Followers of this blog know that I don’t agree with Rand Paul on everything. In fact, I have called his performance in the Senate a disappointment, from his fake budget proposal to his statements on gay marriage. I think that he can be an ally for liberty, but he deserves some harsh criticism as well for policies he supports that run contrary to liberty.
Yesterday’s filibuster was certainly an example of the former.
If you didn’t already know, yesterday Rand Paul executed an old school Mr. Smith Goes to Washington style filibuster in which he stood in front of a nearly-empty Senate and spoke extemporaneously to block the confirmation of CIA director John Brennan.
It’s not that Paul didn’t want Brennan to be confirmed. It’s just that the President of the United States was a little, shall we say, vague on whether or not he could use drones to kill American citizens on American soil without due process. As Paul said, it’s not an issue that should be vague at all. The answer should be “No. Absolutely not.” But apparently, the Obama administration wants to reserve that right.
If you’re not terrified by that, you weren’t paying close enough attention last night. If you’re not ready to step up and do something, then you’ve missed the whole point of the filibuster.
Rand Paul stood up to bring awareness to a much-overlooked issue. While I’m sure, as a politician, he’s happy that a good portion of the country is singing his praises right now (and the other half of the country is pointedly ignoring him), there is more to what he was attempting to accomplish.
If we really want to do him honor, we will stop talking about him and start talking about the policy he was trying to get us to do something about: Drone policy, something that only libertarians and hardcore civil libertarians have even wanted to bring up over the past couple of years. Our drone policy abroad is vile and wrong, and to make that policy here in the United States only magnifies that atrocity. It’s time to talk about it. It’s time to break social barriers and start fights about it. Online, in person, on street corners. Our president and the attorney general have essentially reserved the right to kill us without due process. We should be livid.
Yet most of what I see today is praise for one man. One man can’t solve this; only we can.
Rand Paul stood up and spoke for 13 hours. What are we going to do? If we’re not asking ourselves that question today, then the filibuster failed.
UPDATE: According to Politico, Attorney General Eric Holder has written to Senator Rand Paul to say that the president will not use drones against Americans engaged in combat on American soil.