pill” opportunity.

    On the 5th Amendment – “It’s pretty clear and it’s pretty plain – you can’t take away someone’s life and liberty without due process” ~ Rand Paul

  2. I have heard Rand speak quite a number of times (even three times in person while in Tampa), and I always come away amazed at how he is able to communicate the Liberty message in a way that a wider audience can digest. He is a very intelligent man, and he has obviously watched his father and learned what to do and what not to do. I think that he is rising to the top of an impressive group of Liberty/Tea Party legislators because he brings a calm, measured approach that is also clear and principled. Effective politics takes a certain measure of diplomacy, and many idealists in the Liberty camp would do well to watch the younger Dr. Paul in that regard (I include myself here). His appeal is also clearly shifting the Republican party in important ways. The fact that so many are rallying behind a civil liberties issue and away from two shills for the military-industrial complex is a very encouraging sign for our party and our country.

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