Rand Paul. The very name reeks of evil and/or right wing nuttery. Rand Paul strikes me as the slower-witted, less-principled son of Ron Paul, and I’m going to go ahead and say that’s because he is. But this happened. The Kentucky Republican (seriously, a Republican from Kentucky is being reasonable?) mounted a rare talking filibuster against the nomination of John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee for CIA director.
I really hated myself because of it, but damned if the guy wasn’t actually making a bit of sense. The fundamental question being asked by Paul and others (including Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden) was this:
“When I asked the president, can you kill an American on American soil, it should have been an easy answer. It’s an easy question. It should have been a resounding, an unequivocal, ‘No.’ ”
Umm, yeah… it should have been. I… agree completely… with Rand Paul… fuck.
He asked the question for nearly 13 hours, and fair enough, because it should be asked. Today Attorney General Eric Holder released this:
“It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American citizen not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”
Now, I personally think a better use of drones might be to catch poachers, but Holder definitely gets the snap here. 7 words. Clear, concise, point proven. Any further presses of the issue will require a sincere demonstration of commitment to civil liberties.
Let’s step back. If Romney were president and Brennan was his nomination to a Republican-controlled Senate, what are the odds we’d be seeing silence from the same Republican senators who spoke last night? But, because it’s a Democratic president, the Republicans come over all pious while the Democrats try to hurry it through.
Just after 7 p.m., Paul asked for Democrats to consent to vote on a non-binding resolution that would express opposition to the drone killings of American citizens on American soil. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) rejected it, promising a committee hearing on drone strikes instead, and Paul continued his filibuster.
But sometimes crazy and dubious motivations come in useful. Today, Paul got the answer he wanted and now the vote proceeds. So, whether or not he was grandstanding to get his face in the news, there is a clear answer on the question. So thanks, Rand Paul. Now you can go back to being crazy.